The evolution of fatherhood is a topic that I've discussed frequently with the women in my mothers' group. Is it the men who have evolved, the women who have evolved, or is it is a combination of the two? I tend to think that it's a combination. As much as fathers now want to be active participants in their kids' lives, I don't know many women who would be married to men who wouldn't be pulling their parental weight. Our expectations are higher than our mothers' generation and the women couple decades ago. We expect our partners to be involved and not hand-in-the-pants, couch-denting, channel-surfing Al Bundys.
I can't help but wonder if the scenario that LOD described--dads waiting and pacing away from their wives, while those laboring women performed their secret birth rituals--put up a barrier between some men and their children. Because that process was separate from men, did the result separate the roles of the parents? But times have changed, and hospitals allow and encourage dads to be a part of the birth process. Women physically become parents as they push babies from their bodies. For men, the process takes time, patience, and effort. I can only imagine that being a physical presence during that intimate birth experience creates a bond between father and child, while strengthening the one between husband and wife.