July 5, 2014


Why dads don't belong in the delivery room, and other lessons of childbirth learned by a father (Neil Lyndon, 7/03/14, The Daily Telegraph, National Post)

Only one in 20 fathers now avoids being in the delivery room when his baby is being born, according to a new survey by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. The rest, I guarantee, are desperately telling themselves to be brave, wondering where to look and wishing they could check the score in the World Cup.

One of the best things about becoming an old chap is that nobody will ever again twist my arm with mute moral blackmail to take up that pointless, useless, redundant place of the father in the delivery room. Next time a baby is born in my family, I look forward to occupying the safe seat in the hospital corridor, waiting to be invited in after that shocking business with the blood and guts has finished to meet and greet my grandchild.

Through a multitude of marriages, I have been four times to the delivery room. Every time, it was an unspoken, unquestionable assumption between me and the mother that, from the breaking of the waters to the cutting of the cord, I ought to be there. It was never stated in so many words, but I was implicitly given to understand that I would be counted among the scum of the earth if I didn't rise to this occasion, see it as a spiritual transport of delight and describe it ever after as one of the best moments of my life.

But then there's a lot about labour that nobody puts in so many words. Nobody ever told me that after the birth, I would feel as shaken as if I'd been in a car crash. That was how I felt for about two days after my oldest son was born, 32 years ago.

I now see it as my fatherly, comradely duty to pass on that kind of information, sparing no gory detail, to young men about to see service in that war zone for the first time. Nobody else -- certainly not those fluffy prenatal classes -- will fill them in.

Ah...the things we do for love....

Posted by at July 5, 2014 6:46 AM

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