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Isolated Mothers and the Challenges of Newborns

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

8. 20% reported that their husbands or partners provided no affection, emotional or practical support.

Actually, the list goes on and the overall picture is extremely dismal.

Sakala states that employers need to provide more time for maternity leave that is paid and that husbands and families need to do a lot more in the way of care and help in handling the baby.

My comments:

As a father I well remember how difficult it is to raise babies. I believe it was Hillary Clinton who once said that "It takes a village to raise a child." I also remember how many politicians were derisive towards Mrs. Clinton for having made that statement. However, she was correct. Babies, those tiny and helpless creatures are demanding and exhausting.

I suspect that many husbands would protest that they cannot help their wives because they are away at work all day. I remember having a number of patients in marriage therapy who made that protest when their wives complained about the lack of help.

By the way, money was actually not the issue for some of the couples I treated. Rather, for some of the marriages I am referring to, the husbands had a denigrating attitude towards their wives and the job of caring for an infant. More than a few of these men were convinced that they worked harder than their wives and, therefore, saw no reason why they should help when they got home.

I clearly remember doing my share of changing diapers, bottle feeding and rocking the infants to sleep. These things are not a job reserved for the mother alone.

Rather than blaming husbands or partners, I want to appeal to all fathers to rise to the occasion and do all they can to provide infant and young child care. In fact, the job does not stop when infancy ends but continues all through life. Parenting is not a part time job and is not reserved to only one parent.

I apologize if my tone is "lecturing" but I believe the issue is extremely important.

Let me leave the reader with this little bit of information. Some study done quite a few years ago found that fathers who are engaged in changing diapers and providing infant care do not sexually abuse their children during any stage of their lives. That is something to think about. I have treated more than a few individuals and families victimized by child sexual abuse.

I encourage your comments, observations and opinions.

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, PhD

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