Saturday 19 June 2021



I was thinking this morning.... I remember an incident early on in my married life living at Ogiyede area of Warri. One night, a neighbour woke us up at about midnight to help take the wife, who was in labour, to the hospital. I rushed out, brought out my car to pick them up. As the husband supported the wife into the car, she groaned and sometimes cursed. As they sat at the rear seat of the car and I started driving, the husband consoled the wife amidst her groaning, 'Sorry dear. Take it easy.' The woman's response shocked me. She spurted out 'Shut up! No be you do am?' Wow! What has the poor man done wrong? I imagined. Why are fathers seen as the problem? Why don't fathers get the same sympathy like mothers?

As I started having children, I began experiencing what fathers go through. First, I wondered why people believe only mothers carry the burden of pregnancy. Research have shown that fathers around the globe experience couvade syndrome, which is also called “sympathy pregnancy.” The symptoms of this condition are similar to an expectant mother’s symptoms and include altered hormone levels, weight gain, vomiting, and nausea. Yet, that pregnant lady told the husband 'Shut up! No be you do am?' Chai! Didn't she know that the husband was in pain as well? if a mother is person who gave birth to a child, then fathers are mothers. Hail them for me.

Some say men don't get pregnant, so will not understand the burden of child bearing. Really? The greatest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the wife of Feodor Vassilyev of Russia between 1707 and 1782. That is nothing compared to Ismail Ibn Sharif, an Alaouite sultan who fathered 888 children with hundreds of wives and concubines in the late 17th century. Do you know what it takes to make one pregnancy, not to talk of 888 and support the birth of the children? Abeg, make una hail fathers for me.

In spite of all fathers go through, only 66 countries guarantee a father’s right to paid paternity leave, and only 31 offer 14 weeks or more. Nigeria and the United States are not part of them. Why? Don't they know that fathers are mothers? Don't they realise that children in homes without fathers are almost four times more likely to be poor? Yet, so many fathers are home supporting their wives and children, and still being treated like they are ordinary men. No. Fathers are mothers as well. Hail them.

As we celebrate another Fathers Day today, all I am asking is for the world to appreciate fathers who have been giving, giving and giving. Proverbs 23:22: "Listen to your father, who gave you life. You may call them Dad, Father, Papa, Piile, Popsy, Ba'ami, Nna or even Papilolo. Whatever it is, please just bless a father today.

Happy Fathers Day.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey

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