Sure, and fatherhood is super important too. I’m not trying to make this a women-only club by any means. Just that even men rarely view their role in child rearing as the most important thing they do, when in fact it is clearly the most important thing that anybody does.

As Miriam released my hand I felt that she and Midwife Bell had returned to a more primitive world, where men never intruded and even their role in conception was unknown. Here the chain of life was mother to daughter, daughter to mother. Fathers and sons belonged in the shadows with the dogs and livestock, like the retriever growling at Midwife Bell’s unfamiliar car from the window of my neighbours’ living room.

Few men realize how much of their lives are lived in pursuit of the values our culture has traditionally associated with masculinity. These values – a primary focus on work, logical thinking and always being in emotional control – have many benefits to men and their families. When taken to extremes, the pursuit of traditional masculine values becomes a cage for feelings, a stranglehold on life itself.

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