The Importance of Father's Love Even Before and During Infancy

The Importance of Father's Love Even Before and During Infancy

by John A. Speyrer

"The most important thing a father can do for his children
is to love their mother."

-- Anonymous

* * *

The July, 2009 issue of Pediatrics, reported that Dutch studies have shown that father-love is an essential ingredient in preventing extended crying in infants. Paternal love, coupled with mother's well being during pregnancy, leads to well being in babies. No surprises here.

HealthDay News recently reported: "Up to now, almost all attention went to the prenatal effects of maternal depression on child development, leading to the development of detection and treatment programs that focused on mental well-being of mother." Wow! I did not know that pre- and peri-natal psychology truths were becoming so mainstream, but that's what Dr. Mijke P. van den Berg psychiatrist in residence at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam was quoted as having written.

It was found that the father had an essential role in having happy non-excessively crying babies and his role goes all the way back to gestation of the father's child-to-be. The study involved over 4000 two-month old infants. Their incidence of excessive crying was the criterion and their crying time was more than 3 hours per day.

The investigators discovered a 30 percent higher chance of depression in the parents of those crying babies. Mothers who are depressives are known to influence crying in their babies, but the significance of this study was that "a dad with symptoms of depression was twice as likely to have an infant who cried excessively as was a dad who was not depressed...."

So fathers are definitely more than sperm donors! Indeed, depressed fathers were "twice as likely to have an infant who cried excessively as was a dad who was not depressed." I should mention that some of the authors felt that there might be genetic factors involved, but I believe that is unlikely as recent studies [NIH News ], have shown that the much touted depression risk gene may not add to risk after all.

British regression therapist and psychiatrist, Frank Lake, had studied the issues raised by the Dutch study many decades earlier. He considered the umbilical cord as a direct feeling pipeline to the emotions of the mother, and from which the fetus may thereby learn, for example, that his mother and father fought continuously during his gestation or that he is unwanted and would not be welcomed at birth. [Review of Collected Works of William R. Emerson, Ph.D., Vol. 2, Pre- and Peri-Natal Regression Therapy]

Dr. Lake places emphasis on the present life situation of the pregnant mother (how the mother-to-be is treated by the father) and in her feelings about "her pregnancy and the reaction of the fetus within her to her response to life events. These events are along a continuum of possible responses ranging from absolute and joyous acceptance to horrendous and cataclysmic rejection." [Stephen M. Maret, Ph.D. Dissertation, Frank Lake's Maternal-Fetal Distress Syndrome, p. 68.]

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