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Culture & Religion

What Does it Mean to Become a Father?

For Safraz Manzoor, a father of a 10 month-old daughter, most of the “advice” he received came in the form of societal expectations. Now he opens up about what fatherhood is really like. 

What’s the Latest Development?

When it comes to pregnancy, “the important stuff happens to the woman and the man’s role is to assist and cope,” says Safraz Manzoor, father of a 10 month-old daughter. Given their secondary roles, it is not always easy for men to find advice about what to expect from fatherhood. And even when the advice is found, says Manzoor, it typically comes in the form of folklore rather than practical advice. “Childbirth is like watching a film after having read too many advance reviews,” he says. “You have been told about the part where you will scream and the bit where you will weep, so it comes loaded with expectations.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Manzoor kept being told how much his life was going to change once his child was born, which is not especially comforting news to anyone who enjoys their current life. So what does happen when a man becomes a father? “Having a baby ruins your sleep. That is one of the fundamental truths about parenthood. … Of course, life does change, but I have found that the extent of that change is partly in your hands. I would tell fathers-to-be that the fear of parenthood is much worse than parenthood itself. When you are waiting for the baby, you can see all the things that are going to change, but you cannot imagine the new things that will arrive.”

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