The popular image of a new father in old movies is of him nervously sitting in the waiting room of a hospital, chain smoking, and generally being a nervous wreck.

Then they take him into see his wife and meet his new baby, and he promptly faints.

But the role of expectant fathers has been changing for a long time, and that will be made abundantly clear with the fathers' birth workshop Sat-urday at Lake Oswego's West End Building, 4101 Kruse Way, from 9:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Giving the workshop will be the person who literally wrote the book on the subject, Rose St. John. 'Fathers at Birth' is hot off the press and available from Ringing Bell Press. She has been teaching couples how to go through pregnancy and birth for 25 years.

'The masculine presence is very important at a birth,' St. John said. 'He is the woman's lover, husband and intimate friend. She trusts him. He is the one she most wants to share this experience.'

St. John's background in yoga proved to be very important when she began her career teaching birth workshops. It was a time when fathers were just coming into the birthing room. Now, it is estimated that 95 percent of fathers attend the birth of their babies.

'The minute the baby is born it is so important to have bonding with the father, as well as the mother,' St. John said.

Jan Wirtz, recreation supervisor, cultural division for the city of Lake Oswego, agrees strongly with that view.

'This is how fathers become more involved and bond with both the mother and the baby,' Wirtz said. 'It's an equal opportunity. The sooner you start the bonding, the better it is for your family.'

'This seems like a good time of year to have this class. I hope a lot of Lake Oswego's fathers-to-be will be there on Saturday.'

St. John is getting some excellent reviews from people who count the most - fathers she has worked with.

One of them said, 'St. John has taken the father and given him a profound sense of place in the entire birthing experience.'

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