Byline: Emily Andrews
BECOMING a father is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a man's life.
And until now, they haven't dared say otherwise.
A new genre of confessional literature is breaking the taboo, revealing that many men feel demoralised, depressed or just plain bored when their partner has a baby.
Such work is raising awareness that post-natal depression can hit men as well as women.
One author, Michael Lewis, said: 'I wrote my book because of this persistent and disturbing gap between what I was meant to feel and what I actually felt.
'I expected to feel overcome with joy, while instead I often felt only puzzled. I was expected to feel worried when I often felt indifferent.
'For a while I went around feeling guilty all the time, but then I realised that all around me fathers were pretending to do one thing and feel one way, when in fact they were doing and feeling all sorts of other things, and then engaging afterwards in what amounted to an extended cover-up.' Mr Lewis is just one of those who have broken ranks to overturn what he says is 'a great conspiracy of silence'.
He admitted that, for the first six weeks of his daughter Quinn's life, he felt nothing more than 'detached amusement'.
'The worst feeling was hatred,' he said. 'I distinctly remember standing on a balcony with her squawk-inin my arms and wondering what I would do if it wasn't against the law to hurl her off it.
'The reason we must be so appalled by parents who murder their infants is that it is so easy and even natural to do. Maternal love may be instinctive, but paternal love is learned behaviour.
'A month after Quinn was born, I would have felt only an obligatory sadness if she had been rolled over by a truck. …