The 21st-century pop has to learn to be a father.
The connection between mother and baby begins long before the water breaks. Mom must make conscious diet and lifestyle choices during the conception period. Once pregnant, there are nine months of growing and showing, kicking and elbowing. For dad, the connection largely begins in the delivery room. In other words, when baby is born, dad is on Day 1. Mom is on Day 462.
"Fathers and mothers come into the parenting process differently," says Warren. "For the mother, the connection is biologically constructed. It's a part of her. Fathering, on the other hand, is less so. Therefore, it's important for men to learn the skills they need to be a good dad. For some guys it's more intuitive, like a jump shot, but most guys need a coach."
After identifying a lack of support and resources in his own community, Somerfeld founded NYC Dads Group, a social network that connects at-home dads in the New York area. The group currently has 190 members. Somerfeld also is fielding inquiries about setting up stay-at-home dad groups in other cities. When I speak to Somerfeld via phone, he is leaving the Central Park Zoo, having just browsed the penguin and puffin exhibit with five other fathers and their children.
"When I started the group, I was seeking out other people like myself," Somerfeld says. "There aren't a lot of resources for new dads. Moms have mommy-and-me classes, breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants. There's nothing like that for dads."
What mom should know: Having dad present for the delivery is critical to the father-child connection. "In the last 35 years, hospitals have been encouraging fathers to be at the delivery and to cut the umbilical cord, encouraging them to be a part of their child's life right from birth," says Dr. Siegel. You can also suggest one of the NFI's workshops, training sessions, online webinars and a variety of brochures including the New Dad's Pocket Guide for new and expectant fathers.