Dad’s better off in the back seat

Dan Corcoran learned he didn’t have to be there for the entire process, he tells Irene Feighan.

DAN CORCORAN, 50, sums up his experience of childbirth in one word: stressful. An engineer with Cork City Council, Dan, pictured here, says he was “incredibly busy” at work when he got the call to say the baby was on the way.

Reluctantly, he headed off, thinking it was another false alarm.

His wife Caroline had started labour at 6pm and Finn was finally delivered the following morning at 9.30am.

“I felt it was an awful strain,” he says. Our midwife Mary Cronin had warned, ‘You are going to feel very useless during this whole birth’.

And he did.

“A lot of it was very boring — but not for Caroline. During the night there were a lot of cups of tea being made and chats with midwives Mary and Ellmaire Coleman. Caroline was saying you’ve got to be here for the birth, Mary was saying you need a break. In the end I got a half an hour break in almost 10 hours.”

At times things got tense. “Caroline shouted at me a few times, but she never told me to go away — she wanted me to bear her pain as well.”

Everything changed when Finn, now aged 11, was about to be born. “His head appeared, his shoulder came out — it was a massive thrill when I saw him opening his eyes. I was overcome by it all.”

He agrees with Michael O’Leary to a point, saying when it comes to the birthing process dads better off not being there “a lot of the time”.

“You get so tired, you feel you can’t contribute anything to this.”

The home birth of his second child, Tess, now aged seven, was an easier affair.

“This time we had midwives Mary and Ellmarie and a doula Margaret — she was my substitute in a way.

“At midnight Mary very sensibly said, ‘Why don’t you go up stairs to bed. Caroline agreed. She said, ‘Look we’re in control here, we don’t need you. Come down when the baby’s born.’ It was a mutually-agreed thing.”

I went upstairs and watched The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and was woken at half past three to be told Tess was on the way.”

She was born half an hour later.

Was he happy to be away from it all?

“I was, because there was a lot of the usual angst, the shouting the roaring, the bad temper.”

Looking back, he sees birth as: “A daunting thing, not something you’d want to enter into unwittingly.”


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