Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A note on Fatherhood

I was blessed with a great dad while growing up, and I'm even more blessed to have two great dads now (thanks to marriage). They have given me a great example of what it means to be a good dad:

quality time
live lessons
firm but loving rules

It was nice to see all the dads stand up at Mass on Sunday to receive a special blessing. It's a yearly ritual, but one I found more inspiring than usual. At the end of the service, I walked up to a "future" dad (wife is due in Sept) and asked why he didn't stand up. He replied "the baby isn't here yet." While that is conventional thought - dads have to wait longer than moms who start bonding with baby while in the womb - I don't really see it that way. Why you ask?

My pro-life roots If a baby is created at the moment of conception, then that is when life starts right? If the dad helped create that life, isn't he the father of that baby? It would be hard for me to consider myself pro-life and then think that one day, when/if I become pregnant, I will have sole responsibility for that life and no one else is part of it. The dads are a part of the process from day one and should be respected for that.

So, I came home that night and told my husband that, had I been pregnant, I would have given him a card. I would have thanked him for creating life with me and protecting both of us. I imagine one day he will do this by supporting my often unsuccessful quest to eat healthy by gently reminding me of the importance for the baby to receive good nutrients. One day he will massage my aching feet and comfort me when the "pregnancy hormones" drive me crazy or to tears. He will take the time to plan for the child and support me in any challenges I might face from nausea to labor complications. He will be another great model for me and others of what it means to be a dad (and husband) even before having a cute baby to play with.

Just because the fun of bonding with a baby that can be held can't start yet, doesn't mean you are not a dad. I wish more people might see it like that and give men the respect they deserve. To say you're not a dad until the baby comes really negates anything you did to help in the process of forming the little one from conception to birth. I haven't put my husband through it yet, but I'm sure there are some fatherly love and sacrifices involved in the process :-) So thank you to all dads and especially mine. I know you loved me from day one - thanks for supporting mom through the trials and triumphs of giving birth and raising twin daughters.


  1. I made sure my husband stood up :) Like you said, he really is already a father - he's created life and is already focused on what's best for the baby.

  2. yay - I'm glad. That comment made me smile

  3. Completely agree! And I *hate* the idea that only the pregnant woman can decide what is best for her (even for couples who planned to get pregnant and raise the baby together). While it is true that the person going through the pain and really living with the choices now should have more say, it upsets me to read people who talk about how their husbands "can't experience this" and so have zero involvement until the baby is born.

  4. Totally with you on that Rae. Yes, I get mom should get a bit more say in things - she knows her body, but she is carrying a child with both sets of DNA not just hers :-D

  5. I agree. That man is already a daddy.

  6. Completely agree (and did give my husband a Father's Day card when I was eight weeks pregnant) ~ but did want to throw a supportive word for expectant dads who don't seem as excited as moms.
    According to my husband~ supporting me in gratitude for carrrying the baby starts from the beginning ~ bonding with the baby really started for him when he could feel movements which was almost a month after I did.
    Which of course was a couple of months before we met her in the flesh!

  7. Good point - bonding is quite different for dads and I understand that. I just wanted to stress the fact that husbands do have a role as fathers right from the beginning even if they can't even see it.