Updated: Jun 16, 2019
I never celebrated Father's Day until my husband became a Daddy. My Dad doesn't like it as it's a "new" celebration for making more money off tacky merchandise so all of a sudden I had to make an effort when our first little boy was born! That first Father's Day was a really proud moment for my husband, just like my first Mother's Day was. But let's not just celebrate it on Father's Day, let's hear it for the Dads the rest of the year too!
I think it is a natural thing for wives and girlfriends to moan about their partners (just as they do about us too!) but a most of the time when I'm witness to some husband-bashing conversation I actually can't join in. He's a pretty perfect husband and an amazing Dad and he's put up with a lot from me...as I do from him. He's been incredibly supportive of my decision to give up work and start my own business and all the highs and lows that have come along with that.
I know that not every Mum is lucky enough to have a supportive partner, or any partner and I am absolutely in awe of any parent who has to go it alone. But this is a special blog where I wanted to observe some of the amazing things that some Dad's do in a world that still assumes
parenting is mostly down to Mothers.
I don't think any father is prepared for what happens in the labour room. I don't think us Mums are either, but at least we seek out information, we watch One Born Every Minute, we find out all the gory details from our friends and pay attention at ante-natal classes. Dads-to-be dutifully go along with their wives, but if they're anything like my husband he didn't actually want to know what was going to happen! But it happened, in theatre, like a scene from The Shining, with a bucket under the operating table and a crowd of doctors in the room. Afterwards, when I was drugged up feeling fine (which didn't last long) and he looked incredibly pale and said it was the worst experience of his life. He'd just seen me go through 12 hours of excrutiating pain, then watched me in theatre and couldn't do anything to help me.
At least women get a bit of catharsis by sharing birth stories, but do men do that? I don't think many do, not in an honest enough way to explain how it makes them feel. I think so much of the support after birth is aimed at women, and rightly so but it does affect fathers too. After all, they need to hold it all together to support the mother who's in complete hormonal meltdown, like a thousand women's PMT all morphed into one. There's definitely no warnings about that at ante-natal class (not the free ones we went to anyway).
Men's mental health is getting a lot more focus, but we're still not brilliant at dealing with it and I think that's why so many relationships suffer after the birth of a baby. Being on maternity leave was amazing for me meeting so many new friends and going to all the baby groups and I wish that it was more common for Dad's to experience that too. We were the first ones of our friends to have a child so he didn't have many other friends going through the same thing, and even if there had been any dads groups I'm not sure he would have felt confident enough to go.
I am thrilled that so many dads and grandads come along to Baby Beats. I really admire them for coming along knowing they may be the only men there, not sure if anyone will talk to them and having to struggle with a screaming child who probably wants Mummy. They may feel uncomfortable around breastfeeding and most likely don't have a gang of mates to come along with. But they still come and have a great time and come back again the next week! I think Baby Beats often appeals to dads because of the live music, the variety of music we play and the relaxed atmosphere. So well done Dads, you are amazing and you are giving your child an experience to treasure making music with their Daddy.