A new genre of confessional literature has men opening up about what they really thought when they became a father. The dads know they’re supposed to be overcome with joy after the birth of a child, but many felt demoralized, depressed, or just plain bored. Author Michael Lewis is breaking what he calls “a great conspiracy of silence” with his book, Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, which exposes what he and other men really felt when their child was born. “I wrote my book because of this persistent and disturbing gap between what I was meant to feel and what I actually felt,” Lewis said. It’s great that men are opening up about their feelings, but if Lewis were the father of my child, I don’t think I’d want to know, let alone read, how he really feels about our little bundle of joy, er, depression.
“The worst feeling was hatred,” writes Lewis in his book. “I distinctly remember standing on a balcony with her squawking in my arms and wondering what I would do if it wasn’t against the law to hurl her off it.”
“A month after Quinn [Lewis' daughter] was born, I would have felt only an obligatory sadness if she had been rolled over by a truck.
Six months or so later I’d have thrown myself in front of the truck to save her from harm. What happened? What transformed me from a monster into a father?”
“The reason we must be so appalled by parents who murder their infants is that it is so easy and even natural to do. Maternal love may be instinctive, but paternal love is learned behavior.”
Another author, Darin Strauss, had a similar sentiment when his son was born:
“It’s different for women. When my son was a minute old, my wife held him up and asked, ‘Don’t you love him so much?’
‘I didn’t really understand how she could ask such a thing. That purple squirming howler? Men, I think, need to be won over.”
Steve Doocy, author of the forthcoming book Tales from the Dad Side: Misadventures in Fatherhood, echoes Lewis and Strauss’ idea that fatherhood doesn’t come naturally to men:
“New moms are better at parenting than new dads, but there’s a reason why: they are programmed to mother.”
“A man doesn’t have much of a foundation in fathering. It’s more on-the-job training – and it starts the day he becomes a father.”
Men, obviously, can suffer from post-natal depression just like women, but all these men seem to be doing is whining. They say that women know how to be mothers because we’ve had training — dolls, classes, magazines, and books — but men have nothing to prepare them for fatherhood. But where’s their solution to this problem? Men can take the same classes and read the same books and magazines about parenting that women do. Or they can create outlets that are geared towards fathers. It’s refreshing to hear men discuss their emotions, but I definitely wouldn’t want to know that at some point my husband considered murdering our children. [The Daily Mail via Parent Dish]