A mum who gave birth with the help of her daughter says having her child by her side was a “no-brainer” – but not everyone agrees.
A mum of two has shared her birth story with the world after allowing her two-year-old daughter to help her give birth to her younger brother in a birthing pool at home.
Ariel Haynes, 23, from Colorado in the US, explained the circumstances of her birth experience, adding that although people have told her that including her toddler in the birth was child ᴀʙᴜsᴇ, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Haynes, a birth photographer, said her then two-year-old daughter Izzy was thrilled when she told her she was pregnant and asked if she could take part in the birth.
“As soon as I told her she was going to have a brother or sister, she asked if she could be there,” said Ariel. “It wasn’t something I even had to think about – it was a no-brainer that she would be there.”
Ariel checked with her midwife, who thought it was a great idea, and thankfully Ariel’s husband Thomas was on board too.
As she neared her due date, Ariel booked a birth photographer and started preparing Izzy for the big day.
“I told her that I was probably going to ʏᴇʟʟ in ᴘᴀɪɴ and that there would be ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ, but she wasn’t fazed at all,” said Ariel.
“I also talked her through what she could do to help me while I was in ʟᴀʙᴏʀ, like rub my back for me. She just asked if she could ‘catch it’ when the baby was born.”
Once Ariel’s ʟᴀʙᴏʀ really started to get intense, she contacted her family to look after her daughter in case she “ꜰʀᴇᴀᴋᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ.”
“Izzy started rubbing my back and telling me to breathe and relax, just like I’d taught her,” Ariel says. “She was so excited – when the photographer and the midwife arrived, she shouted, ‘Mummy’s ᴠᴜʟᴠᴀ is opening and my brother is going to come out,’ with a huge grin on her face.
“My midwife arrived, then the photographer arrived and started taking photos. I got into the birth pool that we’d set up in the living room, and Izzy asked if she could get in too.”
“During labor, my midwife went to check how far down baby was, and Izzy yelled at her, “Don’t catch my brother.” And my midwife assured her that she would let her catch, but she wasn’t going to. It felt totally natural to have Izzy in the pool with me. I thought she’d want to jump out after five minutes, but she didn’t.
Izzy sat between Ariel’s legs the whole time, then, when the midwife told her the baby was coming, she put her hands out and felt his head.
“Then, as I gave one final push, the midwife guided Izzy, and baby Henry was born into her arms. It was the most amazing moment – probably the best of my life.”
She said: “‘Aw hi! Isn’t my baby brother cute?!’
“Izzy stayed in the birth pool while I delivered the ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ. Then I was moved from the pool to my bed, where I bonded with the baby, and we started our life as a family of four.”
This is a lot for a toddler to handle, and not everyone thought it was a good idea to involve someone so young in the processes of childbirth.
“I’ve had people tell me I’m a ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ mother for letting Izzy watch me give birth, and others call it child abuse,” Ms. Haynes said. “I completely disagree. There is nothing more natural than childbirth – why shouldn’t a child experience it?
“I watched my mum give birth to my sister when I was 14, and it was life-changing.”
“Izzy and Henry are really close. She loves helping me take care of him.”
What are your thoughts? Would you like to include your children in the birth of their siblings? Let us know in the comments.