30, PhD student
How he took his leave: He is also a freelance journalist and stopped working for 3 months. To this day, he works from home.
Photo courtesy of Gabriel Vituri
It took me a long time to realize that sharing responsibilities is actually sharing all the mental load involved in having a baby. There's no point in changing diapers and cleaning the kitchen, without realizing that I only did these things because my partner told me that these things had to be done. In practice, I would bathe our daughter, I would change diaper,s put her down for naps and I thought this was enough. You think you're being so cool and sharing, but you're not really being that cool, you know?
After she was born, I decided to leave my previous job. It was hard. But after she was born, I understood that time is very valuable, we can't waste time on bullshit, our time is worth so much.
One of the great difficulties in bonding with the baby was to feel safe with her. To feel ok to be alone with her all day and to know that she will have everything that she needs. Today I do feel safe. We have a relationship that is not socially determined, it is not only a relationship of "father and daughter" that follows predetermined terms. It is a relationship that we have built together, and that only exists between us. It came from spending so much time together.
I've never been nostalgic for the life I had before her, like: "oh, I'm so sad because I can't go out for drinks and stay out all night". Obviously I liked to do that, but I never felt that my life was over. Having taken parental leave meant that the change was not abrupt. I didn't look back and sad: "where are all the choices I had made before?"
"In my head, I was doing everything, taking care of my wife, my daughter. I thought: 'Cool. I'm here. I quit everything to be here'. And suddenly I felt very lonely, so lonely. I kept thinking: 'Now what? What if it doesn't fill this void inside of me?' I still have this dilemma. It's not a thing that goes away."