Fatherhood Begins at Conception
by Geoffrey Moore
I'll never forget the day when my wife first called me with the good news. She was pregnant.
It began with her saying she was not feeling like herself, and I suggested that she see a doctor because she might be ill. What a difference - a baby!
I could not contain the feelings of joy that rushed through my body. From that moment on, I knew that my life would be different forever.
In a matter of seconds, I became a new man. I added to my roles of son, brother and husband the brand new role of being a father. I now knew I was charged with raising and teaching a precious little baby about how to be a responsible, productive, honest, decent and upright individual.
My primary concern became keeping my wife as comfortable as possible because her body was busy undergoing all of the changes that come with pregnancy. I took on additional chores around the house so she could get more rest. I also massaged her feet, cooked for her and ran to the store to satisfy her new cravings. I couldn't wait for the two of us to attend Lamaze classes.
When I first saw my baby during an ultrasound exam, I was rendered utterly speechless. The feeling that comes from seeing that living being - our child - growing inside my wife cannot be accurately summed up in words. Whether one supports or opposes abortion, after seeing something like that one cannot dispute that life begins at conception.
Despite the pablum being peddled by today's cultural elite, the presence of a father does matter in the proper development of a child. This elite mercilessly mocked former vice president Dan Quayle years ago for taking issue with the fact that the title character of the television show "Murphy Brown" opted to be a single parent. Now, few can deny that Quayle was 100 percent correct in his disdain.
A father involved in his child's life increases that child's chances of success. An analysis of the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress, for instance, shows that households with involved father are more likely to see their children receive higher grades and encounter fewer school-related behavioral problems.
When one factors in the saga of Lionel Tate, poverty rates in single-parent households and the temptation of gangs and drugs in the black community, a black father's commitment is even more important to the soul of our community.
In my opinion, this commitment should run a whole lot deeper. Not only should a father be committed to be present after a child is born - he should also understand that his familial duty starts at the moment of conception.
Speaking from experience, I have a message for all fathers and fathers-to-be: Whatever the circumstances of the pregnancy or condition of the relationship with the mother, I urge men to be involved in their child's life from Day One. There has been nothing in my life more rewarding than the birth and growth of my baby girl. All my work and effort was more than worth it.
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Geoffrey Moore is a member of the National Advisory Council of the African-American leadership network Project 21, and an MBA student and marketing analyst in the Chicago area. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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