A man’s place is in the delivery room

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Once upon a time, not too many years ago, it was unheard of for a man to be in the same room as his partner when she was giving birth to their son or daughter.

Instead the man would be hard at work earning the money to pay for all the things that child would require.

Or maybe they were down the local pub waiting for the phone call with a stiff whisky in their hand to help summon some Dutch courage for what was about to come.

Back in the 1960s only one in every 10 men would be in the delivery room witnessing their child coming into the world.

The main reason; it just wasn’t a man’s place to be there and testimony from that era reveals many men didn’t want to be there and many women didn’t want their man to be there. It was an entirely different culture.

There are other schools of thought though, including the theory that doctors felt quite threatened by another presence in the room, another person who’s asking questions about why they are doing what they’re doing.

We’ve all seen television shows like the current hit drama Call The Midwife, where community midwives in vintage costumes arrive on their bicycle to deliver a baby and the father is sitting on the doorstep outside waiting for it all to be over.

But fast forward a few decades and generations and it’s all changed. It was revealed last week that the number of fathers who help their partner through childbirth has risen dramatically and now only five per cent of new dads miss the life-changing moment.

I witnessed both of my daughters being born, my first at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and my second a home birth.

There is really nothing for a man to do during childbirth except be supportive, whether that is holding a wet flannel on a forehead or offering words of encouragement.

The jury is out whether the latter has any positive impact whatsoever, but you just really hope that your mere presence will be reassuring.

But I think most fathers will admit that they feel a bit like a spare part in a situation that they have no control over whatsoever.

In this largely feminine environment you just have to go with the flow, meaning do what you are told.

But nothing compares to that euphoric rush of emotion consuming your entire body when your child is born and the relief knowing that mother and baby are well.

Then comes the intense instinctive love you feel for that child. You’re on cloud nine. Well I was until the midwife ordered me to go and make toast and tea for mum.

I did as I was told and returned quickly to jump back on that cloud.