The media regularly reports on the large number and the plight of young mothers, the frequent absence of the young fathers, and that the child or children are effectively living in a single parent family. There tends to be little positive reporting about the ‘absent’ young fathers who, for a whole host of reasons are, or can easily become marginalised and have little if any presence in the life of their son or daughter – with all the potential implications, for all those affected – for the rest of their lives.
There is virtually no support, assistance, guidance, ‘help’ for young fathers about their existing or imminent status as being a Daddy, what it means, what it doesn’t mean.
The volunteer work in which I am involved is around:
- the practical aspects of becoming and being a father, the pregnancy of the mother, the classes, the birth, registering the birth, some legal stuff, the time after the birth, feeding, nappies, winding, sleep, costs, the stages……….you get the idea?
- and the non-practical, less tangible part of being a father, the new identity, personal values, managing the change, balancing various demands, relationships, being a family, personal wellbeing, the joy, the responsibility, the sharing, the fatigue, the laughs, the dependency, the love, stages of life, still having goals, support, the future… and much more.
Ultimately the purpose of undertaking this voluntary work is quite simple – to offer some support to often confused, nervous, angry, complacent, worried, frightened young men, to help enable them to become the best fathers that they can be, for the prime benefit of their child or children, and the secondary benefit of them experiencing the joy of being a father………….and at the same time, having lots of interaction, creativity and fun!