Becoming a father for the first time is exciting and challenging. Sometimes the thought of joining a childbirth class can be a little overwhelming. I have heard feedback from many men who have jumped into the new world of parenting with both feet, and never looked back.
Childbirth classes consist of many different options and varieties. The goal of someone who takes classes is to facilitate, inform, to share information, to answer your questions, address your fears, to bring awareness of current and new evidence based care and options, thus a holistic approach to childbirth.
The goal of parents-to-be attending a childbirth class can be varied, such as gaining more information, making new friends, getting informed and equipped for birth, busting myths and releasing fears.
When should I start classes?
That’s up to you. See what’s on offer around your area. Who is your care provider? What kind of birth experience are you planning and based on your preference which childbirth classes most suit that?
What can I expect from the class and will other men be there?
Sometimes it’s fun to coordinate with others roughly “due” at the same time. Then you have a ready-made parents-baby class. You would probably find a couple of other people you relate to and then you get to share the journey together. Having a first baby brings parents into a whole new phase of life. If you don’t have other friends with babies / children, then childbirth classes widen your friendship network and it’s a fun resource to make friends with other people in the same stage of life. However different your culture or backgrounds are childbirth and new babies and the start of parenthood cross cultural barriers – all in the same boat!
How do I know what type of class is best for me?
Ask yourself what you want out of it? If you tend to be more of the anxious type and you are looking for a way to release fear and anxiety, then Hypnobirthing may be perfect for you. If you are a google monster who just can’t get enough information, then you may feel more inclined to an information based class like CAPPA or Lamaze or ICEA. If you prefer to combine exercise with information, those options are often available.
What happens if during, or after attending childbirth education classes I totally change my mind on the type of birth experience I hope for? What if I want to change my care provider?
That’s a very normal and human response. If your bestie gets a rad haircut and the hairdresser is really cool and fun and you have been struggling with disappointment and clashes with your hairdresser, would you think twice to switch? No! You want a good look. What if your neighbour’s cook makes the most amazing food and it smells awesome and she even pays her less than you are paying your cook who makes the same tasting food with different vegetables every day? Hello – change the cook I think?! So why the paranoia and drama and the selfless dedication to a care provider you no longer feel comfortable with? It’s OK to change even in labour if things are not going how you were “assured”.
Who can I talk to?
There have been some books out recently written by men, for men. One of them is “Men, Love and Birth” by Mark Harris. Mark is a midwife, a father of six and a grandfather and can be found @birthingforblokes He is pioneer for men surrounding the perinatal period and his work encompasses video support- man to man, debriefing birth, and more …. Check him out here : https://birthingawareness.com/about/
Us women love to talk, a good chat, laugh or cry and we are pretty much sorted. Men have different “spaces” to zone, zone out and deal with stuff. Birth and parenting can trigger stuff in everyone. It’s really important not to dismiss and deny it. Hurting people hurt others – Speaking from experience the courageous journey of healing is worth every agony of crossing those barriers and taking risks. It will make you better parents and better lovers.
What do the dads have to say?
The best part of childbirth classes was getting peace of mind for my Wife. A happy Wife is a happy Husband!! The whole program made sense. I would recommend other men to attend classes – It’s the new millennium. Be prepared for change. We got the info we needed for having peace of mind and the personal support to guide us through the experience was very much part of enhancing the magic of birth!
Being a father makes you a child in many ways. Being someone who has been shy of
handling kids, fatherhood has instantly brought out the child, partner, companion and best friend for my baby in me. The learnings through the pregnancy term have been extremely helpful during and after birthing. Our baby Shaya was born in our car on the way to the hospital and Hufriya was indeed very brave to handle the birthing independently in the situation. Hypno Birthing classes have been helpful for Hufriya as well as me during birthing and has prepared me for fatherhood in ways we didn’t know and imagine earlier. The positive effects of Hypno birthing and gentle birthing are so visible in the peaceful nature and behaviour of our Shaya after birth. Our midwives also provided invaluable support, knowledge and confidence through our journey.
– Proud Pappa Pourush Kelawala
For the birth of our second son we had attended a water birth workshop at Surya Childcare and I saw many videos of babies being born naturally and it seemed so normal and refreshing from what the modern image of birth is in our heads. I had also read a book on water birth given to us by our midwife and this helped immensely as I was not fearful of the birth. I felt reassured and confident during our home birth being amongst likeminded people.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and Happy Birthing for all families expecting a baby.