Even if you didn't watch the season finale of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" on Sunday, you might have seen the tweets and blog posts reacting to the video (see below) of Kourtney Kardashian reaching down to catch her baby as she is born.
While reactions ranged from "TMI" to "gross" to tears of joy, the practice of having someone other than the doctor or midwife guide the baby into the world isn't all that uncommon.
In the video, Khloe says, "Kourtney just loves pulling out her own children. She decides to pull Nelly out, as well. Go for it, sister. Do your thing." And Kourtney herself said it felt good, when asked afterward.
The practice of dads catching babies has been common at home births, and is gaining popularity in hospitals — the new equivalent, one doula suggests, of cutting the umbilical cord: "Many dads and partners really enjoy this special moment," Robin Elise Weiss explains on About.com. "They talk about being the first one to touch the baby from the outside world and of being a true part of the experience. I love to watch dads and others beam from ear to ear when they talk about it."
Some parents include their hopes for who will catch the baby in their birth plans; some prefer the first person who touches their baby to be a parent.
Women who have water births frequently catch their own babies. Many who have done it talk of it feeling like the right thing to do in the moment.
Laura Shanley wrote about her experience of catching her own baby after her husband caught their first child: "In that birth I felt compelled to deliver on my hands and knees. I had no impulse to catch the baby myself and physiologically it would have been difficult. In subsequent labors, however, I chose to give birth into my own hands simply because it felt like the right thing to do (the fact that I was alone at the time might have contributed to that decision!). If I were to have another child, I wouldn't insist on catching the baby myself. I don't present "self-delivery" as some sort of ideal to strive for. But I think it's important for women to know that should they decide to catch their own babies, they're more than capable of doing it."
Historically, she points out, it's nothing new: in many societies, women birthed their babies with no assistance at all.
Photo: Kourtney Kardashian Credit: Wikipedia