GLAAD's Special Projects Coordinator and curator of the Commentator Accountability Project, Jeremy Hooper, recently talked to CNN about how being a parent has changed his life, and perhaps even his brain activity.
The report, titled "Dads' brains are ready to bond with kids" talked about a recent study showing that the brains of highly involved dads are very similar to those of mothers during pregnancy.
Hooper is one of a growing number of fathers who are acting as primary caregivers for their children, with or without maternal involvement. The number of stay-at-home dads has doubled since 1989, to 2 million in 2012, according to Pew Research Center. Single-father homes are also on the rise: 8% of homes are now headed by a single father, up from 1% in 1960.
Our brains are ready for this cultural shift, researchers say. Scientists from Bar Ilan University in Israel recently published a study showing that the brains of dads who are highly engaged in their infants' lives are activated in the same way mothers' brains are during pregnancy. This maternal neural network allows mothers to react quickly and instinctively to their child's needs.
Morris emphasized that scientists didn't need brain imaging to confirm that fathers can be fantastic primary caretakers.
"That said, the study is important because the neurobiological processes underlying parenting behavior are not well understood," he said.
Morris, however, cautioned against drawing conclusions based on the differences between the gay men in the study and their heterosexual secondary caregiving counterparts.
"The differences found between men in this study cannot necessarily be attributed to the fact that one group is gay," Morris said in an e-mail. "These findings might be useful when considering other social dynamics (like) situations where fathers may take more of a 'primary' role in parenting than has been considered 'traditional' in the past."