Advice to cope with new parenting

Mothers and babies at one of my recent birth and baby classes

When grappling with pregnancy or a small baby, many of us reach for ‘how to’ books. They are obviously helpful when it comes to new parenting but I believe caution is needed, as they can generate a sense of ‘a right way’.

So it is interesting to read Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian writing in a lively and ultimately cynical way about the value of self-help books when becoming a father. Women in my classes often report they relax and enjoy pregnancy and parenthood much more once they stop looking everything up online or in books.

Even though I have taught for many years, I hope I am never seen as a source of all wisdom, or a so-called birth guru. I prefer to use my experience to introduce ideas and possibilities, to encourage class members to make their own choices and to build trust in their own minds and bodies. Exploring these topics together helps groups bond and avoids the isolation that leads to insecurity and reliance on experts.

In a letter responding to the article, Sebastian Kraemer describes how parents need the help of others as an evolutionary imperative.

Bringing new life into this world can be an amazing period of change and creativity, but also brings pressures. Not everyone has an ecstatic birth or a calm happy baby, but we can look to what is shared during this intense time of life.

I find it sad to say good bye to new parents and babies after being closely involved during the months of yoga, birth and baby classes. But it’s also rewarding when I know strong group bonds have formed and will be sustained into the future.

You can find out more about my classes and packages here. Or read more of my blog here.

How Important is The Role of Dads To Be

In my antenatal and birthing classes, I see all sorts of dads-to-be. From the super-enthusiastic, wanting to learn everything they possibly can to help their partner at birth and avoid being a spare part. To the reluctant ones, who worry they may be more of a hinderance than a help during birth. And then there are those who are not apprehensive about the birth, but about my classes.

In recent years antenatal classes have become part of the ritual of becoming a dad (or co-parent with same sex couples). But still there are many who come to their first one, clearly not at all sure why they are even there.

Common Fears for Dads To Be

Perhaps it seems like they are going back to school?  Or they are afraid of the pressure to be touchy-feely with other parents, who have nothing in common other than having a baby. Or, perhaps they are nervous of being exposed as ignorant or even ambivalent about having a baby in the first place?

How antenatal classes help men

I like to think these uncertainties are eased by the way my classes are run in a package.

By embarking on the full package of pregnancy yoga, birth classes and parenting classes, it means the mums-to-be are already comfortable with each other before the couples course begins because they’ve done the yoga first.

I hope to create a fun atmosphere where no one has to get everything right. The partner’s role is crucial in birth and preparing for birth. In the classes we practice and talk about strategies for providing the kind of support that a labouring woman and new mother needs, as well as ways to relate with babies in their own right. 

The men in the classes feed back to me that they come away feeling they have got something for themselves. Not just because they are being helpful to their partner, but in their own right.

As well as becoming fully prepared for birth and parenting you will make great friends too. Groups go out for supper or form their own What’s app groups. Dads bring their babies for yoga together before a celebratory reunion with everyone. So you never know what you will get out of it.

For more information on booking classes please contact me.