Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools gave birth to their fifth child earlier in the week. But along with the pictures of their new son came the news that the couple’s two eldest daughters were allowed to watch their mum give birth.
The TV chef described the event as “amazing to witness, very very emotional” while his wife told of how the two girls, 14-year-old Poppy Honey and 12-year-old Daisy Boo, cut the cord.
To many people, the idea of inviting children to watch childbirth may sound odd, if not a little extreme. But according to midwives an increasing number of parents want their older offspring to be part of the event.
Advocates of the trend argue that it helps the family to bond, prevents older children becoming jealous of the new baby, and promotes a positive message about the process of giving birth.
In the US, sibling involvement has been a growing craze, with parenting blogs giving tips on how to make it a joyous occasion and Youtube videos documenting the whole experience.
All of which raises an important question: Should you let your children watch you giving birth?
According to Jacque Gerrard, the Royal College of Midwives’ director for England, if it happens in a prepared, loving and supportive environment, why not?
“There’s no evidence to suggest that it traumatises children,” she told BBC Woman’s Hour.
“With the right support and preparation, why shouldn’t children be involved?”