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Caution: The Great Divide Ahead


There is a great divide in that mountain range called parenting. Planning, conceiving and gestating the baby is like climbing up to a high mountain pass. Birth marks the couple’s passage through the pass into a different watershed—new uncharted territory that, despite the best of maps, holds many surprises, some of them quite shocking. And once you’re through the pass, there’s no going back.


Believing an ounce of prevention is worth 1.87 tons[1] of cure, this book is written primarily for those on the pre-child side of the divide, hoping to alert them to some of the more challenging parts of the terrain. However, the likelihood is that it’s mainly those who have already been through this rough territory that will really get the point of the book. Jack or I would probably not have picked up this book before our daughter Siena was born. We thought we knew what we were doing. Oh sure! It took us over five years to work out what happened to us, and then over a decade to refine it and set it in a larger social and cultural context. Now the question is how to reach those who can’t imagine it happening to them—even more so, those who are completely oblivious to “the great divide”?


It may often be the about-to-be grandparents who recognize the terrain, or friends of soon-to-parents who at least have an inkling of the challenges ahead, or counselors who see couples floundering through this divide—who urge the uninitiated to read it, hopefully before they plunge into the divide.


From whence came this book? Having since the seventies, pursued a passion to reclaim the original definitions of wellness to include the mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and planetary dimensions of wellbeing, Jack’s and my focus over the past two decades had been in the field of infant and child wellness. It is from this, and our own personal experiences in becoming parents, that we initially developed the hypothesis about why men leave, physically or emotional­ly, after the birth of a child.


Our premise and the supporting material in this book are drawn from our personal experience and observations, as well as that of friends and colleagues, and from written sources that touch on this dynamic, plus numerous leading voices in the fields of fathering, parenting, and couples’ communi­cation. The intention here is not to present the final word on this phenomenon, but to initiate an inquiry into the Dynamic of Disappearing Dads (DDD).[2]


[1.]  Ben Franklin had the right idea, but Jack thinks his ratio was seriously low. Ironically, the ratio of current spending on fixing problems vs. our spending onpreventing problems is probably inversely proportional to this ratio.


[2.] This book focuses on our mammalian needs for physical and emotional connection. Minimal attention has been given to the significance of the spiritual/cosmic perspective, believing that once basic needs are met, individuals are better able to see the larger picture.

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