When a couple becomes pregnant (let’s not get too literal on that statement, by the way), it’s the woman who gains instant adulation by way of carrying the child. The wife will probably pick out new maternity clothes, possibly host a baby shower, request certain special foods and physically start to change. It’s a wonderful, exciting time.
The husband’s life will change too, but the lack of attention can easily make a dad feel shut out.
It’s one thing for dads to feel left out, but another to actually experience it.
I know of a man who was about to become a dad again, and he was thrilled as ever to be a part of the process. But when it came time for the actual hospital birth, he became the invisible man.
From the moment he arrived with his wife at the hospital, no one greeted him, talked to him, asked him how excited he was, inquired to see if he had any questions, took the time to get to know him, told him what he could do to help, or acknowledged him in any way.
No one. Not a doctor, nurse, assistant, or anyone else in the room.
The first interaction he had with anyone on that joyous day was when he initiated it by asking a nurse if he could hold his new baby.
Now I’ll admit, communication is a two-way street and this wasn’t their first child, but the hospital clearly calls the shots and dictates the flow of the procedure. Part of the delivery day, which involves plenty of waiting, should be geared toward having the hospital staff going out of their way to purposely involve the dad in some way. He made that baby happen, too, and is responsible in complete, equal fashion.
This true story reminds me of another doctor, who makes a regrettable point to ignore dads everywhere in its latest ad.
Dr. Smith’s ointment and spray assumes that dads don’t take care of babies, and it doesn’t stop in this September 2014 American Baby magazine ad. Take a gander at their website to read (and watch) more of this dad exclusion:
- A heading which reads, “Pediatrician Developed. Mom Approved.”
- A separate menu tab with “Mom Reviews.”
- “For more than 50 years, moms have known about how well Dr. Smith’s® works…”
- “Moms have lots to say about how well Dr. Smith’s works for them…”
- “See what these in-the-know moms have experienced…”
- Testimonials from moms, but not a single testimonial from even one dad.
And we haven’t even mentioned the print ad (pictured above – click to enlarge), which excludes dad not once, but twice.
I’m sure the product works fine, Dr. Smith is probably a nice guy and no one meant any harm.
But that’s exactly the problem: no one ever means any harm, they just didn’t realize, or forgot, or omitted, or passed over, or assumed, or overlooked. That’s what happens to dad all the time.
Dads have been forgotten for years, and it’s time to start acknowledging that they are involved with pregnancies, taking care of babies and child-rearing.
The possibility always exists that the marketing team intentionally left dads off the ad and their website in order to market solely to moms. How sad that would be, because Dr. Smith is a man himself, and a doctor should know better.
Dads count too, Dr. Smith. You probably even treated a future one in your pediatric office back in the day.
What do you say about changing your marketing messages as fast as your ointment supposedly works?