Can Fatherhood Begin With Pregnancy?
Life changes when you have a child.
Many men discover their partner is pregnant and work towards fatherhood in small increments, e.g., keeping their partner happy, helping with the nursery and going to a class on parenting. They believe that fatherhood does not actually begin until they physically see a child.
The moment I discovered my wife was pregnant my life changed. We had wanted to have a child for years, and this was exceptionally good news. I knew that I did not want to become a “typical” father and feel useless for 9 months. I wanted my “future” son to at least know whom I was and know my voice (even if he could not see me).
In my opinion, when we conceive a child fatherhood begins. Fatherhood does not have to wait until a child is born. An unborn child is in the womb for nine months, listening and learning the familiarity of their mother’s voice. I remembered reading that a newborn could identify their mother’s voice over other women in a delivery room. It made sense to me that a baby could/would know a dad’s voice just as easily.
It sounds silly to a lot of parents, but I had “tummy time” every night. I determined I would bond with my son before his birth. I explained to my wife in detail that I could talk to him, read to him and sing to him. I was lucky I did not have to convince her because she thought it was a good idea.
“You’ll enjoy it. There is much you can learn from books and scrolls,” said Jeod. He gestured at the walls. “These books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”
- Jeod from the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon was the first story I ever read to my son. Every night I would lean into my wife’s stomach and read to my unborn child. I would read with enthusiasm and use different voices for the characters in the book.
It never ceased to amaze me how my unborn son would respond to me reading. Often, Xander would kick me when I finished reading for the evening. I believe he was telling me to continue the story and not stop reading for the night. Reading to my son was some of the most fun my wife and I had during her pregnancy.
Fatherhood begins long before a child is born.
At Xander’s birth, the delivery room was full of strangers causing him to cry. Xan calmed quickly by my wife’s voice and touch. He began to become upset when they pulled him from her so the nurses could take measurements. I told my little boy, “Do not be scared. Daddy is here with you.” My son stopped crying immediately and looked towards me the entire time the nurses were with him.
I continued to talk to him in a soothing voice to comfort him. I have no doubt Xander knew whom I was at his birth. Other men would speak, and Xander would not even turn towards them. If I spoke, his head automatically moved towards the sound of my voice. I knew I had become a father.
I am sure there are some people who doubt that my son knew me. However, I participated in my wife’s pregnancy for 9 months by talking to my son. At his birth, my son did not cry much, as long as my wife or I spoke to him. Reading to my son was one way I was able to bond before his birth and experience fatherhood.
As I look back now, I wonder if reading Eragon to my son had more of an impact than I knew. Xander loves playing with castles, knights and toy dragons. He even tries to speak in a different voice while he plays.
In my opinion, the moment we conceive a child, fatherhood begins. There is no reason that a person can not bond with their child before birth.
As a father, It excited me because my wife and I, both instantly bonded with our son when he was born. Did anyone read to your children before they were born? If they did was there a favorite story that someone read? How bonded were your children to you and your partner when they were born? Tell me more in the comments!
I made a tweet the other day to @MaJenDome about reading to my son before his birth, and they asked me if I would share my story. The mission of the MaJenDome movement is to inspire expectant fathers to consistently read aloud to their children from the very beginning. I am telling my story about reading to my son because I believe it helped us to bond before his birth.
Read my last post here 5 Things I Never Wanted To Hear When Potty Training
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This post can also be seen on The Good Men Project. They picked it up for their site.
Tags: 9 months
, eragon by christopher paolini
, life changes
, unborn child