The Coronavirus pandemic: exploring expectant fathers' experiences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Downloads (Pure)


The Coronavirus pandemic raises significant concerns about pervasive social inequities and disparate gender relations, particularly between mothers/fathers. Indeed, the pandemic engendered a general retreat into traditional parenting roles across myriad, everyday, institutional, spaces, including workplaces, homes, and welfare/healthcare services. These effects have been especially marked for couples expecting a child. Visitor-restriction policies, implemented to curb viral-spread within healthcare settings, effectively ‘barred’ many expectant fathers in the UK (and elsewhere) from attending antenatal appointments, and even the birth of their child; milestone moments widely regarded as significant socio-cultural ‘rites-of-passage’ in fathers’ transition to parenthood. Many pregnant women had to face these moments alone, sparking campaigns including #ButNotMaternity. This paper critically examines how such institutional responses exhibit a complex ‘welfare trade-off’ effectively (re)positioning fathers as spectators, rather than participants, in pregnancy/parenthood and risk embodying a potential U-turn to recent decades’ emphasis on involved, equitable fatherhood. Drawing upon the accounts of expectant mothers/fathers in the UK reported in the popular press since March 2020 and the #ButNotMaternity campaign, it employs thematic social-media analysis to explore the emotional impacts of visitor-restrictions and the gendered, emotional governance of parenting amidst the pandemic through the exclusion of particular (fathers’) bodies within maternity care spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
Early online date2 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Pregnancy
  • covid-19
  • emotions
  • health
  • maternity care
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Coronavirus pandemic: exploring expectant fathers' experiences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this