Every so often I find myself screaming at the radio. Happened again a few days ago.
There is a radio show here, two male DJs, and they frequently discuss life situations. The whole what would you do if this were you kind of thing.
I take most of what they say with a grain of salt for several reasons. First, they are paid entertainers. If they only ever said things that were safe and obvious, they wouldn't be exciting enough to keep their jobs. Second, they are both men, which makes them pretty much unqualified to talk about some of the things they talk about on the show. Like breastfeeding.
Last time I checked, men don't lactate.
They were talking about something just as close to my heart a few days ago, and something that they aren't any more qualified to discuss. Childbirth. A listener had called into the show to express concern that a friend was allowing her three year old daughter to be present when she delivers her baby any day now.
The birth in question here was a planned home birth, in a completely uncomplicated pregnancy. The daughter expressed a desire to be present, and both parents and the midwife were all in agreement that it was okay. They had made arrangements for another person to be present to care for the three year old in the event she changed her mind.
Forgive me, but I don't see how exactly that is anyone else's business.
But saying it isn't their business wouldn't make for good radio. So, they instead had to start talking about how this poor child would be scarred for life. And how dare the parents make her be there. And how gross and disgusting childbirth is. And so on and so forth.
Then they took calls from all kinds of people who agreed with them. That childbirth is a dangerous medical procedure, with no place for children to be there. About how she might ask questions about things she shouldn't know about. About how she'd end up sobbing, curled up in a ball in the corner.
Here's the thing...Aidan was there when both Ally and AJ were born. And...gasp....he is a boy. He was three when Ally was born, seven when AJ was born. He wanted to be there, at my high risk hospital deliveries. Tom and I were fine with it. We had someone else there to be with him at each delivery in case it was too much.
He saw everything. Yes, everything. He remembered to plug his ears when the baby was crowning the second time around, warning his Grandma....in just a minute, mom is going to scream.
He's never been scarred. He's not abnormally interested in the female anatomy or how babies are made or any of that. He has a special connection with his siblings because he was there when they were born. Aside from Tom and I, he was the first one to get to hold them.
I know that I am crunchy. I am a doula. I've helped at many other births where siblings were present. Not a single one of them has been upset about what they saw or heard.
I don't view childbirth as a dangerous medical procedure. It's a natural part of the circle of life. It's not something that is supposed to be dirty or scary. And I certainly don't think it is something we should protect children from.
It is how they got here, after all.
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