Fathers in the Caribbean Have to Fight to See the Birth of Their Kids

Repeating Islands


Janine Mendes-Franco examines the situation in Trinidad and Tobago, where—as in many other Caribbean countries—fathers are denied the right to witness the birth of their children. She focuses on the ongoing crusade by midwife, family advocate, and director of the Mamatoto Resource & Birth Centre Debrah Lewis.

Debrah Lewis started noticing the gap between private and public health care in Trinidad and Tobago whenever she had to transfer a laboring mother to the hospital. The first thing that struck her was the look of anguish on the faces of the parents-to-be.  “We have a concern about the condition of your baby,” she would gently explain. Barely had the word “hospital” come out of her mouth than the mother would whimper, “But I’ll be all alone!” and the father would add, “And I won’t be able to be there for the birth!”

Lewis, a midwife for thirty years, and a…

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