I was recently interviewed On the Nine Today Perth Show.
Nature wants newborn babies to have two carers, so she pumps Fathers to be with hormones, just as she does for Mums to be.
However, our society tends to shower the Mother to be with attention and pretty much ignore the Father. He has done his bit and can just stay in the background until the day of the birth. Then he is expected to know just what to do and become chief masseuse, super coach and gripping board.
I have had Dads to be, in my classes, tell me they feel ignored by their doctor when they attend antenatal appointments. And others worry about their “role” and not being heard. I have also heard health professionals state that Fathers to be don’t actually have a role during pregnancy and birth.
I think this is really unfair, as Nature is priming Fathers to be with hormones that drive him to want to commit to the care, and protection, of his partner and child( ie. increased oxytocin, vasopressin, prolactin and reduced testosterone). This early exclusion and unsupportive environment can leave men feeling uninitiated and awkward during the birth and early parenting.
I often wonder if having male obstetricians effects the quality of the Father’s pregnancy and birth experience?
Their whole drive is to protect their partner and baby during this period, but another male steps in and takes this role from them. Surely this must cause conflict and dull their biological imprinting?
We really need to make the prenatal, birth and postnatal environment more Dad friendly.
However Dads who are expecting babies soon don’t have time to wait for institutional change. They have to be proactive. They need to attend good quality childbirth education programmes. They need to have the information and confidence to be fully engaged in pregnancy. And they need the knowledge and tools to be really confident and present at birth. Then they will reap Nature’s gifts and early Fatherhood will be so much easier.
Hypnobirthing Australia classes are perfect for preparing Fathers to be as they discuss the importance of prenatal and postnatal bonding and give Dad’s the confidence to be their partners advocate and primary support during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.
Another great resource for Dads to be is the group Becoming Dad, and I always recommend that the dads in my classes join their Dads Only Facebook page.