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It's dad's baby too

By unknown | Aug 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Pregnancy is indisputably the most exciting time in a woman's life. And just as with any exciting event, there's also the thrill of uncertainty.

A lot of African men still believe pregnancy is the preserve of women and are unwilling to involve themselves.

Chris Maholwana, a gynaecologist in private practice, says it is important for fathers to be involved in the pregnancy journey, from the day they discover about the pregnancy until the day of the birth.

Maholwana says during pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes some fairly dramatic changes, physically and emotionally, and she needs to be able to rely on a partner for support.

He advises fathers to even attend pre- and post-natal visits with their partners to understand these changes.

"It is important for fathers to be part of the pregnancy journey. This provides support for the mother and creates a bond between the father and the baby. Support does not mean your partner just needs some help around the house, or a cuddle here and there. It means the partner is closely involved throughout the pregnancy."

Siyanda Ngozi, a mother of a three-week-old, says she experienced a period of weepiness, mood swings, anxiety, unhappiness and regret.

"This was the most draining period in my life. My man did not understand what I was going through. He thought I was a prima donna who was looking for attention. Going to antenatal classes with him helped him understand what I was going through."

Ngozi added the classes helped her partner to help her take care of the baby after birth.

Amos Malinga, a father of two, says his presence during the delivery of his second baby changed his perspective about fatherhood and being a husband.

"Seeing my wife going through pain and soldiering through the whole process, changed my perspective about her. I loved her more after witnessing what she went through. Though I fainted during the process, I would do it again."

Amanda Brown, a paediatrician, said men who experience the birth of their children usually have a special bond with them.

"I advise dads to be involved from the very first moment they know about the pregnancy.

"Ask your partner what she would find most helpful. Would she like you to change more nappies? Read baby care books? Call your paediatrician with questions? Rock the baby to sleep? Feed the baby?

"There is almost nothing most new mothers appreciate more than concrete, loving assistance from the father in caring for their baby."

Not all women are lucky though. Morongoa Mabitsela of Radiokop said the father of her child ran a mile the day she broke the news of her pregnancy.


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