Imagine opening TV Guide and reading information about television, but it’s not addressed to or intended for women.
Dads are handled this way every month by, what else, American Baby magazine. We’ve penned entries on ABM before, because it has a troubling way of doing business. As a member of the media, it has a duty to report and inform, while living up to its title.
Anything else is misleading.
We’d have less of a problem with this monthly if they’d just call it what it is, say, Mom magazine.
In its March 2015 ABM issue, we counted an image of just one dad, compared to 17 moms holding, cuddling, kissing and caressing cute babies.
Before you say, “That ratio is getting better!” (we found 29 moms and 0 dads back in November), turn to page 2 and page 21, where you’ll find sections titled, respectively, “Mom Buzz” and “All About Mom.”
Granted, the magazine’s subtitle reads, “Healthy pregnancy, happy baby,” but who said dads can’t be involved with pregnancy and babies? In fact, moms should go out of their way to involve dads with just about the only two things he can’t do in regard to pregnancy and babies: carry it and nurse it from his breasts.
Month in and month out, ABM creates the perception that dads shouldn’t be involved, or aren’t, or can’t.
We know of dad who wanted his forthcoming child to have the healthiest start possible. He overloaded the house with fresh vegetables and fruit. He prepared enormously healthy meals and figured it to be a time for providing mom and child (and him too) with the best nutrition possible. He even stepped up his workout plan, just to show he was “all-in.”
But you know what? He had no shared control over this mutual creation, because his wife viewed this as her pregnancy, not his. She used the nine months as a license to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. It was heartbreaking to a man only wanting the best for their baby.
He felt powerless and useless, totally left out.
We’re not trying to deny the right of an individual to do whatever she (or he) wants, but when a child is involved, that is a mutually, equally collective product of love for which both parties should be responsible.
Legally, a man has few rights after a woman conceives, and many view pregnancy as the woman’s responsibility and choice. Where does this leave dad?
A father has no right to be at any OB/GYN appointments, to be in the delivery room, to name the child, or even to stop an abortion. He may even be denied the right to object to adoption.
Yet, the rules of the game change after birth, where the dad is then required to provide for the child’s material and emotional needs – certainly all good things – but shouldn’t that requirement be mandatory throughout this shared ordeal, such as during the pregnancy?
ABM makes it flat-out look like the woman is 100% charge of the pregnancy and baby. Sadly, that may be true legally, but don’t shut a dad’s heart out of something he loves. Mothers are born with no more instinctual nurturing abilities than fathers, so let human nature suggest that dads play an equal part.
Hey, it’s ABM’s magazine and it can do what it wants, whenever it wants, but including dads in a magazine about babies and pregnancy would be a nice start.