This poem was my “epiphany” moment of understanding how my anger could rise up in me and I might react to my own frustration rather than see the tenderness of the moment. It caused me to understand what was really important in life! My relationships, especial with my son.
When a man and a woman have a baby, it is a profound transition – the most important change in their adult lives. How becoming parents can affect them as individuals and as a couple is still not well understood in our culture. Of all the Western industrialized countries, the United States offers the least support for family adjustment and development. Politicians would like us to believe that we put a priority on family life, but the reality is just not so. How a man makes the transition to parenthood, and how a baby changes a man’s relation to his wife, are very important areas for us as men to understand.
When a baby is born, the focus of the new mother’s attention is on the baby. This is part of the normal developmental process. Mothers become preoccupied with the baby’s needs, often to the exclusion of everyone and everything else. This is part of her biological makeup. Most new fathers are unaware of this normal maternal preoccupation and are often surprised and frustrated at how abandoned they may feel. We have no information about what to expect after a baby is born. Men have very little preparation for this intimate part of life. Childbirth preparation classes often help us share with our wives the experience of pregnancy, but we are unaware of what to expect emotionally after the baby arrives. So what’s a dad to do?
If you’re like most new or expectant dads, you’re probably carrying around some silent assumptions about what it means to be a father. Those ideas are rooted in your experiences with your own father and in what you believe society expects of a male parent. Unfortunately, few resources exist to help men address these issues or put common myths to the test. Yet the more you examine and understand your unspoken expectations of fatherhood, the better chance you have of becoming the parent you want to be.
by Bruce Linton
The HUGE life change of becoming a father is the greatest challenge we face as men. Nothing can make us feel so overwhelmed and yet also so satisfied as being a dad. Having “peak experiences” like hiking in the Himalayas, traveling penniless through Europe, living on a Greek island, attending the Monterey Pop Festival, meeting Frank Zappa, studying with Chogam Trungpa Rinpoche, all were enlightening. But now in my late 60’s I can see that being a father was more profound and I learned more about myself than any of these wonderful adventures taught me.