A Fatherlike Feeling

(34 min). Debate: 17h55-18h20. Becoming a father is major, one-time event in a man’s life. However, during the pregnancy, delivery and first months of the post-natal period, most of the attention is directed to the mother and the baby, with fathers often experiencing the process more as privileged, "first-row spectators" than as main actors. Being about to become a first-time mother myself gave me the opportunity to do research into my own family, filming the process from the very beginning to document my husband’s slow, gradual transition into a committed father who wanted to become as important for the baby as I was. As a result, this intimate narration opens a window into a newly created family, and especially into the feelings of the father and the evolution of his physical relationship with the baby in the context of a 7-month parental leave, which created a unique opportunity for him to establish long-lasting bonds. This ethnography reflects on issues related to gender and masculinity, such as the tension between biological and cultural factors or the influence of role-models in the transition towards fatherhood, but also on how to conduct an anthropology of the self.

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