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Rhonda, mother of three (born 1995, 1998 and 2005), hometown Calgary, Canada

My expectation was always that my partner would be with me in the birth, and our birthing education supported that expectation. I was a little worried because my partner has clinical anxiety and depression but he was well supported by the nursing staff, and he was a wonderful support for me. This is of course different from the generation previous - neither my dad nor my partner's father attended any of the births of their children, although they were both very hands on parents subsequently.

Our experience is a little different from other people we know because we had our children in three different jurisdictions - the first in Alberta Canada, the second at the Royal Free in London while I was finishing my PhD, and the third in northern British Columbia, Canada. I would say that an important part of my partner's role was mediating the cultural differences in birth (and after) between us and the medical staff in each case. He was also a great support for me because I had pre-eclampsia in each case and he was able to support and advocate for me when I wasn't fully able to do so for myself.

I think because I worked in a medical school (maybe?) I also heard (in the 90s) lots of misogynist jokes about men being in the delivery room - the 'put another stitch in for me' variety. Rich feminist analysis awaits....