A surprise offer…

My sister had her 12 week ultrasound this week and confirmed her little nugget is doing well.  This is a big relief after a bit of a scare a few weeks ago.  When I saw her yesterday and we discussed labour, she expressed concern her squeamish partner may struggle in the delivery room.  Although she was initially considering hiring a doula, she caught me very off guard by asking if I would like to be with her when she gives birth.

I kind of laughed off her question and reassured her that her partner would survive regardless of how messy the delivery was.  But later that evening she texted me and said that her and her partner had discussed it and they wanted to formally invite me to participate in the delivery experience if I was open to it.

This opened a floodgate of emotions along with some tears.  My sister and I have never had an easy relationship.  It is only in the past few years that we have started to find some common ground.  To be asked to participate in such an intimate and special moment is an honour and privilege not lost on me.  I think about being able to tell my little niece or nephew that I was in the very room where they took their first breath.  As someone who has struggled with infertility for over four years now and has all but given up on having a pregnancy, this could be my only opportunity to experience child birth.

Another part of me feels incredibly sad and worries that my own heartache would get in the way of me being fully present and useful to my sister. I worry that my jealousy and resentment would cast a cloud over such a joyful day. I think of how difficult it has been for me to go meet my nephews and niece in the maternity ward and the tears I cried afterward for my own grief and feelings of longing.

I see being present for her delivery as something bigger than me.  It would be an opportunity to welcome a new human into this world from the very moment they were born.  I would bare witness to watching a couple become a family.  I would be part of a miracle.

If I opted out, it would be only about me.  I feel like I would be giving more power to my  feelings of helplessness. And I might lose the only opportunity I ever have to be part of giving birth.

When I step outside of my head and include my heart in making a decision, I know that I wish to be part of this opportunity.  I honour that there may be feelings that are not easy, but when I am old and grey and look back on my life, I would regret saying no.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have any of you facing infertility been present for a labour and delivery of someone close to you?  How was that experience for you? Any words of wisdom?



5 thoughts on “A surprise offer…

  1. I have not been present for anyone else’s delivery. I can see both sides of it. I think you have to do what is best for you and protect yourself as needed. As for me, I probably would have done it just because my sister and I are really close. But for someone else I might not of. Either way it was incredible nice of her to ask you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been in the delivery room for two of my godsons arrivals and two nieces. This December I will definitely be there at my next godson’s birth and I may be invited to the birth of a nephew. I understand, intimately, how you wonder about your feelings in the moment, wanting to not take away your loved one’s thunder or cast a dark shadow on a momentous event. And, I trust myself when I say with conviction, you won’t ruin it. I have been ripped apart with emotion, jealousy, in the months that led up to each of these births… and I hesitate with the same questions when the invitation is extended, but I always go and participate because the act of birth ends up being transcendent of “me”… it’s even above THEM (mom and dad). The world hyper-focuses and nothing becomes more important than this soul and it’s new little body making it into the world. I feel like I shed my skin and I’m born new too, when that body breaths its first. It’s an honor and an experience. I know that to be the birthing person is likely quite different, but that’s how it is for me on the other side of the bed (so to speak). I heartily encourage you to honor your pain but make the plan to be there. You might regret it if you don’t, but probably not for the reasons you’ll imagine. And yeah, it’s super cool to have a seven year old kid on your lap at reading time, to be able to tell them about the day they were born, and that you were there and loved them from the start. Take the risk. It’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I showed your comment to my husband and he became immediately teary. This is exactly what I needed to hear and your description of your experience is stunningly beautiful… “transcendent of me”….perfection.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am someone who will never have or raise a child. I had the chance 20 years ago to help a friend deliver her child and dont regret it at all. Even if I had been able to have my own …I still would of been glad I was there. Each delivery is different and unique. I was the first one to hold her….and I agree with other comments at the time I did not have time to focus on me. Even with the grief of knowing I will never have a child….this has never made it worse, it has given me the opportunity to feel like I belong a little. Like I am not always standing on the outside looking in. Sending hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve never had a child (though hopefully that will change next year) and I’ve never been asked to be present at a childbirth. I would think it is a huge privilege. But I can also see why it would be horrible / bring up a lot of feelings. I think you are entitled to your decision, whichever you pick. X


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