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João Fellet,
33, journalist
How he took his leave: he works for an organization that is part of the “Empresa Cidadã” program, which offers 20 days of paternity leave. He also took vacations and days off, and stayed at home for 2 months.

Photo courtesy of Joao Fellet


I don't think I have had any masculinity crisis because I stayed at home. On the contrary, I would have been ashamed if I had been closer to the stereotype of the absent father. I was proud being with my son, I liked taking pictures with him in the babycarrier, those kind of things.


The biggest difficulty was getting up so many times at night. I have always been very methodical and disciplined in my sleep, and this has really messed me up. There was a period when I just stopped sleeping at all. I spent about five or six days without sleeping, even when I had the time because I just couldn't fall asleep. I had to be medicated. It was something that messed up my life.


My relationship with work has improved since I became a father. I've always been very anxious. I used to check emails at home as soon as I woke up, stayed connected afterwards, thinking about the next day. Now I get home and forget about it.


The leave, besides being a period of personal growth, is a welcome break in the routine. In a sense, it's like a transformative journey, in which you take some time off and spend a sabbatical on a project. It's a very intense period, when you're going to do something completely different and transforming.

I had a very strong sense of vulnerability, of an irreversible change in my life, not necessarily a good one. A lot of anxiety, thinking: "damn, now I will be worried for the rest of my life". I was also very afraid of what was going to happen in my relationship with my wife, that this would end up affecting our connection."


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