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A Mom Reflects on Fatherhood

Our guest blog this Friday is by Julia Sherwin who writes the blog “Perspective on Parenting” and is the “Morning Magazine”  Co-host on WCHE 1520a.m.

In an online world filled with “mommy blogs,” it’s usually we women who feel pretty comfortable venting and sharing the many parenting challenges we face daily. Thankfully, we can share such stories via Facebook and other social media outlets, laughing at our many parenting pitfalls and uniting in our milestones of motherhood.

While we moms don’t hide our feelings on parenting too often, I remain curious about the dads among us, many of whom are staying at home to raise their young children. Do they have days when they want to spill their innermost thoughts and feelings on the love they have for their children? Could they use some comfort after trying to pacify a crying baby and his older sibling while navigating a busy grocery store? Believe me, I’ve seen these dads in action, patiently and proficiently performing their fatherhood duties.
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The Day After Father’s Day…

I spent this Father’s Day with my daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter. It wasn’t that long ago I was that young dad like my son-in-law just starting off and celebrating my first Father’s Day.

It was in 1985 when I started the Fathers’ Forum programs. I offered classes and workshops for expectant and new dads. I was struggling myself trying to make sense out of what it meant to be a father. And the whole adventure began that has shaped both my life as a man and my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. My kids were 1 year and 4 year’s old at the time.

I still continue this journey both personally and professionally…it is great to have adult children and have them “off the payroll” and making their way in the world. I can honestly say that all the choices I made to spend time with them and be able to share in their growing up has given me a real feeling of a very special connection with each of them.    Read more

Dads importances to baby’s development

Research also shows a supportive spouse lowers cortisol levels in new moms

By Nicole Letourneau and Gerald Giesbrecht

CALGARY, AB/ Troy Media/ – It’s almost Father’s Day, a time when many of us reflect warmly on the role our fathers and grandfathers have played in our lives. It’s no secret that dads are important, and that their role as caregivers has, for many families, broadened in the last 50 years. But there’s one period of our development where dads tend to take a back seat – the first nine months, to be precise.

While still in the womb, babies are generally considered to be the mother’s domain. Fathers are often relegated to a small supporting role: they help around the house, maybe massage mom’s aching back, and cater to cravings, but ultimately they’re seen as just another observer. However, a growing body of research shows us that fathers can have a much deeper influence on their children in utero than previously expected.

Recently, we and several researchers conducted a study examining what effect support from spouses had on pregnant mothers’ responses to stress. To do this, we asked participating mothers a series of questions assessing the support they get from their husbands/partners: how much of it, how easily they provided it, and how effective it was at getting them through life’s challenges.

Next, we collected a series of saliva samples from mothers at various times of day. These samples provide a relatively non-intrusive way to measure levels of cortisol, a hormone generated by the body in times of stress. During collection periods, mothers answered more questions, these ones assessing their level of psychological distress, defined as feelings of anger, anxiety, depression or fatigue.

Through our data, we observed the relationship between the stress hormone cortisol and psychological distress. Sure enough, when mothers were distressed, their samples showed higher levels of cortisol – but only if they also scored low on measures of support from their partners. Moms with supportive spouses showed consistently low cortisol levels, regardless of how upset they may have been when the sample was taken.

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