We discussed me leaving work. I'd never thought about it, and being honest, the thought of it terrified me. I tried to get to grips with it - giving up a year of work - but I really, really struggled. I realised how much I've been programmed to expect a life of 'old-school masculinity', desk- and duty-bound.
For most of us, we change as people when we become parents. On the whole we grow and become better people. However in the transition period, that change in who we are, our identity, can cause great confusion. Once a confident and independent adult, you begin to question your abilities. Failing it appears, is not an option.
For the first time, I noticed my father's vulnerability: we would walk down the street and he'd budge up really close to me like a child afraid of his surroundings. We'd go to the pub and I'd order for him because he wasn't quite sure how to navigate his way around a hipster East London brewery. It felt great. The balance of power had shifted slightly and I wasn't so afraid of him anymore.
It is logical that developing pathways of support for this young man and thousands like him could change the life chances for both father and child. In turn, that would bring cost benefits to service providers like local authorities, as well as creating a positive social value in breaking the negative cycles we have seen for so many years.
I am interested in this dilemma as I personally have had the experience of this definition of the male abortion. I chose to continue with a pregnancy that my (at the time) partner did not want. He and his family severed all ties and physically distanced themselves. He had no experience of the pregnancy past the 10 week point, he is not on the birth certificate and has never made any contact with his biological son.
Out of the single mums I do know, we are all hardworking professionals, some with mortgages, some privately renting and yes some in local authority buildings, but what strikes me with all of us and when I say us, I'm talking about from personal experience from those around me. What strikes me is the strength that we all have.
I admit, I miss the income I once had. I would like to make a greater contribution to the household budget. This, however, is partly down to the age of our children. Our youngest daughter starts school next year and I see light at the end of the tunnel. Until that time, I am quite happy with how things are. My wife is free to concentrate on her career while I have taken on the main responsibility for looking after the children.
I've never enjoyed two weeks of my life more than the fortnight of my paternity leave. The immediate love I had for my little boy Sonny, the closeness we felt as a family and the sheer joy of watching that tiny baby turn into a little boy full of personality was the greatest feeling I could ever imagine. And then I went back to work...
here is nothing wrong in having a preference for how we would like our life to be. But rigid single mindedness can lead to vulnerability, when life and those around us do not deliver. We may not have the necessary mental and emotional resilience and agility to bounce back and adjust accordingly. If we are less accepting of the value of others' difference, then we may find it hard, if others struggle with our own difference.
As a new dad, with no experience of a baby before apart from whanging my sister's dolls out of the way by their arms when we were much much younger, knowing that a baby was arriving imminently was quite scary and no amount of antenatal classes, even with life like dolls, could really offer the reassurance that I was looking for.