3.1. Ante-Natal Experiences
“I think there’s an immediate sort of responsibility towards your wife and your unborn child… so there’s that aspect of the feelings to provide, to care for, to make sure everything goes ok, but at the same time, as I said before… nothing’s actually changed, for you physically, at that time, so there’s that little bit of disconnect with everything at the same time.”Alex, p. 8
“So, you went away from that not really knowing how to look after a kid at all, we did a bit of breathing, a bit of massage, how to change a nappy, how to bath it and that were it.”Neville, p. 2
“It strikes me that a lot of the advice beforehand is tailored towards mothers and perhaps something similar for fathers would be good.”Mark, p. 16
“I mean when we lost [the] first one, we didn’t get any, Marissa got given a sort of pamphlet about counselling, but I didn’t … No, I mean I went outside, and Marissa was really strong, and I broke down in the car park for about sort of twenty minutes… I think after losing [the] first one as well I didn’t pin my hopes on anything.”Neville, p. 6.
“With the first pregnancy I didn’t really feel that I was that emotionally connected or involved, engaged whatever, whereas the second one, yeah much more so. We were looking out for everything.”Rob, p. 4
“A more realistic portrayal of what pregnancy is going to be like for their partner, what it’s going to be like for them, of its not all going to be brilliant and all the good stuff they talk about, there is going to hard times, there is going to be a difficult conversation you need to have…, the process of giving birth is not anything like I was prepared for it to be and just kind of more realistic portrayal of things… You see on TV they pass them the baby and it’s all nice and clean, not that it’s got a wonky head or a lump on its head and covered in weird manky stuff…”Iain, pp. 40–41
3.2. Labour and Birth
“Certainly, pregnancy itself you know, the sort of business end, you certainly feel terribly useless, you know, terribly, terribly useless, so…, all I could be was really,…was just there, and to just… offer whatever my wife felt would help, but… you do feel, utterly utterly useless, especially when you see, your loved one in so much pain and there’s just nothing you can do.”Albert, p. 26
“I’m sat in a little chair in the corner of the hospital thinking, so she’s basically just told me that my partner could die… basically the words were, you might not make it through and there were no, ‘are you ok with this? ‘Do you want any input into this’… I was just like on the back burner a bit, the whole hospital experience weren’t very nice.”William, pp. 2–3
“Two things I found the most difficult, was the very first night he was born, I couldn’t stay in the hospital, I had to go back home, and I remember that night as being just awful.”Frank, p. 2
“I was worried about not being able to help and that was the main thing I was worried about, obviously you know, sad not to be able to spend the first few hours with her and yeah, just excited to go back the next day and to get home and to start our new lives together.”Albert, p. 16
“I was quite irritated about that as well. I would happily have slept on the floor; I really didn’t care at all.”Fred, p. 23
“It was scary, possibly the most scary experience that I’ve ever been through especially looking back now, it was so close to losing both of them.”Mark, pp. 26–27
3.3. Postnatal Experiences
“I was just mainly running around, just doing whatever I could to try and make things a bit easier. I don’t think, there was much fathering there as much as there was husbanding. It was very much supportive whatever you know, trying to predict what Louise might need.”Rob, p. 30
“I remember as well crying on the bus on the first day. I remember falling asleep on the bus in those first few weeks back at work a number of times and luckily waking up in time to get off the bus. So yeah, a combination of just being sleep deprived and really not wanting to be there when I was at work, I felt pretty rotten, definitely for the first few weeks back at work.”Frank p. 16
“Yeah, feel a bit of a spare part sometimes I felt, you know, [the] conversation was just between my wife and the health visitor and… I was just there really, but on the whole, I think the service, that whole system, I think works really well, the amount of visits that we get, but yeah felt a little bit like a spare part I guess.”Albert, p. 25
“I think yeah just being able to talk to dads that have gone through similar things. Not necessarily within their friendship groups sometimes those conversations we can’t have even amongst friends so to be able to talk to someone outside the group and not known, probably would have helped.”Mark, p. 16
“I don’t know if possibly I had a bit of depression because it weren’t going right but again no real follow up on that either which was difficult…”William, p. 23
4.2. Labour and Birth
4.4. Strengths and Limitations
5. Conclusions and Implications for Practice
- Father-inclusive planning, decision making and preparation for parenthood.
- Provision for new fathers to stay with their partner and infant immediately post birth.
- Improved facilities for men on maternity wards to promote inclusivity.
- Awareness raising in the perinatal workforce to acknowledge and promote the evolving role of fathers in contemporary society.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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