I was recently on Facebook and came across a site called Totally Sixties 1960 to 1969 where someone had asked the question; Did men play a big part in childbirth of their partner in 60s like nowadays ?
As someone who has never had any children I am unable to speak from experience but will have to rely on anecdotal evidence from friends and 1960’s sit coms and a vague recollection of the “Doctor in charge films.”
From what I can gather it was not permitted in those days for a man to take any part in the birthing process and indeed was prohibited from entering wherever the birthing may have been taking place.
Unlike todays modern version where the woman giving birth may be found immersed in a birthing pool with his or her partner who would be passing the time during labour by doing a few lengths of the pool to keep themselves amused whilst waiting for the big event; somewhat different from the 1960’s version where the partner would have only been a man and expected to be a married man at that!
I have to say I think I would have been more at home with the more old fashioned way of doing things where the wife would have been taken to hospital and the man would have decamped to the nearest hostelry or even returned home to his “local” with his “mates” to help support him in this difficult and stressful time.
I’m led to believe that these things can take an inordinately long time so the chaps would have had to pace themselves and probably started with a few rounds of beer and depending on the culinary skills of the landlord’s wife there may have been the option of some potato flavoured crisps or a pork pie to sustain them, however should they be lucky enough to be holed up in an up-market pub they may have experienced the delights of a ham and mustard sandwich or even something as exotic as a ploughman’s lunch.
All things being equal some hours later the landlord would have received a call from the hospital with the good news that, “it’s a boy,” which would have triggered the opening of Champagne and the handing out of cigars and a well earned rest for the exhausted men.
Once the happy father had established the visiting hours for the maternity ward for the following day they would be able to settle in for some serious celebrations with a “lock in” until the early hours, perhaps even persuading the landlord’s wife to pop out and fetch a fish supper for the group.
I know when describing these events it does sound like an exhausting experience for these poor men especially compared to his wife who would by now be tucked up in a warm bed in the maternity ward basking in the glow of motherhood but that’s how men sacrificed themselves for the love of a good woman in the 60’s.