A maternal bond is heavily focused on amongst new mothers and midwives, how it is crucial to get that motherly connection going in case it might never happen and your baby will grow up resenting you. As you can probably tell by my sarcastic tone, I completely disagree.
Scare mongering new mothers in thinking they must breast feed, co-sleep and wear their baby like a fashion accessory is completely absurd. Of course breast-feeding is considered the ‘better’ option, however mothers should not be made to feel bad if they are unable to (as explained in a previous post). Also, articles which encourage co-sleeping are just creating a recipe for disaster.
It is almost tragic that there is not equal respect for paternal instinct. This is not just sharing responsibility and baby duties begrudgingly whilst the mother takes a rest, but to actively seek to care for your child and equally be Mummy. DH and I are both Mummies and Daddies; we both know how to put DS to sleep, feed him, his likes and dislikes, whilst simultaneously slaving away to earn the bucks.
On leaflets, websites and magazines we all advocate fathers taking an interest in their child, some choosing to take the lead in parenting. However, when it boils down to reality, attitudes and public opinion have not changed. In any circumstance when I mention the hardship we endured during the birth of DS in the midst of our degrees, I receive positive responses varying from amazement to shock. Yet when DH broaches the subject, it almost ends in an anticlimax as the listener stares expectantly for the next part to the story; as if he had the time to juggle anything more than being a full-time dad whilst achieving a First in his degree.
I believe fathers have equal capability when caring for their children and it should not be a mother’s prerogative. You learn from your child through practice, it is not instinctual. Your baby is born a blank canvas and it is both parents’ responsibility to shape who she will eventually become. Traditionally a mother knew best because she would always be looking after the baby, however in our modern society I believe team work produces the greatest results.
Sometimes we need to ask, why is it that a man gets a job over a woman because he is least likely to take time off for the children? Why is a man looked down upon for stepping up to the game? Society shuns fathers who abandon their babies and leave behind a single mother, yet it is no more inviting to fathers who love their children and actively seek to be part of their lives.