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Penny, mother of three (born 2004, 2006 and 2011), hometown Leicester

My husband was present during all the births of my children and he cut the cord. He didn't want to miss out on being there and I didn't want him to either.

There was no question that this was going to happen, he had no qualms about being there. Of course he was there to support me but for him I think is was also a case of being able to tell the children that their dad was there to see them arrive and was one of the first to hold them.

It is true that after seeing your wife/partner give birth, many fathers experience a new respect for their women! Also, seeing them going through labour and childbirth encourages fathers to have a caring role afterwards - towards the mother and the child.

My first two babies were born in hospital and there the environment was obviously more controlled and my husband perhaps felt a little 'in the way', whilst when my third was born at home, it was mother-led and therefore more father-led too.

My dad was present for my birth and my two siblings, this means a lot to me, and to my siblings I think. When my sister was born at home, the cord was around her neck. My sister was fine but when she gave birth to her first child the same thing happened. The baby was fine, but when my dad heard about this he says he was taken back to those pannicky few minutes when my sister was born, 30 years before. This demonstrates the enduring emotional impact of witnessing childbirth, something which I believe should be shared with fathers if at all possible.