Should men be at the birth?

John Barnes, you’ve got it wrong! Former Liverpool striker John Barnes recently chose to spend the day his 7th child was born in a TV studio commentating on a match between Chelsea and Liverpool, instead of in the delivery room. According to the Telegraph, when asked if he’d like to go to the hospital, after news of baby Alexander’s arrival came through, he ‘coolly replied that he’d rather stay for the 2nd half.’

I’m sorry, this isn’t cool in my book. And I don’t care that he’s got 6 other children either! Come on man! I love footy as much as the next guy, but the birth of my child is always going to top anything else on the planet. When the story broke in the UK in November last year, it drew streams of reaction both for and against the former Reds hitman. Interestingly enough some women made comments to the effect of ‘what’s the big deal, he’s probably seen and done it all before.’ A lot of guys thought it was storm in a teacup.

I dunno, for me, it’s a massive deal. It’s not like going to buy a new puppy or a goldfish. The birth of a child, whether it’s number 1 or number 10, is literally a cosmic event. The arrival of a new soul in the world alters the universe and its ripples are felt all over the place. Yeah I know, that’s one way of looking at it. But the basic parental view is that it is good form to be there.

You want to be present for this miracle, you want to be able to tell Alexander that you saw his slimy little head come down the birth canal, that you heard his first cry, or that the first time he opened his eyes, you were staring into it.

I’ve read reports about the father’s presence in the delivery room being a hindrance. Some doctors claim that the father’s anxiety affects the mother’s delivery process. This I can buy, but then stay in the hall way until it’s over. Though in John Barnes’s case, after having 6 kids previously, I doubt fatherhood anxiety was an issue?

Bonding at the birth

These things might seem trivial, but in my experience it adds immensely to the bonding process when I sit and regale my kids about the first few hours of their entry into the world. And when you think he gave it up for a game of footy!? I can’t imagine being able to concentrate on anything else if I was in that situation. But that’s just me. I really would like some rational reaction to this scenario.

Would you as a woman expect your partner to be there during the birth of all of your children, if he was available? And if you’re a guy, is this really such a big deal that you be there for number 7’s arrival?

Should men be at their babies’ birth?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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