“Don’t Forget the Dads!”

Q: Why’s this man so happy?

A: He just took the “First Time Dad’s Guide to Birth and Postpartum.”

One of my favorite things about being a birth educator is helping the dads — dads like Kevin, the source of the quote above.  He said it after I created a prenatal program called “Becoming a Mother.”  Kevin, this is for you!

I love helping the mothers, too, of course. But mothers tend to be really well-informed by the time I work with them. More importantly they have a confidence that comes of being intimately connected to the baby. They are at the source, their bodies are the ground, of the experience.

A dad is more likely to feel like a bolt-on to the whole thing. He doesn’t know what she’s going through, but he knows it’s Big. He’d do it for her if he could, but he cannot, so he worries about her. He wants to help but feels unqualified. His discomfort cycles between disconnection and over-protectiveness.

It is a joy to watch these betwixt-and-between fathers uncoil during our first session. The skeptics open their mind. The over-protective soften. The disconnected engage. The couple begins to have a shared experience, rather than a his-and-hers.

What enables this transformation? That is the subject of my new video-based digital course, “Birth and Postpartum: The New Dad’s Guide.” Like my other video-based digital course, “Birth and Postpartum: Overcoming Your Five Biggest Fears,” it is available at Udemy.com, so it’s self-paced, online learning, ready for you whenever you are.

The two big ideas in the New Dad’s Guide, which are so helpful to new dads, are actually old ideas – revived and adapted for modern couples.

  1. Birth is like sex. The hormones that drive conception are the same hormones that birth the baby and assist with its nurturance.

The medical model has, unsurprisingly and with the best of intentions, scrubbed sex from its paradigm of birth. Otherwise it would be weird for hospital staff – who are really strangers to the mother – to be in charge of it. But in our quest for improved outcomes through medicine, we’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Putting sex back into birth – that is, supporting a woman’s birthing hormones – makes birth easier and more comfortable.

It also makes birth more understandable and less scary to dads who want to help their partners through labor. We get really specific in the course on how to be a good birth companion in any setting. But with sex, not medicine, for our working model, the tools are fun and easy to remember. Nobody feels unqualified anymore.

2. Postpartum is a huge transition. Plan for it.

That may sound obvious, but it isn’t how most new families live. Modern Western women are educated and groomed for careers, with less than scant attention paid to the work of raising children. (Notice the emphasis we place on birth preparation – the medical appointments, the classes, the books – compared to postpartum.) Infant care is usually unpaid and considered “unskilled,” so we assume it’s going to be easy and thus end up woefully unprepared for the realities of new parenthood.

The Dads course works backwards, from the realities of new parenthood to the preparation that can make it the joyful transition you dream of. It is inspired by postpartum care still found in traditional societies but largely absent in the developed world. We show you how to organize your life so that learning to be new parents is all you do for a while. We also give you simple and fun communication tools that ease the tension that is a part of big life transitions like this, so that you can grow closer as a couple.

As the name suggests, this course is tailor-made for first-time expectant dads. My production partner, Jon, a husband and father of three, served as my “guy-translator” throughout the whole process, making sure that my content was super clear and actionable. All the video lessons include notes you can download, if you like to read as well as listen, and each section ends with a funny quiz, to make sure you got the key points.

Every time an expectant father comes into my classroom, I see a confident, engaged birth companion, father and partner just waiting to be revealed. Now Udemy brings my classroom to you. If that sounds great to you, check out the promo for more information.  If you’re ready to enroll, here’s the link, and here’s to your easier, more comfortable birth and joyful postpartum!

 

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