[Editor's note: This story is a an essay about a women and her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
The first birth I ever witnessed took place at home. It was my sister's fourth and by this point she was an old hand, as was my brother-in-law. There were two licensed midwives standing by, but they didn't get to earn their keep because my brother-in-law provided nearly 100% of the emotional support, coaching and delivery assistance. He was the one who caught my nephew and put him on my sister's chest. He, not a paid medical professional, was the first one to see his newborn son's face.
This all happened long before I even met my husband, but I always kept that image in the back of my mind as my ideal birth experience.
We've come a long way from the days when fathers were relegated to waiting rooms, pacing and smoking helplessly until the medical powers-that-be decided they were allowed to see their own wife and child. In the US it wasn't until the 1970s that it began to be considered normal for fathers to be present during delivery.
Fathers finally taking...