Thursday, 08 January 2009
by Nurse Jenna
It comes up from time to time that parents want their children in the delivery room for the birth of their next baby. I have mixed feelings about this, mostly dependent upon the age of the child that is to be the witness. I think this needs to be strongly considered before just assuming they will be participating in something “amazing” or a “once in a life time experience,” as I’ve heard some parents say.
To young children, the sight of blood is something they associate with being hurt and feelings of pain and fear. While they may be correct in realizing that pain is involved, at a young age they cannot understand exactly what is happening and why mommy is in so much pain. I’ve seen kids panic and even cry uncontrollably because of their inability to comprehend what is happening. They have been told the birth of their new brother or sister will be such a happy time for the family, yet to young eyes it appears to be the violence that they are prohibited from watching on watch on TV. They do not have the ability to differentiate one type of screaming and blood from another.
Many hospitals allow children in the delivery room if that is the parents’ request. I have worked at a hospital that required the sibling to be either 12 years old, or to have attended a class they have for younger children to prepare them for what they will be seeing during the delivery. I find this to be a very sound policy since I have seen so many parents who have not thought through the ramifications the experience will have on a child that becomes visibly distraught afterwards.
Did you or would you allow your other children in the delivery room for the birth of your next baby? Do you think there should be age-restrictions?