manifesto

Behind the lens

The first time I felt like I needed a father figure was when I found out my wife was pregnant. Nobody prepares you for that shit.

To be honest, the first thought I had was “Get rid of it.” I’m not ashamed of that thought though, our current situation wasn’t primed for parenthood and I’ve always had reservations about unplanned family expansion.

Our turning point was the upfront cost of a fancy abortion (think incoming and outgoing counseling, not a wire coat hanger and a shot of whisky), we didn’t have the cash.

Telling our parents was the easy part, they were all ecstatic and supportive. But not once throughout the pregnancy did my dad ever pull me aside for a chat about the pitfalls of impending fatherhood. Granted, he and my mom were separated/divorced since I was 4, but he was then already a three infant veteran (not counting extra-marital siring).

I pressed him for details about my own rearing and was answered with anecdotes about my mother’s antics on the numerous trips between Pretoria and Cape Town. Conversations with my father-in-law uncovered similar tales of absent fathers, or rather, fathers who took their place behind the lens.

As wonderful as it is watching my daughter becoming the amazing person she is, I don’t want to be a behind-the-lens dad. I want to be active and involved, sharing the load with my wife and giving her a chance to be selfish. And I know I’m not alone.
Nobody prepares dads for fatherhood, but we can help each other be a perfect dad.

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