by Helen Williams, Perinatal Support Nelson, co-facilitator of the Dads Programme
The New Dad’s Group provided valuable insights for Perinatal Support into the male experience of the birth of their babies and becoming new dads. Our hope is that we can support the new Dads, with our understanding of the information they shared through our work with the mums in the one to one sessions and in the groups. For Dads attending the course if they feel they would benefit from individual counselling, Perinatal Support is offering three sessions.
The predominant experience of the dad’s was that the birth is often difficult for them and that during the birth and in the early months they often felt side lined. The dads were aware of wanting to support their partners but were often unsure how best to do this. In relation to this I was able to share the perspective and experiences of the mums and the dads asked questions. I think the dads felt as the women had given birth they were more equipped and competent and understanding that for women this is equally emotionally and physically challenging too was helpful.
The dads also felt they had their own emotions and concerns and had few places they felt comfortable enough to share them. The dads used the group to connect; they shared openly, learnt from each other and seemed to be more confident that both parents have an important role in the life of their babies and children.
From Perinatal’s perspective it was extremely valuable for working with the whanau/family to achieve the best possible outcomes for the babies and parents.