Jamie Oliver Defends Letting Kids Watch the Birth of Their Baby Brother

For the Oliver family, birth was a family affair, and they aren't apologizing for it!
Jamie Oliver/Instagram

Who's in the room when you give birth is a highly personal decision. In my case, my husband was the only person I wanted to share in that moment. But for celeb chef Jamie Oliver and his wife Jools, when it came to welcoming their fifth child, River Rocket, birth was a family affair.

Oliver openly talked about his teenage daughters Poppy Honey, 14, and Daisy Boo, 13, watching Jools deliver River. In fact, Poppy even cut her new brother's umbilical cord.

While allowing their daughters to take part in the birth of their youngest sibling was certainly the Olivers' choice, the culinarily-inclined dad-of-five admits he has received criticism from the public.

In a soon-to-be released interview with Good Housekeeping U.K., he said about the family-centered birth: "It's only controversial to really strange people! Most of the world has home births, and different countries have different habits."

Oliver also talks about how he and Jools arrived at their decision to include their older kids, saying, "It was an idea from mum and the kids, and we gave it lots of thought." He added, "To see my two teenagers watch their mum was extraordinary. It was the right age for them, the right scenario for us, and I witnessed their initial raw emotion as the little one was handed to them. I know they respect their mum now even more than they already did. It was an amazing show of strength."

Of course, having kids watch birth isn't for everyone or every family. But I think we have to respect that this setup worked best for the Olivers, who clearly felt the experience was both educational and empowering for their daughters, and helped them to gain a new perspective on their mother's role in the family and the world.

I love those notions, but I'd still prefer a more intimate setting, with just my husband there. I'd worry about birth being too graphic for my daughters, who are much younger than Oliver's girls.

But hey, to each their own!

What is your take?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.

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