As a man and a dad, I admit, we don’t hear this message enough. In fact, far too often we receive the opposite message: “You’re the problem.” Or “It’s her choice; she doesn’t need you.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, research demonstrates that you matter to three very important people. Let me explain.
You matter to your child. You can have a massive impact upon your child’s life and future simply by choosing to be involved in his or her life. There are almost too many statistics and studies to cite that will back up this claim, but here are a few.
- Your baby’s health is impacted by your presence or absence even before birth. Fathers indirectly impact fetal development, birth weight, preterm birth through their absence. This is because the father’s absence creates additional stress upon the mother. In fact, women without father support experience a higher rate (48%) of pregnancy loss than women with the support of the father (22.2%). This means that children whose fathers are involved during pregnancy are far more likely to experience a healthy birth.
- As your child grows, simply being present to provide a positive influence affects his or her social and emotional development.
- Your influence also dramatically affects their education. The lack of a father decreases a child’s ability to perform well in school. Simply not having a father present doubles the chances that children will drop out of high school and never graduate.
- You matter to the mother of your child.
- When fathers are involved and supportive during pregnancy, mothers tend to take better care of themselves. Mothers who have the support of their babies’ fathers during pregnancy:
- Obtain prenatal care earlier
- Engage in fewer harmful behaviors (such as smoking, drinking, and using illicit drugs)
- Eat healthier
- Exercise more
- Mothers are less likely to experience depression when the father is involved.
- You matter to yourself.
- Fatherhood increases the likelihood that men will find stable employment.
- Fatherhood decreases the likelihood that men will engage in risky behaviors.
- Fatherhood decreases depression during their children’s preschool years and increases their self-esteem.
If you ever find yourself thinking, “I don’t matter,” just look at the facts. You do matter. And you can be an incredible influence on the people closest to you—including yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Get involved today.
Here are three easy ways to do that:
- Find out when her next appointment is going to be, and make sure you’re there.
- Make yourself reminders to ask her regularly, “How are you doing? Do you need anything?”
- Start learning how to be an engaged and involved dad by beginning the Being Dad course. It’s free, doesn’t take a lot of time, and meets on your schedule. What’s more, it’s mobile. So pick a place to meet, set up a time and try it out.