Continued from The Challenges of AP Fathering – Part 1…
To be very honest, I believe sensitivity is the key for a father to get along with Attachment Parenting. We must allow ourselves to feel like this, without fearing or caring about what others might think of our manhood. What is to be a man, after all? If it is to drink beer and watch football, then I am afraid I have never been truly a man. It ought to be more than that!
But sadly, many men today have not created secure attachments with their own parents. Many of us have not received love and affection when we were little. Some of us even say that despite everything, we survived. So why, now, we should provide all the love and affection most of us did not receive? Because it is not a matter of survival, it is a matter of thriving, and everybody in the family should have a chance to thrive through love.
Still not so sure about why we should be attached fathers?
Because it is worth it.
I have not been a dad for that long and I can already say it is really worth it. As soon as I realized that it is, indeed, possible (and enjoyable) to be an attached father, I knew I had to help spread the word. It is about time that we take our roles of fathers (not mere providers) and live it up. It is time for new generations of fathers to go beyond helping their wives at home.
It is time for attached fathers.
Fortunately, all around the internet, we can find mothers writing about their experiences and challenges while raising their children the attached way. There are many beautiful and empowering stories out there that you can easily find and learn from. Sadly, we cannot say the same thing for fathers. There are still few men talking about parenting.
In response, I started my own blog in Brazil, and my main goal was to show to all fathers that it is possible to break the cycle. A man is not less of a man if he cares and loves his baby. Being sensible is a blessing, not a curse.
Soon enough, I realized the blog’s purpose should go beyond helping men build a conscience around active fatherhood. I knew I could help both mothers and fathers, writing about my experiences with Attachment Parenting.
This is especially good because, here in Brazil, there is not much material available in our language specifically about Attachment Parenting. However, to my fortunate surprise, I have found out that many mothers and fathers were already practicing Attachment Parenting in Brazil without even knowing it had a name. They did it by instinct, which is one of the foundations of Attachment Parenting. Trust your instincts. You are the specialist of your baby.
A couple months later, I noticed I could do a little more, so I decided to enter the API Leader Application Program in order to start an API support group here in Brazil. I hope this way I will be able to help even more parents, having the support from the entire API organization.
The Application Program itself has been an incredible self-knowledge journey. Each time I exchange emails with my Application Liaison, every book I read, every reflection I make helps me understand better not only child rearing practices, but also helps me to understand the other. People are out there and they do not just need help raising their children, they need compassion and empathy as well.
Today, I organize some parent meet-ups in my community to talk about Attachment Parenting. It is not an official API Support Group per se, but I like to think about it as an internship. It is great to see how many people are looking for support, to feel they are not the only ones when it comes to the choices we make in child rearing. It has been an amazing experience and I have no doubt it will become even better as soon as I become an accredited API Leader.
Many people think I might receive some resistance for being a man and being so active in Attachment Parenting. But I do believe I can offer a different point of view that might be interesting for many mothers. I am fully aware of the different roles both mother and father play in parenting, and how important those are. I also know I do not have the birthing and breastfeeding superpowers, but I can offer support as well, through empathic listening. After all, sometimes, all we need is empathy when we are struggling.
Besides, being a father on a discussion group has shown to be an incentive for other fathers to participate, which is quite amazing. Some men may envision a parenting discussion group as a bunch of women with their babies in slings talking about many parenting topics. Well, that picture is accurate, but it does not have to be avoided by fathers. So when they know a guy is over there talking to the group, men feel more comfortable attending the meet-ups.
My son, my wife and Attachment Parenting not only helped me being a better father, but also helped me on the journey of becoming a better human being.
Thiago Queiroz is an attached father who found AP after his son was born at home. Currently, he is an API Leader Applicant seeking to start an API support group in Rio, Brazil.