England’s National Health Service released a publication for medical centers and hospitals outlining all the wacky and wonderful information that, well, they wanted to health care professionals to know. Here’s a zinger: “To help overcome anxieties about giving birth,” the manual states, “planned hospital visits can be valuable to give expectant parents, especially fathers/partners, practical information about such matters as car parking and cafés.”
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to child birth in England, which I now can’t imagine without the Benny Hill theme song.
The document, titled “Parents’ Views on the Maternity Journey and Early Parenthood,” is aimed at health care professionals, so it reads differently than, say, a public-level information booklet on pregnancy.
Want more pointers on what England officially thinks about fathers? How about this one -
How partners and fathers may feel about parenthood:
- Worried about finances
- Unsure whether they want the baby
- Confused about their role, especially if they are not the financial provider
- Stressed and in need of support
- Anxious to be able to contribute in a practical way (for example, by decorating the nursery)
- Not in control
- Unable to relate to the pregnancy because they aren’t experiencing the physical changes
- Worried about changes to the relationship
- Fearful of showing their worries in front of their partner
- Unable to contribute fully because their partner is supported by her own family
- Embarrassed about what their friends think
- Unable to bond fully with the baby.
Now read that again with the Benny Hill theme playing. If you imagined a room full of fathers sped-up, passing babies and cups of tea back and forth while chasing women in bikinis, then the National Health Service has done their job perfectly.
The document gets even better when the NHS starts talking about fathers of other races, which it explicitly says it should not “be treated as statistical evidence”:
The hits just keep on coming on the next page, with Pakistani parents, Black Caribbean parents and “Gypsy and Traveller parents.”
In all honesty, I’ve taken some of the “funnier” bits out of context, but it seems like the “Parents’ Views” document has a lot of insight into the real things British parents are looking for from health care professionals. Real advice, like hospitals making sure that fathers have flexibility in post-birth appointments, since they might be outside of the window of paternity leave.
A PDF of the NHS document can be downloaded here.