OPINION

Pity the modern man. Caught between Me Too and the masculinity crisis, he just can't get it right.

Even English footballer Harry Kane, the golden-booted hero of the British summer, has fallen foul of the new rules.

The striker has been ridiculed this week after he announced the arrival of his second child online, declaring himself to be "so proud" of his fiancée, Kate Goodland, for having an "amazing water birth with no pain relief at all".

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It's always irksome when a birth announcement turns into a bare-faced brag about the absence of painkillers.

Not only is this oversharing at its worst – whatever happened to "mother and baby both doing well"? – it can also come across as a shaming of those women who do require analgesia to push a fully formed human out of their bodies (60 per cent of us at last count), making some feel like failures at a time that should be the biggest rush of their lives.

But when a boast about a "natural" birth comes from the mouth of the father...well, it's no wonder Kane's own goal has been getting a ribbing, prompting him to post a clarifying tweet today along the lines of "any woman can give birth however they would like. I'm very proud of my fiancée for doing it the way she wanted".

Don't get me wrong: it's good news for everyone that men are getting more involved in birth and parenting, with 95 per cent of fathers-to-be now present for the delivery. My grandfather learned his first child was born when his secretary slipped a note into his in-tray; surely, no-one wants a return to those days.

But somewhere along the way, men have become so "in tune" with their partners that they are starting to think they're the ones giving birth – and typically, they can't resist turning it into a competitive sport.

Witness the jarring case of Robbie Williams, who live-tweeted his wife Ayda giving birth to their son, including a "hilarious" video of himself singing to her as she pushed. After you with the epidural, Ayda.

My husband was a besotted father and hugely supportive birth partner from the moment we first heard the gallop of our baby's heartbeat. But even he became overenthusiastic, especially when we attended a hypnobirthing course.

I had to laugh, watching him and all the other well-meaning dads fiercely scribbling in their notebooks and jostling to show off their knowledge of the cervix. During the visualisation practice, I sensed them waging a silent battle to be the best rhythmic breather.

"I've just got this feeling you're going to be really good at this," my husband beamed at me that evening, sipping contentedly at a cold beer as I nursed a glass of water. For his own sake, I decided it was time for a little reality check about how most births pan out.

It proved to be prudent: in the end, our Hypno-birth plans went somewhat out the window because I needed an emergency caesarean, but he played it perfectly: he held my hand, he wept with happiness, and he didn't even blink when I was sick into a cardboard cup.

That's how you do it. I'm delighted for Harry Kane, but he and other new dads should know their place. It's women who give birth. Labour is painful enough, and the advice is already bewildering; we can do without men weighing in with their opinions on how best to do it.