Monday, 14 July 2014

A DaddyNatal class to remember

ONE of the highlights of the Baby Show for me was a class by Dean Beaumont, founder of DaddyNatal, classes about pregnancy and birth for dads, by a dad.

Dean has three children and it's clear from the taster session we enjoyed at the Baby Show the full class is geared for blokes and how we can be the very best we can be during labour, birth and beyond.

One of the biggest messages I took away is I cannot fix what might happen, no matter how heavy my desire to do so as a man.

I have to be her advocate and her protector.

ADVOCATE - ensure her 'preferences' are listened to and adhered to (don't do a birth plan fellas, you can't plan childbirth, come up with preferences instead)

PROTECTOR - once the action gets going, protect that carefully crafted environment to ensure oxytocin and endorphins flow naturally while the biggest source of naughty adrenaline (me) basically doesn't exude any!.

It was a fascinating 45 minutes and at the conclusion I spoke to Dean for an article I wrote for the paper I edit which you can read here -

Newspaper articles are forever constained by word limits so I have reproduced the quotes from the interview here

"With the birth of my first, I had done traditional antenatal classes and we went through the birth. It wasn’t a particularly traumatic birth but I came out of it feeling guilty," he told me.

“That then affected the bonding with my son, I then looked at what I had I missed, what had I done wrong and came to the conclusion I hadn’t done anything wrong.

“There was nothing out there to prepare me, from there I went off, did my diploma, did my research and then we started and formed DaddyNatal.”
"It’s all about understanding on how we can best support our families so within the full class we look at the pregnancy, what is happening during the pregnancy, what mum is going through in the pregnancy.
"We look at what us men worry about, what the mums worry about so we get an understanding about that. It’s then on to our role during labour and birth and the post-natally as well we look at the things we have to be aware of and the changes for us and the mum.
“We also do the practical thing like learning how to swaddle, lean about baby wearing. Its all about how all of us make it work together as a family.

“I felt most of the classes I went to was about mum with a little bit thrown in for dad.
“Society has changed and because of this dads have been thrust into the birthing environment but without anyone supporting us to be there.

"Michel Odent came out four years ago and said dads have no place in the delivery room because we can be detrimental and we can be because the adrenillin we can create.
"Therefore if we going to propely support mum we are going to need to properly support dad so he does have a positive effect on the birth and not a negative one.

"We are not there yet, we obviously have different experiences across the country, but it is improving it is getting better but there is still a lot that more that can be done.

"I take it one stage further, I still think brands have a lot to answer for because still within the baby industry brands are very much focused on mums.
"If we had more positive images of dad roles within products it would be more generally accepted that we are talking about a family rather than mum and dad as separate units."

To try and help dads to be like me, I asked Dean for his three top tips to help us get through the biggest change we have ever experienced.
"Firstly, its about preparation, make sure you are prepared, make sure you understand, make sure you have your birth preferences sorted out.

“Secondly, its always about being honest, sometimes as dads if we are criticised we can withdraw, there is no room for withdrawing, we have got to step up, not in a manly way but be prepared to admit if we are unsure or uncertain and look for help.
“Thirdly, at the end of the day just remember we are all on a learning curve but its about our family, forget other people lets focus on what is right for you as a family and make your decisions based n that but always make an informed decision.

I would strongly recommend you buy 'The Expectant Dads Handbook' by the man himself (pic below) because fellas, everything you want to know but afraid to ask is in there in a language we understand!

Fantastic experience and a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from a dad who is clearly passionate about ensuring dads know as much as mums.

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