In my country and many parts of Africa, the role of a traditional man in child birth matters stops as soon as has caused conception. From that point on, the poor pregnant woman carries the burden of running the home along with managing her pregnancy until a few days to labor.
In my country and many parts of Africa, the role of a traditional man in child birth matters stops as soon as has caused conception. From that point on, the poor pregnant woman carries the burden of running the home along with managing her pregnancy until a few days to labor. In some cases, women deliver while in the garden, digging on the family farm. Once they have had safe delivery, after a day or two, they resume work on their farms as if they did not experience anything traumatic and as major as child birth.
Whereas this trend is not going to change in rural areas of my country for the next 100 years, there are indications that among the educated class, fathers are beginning to wake up to the crucial importance of paternity leave. For a long time, the labour laws of Uganda have had a clause on paternity leave which gives a father at least 4 working days of paternity, while a working mother is entitled to 45 working days.
Motivation at the work place
Paternity leave helps a father to settle and get motivated at his work place after having spent some time by the side of his wife and child soon after birth. He will eventually return to work well acquainted with the progress of his wife’s healing process and the child’s adjustment to the outside world.
Emotional bonding in the family
Paternity leave is also believed to promote emotional bonding in the family. This is far more significant than money which some men throw at their wives who have just given birth and then walk away to spend all their time in bars and other social joints.
Care of the Older children
At a time such as this when the mother who has had a new baby is tired, weak and sore, the presence of a father at home will be very crucial for the other older children who all along have been in the care of the mother. As the mother and the new born take their rest, the father on paternity leave would be available at this time to care for the older children, especially the youngest trying to cope with the arrival of a new sibling.
Child birth requires nursing and sometimes, if this is done by the father himself during paternity leave, the healing is faster. The father who is also the husband is the best nurse for his wife who has just given birth, nobody can do that job more effectively without causing any feeling of invasion to the wife’s privacy other than the father.
Many Ugandans however feel the 4 days of paternity leave given by our labor laws are too few. Giving up to a week or more of paternity leave would make the father provide better care to his wife and newborn child. Of course, many of us realize that paternity does not have to be too long since fathers in their majority are bread winners.
Published in: Family