He’s what many people would call a “hands-on” Dad but doesn’t want any praise for it. For Ben Goh, being that way is just part and parcel of what being a parent entails. Still, we salute him and all loving, supportive Dads in the month of June as we celebrate Father’s Day! Thank you for being an equal in this journey of caregiving and co-parenting.
From birth and beyond…
“Eli is our first born, and my wife Tisha and I are first time parents. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, Tisha’s family couldn’t be here for the birth. During the Circuit Breaker (CB) period, there were a lot of restrictions and last minute changes to our birth plan.
We delivered at Thomson Medical Centre, having only each other to rely on from the start of delivery and throughout our four night stay in the ward. I was present and involved in almost every aspect of the birth, from cutting the umbilical cord to learning how to collect colostrum, and feeding Eli with a syringe!
I even learnt how to help Eli latch on properly, and how to help my wife prop herself up after the C-section birth for breastfeeding, due to the post-op pain.”
The most memorable part of being a Dad and lessons learnt…
“The most memorable part of being a Dad for me was the first time I fed Eli colostrum through a syringe. It was a very foreign and yet exciting experience. I felt so accomplished after successfully extracting colostrum and feeding it to Eli!
My proudest achievement is being able to take care of Eli confidently by myself, while my wife enjoys her own me-time on her own or with friends. Knowing what to do and what to expect when I’m taking care of a newborn because I’ve gone through the whole process from the onset is important and empowering for me.
My lowest point would be moments when I can’t help my wife physically or when she’s having problems with breastfeeding. I feel helpless that I can only reassure and support her, but I can’t help out with the actual breastfeeding of the baby or take away her pain.”
On Hegen products and the difference they make…
“As a first time Dad who has had no prior experience or knowledge of how to assemble bottles or feed a baby, I find that Hegen products are very intuitive to use. I even know how to put together my wife’s breast pumps for her night sessions - both electric and manual pumps. Hegen products are that simple and easy to use!”
Thoughts about praise for hands-on Dads…
“I feel that in our society, fathers are often viewed negatively with regard to being nurturing and as a source of emotional support, just because these roles are historically associated with mothers. Typically, fathers assume the role of protector and breadwinner. However, I personally feel that fathers should be able to support their families in what’s commonly regarded as the “non-traditional” caregiving role.
I’ve had multiple comments from people saying that they are amazed at me for being able to handle the baby alone. To me, the effort of taking care of the baby should be equal for both Mom and Dad.
Society should be able to perceive gender equality when it comes to caring for the baby. I am not a babysitter to Eli when Tisha is not available; I am his parent too.”
Parenting challenges and learnings during the time of COVID…
“There were a lot of restrictions and the rules that were constantly changing so we couldn’t plan everything, and we had to keep adapting to the situation (for Eli’s arrival). We didn’t have much help in the way of getting a confinement nanny for example, but we’re very grateful for family support.
Although Tisha’s family from Indonesia couldn’t be here, our bond with my side of the family in Singapore grew stronger through this period. I remember that we had a lot of grand plans post-delivery, but slowly we learnt to let go of that and just went with the flow instead.
Eli is nine months now; I’d like to think that I’ve grown along with him as a parent and will continue doing that.”
Advice for all the Fathers and Dads-to-be out there…
“Go through the whole pregnancy and birthing experience with your wife. It will foster the bond between you as a couple, and as parents to the baby. Be as hands-on as you can be as a Dad: change nappies, read stories, play games. This is your opportunity to get bonding time with your baby. Let your partner know that you want to share the responsibilities with her, to reassure her that you care.
During night feedings, wake up with her. When you make mistakes, laugh it off. Struggle through the challenges together. You’ll grow as a person, as a father, and you’ll appreciate what your wife is going through because you’ve experienced it too.”
From the team at Hegen, we appreciate Ben and all Dads as we celebrate Fathers in the month of June! Your children and partners are so lucky to have you in their lives.