The idea of men being stressed out, or traumatised by ante-natal classes seems a bit foolish. I mean, it’s the women who have to actually push the tiny human out, so why the mantenatal stress? Surely being present and supportive can’t be that hard a task?
Ante-natal classes are unfamiliar territory which bring the female physiology into a whole new light. Though we’re all fully aware that our children don’t come from the stork, the reality of child birth may be a shock to the system. It’s one thing to know your partner has to push the baby out, it’s another to have to witness the act.
Watching midwives manoeuvring dolls through plastic pelvises really brings home the reality of childbirth. No one forgets their first viewing of a birthing video. This is what your partner will have to do. Only it will be a live show, with full audio, and you won’t be able to stop the tape when it gets a bit much.
The end of blissful ignorance is a mantenatal trauma in itself. The anxiety, empathy and worry over what is to come can be overwhelming.
Parenthood can be daunting for both mum and dad. Even though mum may have a direct line to baby, it doesn’t mean she’s 100% prepared. Ante-natal classes give both parents the chance to prepare for what’s to come.
Learning how to coach her through the birth can even be a fun, bonding process.
Today’s dad is hands on and wants to be involved. Ante-natal classes are a wonder opportunity to learn some important basics that will help shoulder some of the responsibility of parenting. Learn how to put on a nappy, bathe your new born and swaddle them are valuable skills.
With your partner doing all the heavy lifting (or pushing) on this job, dads may feel a bit isolated. This is when meeting other fathers to be and expanding your network can be helpful. Just as expectant mothers can benefit from having a friend in the same position, so can dads. Use this time to network, make friends and have someone to share your questions and worries with.
Preparing for the little one’s arrival isn’t just about supporting your partner with her changing body, diet and birth. Practical tasks like baby proofing the house, buying a carseat and preparing a hospital bag are things dad can shoulder the responsibility for.