When it comes to parenthood us mums get the raw end of the deal, going through childbirth and then all the recovery, emotions and hormones we have to deal with afterwards. However, those poor bastards otherwise known as the daddy's have to put up with a hell of a lot too, just without any of the recognition.
Pregnancy and parenthood is like a grand theater production with us women and our bumps taking centre stage from the moment the curtain goes up. Yes your partner may be awarded role of supporting actor during the pregnancy but once your bundle of joy bursts onto the scene he will be lucky if he is allowed the title of janitor. As while everyone and their nan is cooing over you and the baby, telling you how great you look and how well you have done, your poor bloke will be looking on from the side lines screaming "I wasn't just a sperm donar!".
No "Well dones you donated good genes", no "How are you feeling?" and no offers of advice on how to fathom out the bewildering world of fatherhood. Instead, they are left to figure it out for themselves, hope for the best and then get themselves back to work.
As us mums are sat there post baby, all be it on a rubber ring or ice pack, trying to figure out our new role in life and get our heads around the responsibility of motherhood, so too is he. You see, parenthood has also happened to him. He, like ourselves has also been flung into a whole new world of the unknown. He too has a new role in life that he needs to get his head and heart around. Yes he may not have pushed a baby out of his vagina, however, he saw his best friend and the one person he loves most in the world push one out of theirs - pretty bloody terrifying!
We have months to try and get our head around childbirth and the new position of mummy. Months to talk to and share plans with our growing little person, creating an infinite bond that will never break. For us we already know and love our tiny person before they get here. We have read all the numerous books on motherhood in preparation and signed up to all the mum and baby forums. We therefore, have a huge head start. For him when the baby arrives he has just a couple of full time weeks with you to try and catch up to where you are before he then has to leave his new family bubble and head back out to work and into normality.
For him nothing has changed on the face of things. His body is still the same and his bits have not been stretched to oblivion. He may not bare the marks of bringing a tiny human into the world, however he also has his own set of challenges to overcome and all without a parenting book or support group in sight.
We all know the pressures we face as mums, however, does anyone ever stop long enough to consider the pressures faced by the new dads in our lives? and more importantly ask them if they also need a vent, a glass of wine or a bit of support?
We are not the only ones with anxieties about being a parent or ones with our own identity that gets challenged through it. We are just the ones more open to talk about it and with more avenues to do so. We are not the only ones who are figuring out our relationship with our tiny human and how best to look after them. However, we are the ones who by the very nature of carrying them for 9 months and by being their mum have the last word on their care, from what they are wearing through to when and how they are fed. We as mums are in the driving seat and we have the majority of the control, which can at times leave the dads twiddling their thumbs and feeling a bit redundant.
We may feel as though we have lost ourselves along the way and are struggling to remember our pre baby self, however, he is there just feeling lost and struggling to find the right words to help you navigate your way through the new mum fog. We think he doesn't understand and he doesn't understand how we can expect him too as despite being on the same journey into parenthood his path has been a totally different one.
Like our good friend motherhood, fatherhood is a total shit fight with men worldwide having to juggle getting their head around being a dad, dealing with the financial pressures of providing for his new family and navigating around the hormonal time bombs hidden on every corner. All whilst trying to be a "hands on" dad as well as a loving and supportive husband who says all the right things at the right time as it is after all his wife who has done all the hard work! Exhausting and overwhelming - sound familiar?
Therefore, lets spare a thought and raise a glass of the strong stuff to all the knackered dads out there, up to their necks in long ass commutes, daddy duties and supporting their wives - You are doing one hell of a job boys!
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