Being a new dad is amazing, I have my little boy, who I love to bits and with him and my loving wife my family is complete.
This is the dream, the perfect picture that is painted by modern society, a safe and warm home, well provided for by one working parent (normally the Father although Maternity/Paternity leave laws have recently changed to allow the highest earner to go back to work if that is what the couple wishes.) however, conventions and miss-perceptions about parenthood often leave the new dad out in the cold, feeling excluded from his new family unit.
Before the child is born there is the tradition of the Baby Shower, where the mother to be is given gifts and all kind of helpful advice from family and friends who already have children. It is uncommon at best that the father could be expected to attend, more likely he will be exiled either at work throughout the day or goes out with his friends as he feels unwelcome at the shower. Inevitably meaning that the advice that is passed on to the Mother-to-be will not be passed on to the father until he handles the new-born child incorrectly, and will be passed on by a stressed and worried new mother, not the best environment to learn a new skill or technique .
More problems come after the birth, where the new mother will again be surrounded by the support of her close friends, who will come round to see the baby, along with family, co-workers and the like. Understandably she has just had a pretty traumatic experience during the birth to get her little bundle. And it is often at this point were the Special Connection is quoted endlessly by various people, books and websites. The Father, however, seems exempt from this connection, often because they don’t get the time to build it up. With all the family and friends in the world wanting to hold the little bundle of joy, and the mothers need to be close and watch over the baby, again completely understandable, the father often only gets to spend the ‘night shift’ with his child, or if the new mother needs a rest herself, leading to a very stressed out daddy.
Then, like a flash, Paternity leave is over and it’s back to work. Now, I know that Mum has a hard time at home looking after baby, preparing food or breastfeeding constantly, while still being house proud and trying to do the cleaning and cooking as well, but again she is with baby for the happy part of the day. Dad however is at work and when he comes home form a long day he is faced with a stressed out mum and an often tired and therefore moody baby.
The major problem is that there is so much expectation form dad to work, care for baby in the night, look after mum when he comes home from work, with very little devoted support available, were as mum has midwives and all kinds of devoted books and websites, dad has very little and is ignored by midwives and any health professional from the very start. Even on the occasions I have phoned 111 to check on something I am worried about, the person wants to speak to my partner as they assume I don’t know enough. It’s heart breaking, upsetting and degrading, and basically makes you feel slightly second class in comparison to your partner.
The best advice I can offer is to speak about it, talk to your partner, your friends express your concerns and deal with your feelings. Don’t bottle it up, it will end badly and disturb your family.