Ranty Friday — Birth

Well clearly not birth itself.  Obviously.   But this week on Ranty Friday something has got right on my wick.    We heard that Nick Knowles and his lovely wife were expecting their first child together in August.   Excellent news you might think.   But not if you have read about in the press or seen “debates” on Twitter.

Mrs Knowles has decided that she does not want her husband in the delivery room when their baby is coming into the world.    He will be outside, but she does not want him the room with her, for reasons personal to herself and her husband.

That is her right.

That is her choice.

But is she allowed to have that right and that choice!?  Is she hell.   People are up in arms and have used phrases such as “immature” “mis guided” “selfish” and “plain wrong”.

Why is it?   What is so horrific about her making that decision?   Yes, some may not agree with it, for their own personal reasons, but that is for them to keep to themselves, surely.   What a couple decide is entirely up to them.

Does it make it make Mr Knowles any less of a daddy?  Of course it bloody doesn’t.   He has been there since conception all throughout the pregnancy which is more than can be said for some men.   And indeed will be there immediately after the birth.   Yet some are saying this makes him a dreadful dad.

What utter crap is that?  It doesn’t make him a dreadful dad at all.

It is called choice.

And I made a similar choice when one of my children was born in the 90s.   I was in the UK on a business trip that had over run.   By about three weeks and I was heavily pregnant and overdue.   The last day I would have been allowed to fly was looming so I went back to Saudi Arabia before I was grounded as all my notes were over there too.    A decision we made that was based on what was best for me, a diabetic, and the baby.

My then husband couldn’t come back with me but was told he could come back for the birth, landing the day before but would have to return to the UK the day after for another meeting in the UK (knowing the date of the C Section meant we could make those plans).    He knew he wouldn’t not want to leave his new born child the day after its arrival into the world, or in fact me after my C Section.   So we made the decision that he would be in the UK until three days after the arrival.

We mad that decision.

That was a choice we made.  Did affect him as parent?  I don’t think so.

Does it affect fathers who miss the birth due to delivery being an emergency and they can’t get there in time?  Soldiers serving overseas?   Of course it doesn’t.   They are still loving fathers, the fact they missed the birth is unfortunate if they wanted to be there but it does not affect their ability to be an amazing father.   Or supportive husband or boyfriend.

And nor will this decision made by Mr and Mrs Knowles.   Women have fought for centuries for the right to have their babies how they like, for choice.   Water birth / home birth / whale music / ACDC blaring out.   It is their choice.

And is a very sad day when we judge somebody for that choice.  Or make decisions about what sort of a parent somebody will be before the child has even been born.

How about a simple “WOOP, you are having a baby!!!!”



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  • Damn right. I have watched from the sidelines and wondered what kind of sad little lives these people must have that they have time to event worry about this, never mind tweet about it! The best thing I have learned since becoming a parent is that no-one has the right to judge a parent for their choices unless they are harming a child.

  • True true and true! And also, why does it matter to anyone other than the couple in question? It’s utterly baffling to me.

  • My husband wanted to stay with me in the 70’s, but in the end I had to have a c section to save the baby, he was really upset, but not being present at the birth has NOT made him a bad father, in fact he has been one of the very best. The couple are agreed on the fact that the father will not be present at the birth, it is nobody else’s business

  • It should definiitely be the woman and the couple’s choice. While I always wanted my Blokey at the birth, he never expressed an interest in cutting the cord. This was put on my birth plans (scoff!), but every time I have given birth naturally or emergency c-section he has been pressured to cut the cord and therefore looked a bit of an uninterested grump when he has confirmed, “No, it’s ok I really don’t want to.” Instead he has been too busy holding me, cuddling me, massaging me, making me calm/laugh, holding our newborn etc. Why do people make such a fuss when we like to do things in different ways? x

  • My Dad wasn’t at my birth, hasn’t made a jot of difference, and I reckon at one of my own labours, my Mum would have been far more use than the panicking lump of a man who kept threatening to faint and had to go for a lie down half way through!

  • With our 1st baby we decided we wanted my mom with us because my hubby wasn’t sure how he would be able to cope seeing me in pain, people said we were silly, stupid and I was being inconsiderate to my hubby. But we did what was best for us and with what I was put through it was a weight off my mind that he had support too

  • As a hypnobirthing mum, I am all about informed choice. If Nick Knowles doesn’t feel it is right for him to be at the birth then that is his choice. As a couple, they have clearly spoken about it in depth and it is THEIR choice!!! I have resisted the urge to blog about this but I can feel it brewing …..

  • Their choice – their business. Why people should believe that tweeting about is appropriate is beyond me.

  • So right! Their decision for their own personal reasons and nobody else’s decision to judge. My husband said (and I think he was only half joking) that he didn’t want to be there for my daughter’s birth. He found watching me give birth traumatic (even though all my deliveries were straightforward) and would happily have given it a miss. Watching Call the Midwife, which is set in the 50s, fathers weren’t at the birth. Having men in the delivery room is actually a very recent thing.

  • Nice post. Well written. I wanted my mother there for the birth of my two, does that make me a baby?

  • My dad wasn’t at my birth – they were not allowed to be there back then but I am not sure he would have wanted to be anyway and he is a fab dad! It’s great that we are able to make that choice for ourselves now.

  • You’re right – it’s nobody’s business but their own. I sometimes wonder how much the existence and of Twitter encourages people to jump on bandwagons that are really nothing to do with them, and that they might not really care about if it wasn’t trending.

  • You’re so right! Their choice! What does it matter to anyone else how there child is brought into the world….

  • It’s totally a couples personal choice, and they should do what they want, and what works for them, and what makes them feel happy and comfortable. I do have to wonder at why they felt they had to share it, surely they would have known it would be controversial and cause a bit of an outcry? Maybe I am just being grumpy though, I haven’t read the article so don’t know the context. Really, it is no one’s business but their own, who they choose to be in the delivery room, I hope she has a safe, healthy delivery. 🙂

  • Agreed. I saw this debate on Twitter and couldn’t believe some of it. It really is down to personal choice. There is always someone telling a woman how she should feel, what she should do in pregnancy. They need to wind their necks in!
    Great post.

  • I both agree and disagree..

    I agree with a woman being given the right to choose how she and her partner want to experience labour. Personally, I had my partner there and my Mum because I knew I would want her with me (I’m a wimp!) My partner didn’t want her there but I told him to like it or lump it.
    The bit I disagree with (and correct me if I’m wrong as I have heard nothing of this until your post) but I think it is unfair for her to say he is not allowed to be in the room. I understand it is her going through the labour and ultimately suffering, but why should the father be refused access? Why can’t he experience this too? It’s his first child and he is being denied the rights to witness his child being born. Something that a Dad will NEVER get to experience for themselves.
    A lot of women are quick to disregard Dads when it comes to things that they see fit, but are also quick to shoot them down when they don’t “step up”.

    If they have chosen this as a couple then disregard that last sentence.. but I also think he has a right to be there too.

  • Agreed! It’s not the choice I would personally make but that does not make it wrong! That baby is probably never going to know either way. The reason for a father being in the room is to support the mother. So if the mother would feel better supported by him not being in the room, surely that’s the best thing for everyone involved?

  • So true. Too much judgey-ness in the world. Each to their own, most grown adults are capable of making decisions which suit them best and don’t affect anyone else in this case!