Week 23 in the big mama house and I am having fun observing the oxytocin response (or rather the lack of it) on the hubby. For him the little ripper is a little alien in a galaxy far, far away aka there is no emotional connection. This is because most men who don't have kids don't produce oxytocin (the love hormone) in response to the baby until they experience the child in the first 6 months of its life. On the other hand, most women produce oxytocin during and after pregnancy and can bond with the little one even in utero.
The interesting thing is that the male oxytocin response is long lasting. Men with at least one child become more empathic not only towards the subsequent pregnancies of their partner but also towards children of other people (as I happily found out from friends who are dads. Great support from the guys!).
Neuroendocrinology rocks! Not only because of the fascination with mother nature and its workings, but also because I was happy to see the relief in many dads to be, when I offered them the explanation for their feelings. The usual response I get is: "I am glad to know I am not the only one feeling like that". Poor guys.. they are under a lot of pressure!
Inspired by some cognitive behavioural therapy research I devised a simple experiment to help the hubby feel a bit more connected with the little one: I asked him to play music on the ipod and place it on different locations on my tummy. I would then report back to him the reaction of the baby. He was fascinated to see the baby responding and moving towards some of the stimuli and he was able to reproduce the effect when playing the same piece of music on other days. I noticed him asking about the baby more often now and also offering to play music without being prompted and play with the baby. Result!