First published in 1984, this groundbreaking title explores the concept of fatherhood, by following a hundred men who become fathers for the first time. The book is addressed to men who are discovering fatherhood and to women who wish to hear what a man feels and thinks about having a child.
Many men experience the strange problems of the male couvade. They have everything from mysterious back ache to inexplicable stomach pains. Later they frequently find that the white-coated professionals shut the door on their doubts and needs and their shy search for information.
Brian Jackson’s book cautiously explores changing attitudes to fatherhood emerging at the time of the book’s initial publication. In recent years we have gone through a unique revolution in man’s experience of woman and child. There is surprise at the costs and demands of parenthood, so much so that both parents may move from a honeymoon phase of parenthood into the birth of the blues. Previously this has been thought of as a female, hormonal readjustment, but since men speak of identical symptoms, this study suggests that, at the roots, lies the strain of unprepared parenthood.
The traditional father is still there – showing off his medals, his tattoos, his rugby triumphs and his unconcern for the gentler aspects of life. So is the man who simply hunts in the economic jungle, and expects his home to service him. But most of these men now waver and hedge their bets. They look at their child as they return from their working day, or as they slump into unemployment, and wonder if they could be more positive, more creative, more licensed to care.
Part 1: On the Brink 1. The Invisible Man 2. Figures in a Landscape Part 2: Full Fathom Five 3. ‘Darling, I’ve News for You’ 4. Decision Taker 5. Action Man 6. Doubtful Days 7. Couvade Part 3: Coming up for Air 8. Nativity 9. Being There 10. Coming Home 11. Baby Days Part 4: On the Outside, Looking Inside 12. ‘The Child Grows Towards the Father’ 13. Androgyny and the Imperatives of Work 14. Everyman 15. Conclusion