Once upon a time, fathers weren’t expected – or even encouraged – to attend the births of their children.
These days, luckily, it’s unusual for a father not to make it into the delivery room.
Just as the father’s role in the family has changed, he is also encouraged to have a more ‘hands-on’ involvement at the birth.
Some dads offer words of support, other dads provide massages, and some even catch the baby as she makes her entrance into the world. Amazing, right?
Birth is a big event in a couple’s life and it’s important for them to experience it together. For the mother, having her partner there provides some much-needed support. And it means the dad can be there from the very beginning.
Thankfully, nowadays, employers realise that dads will need time off from work to attend the birth. Paternity leave usually covers the birth itself, allowing dads to be present, without worrying about what their employer will think.
Unfortunately, not all companies are quite so forward-thinking. In fact, some can be downright medieval – as one New Hampshire dad recently discovered.
Dad Fired For Attending His Son’s Birth
Lamar Austin was part way through a 90-day trial period, as a security guard with Salerno Protective Services, when his wife went into labour on New Year’s Eve. Austin quickly informed his employers that he wouldn’t be able to make it into work because his wife was about to have a baby.
Instead of the expected ‘congratulations’ or ‘good luck’ message you might expect to receive in that situation, Austin received a message informing him that his contract had been terminated. Austin’s wife was in the throes of labour, when he discovered he had been fired. Luckily, he was so focused on the birth that he was able to put his feelings about the job aside.
Later, Austin told the Concord Monitor: “I was in the hospital, it was a long night, and I wasn’t trying to argue with nobody about a job while my wife was in labour”.
Austin’s son, Cainan Austin, was the first baby to be born at Concord Hospital in 2017, arriving at 7:44am on New Year’s Day.
Sadly, this kind of treatment is legal in the state of New Hampshire. Employers are able to terminate contracts at any time, and for pretty much any reason. Don’t worry though – other employers stepped in to prove that the entire world isn’t made up of corporate fat cats.
Since the story broke, Austin has been inundated with job offers in his home town. Luckily, some employers recognise the value in choosing devoted fathers to be part of their staff.
A local electrical firm, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, offered Austin an apprenticeship, which will provide him the flexibility he needs to be a hands-on dad.