Yes, It Should Be Mandatory For Dads To Attend Childbirth
My husband attended both of my, rather our, births. I say “our” not because I am in the camp of the smug “we’re pregnant” parents, but because it was the mutual birth of our children. Yes, they came out of my body, but he was the one who put them there. I firmly believe that it was his responsibility to do everything he could to help get them out, which involved feeding me water through a straw, setting up my Grey’s Anatomy playlist, and generally trying to stay out of my way.
This isn’t the 1950s, where dads were expected to pace the hallways of the hospital and pass out cigars when a baby made it out okay (according to my extensive television research). Tides began to turn just 20 years later:
“It is very hard to find definitive statistics on this, but from the late 1960s to the late 70s it goes from a minority to something between 70-80%,” says King.
The Peel report of 1970 stated that every woman should have access to hospital care when giving birth and the number of home births began to radically decline. Away from the familiar surroundings of the home, women looked to a birthing partner for more moral support and men started to play an increasing role.
See? The 1970s were good for something, other than feathered hair and camel-toe, high-waisted pants. This was a welcome change to help eradicate staunch gender roles that surrounded childbirth just a few decades ago.
I know that my father was present at my birth in the 1980s, and while I have no memory of it, I’m glad he does. I never even considered banning my husband from the delivery room; he chose to be there because it was his right as a co-parent and because supporting the birth of our children was also his responsibility.
I will grant you that this is a subject that should be discussed individually for each couple. If, for some reason, a pregnant mother is uncomfortable and does not want her partner in the delivery room, it is up to the couple to decide. If a father does not feel comfortable watching childbirth, then he can discuss this issue with the mother of his children.
This is the new millennium, and I’m all for creating new rules. It should be mandatory for dads to attend childbirth, unless both parents agree otherwise.