Photo exhibition "Dads in focus"

"Dads in focus": why should a father be involved in raising a child?

Photo exhibition "Dads in focus" opened in Kyiv. Ukrainian photographers filmed parents with prematurely born children during their stay in the wards of premature babies. The organizers say that they tried to disprove the stereotype that only a woman should take care of children and demonstrate the importance of fathers in raising children.

Little Maria was born at 26 weeks weighing 850 grams and 31 centimeters tall. Like all prematurely born children, she spent some time in boxing, which she did not like very much, says her father, Volodymyr. The little one calmed down only by lying on his father using the "kangaroo" technique. Volodymyr admits that although he is an "experienced" father and has three more children, he only now felt how important it is when both parents take care of the child.

"Impatients" means sleepless nights from day one. This is an incredible schedule of the day with a bunch of responsible things that have a specific execution time. The two of us were close to the child all the time, we helped each other and we all slept a maximum of 1-2 hours a day. And imagine how difficult it is when the mother is alone," says Volodymyr.

Maria is now 8 months old. During this time, she traveled a lot: she traveled 5 thousand kilometers, visited Poland, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. And in general, she is a real lady, the parents laugh. Likes to be in the center of attention, shopping and hugs with relatives.

Anastasia Reshavska is one of the photographers whose photos show the story of a family with a prematurely born child. Two years ago, Anastasia herself was in the place of her hero-father. Her daughter Mia was born at 31 weeks and weighed a little over one and a half kilograms. Already on the second day, the girl was diagnosed with a complex pathology of the stomach, after the operation she was on artificial ventilation and intravenous nutrition for a long time. Not to give up, not to despair, was not allowed by my husband Peter, who was always by my side.

"Actually, the father is more of an organizer. You need to find the necessary drugs, agree on something, run around the city. And all these searches have specific deadlines. You have to get a list of medicines, find, buy, bring, run on. How can a mother who has just given birth and is in the delivery room do it? Of course, it is difficult for her alone," says Petro.

Even when the three of them arrived home, they still helped each other with the child, Anastasia says. This is exactly the kind of relationship she tried to convey with her photo.

"Many men believe that these touches and hugs mean nothing to babies. She doesn't understand and won't remember anything, they say. But in reality it is not so. I really wanted to show that children feel both mom and dad. And that this closeness between the baby and the father is important," says Anastasia.

Now Mia is 2.2 years old. She cannot imagine her life without music and loves to dance. In the kindergarten, they are even sure that she will be the soloist of all holidays, because she easily remembers any dance "pa". Miya begins to speak. She doesn't like easy words like "give" or "na", instead saying "dinosaur" or "crocodile" is a pleasure.

The father should be close to the mother, the organizers of the exhibition "Dads in focus" assure. They say they tried to convey that dad is "another planet in a small galaxy of a small child." He is gentle, caring and will always protect. He must also participate in the upbringing of the child.

"Everyone is used to the mother taking care of the child. This is already the norm. However, for some reason, attention is not paid to the father who, despite his fatigue and health, comes after work and supports his children and wife. He does everything to make the family more comfortable and to be able to take them home from the hospital in the near future. If the father is close to the child in the early stages, it strengthens the psycho-emotional and physical bond between the parents and the child. Such families become stronger. Dad becomes more competent in taking care of the baby," says exhibition organizer Olena Bondar.

Destroying the stereotype that a woman takes care of a child and a man works is a matter of the country's development, says Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Oleksandr Linchevskyi.

"When we talk about the role of parents in the family, we need to remember: raising, caring and raising a child is not a mother's duty, it is a family duty. As soon as we become a society where both women and men can realize themselves on equal opportunities, the whole society will benefit from this," says Oleksandr Linchevskyi.

According to the organizers, the exhibition will last almost a month, but already now there are heroes for new photo stories.

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