34, political activist
How he got his leave: he was working at his NGO when his daughter was born, and suggested that paternity leave should be as long as maternity leave. He stayed home for 4 months.
Photo courtesy of Caio Tendolini
It took me more than a month to learn how to deal with my daughter’s crying without passing her over to her mother. It took me about 3 months to get her to sleep. I went to all doctor’s appointment, but my wife had to tell me that it wasn't just about going, I had to make decisions afterwards, make sure that our health insurance would pay for everything etc.
I find it very difficult to value the invisible work that exists around a baby. It is hard to accept that this "invisible" work is vital for my daughter and for her mother’s sanity. To understand that all this work means less time available to spend on my own ambitions is very painful.
I am concerned about the effects it will have on my relationship with my wife. It's very easy to forget about ourselves amongst the baby, the household, family, friends, work. In that sense, having sex is the "easy part".
My daughter started to recognize me – visually, my voice and my smell – when she was 3 months old. Today we have a beautiful relationship. I feel that I can calm her down, that she misses me, and that she has fun with me. I feel like a caregiver, not someone who pays the bills. My wife and I split all the bills.