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Father of two (born 1990s), from Midlands

My first daughter was born at 7am on a Sunday morning. I was a manic night, from Match of the Day (10pm Sat) right through to the birth. I would like to romanticise about it but can't. It was a shocking and brutal physical experience ... the pushing and shoving, coping with the waves of pain and for me standing most of the night and having my hand clamped. As the birth got closer I literally had to ignore what was going on in favour of giving my wife direct face to face, almost cheek to cheek support. A brand new baby is not really a pretty site - the euphoria was not really experienced until I came back to the hospital after a couple of hours sleep when all the blood and guts had been removed in favour of simple and soft body suits.

My second daughter was born at home and 2 weeks late. We went from 1st pang of labour pains at 8pm to birth at 10pm. It was a completely different experience with 2x midwives jumping into efficient action having walked through the door around 8.45pm. Given it was a night birth the whole process was much more taken into our stride and made the first few hours, and next morning a much more joyful experience as we were in a fit state to focus on our new bundle of joy. She had such a strong covering of jet black hair which looked/felt conditioned as soon as she was cleaned up.

There was never any doubt I would not attend the births - though I am sure I provided some support and comfort for my wife I am not sure she will remember my involvement in any detail.

If I was summarising my role … supporter, rationaliser & punchbag [one led to the other!] and partaker of the shared experience that we can talk about and share for the rest of our lives.