It takes a man

20140521-110434.jpgManliness : the traditional male quality of being brave and strong. Synonyms include: virility, vigour, strength, roughness, muscularity, control, power (Google definition)

Most men have the physical ability to father children. Not all men make good fathers. The exact same can also be said of woman.

I am very aware that the majority of my readers are of the female variety. I am in no way putting woman down or saying that any of the following things can only be carried out by the male species. In fact it is the exact opposite.

What I do want to do though is particularly honour those men who are bucking the trend by supporting, nurturing, caring and standing by not only the mothers of their children but also their very unique, and at times very challenging, children. Those very fathers who have perhaps had to give up jobs, lost careers, livelihoods, friends, and positions, to be there full-time for their child or children who may never live independently, or be employed, or get married. It takes courage, bravery, and strength to father a child who may never call you daddy, who you may never teach to play sport or see graduate from university. This is for all those men and for all those woman having to find the courage to be a man too.

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Because it takes a man to be patient with a child who has yet to learn his own name.

It takes a man to still dress your child and carry out intimate care on your son or daughter beyond the age when a father or mother would be expected to.

It takes a man to teach your child right from wrong when their body is many years older than their mind.

It takes a man to try to teach your child to walk safely when they are pulling at your clothes and screaming at you.

It takes a man to wipe your child’s tears away and hug them after cleaning up their bodily waste from walls, bedding, toys and their own body. It takes a man to refrain from shouting when anger bubbles inside you.

It takes a man to allow professionals into your home to criticise your parenting and question your ability and not physically remove them from your home.image

It takes a man to sit at the level of your child and gently support them to do tasks a child many years younger is able to do without hesitation. It takes a man to push his own personal choices aside and allow the child to create how they want, knowing they will never win any competitions or awards for their endeavours.

It takes a man to take pride in a simple scribble when other men are boasting of their offsprings masterpieces.

It takes a man to keep pushing a grown child in a swing designated for babies and watch other people stare.

It takes a man to be willing to push your beloved child in a wheelchair and not be ashamed.

imageIt takes a man to stay at your child’s bedside while they fit, or scream or have needles attached to them.

It takes a man to be willing to fight for your child because they have no ability to do it themselves.

It takes a man to attend meetings dominated by females who are not always willing to listen.

It takes a man to be willing to sit up with your child right through the night, watch the same ten seconds of whatever it may be on repeat over and over again, and make the same meals day in day out.

It takes a man to be willing to clean, wash, iron and cook to allow the mum a break.

It takes a man to continually take your child to hospital appointment after hospital appointment and still have no answers.

Raising any child takes courage. Raising a disabled child takes extra courage. It takes bravely, strength, control, dignity, patience, character, and vigour. It takes a man or a woman of valour and power.

It doesn’t just take a man. It makes a man too.

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9 thoughts on “It takes a man

    • This may be your opinion and that is fine. However I see so any fathers (and mothers) who really struggle to cope with having a child with special needs and this post was to honour those men who find themselves in very difficult and challenging situations as a father and stick with it. You may be one who would never think to do otherwise but sadly not all fathers, or mothers, are so courageous.

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  1. Great and inspiring words Miriam. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the male perspective in all of this and I am so glad you have raised it. Dads should obviously be involved and we have to fight against traditional gender stereotypes. I cannot help but wonder though if the dominance of females in the care/ support world contributes to the problem. Not one of care team around Andy in early days was male and that has virtually not changed. I have written about ” the only male in the review ” issue and from a male perspective feel it is unhelpful to say the least. Service providers have to consider this at a recruitment level I feel. We recently had two autism advisor posts in Argyll up for grabs. The two successful candidates are female and the organisation is also predominantly female. Many males find difficulty engaging in a care process and the gender imbalance does nothing to help. Dads may not be as good at showing emotion or seeking emotional support- I am regularly the only dad at support groups.- but all the emotions you mention are experienced. I worry that dad’s can turn to alcohol or drugs contributing to breakup and leading to a single parent, usually female, facing the challenges alone. We have to consider these issues and your writing does that wonderfully X

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  2. First of all great article miriamgwynne I am often sceptical about women telling me how to live my life, what being a man is, how I should feel about things- I don’t tell them how so what right do they have? But this was good to read. duncfmac: it goes deeper than what you say imo. The system of care and education in this country subtly but successfully seeks to exclude men. My experience is that the female teachers, health visitors etc pour love and praise on the mums and have endless hatred for the dads. I had a midwife once look me in the eye and tell me my only job is to crawl back in my box and pay the bills. When my violent ex left me with my 4 I asked for health visitor support but she refused to see me. Yet when she stole them from me a year later she was inundated with health professionals and free money. What did I get? A letter from the CSA of course!! So that’s all we are wanted for, sperm and cash. And to crawl back in our box. My children came back of course because of her abusive behaviour but I lost 3 stone in 3 months and ended up in a psych ward. The teachers etc thought it was great when she shouted and banged the table thinking she was strong and feisty, what if a man does that? They call security and ban him from the building (and go on about horrible men etc in the staffroom no doubt.) Well she loses. She barely ever sees her kids now and she has not seen her grandchild for many years, my son won’t allow it. So I guess I win but I wish I had not been psychologically destroyed, physically assaulted and financially ruined in the process. So to add to your list of stuff it takes to be a man: it takes a man to refuse to crawl back in his box. Even when it looks very comfortable and safe. I am an autistic man, a dad, a granddad (and a nurse and a teacher) and I have climbed out of my box for the very last time.

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  3. Incredibly honouring to those men to do indeed father a child with special needs Miriam. They are treasures, and bear much that others will never know. You are blessed with such a man, and thank God, so am I. xxx

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