When a mother is pregnant, everyone showers attention on her.
“When are you due?”
“You must be tired. Have a seat.”
“Eating for two now! Have some more!”
Pregnant moms even get their very own parking spots at most stores.
But we often forget about Dad.
It is easy to do given that Dad is not the one undergoing a huge physical transformation in just nine short months. But he is still undergoing a psychological change. He is father. There is a new person growing inside his partner for whom he is jointly responsible.
A two-syllable word yet so powerful.
Any man can create a baby. It takes a real man to hang around and be involved.
Once a woman gives birth, the attention shifts to baby. Then back to her. In fact, one of the first things we hear even when celeb moms give birth is that “Mom and baby” are doing just fine. What about Dad? How is he doing? Did he faint at the sight of the needles? How IS he doing emotionally? Oh oops..wait. It’s not okay to talk about a Dad’s emotions. He’s a man. Manly men are brawny. They grunt, growl, pound each other’s chests, howl, and all that caveman stuff. Right? Right?
Dads today are involved more than ever.
I can’t tell you how many Stay At Home Dads I know on Twitter. Or how many Dads who do work and are actively involved in their children’s lives.
And let’s not forget our current Commander in Chief who is father of two young girls.
In 1994, a National Fatherhood Initiative began work to decrease Fatherhood absence in the lives of young children.
President Obama has been very supportive of this Initiative since taking office.
And this month, the National Fatherhood Initiative is challenging Dads to take a 30 day pledge to be a better Father.
You can also find Dad to Dad support at Twitter.com by simply utilizing the hashtag #DadsTalking. These Dads offer a large base of support, weekly chats, and a website. You can also follow them @DadsTalking.
There’s also a project called Strong Fathers over at Twitter.com. Their main goal is working with Dads and Kids in schools. Visit their website for more information.
Involved Dads deserve recognition. They deserve to be encouraged without being torn down, nagged, or attacked. Sure, he may not do things as perfectly as you think they should be done, or even the way you would do them at all, but at he is doing his best in his own way. Just as another mom does things in her house her own way, so does your husband/partner. Give him kudos when he helps out. Let him know how much you appreciate everything he does for you, for your children, for your family. It’s particularly important because according to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million children are living without fathers.
It’s hard to provide recognition when struck down by a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Dads, know that if your wife is struggling with a Mood Disorder after a birth, she is grateful for any help you are providing. One day she will thank you for everything you did to help her recovery. She needs someone to listen, to help with daily household tasks, to let her know that she is not alone. She may need to sit in silence. She may need to rest. She may need you to watch the baby if she goes to therapy. Staying positive and listening with an open mind is one of the best things you can do for her.
Fathers of the world, thank you. Thank you for being man enough to hang around for the tough part. We, your partners and children, are eternally grateful.