A Word from Matt on Safety

Written by Matt DeVriendt

October 3, 2020

A word from Matt on Safety

     One of the most prevalent feelings in a new father is to protect. What else could the primordial version of ourselves have to offer other than safety? Many of us are wondering, how do I keep something so fragile so safe? It’s funny, or maybe it isn’t, but the stereotype is that Dads are the ones making… well, Dad jokes all the time and not taking matters seriously. When it comes to the sometimes messy, ugly, and dirty reality of having a new child, Moms are oftentimes the ones offering light-hearted humor, while many Dads are wringing their hands in the corner. Most of the modern-day Dad’s world doesn’t require them to channel their primal “defender.” In fact, most of our time from childhood is spent tearing down those toxic masculine instincts that generations before us handed down. When it comes to fathering our own little one for the first time, we are faced with the harsh reality that there are only two of us that can help this creature survive and no one else. Mother and father are hunkered down in their child-centric bunkers and the rest of the world be damned. All of the sudden, everything that was once unclear is crystal clear. We fuck this up, and this thing dies.

     And yet today, that’s a privileged way to look at it. The fact is, there are many out there that don’t have time to think about the safety of their own children because they must spend the time thinking about their own safety first. Black, Indigenous, and people of color, (BIPOC) folks are thinking these thoughts all the time from a very young age. Those of us that have been privileged enough to worry about our masculinity doing harm, or how our father’s masculinity did harm to us, are probably a bit surprised to be confronted with this concept of safety for our newborns. If you are BIPOC and born in America, this idea isn’t foreign to you at all. It’s every day.

     Safety isn’t controlled by a single source. In fact, if a person is entirely reliant on a single person to keep them safe, they’re likely on the edges of society. Many of us were safe no matter where we went 99% of our entire lives. There’s a system in place. There’s a “village” waiting for us to support and assist, many times with minor details that we just overlooked like food, laundry, or even sleep. And I’m guessing if you’re someone that hired a doula in the areas near the Silicon Valley, your children will bear that right as well – to feel safe. Sure, it will feel lonely. Especially when your partner feels reduced to a feeding machine and your baby’s needs fill your previously spacious household. It’s not shameful to accept help, or even (hold on, this one might hurt…) ASK for it.

     As preachy as this post is, believe it or not, the intention is to provide some relief. A mantra for my wife during our first pregnancy was “people on crack have babies, people on crack have babies…” The odds are, you’re going to be ok and so is your baby. Thankfully because of natural selection, babies have evolved to smile for the first time right around the first time you allow the thought to enter your mind to throw it out the window, so they’re going to be ok too.  You’re not nearly as weak, nor as powerful as you think you are. Humans are born every few seconds of every day, and an overwhelming majority of them survive. If you feel unprepared, you’re right, because you’re not. But it’s ok, because no one is. We all figure it out as we go along.

     This is a safe space for partners of those giving birth. Dads, Fathers, partners and “protectors” can share with us anonymously and we will hope to share some insight that either helps or at least lets you know your child-bearing partner is not the only going through a life-changing experience. Feel free to send us a note and we will do our best to address the questions most asked.

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