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Jolyon, father of three (born 2006, 2008 and 2011), hometown London

Three home births. Each proceeded smoothly. I was desperate to be useful but found it difficult to identify a role for myself - but I wanted to be there and my partner wanted me there too. I think the midwives - who on the whole were good - wanted to (but found it difficult to) identify a role for me. I sensed a degree of discomfort (on their part) borne of the desire to 'do the right thing' without their being quite clear what the right thing was.

I did have a rather telling experience with my second. She developed jaundice and we went into hospital. My partner was desperately trying to breast feed her - my daughter was terribly distraught. But the nurses addressed the admissions questions - what is her name, when was she born, and so on - all to my wife, ignoring me. Obviously this was not a particularly efficient way of assisting my daughter or my wife - or for that matter generating the information they needed. But I most regretted the signal it sent to fathers - that they were somehow ancillary parents without a real role in their child's life.