Thursday, May 14, 2009

Birth in Children's Literature/Media: "I Watched My Brother Being Born"

"I Watched My Brother Being Born"
Video: 21 minutes
Book: ~10 pages

I could tell you all about this book/video set (and I will!), but the best testimonial for this product set is our three-year-old son - he loves it! We have been using it to help prepare him for our upcoming birth, and it has been an instant hit. The book is one of his favorites, and he insists on watching the video at least once a day (and I don't even let him watch television normally). In fact, today when I was momentarily distracted, he put it on for himself! (First time of ever doing that... we're doomed.) He loves it! I have sat through it with him multiple times and pointed out everything that's going on (doppler, mummy making noise, baby coming out, umbilical cord, placenta, etc.) that he is beginning to tell me the same things back! So he is definitely learning.

I got this set from our midwife after having endured the trials of "The Bears' New Baby" and wanting something better. As I've said, it was a hit. The birth was a homebirth of the mother's third baby, with her seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son in attendance (along with doula, midwife, husband, and others). The video is narrated by the seven-year-old girl, and she has also written the text to the book. The video is comprised of video segments of different portions of the birth (early labor, active labor, birth, postpartum), interspersed with still photos and accompanied by a musical soundtrack. The book uses photographs from the birth along with the text. The birth itself is not particularly clear, as it is a waterbirth in darkness (with flashlights), but you definitely get the idea.


(1) The photos and video are somewhat amateur - i.e. well done, but not professional quality. Not that our son seems to have minded.

(2) If I was to redo the book, I would not have a child write it. Bright as she is, kids still don't write the best books! Also, it is too wordy. When I'm reading this to our son, I paraphrase it.

(3) There are quite a few typos in the book, i.e. "fetus scope" instead of "fetascope," and "umbilicus cord" instead of "umbilical cord." I'm not sure if they just left in the girl's typos as typical and authentic in a child's writing, or if they were just missed (the mom has a strong accent and is obviously not a native English-speaker, so if this was home-produced, the typos might have been missed).

Regardless of the glitches, this has been our best teaching tool so far. We're going to tell family that he'd like a copy for his birthday so that we can give this set back to our poor, long-suffering midwife! I highly recommend this resource for families wanting to prepare kidlets for homebirth attendance.

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