The Robbie Williams debate: what’s a dad’s role at your baby’s birth?

Baby Blog'Francesca Naylor

Baby Blog'Francesca Naylor

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This week I was on the radio.

A local BBC station tweeted me at ten past nine Tuesday morning while I still snoozed peacefully - Poppy hadn’t gone to sleep until late so I’m not being that smug, promise.

When I phoned, Kat asked if I would like to be on a feature about dad’s in the delivery room following Robbie Williams’ live blogging of the birth of his second child.

The pop star was accused of using son’s birth to promote his world tour.

Can I just say at this point that I thought Robbie’s tweets were majorly crass and in usual Robbie style, a huge ego-trip.

That being said his wife must have been happy with it otherwise in the throes of labour I’m fairly sure she would have attacked him with that pretty shoe, youtube or no youtube.

Before I went on air Kat asked if I thought men should or shouldn’t be in the delivery room.

My immediate response was that it’s up to the woman.

This is pretty much an obvious, instant answer for me, having spoken to lots of mums and listened to birth stories I feel really strongly about women advocating for themselves during labour and birth.

Then I, if course, phoned my mum in excitement/panic and told her to turn on the radio quick. When she asked me what was happening I told her about my brief conversation and what she said got me thinking.

It’s just as much the man’s decision.

But what about a situation where the couple are no longer together but the father desperately wants to see his child being born?

I absolutely still believe that as the one going through the pain, emotional turmoil and exhaustion that labour entails that the mother should have more or less complete say on everything that goes on.

And then I thought about my husband Rob.

Yes he has said that watching Poppy being born was the most surreal, bizarre, scary thing he’s ever seen but he was the one who lifted her out of the water and looked into her little, glassy eyes before any other human on the planet.

Do I think that’s important?

Massively.

As mentioned in the radio feature being there for the birth of their child is a huge bonding opportunity for the fathers, but equally I really believe it’s a major bonding time between the parents.

I relied on Rob totally in the run up to labour; was totally supportive of my decision to delay induction, and during the birth he was my back-rubber and number one cheerleader (my mum was there too).

He has said numerous times how helpless he felt, to see me in so much obvious pain and I’ve often thought it must be actually more difficult to be an onlooker in that situation. As the one in labour you just kind of have to get on with it...

But I’m not sure there is any other circumstance in life where such reliance and trust is placed in the father of your child, not to mention the lack of any kind of modesty or dignity.

And I’m 100% positive the relationship the three of us have as a family now would be ever so slightly altered if Rob hadn’t witnessed Poppy’s birth.

Of course every circumstance is different, some fathers don’t want to be there, some maybe shouldn’t be allowed to be there but I think the impact it has is greater than I had previously thought.

Contact me via my email address: thebabyblog1@gmail.com or my Twitter account @CescaNaylor.

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