On becoming a father and being a man: a narrative exploration of the experience of masculinity in the transition to fatherhood




Larsen, Sean

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Fatherhood is a gendered relationship between a male caregiver and a child. The change from non-father to father is a significant transition in men’s lives. Over the past fifty years in North America there appears to be increasing divergence between socially dominant masculinities and fatherhoods with men taking on more caregiving and domestic work. Using a qualitative narrative research methodology, I interviewed seven Canadian fathers about their experience of masculinity in their transition to first time fatherhood. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and individual narratives were generated. The narratives generated told the stories of fathers who spent more time engaged in direct caregiving and domestic labour than previous generations. They described divergence between hegemonic fatherhood roles and hegemonic masculinity as they transitioned to fatherhood. Fathers experienced a deepening of emotion in fatherhood incongruent with historical dominant masculinities. Overall, fathers found the experience of transitioning to fatherhood as meaningful and rewarding.



Fatherhood, Narrative, Masculinity