In his blog Mrunal shares the highs and lows of his life with his son Arun, who has cerebral palsy and autism, his younger daughter Meri, the mischief maker and last but no means least, his wife Clare.
This Sunday 14th July is Disability Awareness Day. So we at DAD would like to share with you some of the highlights from one of our bloggers.
Here are a few excerpts from his blogs over the last 2 years that he has been writing for DAD.
Fatherhood in intensive care.
My twin boys were born very prematurely at 24 weeks of gestation. Arun spent six months in hospital before coming home. Rohan never made it home, he died after nine weeks.
When the boys were in hospital, I spent a lot of time there. More than this, I spent as much time as I could there. In between working and eating, I think I spent pretty much every waking moment there.
This made me think about the levels of engagement that different men had shown in the plight of their children and got me thinking: Why were some Dads just not there?
Some men had demanding jobs where their employer was less sympathetic than my own and so simply could not spend hours at the hospital. Others may have been there in the hours that I was not. Other fathers undoubtedly had other children to look after whilst mother was tending to baby in hospital. Even so, I found it difficult to understand why they did not swap places sometimes.
Beyond these, I think, there are more deep seated psychological reasons why some men were absent. Mothers and babies bond instinctively. Fathers, however, need to work on getting to know their babies and some of them need to learn to love them. However, I suspect that some fathers just didn’t want to hang around the hospital and cluck over their child.
From my own experience there are two more sinister reasons why men were sometimes absent.
To put it simply, the first reason was that we were scared. An intensive care unit is a frightening place. There were numerous times when a small part of me wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else where I did not have to face the stark reality of what was happening to my children.
Even darker though is the shame that I suspect some fathers felt at having a child in intensive care. Men are supposed to be strong. Our job is to further our genes by fathering strong children. To my own shame, there was one fleeting moment when I realised that a part of me had not completely accepted the children as my own. It only was when I saw my own name against the incubators that I truly felt ownership of the twins. It was only then that the tiny sliver of denial was exposed and finally expunged. I imagine that I was not alone in feeling this.
I can’t and I won’t judge those who were not present. I can only speculate as to why some fathers chose to be absent when their children were in hospital. Men, despite the press to the contrary, are complex creatures. Every father who chose to be there had their reasons and had to battle their own demons. I suspect every father that was absent had to do the same.
Read the full story at DAD