Well, men produce oxytocin too and can also contribute to a womans production of it, remember, the ?hormone of love. Many couples will testify to this through the stories of their journey during the labour and birth and how they felt like they were doing it together and mothers felt strengthened by his support. There has been little research on this. I suspect because it is more a qualitative element rather that a quantifiable one. Try to measure love. Attempt to create a scale and observe where a couples experience of love lands on it at anytime, much less during a peak experience like birth. Also the birth of each child is a one time only event, impossible to repeat, replicate or control. Birth can be a very sensual and intimate experience between a man and a woman, if allowed to be. It is an extension of the sexual experience that began this phase of a couples life together.
Another extremely significant element regarding a father being present at the birth of his child is that it can kick-start his fathering instincts like nothing else. Men have increased hormonal production at this time, albeit in smaller doses, which will help to ?switch-on their own nurturing and protection instincts.
The foundations of the family are laid during pregnancy, birth and the breastfeeding time. When a father is properly included during this irreplaceable time, and the experience of the whole family is acknowledged and supported, a unique bond is established between family members that will last a life-time. Fathers who feel welcomed and included are more likely to stay. Fathers who feel abandoned, alienated, and excluded will tend to leave, disappear. Disappearing can look like, over-working, drinking, drug use, infidelity, spending time away from the family and ultimately separation and divorce; the current trend in our society.
I have never professed that all fathers should be at the birth of their children. I have, however, found it to be immensely rewarding experience for myself and many other men report the same. The potential for establishing the relationships within the family at this time are profound. I think that fathers would be missing a big opportunity to let it pass them by.
A fathers participation in the very womanly event of birth is unique to our current time. What a couple decides, regarding the birth of their children, is very personal. What is missing, culturally, is skills development and support rather than gender specific logistics. This issue is at the core of parents choices during the time of their family being born and it is crucial to our social development and evolution as a culture. For the vast majority of mothers a significant key for her successful pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding is the quality of care she receives from the father. Fathers DO make a world of difference and isnt it time for society to better support our children, mothers and fathers?