Dads and bedrest
Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 21st. How are you planning to celebrate the very special man in you and your baby’s life?
Perhaps you are thinking,
“My baby’s father isn’t in our lives!”
I hear you. I am no longer with my children’s father, yet he is an important part of their lives-and mine as we are co-parenting them. But if you have remarried, or there is a “father figure” in your child’s life who has stepped up and stepped in and is fulfilling the role and duties of father, I invite you to celebrate that man this Sunday (and everyday!!)
I know that this website is Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond, and the whole focus is to provide you with the tools and support that you need to have a fantastic pregnancy and a healthy baby. But I would be remiss, and some may even go so far as to say that my actions would be unethical, if I didn’t highlight the important role of fathers-biologic and otherwise-in the lives of birthing women and their babies.
So let’s start with mamas. Fathers/partners provide emotional support throughout the pregnancy. Yeah, sometimes they just don’t get us, but hey, there are times when we don’t get us either! Those who are present are taken on the rollercoaster ride that is pregnancy; full of ups, downs, mood swings, close calls and the joys of labor, delivery and-the baby! As overwhelming as childbearing is for us, imaging how colossal it must be for men? They have to watch the woman that they love (hopefully) grow, change, be uncomfortable (often times sick!!), be on bed rest, endure the endless tests and treatments and then the grand finale-labor and delivery (or a c-section, major surgery) and be able to do very little to make the situation better for her. For many guys, this is this side of insanity! Guys inherently want to fix things and when it comes to childbearing, after insemination, there really isn’t much for them to do but watch and wait. And yes, for some men, this is too much and they leave. So kudos to those who stay, stick it out and hang in when the going is tough and are a solid rock for their women to lean on and rest upon.
The influence of a father, a daddy (a man who provides more than mere sperm donation!) in the lives of children is priceless. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse,
“When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior.”
In 2006, Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, PhD co-authored a manual on fatherhood through the US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration for Children and Families, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families and the Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect called, “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children.” In this publication Rosenberg and Wilcox note that children raised by loving, married parents learn how a man is to treat a woman in the context of a healthy relationship. They also note that even when the parents aren’t married and don’t live together, children who see their fathers speaking to and treating their mothers with respect and courtesy learn that men are supposed to treat women with respect and courtesy (boys) and they learn that behavior that is not respectful and courteous is not acceptable (girls). In summary, Rosenberg and Wilcox found the following characteristics in children who had active fathers in their lives (regardless of the parental relationships)
- Children with involved, caring fathers have better education outcomes that start in preschool and continue throughout their school careers.
- Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.
- Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. As such, children whose fathers engage in rough housing are more likely to learn to cope with aggressive behaviors and learn its okay to strike out and explore without being anxious.
- Children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior.
- Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems
- Girls had stronger self esteem.
- Children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior.
What this study also found and what was also confirmed by a study done by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is that lower income fathers are no less involved in their children’s lives than higher earning dads. In fact, many lower income fathers are more “hands on” with their children, especially those who didn’t live with their children all the time; caring for their children on weekends and for other extended periods of time and providing all the care and nurturing that mothers provide in addition to financial support.
I think that fathers are the unsung heroes of families. Yes, we mamas do much to keep that family moving and shaking, but a good dad really holds the family together. So this Sunday, do a little something special for the dads in you and your children’s lives. And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!!
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2006). “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children”. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. Written By Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, PhD.
20 Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to Be an Active Father Prepared by Stephen D. Green, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, October 2000.
Good Monday Morning Mamas!
Today we have a treat! While trolling the posts on our community, I came across a post by this very knowledgeable “Former Bedrest Mama”, Karen Gates. Her post was so full of good information, tips and triumph that I just HAD to speak with her! Being the gracious mama that she is, she agreed and here she shares her story of being on bedest for Placenta Previa with her second son. Listen to how Karen was able to intuit and support the needs of her husband, to receive help from friends and family and to overall Thrive while on bed rest! It’s an interview you won’t want to miss-especially if you are on bed rest during the holidays!