Laurence Fox Opens Up About Struggling With New Fatherhood

03/27/2009 at 11:30 AM ET
Dan Woolier/WireImage

First-time moms aren’t the only ones who struggle with the changes a baby can bring. In a candid new interview with the Daily Mail, Laurence Fox — who with wife Billie Piper welcomed son Winston James, 5-months, in October — lends a voice to all the bleary-eyed new dads out there who don’t feel an instant connection with their children. “I definitely went through really odd feelings, really animal ones such as ‘Do I even want this baby?'” he admits. “I was like that for about two weeks after he was born.” Noting that not all men are willing to go on record with having this particular emotional response — or lack thereof — to fatherhood, Laurence observes that most men opt instead to “get drunk.” He muses that “some of it is that men can have babies whenever they want, so, until they actually connect with this baby, then it’s tough.”

“Suddenly I looked at him and thought, ‘You’re called Winston’ — I’d called him ‘it’ for ages, as in ‘it’s doing that’ — and then it just clicked. And that’s when you become — it’s awful isn’t it, when clichés are true — but that’s when you go, ‘I’m not going to ever let anything bad happen to you — ever.’ And now he’s just a joy.”

A joy who continues to exhaust his parents, however! If there is one ongoing drawback to life with baby it is the “cumulative loss of sleep,” Laurence says. “‘It has this peculiar effect on your brain,” he explains. “You lose compassion, sensitivity, kindness — they’re the first things to go in extreme situations.”

“You stop opening doors for your missus when she’s carrying the shopping bags. Instead, you plough through yourself, in an ‘I-must get- through-this-myself’ way. It’s quite scary.”

Click below to read about who Winston favors.

From the sound of things it doesn’t take much for Winston’s sleep schedule to become disrupted. In the interview, Laurence laments having a meet-up with friends the day before that stretched on for far too long. “‘Winston didn’t sleep last night, which was hell — and it’s because we had friends for lunch who just refused to leave.” Rolling his eyes, he wonders “Why do people do that?”

“You know, it’s seven o’clock, we’re putting the baby to bed, how much more obvious do you want me to be about the fact that you need to go home now? But, instead, they were still chatting away at half past eight, and I was sitting there with rage boiling in my eyes, thinking, ‘You’ve just denied me an hour-and-a-half of sleep.'”

His tone softens, however, when he notes that the friends in question don’t have any children themselves. “So basically they just don’t get it,” he adds. Winston is “gorgeous,” Laurence beams, revealing “he’s starting to look like both of us now.” Showing off some pictures of baby boy just after his birth, a time when he noticeably favored his dad, Laurence muses “he’s really changed already…I think, ultimately, that he’s going to end up with my hair and her eyebrows, which is good, as I don’t have any eyebrows.”

Having a baby has changed Billie in more ways than one, Laurence says. “She used to smoke and drink, and she does neither now, although she has the odd roll-up once in a while,” he explains. “We used to be quite lazy country folk really, you know, nip down the pub for hours, but now that’s sort of stopped, although we’re trying to get back into it.” Motherhood has also made the 26-year-old Secret Diary of a Call Girl actress tough, Laurence says.

‘She’s really good. She doesn’t lean on me very much, I must say. She doesn’t ever go, ‘Oh, this is just too much, can you just take him?’ —  although I do a man’s share of nappies. And I put him to bed and she feeds him. I think women become harder when they’ve had a baby because they’ve been through something. They’re different because they’ve suffered.”

Winston is the first child for the couple, who married in 2007.

Source: Daily Mail

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Lis on

I respect the fact that he is so open and honest. But although I do not have any kids of my own just yet, I cannot imagine not having an instant connection with my baby. However, I’m sure it is much different for men 😉

…On another note, what exactly is he referring to when he says: “…although she has the odd roll-up once in a while”???

beth on

he is actually refreshing, here. A lot of what he says is TRUE. And a lot of it we don’t normally share, and I thank him for sharing. Good interview. And please, if you don’t have kids and don’t know the difference between an exhausted parent and a rested parent, leave at bedtime. Unless invited to stay for hours. Just a heads up.

Susan on

That is an interesting, and very different perspective – but he is honest.

Elllen on

How fabulous to see an open and honest comment on how fatherhood can affect some. It very natural and far more common than anyone would like to believe, even for mothers.

Lis, he was refering to Billie smoking cigarettes she rolls herself as opposed to the store bought ones.

allie on

well that’s refreshing to hear. I’m pretty sure now that my boyfriend went thru the same thing when our son was born and he just didn’t want to say anything to hurt my feelings. Now that he is almost 4 months, he is crazy about him.

matt housh on

lis – a roll up is a hand made cigarette

Marie on

Roll-up cigarettes, where you have the tobacco and the paper and roll them yourself a la Kate Winslet.

madison on

Very refreshing article – good for him for telling it like it is, natural human reactions and emotions.

The only thing I want to comment on though is the bit about people who don’t have kids “not getting it”. I’m sure that happens, not arguing that. But I’d like to add that it goes both ways. I know people who insist on being the last to leave a BBQ or party, way past their kids bedtimes, and all the other people pay the price b/c of the over-tired melting down kids. That’s not cool either.

jinni on

It is great that a celebrity can express these feeling.

I must admit I am wondering that if it were the mother that expressed these feeling would people be so understanding. I say this because people are usually more understanding when fathers aren’t instantly into their babies, but come down hard on a mother that reveals she needed time to connect to her newborn.

akaisha on

i have to echo jinni here. if a mom had said this i highly doubt, from the many previous comments on this site, that everyone would be so accepting.

just something to think about.

Kelly on

I must admit (although I’ll be slammed) I did NOT have an instant connection with my daughter (first born). She was put on oxygen for the first 12 hours, we were told that she had some severe health problems (false, thankfully), and then she had colic. It took a LONG time (months) to learn to love her as a mother (in my eyes) should and to really connect with her. That said, I was instinctively protective from day one.

I appreciate his honesty (not many people are brave enough to do that), and the male perspective about multi-babymaking is interesting to think about (and probably true).

mulchee on

to Kelly (above):

Its ok. I was in intensive care as a newborn for a month. keep in mind this was 1971 and my mother was not even allowed near me. She said once to me that this is why we were never really that close but I disagree. Every day is a day to love your child more and grow together. Its ok that you didn’t bond right away, what’s important is that you bond now and in the future. I didn’t have a baby until 37 as I was not sure I would be good at it. My parents were emotionally completely distant. The day I had my girl was the happiest day of my life and luckily, the love and parenthood was all there for me.

Sam on

I agree with Mulchee. Plenty of people have adopted children at a month or older and they bond with them.

Kate on

I also thinks it has to do with the person. My mother is not a maternal person. She was not the best mom and I think should have never had children. She did it according to times. Now that we are adults, we are more friends then mother and daugther because she can relate to me now. Not every woman has a maternal instinct and not every person bonds with their baby.

Molly on

Wow, what a jerk. Not about the not connecting immediately with his son thing – that’s completely normal – but the sitting mentally cursing out his friends instead of politely asking them to leave. They can’t read your mind! And if you don’t want to ask, fine, but then you give up your right to be “enraged.”

Patrice on

Good fdor Lawrence for having the courage to be honest about this. Not all parents (INCLUDING many new mom’s) fall in love with their children right away. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much you may instinctively feel love FOR them, a baby is still a stranger in your home for quite a little while.