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Mother of three (born in 2000s), from Midlands

My husband attended NCT antenatal classes with me and was a very supportive birth partner during all 3 of my labours and child birth. The first birth was at the hospital, the medical staff listened to my husband if he had concerns and when he acted as my advocate. They did however ask him many many times if he would like to cut the umbilical cord which he didn't want to do and after having politely declined several times (and having written it in the birth plan) he had to be quite blunt that he didn't want to do that and he wanted to stay at the 'head end' of the business. I think there is an assumption that that is a wonderful thing to do.

My second 2 children were born at home with the support of my husband and a much clearer birth plan! We felt more comfortable on our own territory and again my husband was very supportive. I attended NCT classes on my own for the second birth and not at all for the 3rd.

My husband was not interested in reading books or manuals and the class format suited him better. I'm not sure he would have chosen to attend but I think he was glad he did as it made it all a lot less scary. We also attended a home birth information evening before deciding to have a home birth with my 2nd which helped us decide it was right for us.

We both felt totally under prepared for the actual child care in the first few weeks and relied on family support and guidance. I know my husband felt slightly excluded in the few weeks after he returned to work as I was continuing to learn and he was having to pick it up from me which he didn't like as we have a good division of childcare 'duties'. This exclusion was about learning about having one child and then subsequently having to juggle more than 1.

When I was 37 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child my husband had to go away on business to America for a week - my Mum was my stand in birth partner for that week in case I went into labour. I didn't feel as comfortable with that arrangement as I felt my husband understood me more and would know what decisions to make even though my mum had been through 2 labours herself - as each child birth and labour is different I think it is more about understanding the mother than the process of child birth. I also know my Mum had her reservations about a home birth where as my Husband was totally on board.