One of the ambitions of I would say all bloggers is to have someone read what they have to say. Well I had a very interesting experience a fortnight ago when someone asked me if they could include what I had to say in an article they were preparing for one of the main national broadsheets.

Now who would or could say no to that?

Sheila Wayman was preparing an article on Fathers in the delivery room for their Health + Family supplement which appeared in this morning’s Irish Times.

It’s interesting to read other peoples experiences in something which is very common, but amazingly special and unique in every case. The role of the father is an interesting one, to some degree we’re an extra body that needs to be worked around, an external examiner looking at everything that is going on and in my case someone who’s at serious risk of fainting when the epidural was being installed in my wife spine! blog Epidural photo

Just looking at this churns my stomach

But we do have an important role as well, to provide support for our wives or partners, to do whatever running is needed for her and to be there for our child when it arrives. I wonder wither we’re all up to the task though and wither Dad’s wouldn’t benefit from having a more experienced hand around. It is daunting, especially the first time. I was 32 when my first was born, I am generally very confident and I found it an intimidating experience. How do dads in their twenties or even in their teens cope? When my first was born there was a young lad, his girlfriend was in her teens and after several hours of labour she was rushed into the operating room for an emergency section. I saw the young dad-to-be walking the corridor outside, on his own, terrified.

Aoife and I just home from Hosiptal

Aoife and I just home from Hosiptal

In another case I’ve heard the mother had an awful time with some of the midwives while she was in labour. Perhaps if her partner had been older, had someone with more experience with him then he may have had the confidence that Rob, mentioned in Sheila’s article, had to speak up on behalf of his partner. Her experience of labour may have been less traumatic.

It would be interesting to read the other responses from Rob, Lorcan and Diarmuid, particularly to the question: Did you feel useful or did you feel excluded during the whole process? Explain why. And to hear what their other recommendations are for dads-to-be.

Daniel Oakes, a male midwife from Dundalk talks in the main article and is looking at the idea of running “beer and babies” evenings for experienced and dads-to-be to give us a space and time to talk. This is a great idea, and one I’d be interested in. In NY there is a NYC Dads Group who arrange meet ups for dads with their kids. In Drogheda we’re actively trying to encourage dads to come along to St. Mary’s P&T Group so that they are not left to survive on their own. But there is a physiological barrier which dads need to get over before they go to these kind of groups; they need to feel respected as dads and that they have an equal role and right as mothers to be parents.