Dads Staying Over in Maternity Wards

What follows is my response to an article on the Netmums website that was posted this morning. It deals with the question (raised by Labour MP, Jon Cruddas) of men staying overnight in maternity wards.

I propose a compromise – let hospitals provide a choice: We could have female only wards and another where dads can stay overnight. After all, mixed wards are not unknown in the UK.

Priya was born 16 years ago now. During the pregnancy I attended every ante-natal class open to me. I took time off work when we had visits from the midwife and I was there continually during what proved to be a long and traumatic labour. When Priya was finally handed to me, like every other man who can talk honestly about the subject, I can say that my world view changed in an instant. The immediate and forceful love that I felt for this new born infant was overwhelming. Love lunged at me.

Driving home on my own three hours later was just, wrong. My wife was still struggling after the labour and could have done with someone at her side. And I felt strongly that I also wanted to be with and hold my daughter.

I would have welcomed the opportunity to stay the night. I would not have slept (and snored!). I would have been a husband and a father doing his duty willingly at the most important moment of my life.

I would just add that when Anya was born three years later, things were different. Staying overnight would not have been necessary. I had a home to run, Priya to look after, and the labour was that much easier.

bob 51241

Cruddas is right to raise this subject. Giving parents options seems a very sensible way forward and we should be grateful to him for speaking out. Allowing Dads to take a full and active part in the whole of their children’s life is central to the OnlyDads ethos.

This is just one (important) example of an area of life where things could be done better.

Thanks for reading. Bob.

And if you get a chance, do check out the pioneering work of Dean and Daddy Natal.

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About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
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4 Responses to Dads Staying Over in Maternity Wards

  1. Ian says:

    Agreed. I felt terrible leaving Max and his Mum. Such a critical time, that for the immediate time before I’d been a very important part of keeping my wife calm and getting her through it. I know it doesn’t work that way for everyone, but it’s the best interest of the NHS really, to allow dads to stay put.

  2. onlydads says:

    Well put – and my experience of maternity wards suggests all nurses are run ragged. An extra pair of hands has to be a good thing.

  3. JallieDaddy says:

    My wife had a very difficult delivery & I would have loved to have been able to stay overnight, although I was allowed to be there at any time during the day. It was particularly difficult as she wasn’t allowed any other visitors due to an MRSA scare. She was in HDU for 3 days & there didn’t seem to be space for me to to stay overnight, but on the 4th & final day she was moved to a bigger room in the regular maternity ward & i was allowed to stay overnight then. It’s a shame as I think she really needed my support.

    ‘ “Only a bloke could think this is a good idea.” ” Who wants other women’s husbands snoring away and invading your privacy after birth”? That’s just sexist bigotry. Nice one, Guardian…

    Our story is here if you’re interested http://whiskeyforaftershave.com/2010/03/15/what-a-day/ http://whiskeyforaftershave.com/2010/03/19/what-a-day-continued/ http://whiskeyforaftershave.com/2010/03/27/twintrek-the-voyage-home/

  4. Pingback: Should Dads stay over in Maternity Wards ? | More 4 Mums Blog

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