Men don’t get enough attention during pregnancy and early parenthood. Expected to be the tower of strength for their partners, new fathers are, in fact, having their own unique and challenging experience.
Athropologist E. B. Taylor used the term couvade to describe the cross-cultural rituals that men enact during their women’s pregnancies. In Papua New Guinea, for example, fathers build a hut at the outskirts of the village and mimic labor pains until the baby is born. Fathers in modern times develop pregnancy symtoms: weight gain, hormonal changes, disturbed sleep, and morning nausea.
A 2006 study showed that dads can get mixed messages during pregnancy. While the father’s participation in pregnancy and childbirth may be encouraged, the father often feels that he’s in the way. The pregnant father can also feel marginalized by childbirth education classes that focus only on the mother’s experience; he would benefit from preparation for birth and parenthood that is more male-appropriate. The mother’s superior position to the newborn baby, although natural and expected, can be stressful for the father; and while he supports breastfeeding, it may make him feel inferior.
According to a 2012 Australian study, Dads also experience postpartum depression (PPD), even at a slightly higher rate than do moms. Dads under 30 have a 40% higher chance of PPD.
So, let’s stop patronizing dads and give them our support; we sure do need theirs. Here are some online resources for dads.
On the Web
Sites Specifically About Fatherhood
Fathers’ Forum Online:“The Online Resource for Expectant and New Fathers.”
GreatDad.com: “Because Dads don’t always think like Moms.”
General-Interest Sites for Fathers
Dadmag.com: “For the Man with Kids.”
The Father Life: “The Men’s Magazine for Dads.”
FQ:“The Essential Dad Mag.”
Special-Interest Sites for Fathers
The Dad’s Group: “A Support Group for Gay, Bi, Trans, & Questioning Dads.”
The Fathers Network: For “fathers and families raising children with special health care needs and developmental disabilities.”
National Fatherhood Initiative: “To improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.”
Jeremy Adam Smith and Tomas Moniz, authors of Rad Dad are among the contributors to Daddy Dialectic, “a group blog by and about dads who embrace care-giving and egalitarian relationships.”
Shawn Burns is the author of the blog Backpacking Dad: “I am a dad. I have a backpack. My kids ride around in the backpack.”
Always Home and Uncool: “Fatherhood isn’t just funny in Kevin’s world, it’s the most hilarious thing ever.”
Cry It Out: Memoirs of a Stay-at-Home Dad: “Mike Adamick is an extremely gifted writer and also a stay-at-home dad.”
DadCentric: A group blog for fathers “who seem lost in a sea of mommy blogs.”
GeekDad: Wired magazine’s popular blog for techno dads.
The Republic of T.: “Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.”
Frugal Dad: Financial advice and philosophy.
Stay at Stove Dad: “A Site for Working Fathers who Cook for their Families.”
VeganDad: “A realistic look at a vegan family in a northern Ontario city.”
The Black Dad Connection “The Non-Profit that Lives for Dads so that they can embarrass their Children.”
Mocha Dad: “Fatherhood Lessons for Modern Men.”
Guy Dads:“Two married Jewish gay dads, their six children, and life on the town. Plus a dose of social action and gay activism.”
Dads on Twitter
The Baby Bonding Book for Dads: Building a Closer Connection with Your Baby, by Jennifer Margulis and James di Properzio (Willow Creek Press, 2008). Reviewed in Mothering no. 150, September–October 2008.
Bill Cosby on Fatherhood by Bill Cosby (Peter Pauper Press, 2002).
The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood, by Ben George (HarperPerennial, 2009). Reviewed in Mothering no. 154, May–June 2009.
Crash Course for New Dads: Tools, Checklists & Cheat-Sheets by Greg Bishop (Dads Adventure, 2008).
The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family by Jeremy Adam Smith (Beacon Press, 2009). Reviewed inMothering no. 154, May–June 2009.
Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand and Support Your Daughter, by Joe Kelly (Broadway Books, 2002). Reviewed in Mothering no. 115, November–December 2002.
FatherBirth: A Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind, by John B. Franklin (FatherBirth, 2001). Reviewed in Mothering no. 111, March–April 2002.
Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change, by Armin A. Brott (Abbeville Press, 2003). Reviewed in Mothering no. 121, November–December 2003.
Fathering Right from the Start: Straight Talk about Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, by Jack Heinowitz, PhD (New World Library, 2001).
Fatherlove: What We Need, What We Seek, What We Must Create, by Richard Louv (Diane Publishing Co., 1993).
Father’s Milk: Nourishment and Wisdom for the First-time Father, by Andre Stein, PhD, with Peter Samu, MD (Capital Books, 2002). Reviewed in Mothering no. 115, November–December 2002.
Hit the Ground Crawling: Lessons from 150,000 New Fathers, by Greg Bishop (Dads Adventure, 2006). Reviewed in Mothering no. 152, January–February 2009.
Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, by David Eddie (Riverhead Books, 1999). Reviewed in Mothering no. 121, November–December 2003.
Pregnant Man: How Nature Makes Fathers Out of Men, by Gordon Churchwell (Quill, 2001).
In addition to an excellent website, a magazine, and the two books by Greg Bishop mentioned above, Dads Adventure offers a program that has become a national model: Boot Camp for New Dads, an innovative workshop for guys expecting their first child. The website offers a video about how to change a diaper, and such sections as Ramping Up for the Birth, Becoming a Dad, Helping a New Mom, Return to Romance, and Finances and Other Basics. Boot Camps are offered in 43 states and on US military bases, and are expanding internationally.
Dr. Moz has a comprehensive state-by-state list of dad groups, and also lists fatherhood organizations and events, and online networks and resources.
Dads Meetup Groups are found in 157 cities in seven countries. These get-togethers are for meeting other dads to discuss the role of a father, as well as parenting, school, and other “dad” topics.
And, finally, AtHomeDad.org, the “Stay at Home Dad Oasis,” offers discussion forums and a directory of groups.
Happy Father’s Day!
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