I once asked my mother if my father had been present at the births of his children. I was teasing her because I knew he wouldn't have been. "In fact," she added, "if he'd even suggested it I would have been horrified."
Funny how behaviour changes. What was once exceptional becomes first optional and then compulsory. We now live in a world where Test cricketers return from Australia for the weekend to witness the birth of their third child because they simply can't risk the opprobrium of not being there.
Similar case today. Somebody I know was contacted by a freelance who was wondering if they could get more work because she's expecting a baby and her partner has cut down his working hours in order to help her out. This meant there was a shortfall in the household income that needed making up.
We were reflecting that a coal miner in the 30s would have been unlikely to come home and tell his pregnant wife he was cutting down his hours underground in order to help her out. Had he dared he would have been chased back to the pit with the rolling pin of beloved cliché.