Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Who let the dads in?
This article is from The Age, 30 April 2006 http://www.theage.com.au/news/books/who-let-the-dads-in/2006/04/29/1146198391686.html Here’s the opening section: Who let the dads in? By Danielle Teutsch
April 30, 2006
Page 1 of 3 | Thirty years ago, men were barred from the birthing suite. Now their presence is almost compulsory. A book of men's birth stories questions whether that's always a good thing. By Danielle Teutsch. WHEN Joy Johnston was a midwifery student in 1973, she told her supervisor she was planning to have her husband at the birth of her child. Johnston still recalls the icy response. "She looked over her spectacles at me and said, 'You mark my words. Men are going to cause trouble in the labour ward'," Johnston says. In those days, the idea of men attending births was radical, shocking, even "dirty". Husbands who did manage to slip in to the delivery room were given a seat and told to stay there in case they fainted. In little more than 30 years, a revolution has taken place in maternity hospitals. Men, once left to bite their nails and smoke cigarettes as they paced the corridor nervously, are now encouraged to coach their partner through labour, catch the baby as it arrives, and cut the cord. Their presence is not only welcomed, it has become obligatory. Brave would be the bloke who backed out on the big day. "It's not a choice these days," says Johnston, an independent midwife. "It's a command." The question is, are all men thrilled to have front-row tickets at this event? Or would some secretly prefer to be in the pub until bub was washed and wrapped?
Posted by Joy Johnston at 7:43 p.m.