‘If I hadn’t gone to antenatal classes with my girlfriend I’m pretty sure I would’ve been in shock during the birth,’ says Chris, dad to Amy, 6 months. ‘And the midwife was kind of surprised that I went to every check-up too, but it’s not the mum’s duty to explain everything that’s going on, or what stuff like “inductions” or “sweeps” mean.
The partner should know this too, so they can be of the most support when different things need to happen.’
Communicate with each other
‘It’s crucial to understand what your partner wants from you,’ says Neil, dad to Lennon, 1. ‘My wife was in so much pain and then a cocktail of drugs, and the main thing she wanted from me was to fill her in on what was going on whenever a new doctor came or there was any kind of update on our baby’s progress. So, my tip would be really to listen to everything that’s happening.’
Take care of yourself
‘I know some dads who didn’t want another birthing partner in the room,’ says Tim, dad to Tate, 5 and Naomi, 1. ‘But my girlfriend asked if i’d mind her mum being there, and it actually made things easier.
Any time we needed anything, Pauline would go so I didn’t miss a thing. The birth took two days from start to finish, and I think if I was the only birthing partner, I may not have had the energy to give as much support as I ultimately did.’
Hopefully that’s helped reassure you that there’s a whole host of ways you will be invaluable during this epic experience. Ultimately: believe in yourself, be there for each other and never underestimate how far: ‘You’re doing so well’ can go!