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YOUR ROLE AT THE BIRTH

Here's what some fathers who attended births had to say about being present:

"The birth was the most wonderful experience of my life and much more than I expected. Though the baby has completely changed my life, the pleasure she has brought me more than compensates for this change." (First-time father, computer analyst)

"Just after the delivery I was handed Finnbar. Before the birth I had not thought about holding him. He was so alive - looking at me. This was a wonderful experience and one I am glad I did not miss."

When our baby was born, the overwhelming relief and joy made me forget about the labour. However, if I am honest, it was probably one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. And yet I would have been nowhere else that evening." (Mark, first-time father, nurse)

For many men witnessing the birth of their child is a fantastic, life-enhancing experience. Others don't give it such rave reviews. Reading the following sections may help you decide whether or not you want to be present when your partner gives birth. One first-time father, who is also a doctor, summed up his experience as follows:

"It's hard to say whether or not fathers 'should' attend the birth. I feel it depends very much on how the mother feels. If she looks to her partner for support and wants him to be there and he wants to be there, fine. Other women though may feel differently and not want their partner present throughout the labour. Some men can be driven to distraction watching what their partner has to go through. Personally, I think that if you're at the birth it involves you more with the child."

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