I love how Baby Center tells me what I should be afraid about.
Here are the seven deadly fears:
- Will I be able to provide for my family?
- Will I be able to “perform” during Esther’s labor?
- Am I really the baby daddy?
- Does this mean that my life is over?
- Will Esther and Axelrod be okay?
- Will Esther love Axelrod more than me?
- Should I be afraid of hospitals in general?
I guess the point of listing all of these fears is to help people who are afraid feel like they’re “normal”. But I can’t help but feel that they also serve to reinforce stereotypes that are about weakness, insecurity, and irrationality and offering them as ways to be. Even if you weren’t necessarily afraid of these things before reading the list, someone might read the list and think, yeah, maybe I SHOULD be worried about the paternity of my baby.
It could be simply because, as I ease into a new role, I’m hyper aware of the pressures that attempt to mold me, inform me of my new role, give subtle clues, social cues, etc to help me along the way. But where are the articles from Baby Center that talk about the strong stereotypes, the new fathers that feel secure in their ability to provide, have no squeamishness of blood and tears, know they’re the father, that life is not over, that everyone will be okay, that there will be more than enough love to go around, and that are either avoiding hospitals or are confident in their abilities? Why does everything have to be about fears?
Even though Baby Center is by far the most popular, and in many ways the most informative, website for expecting new parents, it’s articles like this that make me realize that they sort of suck.