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"The Reluctant Fathers' Cub: Men get the baby blues too "

(27 Posts)
Upwind Tue 09-Jun-09 14:31:29

I have great sympathy for that wally's DP! What kind of a parent is terrified of nappies? Has he no concept of how incredibly fortunate he is to have had a healthy baby?

"Though I never felt any resentment towards my daughter – if anyone was the innocent party here, it was her – I felt little in the way of parental love. But how could I? She was a stranger to me, and a fairly rude one at that. She disrupted my sleep, she cried when I tried to hold her. Her nappies terrified me, and she'd killed my sex and social life stone dead. I was going to have to get to know her first, and this would take some considerable time. "

makedoandmend Tue 09-Jun-09 15:15:31

I know that men need to address these feelings but this article just made me want to shake him by the lapels and tell him to grow up.

I think I need empathy training blush

rubyslippers Tue 09-Jun-09 15:19:32

it reminds me of that chappie who wrote the article and then came on for a live web chat <<can't remember name>>

NEWSFLASH - babies disrupt your sleep and sex life hmm

i do think there is a debate to be had about about mens' reactions to fatherhood but not via this sort of self indulgent navel gazing and stating the bleeding obvious

Upwind Tue 09-Jun-09 15:20:41

I can empathise with that. I think he definitely needs a shaking! Instead of being grateful that a disaster was averted and all went well, this idiot was feeling sorry for himself. As someone who wound up with a sick baby and a broken fanjo before even starting with my battle of breastfeeding I found this absurd:

"Fathers are seen to have it so much easier than mothers," the doctor said. "A nonsense, of course, and something we really must address."

Poor men, it must be so tiring watching their babies being born.

nickytwotimes Tue 09-Jun-09 15:25:27

Self indulgent shite.
Mothers do not automatically feel parental love Mr Deurden. ANd we do indeed have to deal with the fanjo/tit problems too.

cyteen Tue 09-Jun-09 15:27:27

Jeez, is this guy campaigning for the Lowri Turner Prize for Most Profitable Offspring or what?

Flibbertyjibbet Tue 09-Jun-09 15:44:23

I read this yesterday in the paper and just thought 'what a twunt'.

In our house it was the other way round, me with the puzzled detatchment and dp off on clouds of bliss with his new baby!

Honestly I could easily have disappeared for at least a fortnight after giving birth the first time.

Oh yes, mothers automatically feel parental love. Must tell that to my friend who screamed 'get it away from me' when they tried to put the baby on her after a very long and truamatic birth!

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 09-Jun-09 18:01:53

I feel sorry for his partner! Can you imagine? He would certainly be the type to moan he was tired after a full nights sleep when she had been up all night.

I am not denying parenthood is hard for fathers but in the typical work split it doesnt come close to motherhood - especially if she is breastfeeding or has had a difficult birth. The poor woman sounds like she had a scary birth experience and he is the one acting like a petulent toddler.


Picante Tue 09-Jun-09 18:04:56

I think post-natal depression in a man is more common than realised. I have a friend whose partner is going through it.

I don't think you'd be saying the same thing if it were the woman writing the article.

Ninkynork Tue 09-Jun-09 19:12:42

Nick Duerden, for example, is a twat.

wobbegong Tue 09-Jun-09 19:23:30

He is selling this story everywhere. Yet another person who thinks that their own rather normal boring story about their failings provides major sociological insights.

Actually Picante I am not denying that depression is real, but this writer sets himself up for this kind of criticism to be honest. The bit that particularly annoyed me was the assertion that "motherhood is instinctive, whereas fatherhood is learned". I didn't find motherhood remotely instictive.

I recommend that he does his bit by having nine months of health problems, major abdominal surgery, his nipples bitten ten times a day, piles like grapes and hormonal surges... then come and tell me that men have it tougher than women.

As my DH says- yes parenthood isn't easy, suck it up. But that's not a story that's going to sell, is it?

Northernlurker Tue 09-Jun-09 19:35:35

I think we did this thread last time he got his whinging into print. He seems determined to assert that he's discovered something new and exciting, that men are the forgotten victims of parenting and that mothers swan around in a haze of happy, smug, instinctive cuddliness and certainty.

The only thing this new wave of literature is inspiring in me is an overwhelmingly thankfulness for being married to a man who was mature enough to raise our children!

Flibbertyjibbet Tue 09-Jun-09 19:40:37

'It is man's inalienable right to retain full hold of his immaturity, and I certainly did mine. My initial response to being demoted was to sulk'

oh my what a mega-twunt.

He doesn't mention once, how his partner was feeling at the end of that delivery, just him him him him him.

To think that other fathers might pay £11 to read this drivel and think that its ok to behave like a childish twit and stamp their feet that their sex life has ended.

If he had written a practical support manual on how new fathers could cope in the early days when they don't quite know what is expected of them, then that might have been quite a good useful book.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Tue 09-Jun-09 19:42:26

Christ men like him are a good advertisement for the stiff upper lip and repression.

Don't talk about your feelings, ever. The rest of us want to vomit when we are confronted with them.

Why don't all these "I just don't know if I love my children/ It was hard for me to love them/ I love my husband's arse more than my children/ I'd be more upset if my husband died than if my children did" blatherers just shut the fark up? Why does the meejah give them column space and airtime? They are so whingey and whiney and thoroughly annoying.

JackBauer Tue 09-Jun-09 20:05:37

By Picante on Tue 09-Jun-09 18:04:56
I think post-natal depression in a man is more common than realised. I have a friend whose partner is going through it.

I don't think you'd be saying the same thing if it were the woman writing the article.

Actually, does anyone remember the article about the womjan who didn't love her daughter? And she had pictures of them both there with teh article.
Quite rightly she was slated as her poor child will now have to grow up with everyone knowing that her mother 'couldn't love her'
And now this guy comes along and fucks up his kids lives.

JackBauer Tue 09-Jun-09 20:10:00

Bollocks. That'll teach me not to read links properly.
I didn't think 2 fathers woudl write such wanky articles in the same day
I was of course talking about this
Michael Lewis, for example, is also a twat.

Ninkynork Tue 09-Jun-09 20:25:08

Oh God yes, I thought I'd read something recently as wankerish as this!

"I distinctly remember standing on a balcony with Quinn squawking in my arms and wondering what I would do if it wasn't against the law to hurl her off it.

I also recall convincing myself that official statistics dramatically overstated the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome - when an infant dies for no apparent reason in her cot - because most of the cases were probably murder."

"A month after Quinn was born, I would have felt only an obligatory sadness if she had been run over by a truck. Six months or so later, I'd have thrown myself in front of the truck to save her from harm."

Nice sentiments Michael Lewis, you utter, utter twat.

ABetaDad Tue 09-Jun-09 20:58:21

I sort of just shrugged my shoulders after reading the article. My thought was "welcome to parenthood". Get involved, do 50% of the work, and be prepared to be tired out for 6 months but know it will get better.

The bit that perhaps has a grain of truth in it was this:

"My girlfriend became so necessarily devoted to the hourly ministrations of our child that I became an underemployed presence in my own house, hanging around on the off-chance she needed something warming up, or cooling down. We barely talked."

This is something I was shocked to learn from reading many MN threads. It does seem to me that some women have a baby and simply forget they have a DH/DP at all (not talking about women with PND). That attitude seems unfair to the DH/DP. Not all women do this. My DW did not. I would have been upset and depressed if she had.

To his credit he does say at the end:

"And I could say now, with conviction, that all the upheaval had been worth it."

Not an article to get worked up about though.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Tue 09-Jun-09 21:05:52

But why is it a problem that they temporarily "forget" they have a husband at all, ABetaDad?

In some cultures, women go and live with their mothers for 6 months when their babies are born. I remember reading a book by Ruth Prawer Jhabvali where she describes this and the resentment and loneliness of the couple who miss each other but have to put up with it because it's the custom.

And of course that custom developed because it was a way of giving a woman permission not to fulfill her normal "wifely" role for the first 6 months of her baby's life.

I think as long as both parties are aware that that might happen and are grown up enough to accept it and understand that it will pass, what's the problem?

ABetaDad Tue 09-Jun-09 21:28:38

* HerBeatitudeLittleBella* - as the article suggests, it is not fair if the DH/DP forgets his DW/DP so neither should it be fair the other way round.

"A friend of mine reacted to the birth of his son by throwing himself into work to such an extent that he very rarely went home, preferring to talk about his new family over successive pints rather than being at home. The inevitable eventually happened, and his wife left him.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Tue 09-Jun-09 21:48:03

I think there's a massive difference between "forgetting" your DP because you are devoted to work/ beer and forgetting them because you are devoted to the needs of a new, dependent baby.

ABetaDad Tue 09-Jun-09 22:11:48

All I am saying is that if both father and mother are sharing the burden fairly and equally and both wanted the child then it is not fair that either partNer forgets the other.

The mother does not have a right to forget the father because she has given birth and the father does not have a right to forget the mother because she has given birth.

I do think some women on MN take the attitude that their DH/DP no longer matters once the baby has arived as long as he keeps brInging home the money. Likewise some women report their DH/DP makes no adjustment in his life once the baby arrives.

Both are bad attitudes. It did not happen with me and DW. I have no doubt both men and women get affected psychologically by the arrival of baby.

cory Wed 10-Jun-09 08:43:09

I was not in any danger of forgetting dh because he was stuck in there from the start doing his share of the job. He didn't need entertaining any more than I did, because we were both working flat out.

Having said that, it does seem from Mumsnet that there are women who more or less hog the expert role when the new baby arrives. I could never see the attraction of this myself; I wanted dh to be as much part of dd's life as I was.

Going off to stay with your mother for 6 months might be reasonable in a culture where the husband's role is to make sexual and domestic demands on his wife. I don't see why we need to pay any attenton to this in England. Dh's role was to change nappies and cook dinner and soothe dd when she cried.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Wed 10-Jun-09 17:12:16

No but my point was, that the reason this custom existed, was so that women could legitimately concentrate on the needs of their new babies without their husbands making unreasonable demands of them or resenting the lack of attention given to them. Up until about a century ago, women in our culture had a "lying-in" period of adjusting to the new baby, for much the same reasons (and to establish breastfeeding of course).

Any attention at all given to a new baby is seen by some immature men as "forgetting the existence of the husband". (Not implying you're one of them abetadad.)

The first few months of a baby's life are an intense and absorbing time - for both partners if they are both fully involved.
And there's the rub. Most aren't fully involved. Lack of proper paid paternity leave ensures that. So the absorbtion tends to be left to one party, who is then accused of neglecting her husband. hmm Sorry but I think most adults know that this period of absorbtion is temporary and will pass. I'm just not v. sympathetic to grown men sulking about being supplanted by a baby and it irritates me when I see constant articles going on about it.

ABetaDad Wed 10-Jun-09 17:39:43

HerBeatitudeLittleBella - yes I agree with this. Definitely was my/our experience.

"The first few months of a baby's life are an intense and absorbing time - for both partners if they are both fully involved."

Temporary absorption is natural and actually 6 months is about the time period I would say the relationship between the parents has to take a back seat (not down to absolutely nothing though) but after that both parents should make efforts to slowly return to a more 'normal' balance.

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