ME DÁ LICENÇA - © KARIN HUECK

Bruno Quintal,
33, B.B.A.
How he took his leave: he worked for an organization that is part of the “Empresa Cidadã” program, a public incentive that offers 20 days of paternity leave. He then added another 25 days of vacation. He was laid off when his son was 5 months old and has been the main caregiver since.

Photo courtesy of Bruno Quintal

"

Having people over was something we didn't like very much, because the guest usually come expecting to be served. And it was a time in which we were the ones who needed help. We needed people that were willing to bring food, wash our dishes... and not the other way around. We shouldn’t be cooking and cleaning after our guests. 


 

When I went back to work, I missed home. I spent the whole day thinking about what was going on there. I couldn't change my hours, but 4 months after I got back from work, I was fired. And I've been at home with my son ever since. My wife went back to work in February and we decided that instead of putting him in childcare, he would stay with me until I decided what I wanted for my professional future.


 

Nowadays, it seems that there is something wrong if a woman decides to stay home with her baby. If men had the right to parental leave, it would be easier for a family to organize childcare. It's ridiculous that we have 5 days of paternity leave in Brazil. It’s absurd. It says a lot about what our society values and what it doesn’t.


 

I think that if the father doesn’t connect with the baby, he will always feel insecure about "not being able to cope". And he doesn't feel co-responsible for the child. If we are not present in the beginning, if we don't understand the work a baby takes, the routine of care, we have no empathy with the mother.

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"I remember being amazed with him, with his little nails, with his hair, the way he looked at me. I kept him in my arms after the feedings and it was so nice that my heart hurt. It felt like life was taking on a new meaning. “