Looks like we're all over the place when it comes to boys and birth.
After watching the Internet's first live birth, I asked if you'd be OK with your son watching a birth. All in all, we're in favor of it: 28% said 'Yes, definitely," while another 21 % said your son has already seen a birth. An additional 14% have seen a birth on TV.
I myself fall into the fuzzy "Yes, theorectically" category (21%). Let me explain. While I have no problem whatsoever with my boys being exposed to the realities of birth -- and indeed have already looked at some pretty wonderful pictures with the boys -- I answered from the perspective of a mom considering having her sons at her next birth. (Full disclosure: I am most definitely not pregnant.)
I'm pretty liberal in my birthing beliefs. I'm all about natural childbirth and labor support, and fully believe that birth is a natural part of life. My last two children were born at Wisconsin's first free-standing birth center; if I'd lived closer, I would have seriously considered having Boy #4 at home.
But. I know my boys, and I know myself. I know that I can hardly think sometimes when they're in the room. I know that it is next-to-impossible for me to release my sense of responsibility to them. And I know that when I'm in labor, I need to concentrate. So ultimately, although I love the idea of kids being present at birth to welcome their newest sibling, I concluded that having my boys around during an actual labor and birth would be far too stressful for me. For me; you may feel differently.
I also know my boys, and I know that sitting quietly (or even in a relatively subdued manner) is not their thing. While our birth center features a fabulous family room, complete with TV, DVD player and games, I knew my boys would quickly tire of the whole thing. My boys, I concluded, would be more comfortable at home.
And that's where a home birth comes in. If I'd labored at home, if I had someone around to watch, look out for and otherwise run interference with my boys, I would have welcomed my sons at their brothers' births. At home, they would have been free to do what they do -- to sleep, run, play -- while not being excluded from an event central to the life of our family.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to have your son view a birth is highly individual. You have to consider your son, your personality and your resources. For a great article about kids and birth, click here.
Meanwhile, I'd love to hear your stories. If your son witnessed one of your births, what did he think? If he saw one on TV, what did he say? And if you answered, no, you'd rather not let your son watch a birth, why?