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On delayed fatherhood: the social and subjective “logics” at work in men’s lives (a UK study)

Henwood, Karen Linda ORCID:, Shirani, Fiona Jane and Procter, Joanne Kellett Nee 2011. On delayed fatherhood: the social and subjective “logics” at work in men’s lives (a UK study). Beets, Gijs, Schippers, Johannes Jan and te Velde, Egbert R., eds. The future of motherhood in western societies: late fertility and its consequences, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 159-176. (10.1007/978-90-481-8969-4_11)

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This chapter deals with men’s transition to fatherhood using a qualitative investigation into whether people find fertility choices and decisions routine and natural, challenging and difficult, and/or whether they approach them in a more or less planned, volitional or “rational” way. The data show that the overwhelming majority of men still keenly feel the responsibility of becoming a good father and are eager to be involved with all aspects of their children’s lives, yet the role of provider and breadwinner remains fundamental to fathering identity. Fatherhood is often described as a considered choice, something men embark upon once other aspects of their lives – such as work and relationships – are stable and secure. By delaying fatherhood in this way, the men feel that they are better able and emotionally more mature to fully commit to it. One difficulty with this is that some men may not feel ready for parenthood at the same time as their partners, so some women may become mothers later than they would have ideally liked. Although most men still intend to be fathers at some stage in their lives, they do not envision a particular age at which they will do so. Before embarking on fatherhood they are often confused over or have no idea what is expected of them, or what to expect from parenthood; they are concerned about facing the unfamiliar and may experience anxiety about how the child will affect the spousal relationship. Some state not having felt able to talk to anyone about their worries and concerns around fatherhood. The reluctance to discuss feelings about fatherhood may prove an impediment to being an emotionally open and involved father. The men in this study overwhelmingly see themselves as involved fathers, contrasting this desire for involvement with their own fathers’ apparent emotional distance.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9789048189687
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Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 09:32

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