Alessandro Fancolini knew that his life would change from the moment he and his wife received the news that they were expecting a baby. Nine months later, in April 2017, their son Gianluigi was born. For a period of fifteen days after that day, he experienced all the emotions, joys and surprises of being full-time with his newborn son, all together, as a family. Alessandro is the Business Development Manager at the City of Knowledge Foundation and he was one of the first parents in the organization to make use of the paternity leave benefit.
“I loved being able to have the experience of staying all day and night with my son for two weeks. Mothers usually have the hardest part of the job due to breastfeeding and it can be a very complex, difficult time for them, so they require the support of the husband, even if it is only moral. Nobody has a manual on how to be a father and this time with my son allowed me to learn and discover many things about him, thus strengthening the bond between us,” he explained.
Rodrigo Celis, Vice President of Operations, took his paternity leave just one month after Alessandro and agrees that it was important and extremely revealing to be at home during this critical time to get to know his son and, above all, to support the mother.
“Even though the mother is the one who carries the baby for 9 months, the duty of taking care of them is both parents’ job. It’s not an easy job for just one person. All good hands are necessary; the learning experience as a parent has a lot of value for the future. With the videos and photos I have now, I can tell my son in the future: ‘You have no idea what we went through when you were born, but if you want to know, here it is!’ “, he concludes with a smile.
Parenting is shared work
According to UNICEF, the father’s role in early childhood is real and valuable. UNICEF refers to studies that show that those fathers who take their paternity leave, particularly those who take two weeks or more weeks immediately after childbirth, not only tend to assume a more active role in long-term child rearing, but also their presence alone at home during those first days favors the early development of the child and brings benefits in several later stages of the child’s development.
In addition, according to the study “Maternity and paternity at work: the practice’s legislation around the world,” issued by the Department of Working Conditions and Equality of the International Labor Organization, paternity leave may exert a positive influence in terms of promoting gender equality, both at home and at work. For this reason, it can become a starting point for the necessary changes in gender relations and in the perception of fathers’ roles, as well as a factor of change for the predominant stereotypes that exist in Latin American societies.