Reflections on Fatherhood
Fatherhood is such a big topic I thought it deserved a more
thorough write-up than the few nodes scattered around
e2 - it's bound to have a huge impact on any man who goes into it,
and of course, their partner. I'm going to try and give a brief
overview of some of the joys and worries of being a parent.
Are there really any unreconstructed males out there who think
this is the only part a man has to play in having a
child? Still, this is obviously a time closely linked with a man's
sexuality and virility, and failure to conceive might lead some
couples to go down the IVF route. Others may have doubts in their
ability to conceive which may affect "performance".
Pregnancy and the run-up to the birth are a time of uncertainty
and nervous trepidation for would-be parents, from the first blue line
on the pregnancy test to the later scans and check-ups.
Will the baby grow to term? Is it growing "normally"? Your partner
will be in real need of emotional and sometimes physical support. And
you'll learn all about acronyms like FHH (foetal heart heard]. Some
couples will be unfortunate enough to have to live through a
miscarriage, with all the torment this will cause. If all goes well,
however, you'll start to plan how the birth will go - maybe a water
birth or home birth, natural or with pain relief. If the baby is in the
breech position, the birth may well be a planned caesarian.
And at last you reach the beautiiful moment where you meet your
child. The labour may have been long or short, the birth at home
or in hospital. Your partner will be exhausted, but both of you now
get to hold and look in the eyes of the new person in your life, who
will dominate everything you do for the years to come. Now is your
chance to cuddle, sing songs, learn to change nappies, and get
to know your child, assuming it is well and healthy. When you first see your
child's eyes, hold them in your arms, and see their perfect face,
fingers, and toes, you immediately fall in love with them, a love that
will last all their lives, and yours.
Once you get home of course, you start those long nights of
sleeplessness and feeding - even if your partner is breastfeeding, you
should at least show some solidarity. Hopefully your baby will start to
gain weight soon, something nurses are always watching for. You should
also keep an eye out for signs of postnatal depression, which can lead
to strains on a relationship. Above all, though, enoy your child! Hold
them, kiss them, cherish them, love them!
Growth and change
As your child grows, they will change in all kinds of ways:
movement, speech, play. He will first start to roll over,
then to crawl, babbles will turn to true talking. Reading stories
to him will give him an early start in learning, helps build a bond
between you, and introduces routine at bedtimes. Eventually the delights
of nappy-changing will transform into those of potty-training. Joys!
Soon your child will benefit from nursery school, which
will help socialising and prepare them for school. Nursery will give
them boosts in areas like reading, writing and creativity, speech, and
mixing and making friends with other children. It is especially useful
for only children. Nursery also makes starting school a much smoother
As my boy is only five, I'm not really qualified to advise or
describe later developments as children grow and advance into
adolescence and secondary education. One thing all parents share,
though, is memories of their children as they grow up. There will be
happy and sad ones, memories of birthdays, first words, walking,
talking, times when they were hurt or ill, but all go to add to the bond
you will have with your child.
It's obviously difficult, nay near-impossible to do justice to a
topic like fatherhood in such a short write-up, but I hope I have given
you some flavour of the early years of being a father. Thank you for