ME DÁ LICENÇA - © KARIN HUECK

Felipe Pacheco,
29, salesman
How he took his leave: he works for an organization that is part of the “Empresa Cidadã” program, a public incentive that offers 20 days of paternity leave. He then took a 20-days vacation.

Photo: Célia Hueck

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My wife would pump and leave the bottles ready. I stayed with our daughter and fed her at night so that my wife could get some rest. It was a really special time because a baby develops so quickly. On day 2 she wasn’t  the same as on day 1, she had changed already. And I saw so many new things during those early hours. Her little laugh. Her first really gross diaper. Man, it is so nice to change a really dirty diaper, to talk to a 1-month old, to spend time with her. I read a lot about child development from month to month.


 

People think that having a fulfilling life is to have a great job, a good salary, to travel. When I was 19, I was asked in a job interview how I thought I was ging to be a fulfilled person. And I knew that I would only be happy when I’d become a father. I have known that since I was 19. Today I feel complete. I have a simple but comfortable life.

 

I took pre-natal classes which were offered by the public health system and whoever takes the course has 20 days of paid leave, because of the Empresa Cidadã incentive. During pregnancy, I also asked for time off to join my wife at all medical appointments. Or I tried to schedule appointments on my free time. A dad should not be a guest, a dad is a dad. You have to be there. I think that only a few men know about their right to paternity leave.


 

We talk a lot about paternity leave, but we should talk about a "spousal leave". Because it's not just about the baby, it's also about the mother. My wife's breasts were infected because of the breastfeeding and I had to keep giving her massages. I saw how exhausted she was. I took care of both of them.

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"Staying home was important to understand what it means to be a father. In your body. In your life. Nothing prepares you for that. When you are home, you feel your baby's pain when she has tummy aches. I was in tears when we vaccinated her. You feel everything. It's different."