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Ivan Barbosa,
36, social activist
How he took his leave: he got fired when his first child was born, and ended up staying home for 4 months. When his daughter was born, he had paid leave for almost one month.

Photo courtesy of Ivan Barbosa

I am the oldest of four boys and I was seven years old when my first brother was born. Many times I had to do the care work, which usually ends up being done by girls. I was from a very poor family, my father and mother were always working. So on many days I was the one getting my brothers ready in the morning, taking them to school - it was all very precarious because I was a child too. So fatherhood wasn’t something new for me, because I had already experienced it somehow, in some instances.


I am a very peaceful person. But after becoming a father, I discovered that I could be a violent person too. I would do anything to defend my children. And that's very strange. Me, a peaceful person, was suddenly fantasizing about how I would act violently if someone did something to my children. I find that very odd.

"I didn't decide to take a leave. When my first child was born, I was forced to stay at home because I was fired. In the second one, they gave me the leave. But if I hadn't had the chance, I probably wouldn't have taken that time. We would have huge financial problems if I stopped working."


I'd like to feel less possessive and less scared of the things that might happen to the children - things that will eventually happen someday. I am very afraid, and I end up protecting them too much. I hope that I will be able to free myself from this in the next few years.



"The biggest difficulties during that time were the financial ones. My ex didn't talk to her family for a while, and that left us without support from them. We ended up in a social housing program. Nothing works when you don't have money."
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