Burnley couple launch People For Partners to campaign for dads to have longer paternity leave when their partners have emergency C-section

A Burnley husband and wife duo are campaigning for dads to have longer paternity leave when their partners give birth by emergency C-section.

Paul and Lauren Morton (both 26) say men need at least six weeks’ off work to help care for their family while mums recover from surgery.

The couple set up campaign group People For Partners last fortnight following Lauren’s emergency caesarean three months ago, which left her so weak she was unable to even pick up her children for more than a month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They are calling on companies to trial offering six weeks of paternity leave and pay for male employees. They are also campaigning for the Government to extend both by law in line with C-section recovery times.

Paul and Lauren Morton with their children, two-year-old Oscar and baby Olivia.

What inspired them to set up People For Partners?

Lauren was induced at 38 weeks pregnant due to their baby daughter Olivia’s slow growth.

The mum-of-two said: “Everything was fantastic during pregnancy but during labour Olivia’s heart rate dropped and we were getting into the danger zone as there was a risk of brain damage so the doctors decided to do a caesarean to save her.”

After surgery, Lauren was told it would be illegal to drive for six weeks as she wouldn’t be insured during the recovery period.

Paul and Lauren Morton say the six-week period following the birth of their daughter by emergency C-section was difficult as they both normally lead active lifestyles.

Paul said: “When we found out the recovery time was six weeks, it was a big shock. We have a two-year-old, Oscar, as well, and Lauren couldn’t pick him up.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The decision to have an emergency caesarean is out of the patient’s hands, says Lauren, who added: “It’s a shock, something unexpected.”

What is the impact of the recovery period on families?

It is a lonely time for many women who cannot go out on their own, says Lauren, who works in mental health support for new and expectant mums.

“It’s debilitating. I’m a very active person and being told I couldn’t do anything was really difficult. It made me feel really low.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It was especially hard for our two-year-old. He wanted to be picked up and cuddled. He’s a pandemic baby and all he’s ever known is Mum and Dad.”

She added: “We want to try to make changes to paternity leave for women who don’t have any support, other than their partner. It increases isolation as you can’t drive or even pick up the pram so you can’t go anywhere.”

Women could also suffer from a rupture and internal bleeding if they try to lift too much too soon after the operation, Lauren says. But many women are forced to take that chance due to their partner having returned to work.

Commenting on the impact on dads, Paul said: “I felt really guilty as I wanted to support Lauren. I’d go to work early in the morning, sometimes doing 12 hour shifts, then come home and clean and cook, then spend time with Oscar.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And Lauren added: “I work in the perinatal mental health field and I often see how [the recovery period] has a massive knock-on effect on the mental wellbeing of women and their partners. There’s not a lot of support for dads.”

How can people support People For Partners?

To offer support, please send a message via the People For Partners Facebook page or [email protected]