I have no idea what’s in­volved

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - CELEB LIVING -

I t’s early evening on a week­night and a group of blokes have gath­ered at their lo­cal in­ner city pub to have a beer. But they’re not here to talk footy or de­brief af­ter work. Th­ese men have gath­ered for beer + bubs, a blokes-only pre-natal class to help first-timers learn what to ex­pect dur­ing the whole birth process.

“I’ve been fo­cused on my wife. who is ex­pect­ing our first baby in Oc­to­ber, and how she’s do­ing,” says so­cial me­dia spe­cial­ist Dom Lo­vatt, 33, pic­tured left with friend Chris Wil­liams. “But at the same time, it is creep­ing up and I have no idea, other than anec­do­tally, what is in­volved, es­pe­cially from a male point of view.”

The nights have been run­ning since 2004 and are held in ev­ery cap­i­tal city.

Founder Lucy Perry has moved on, with Syd­ney nights hosted by Shire mother of two Virginia Maddock who has plenty of ex­per­tise in the field. Her day job is work­ing as a doula, a woman who of­fers sup­port to preg­nant women be­fore dur­ing and af­ter child­birth.

“There has def­i­nitely been a big shift in terms of in­volv­ing the dad — the dad helped the baby get in there, so re­ally he should help it come out,” she says. “But I think in our fa­thers’ and grand­fa­thers’ gen­er­a­tions, men were of­ten ex­cluded from the whole birth process. The idea is to ed­u­cate men and take some of the fear fac­tor out.”

For Wil­liams, a 27-year-old tug­boat deck­hand from South Coogee, it’s all about sup­port­ing his part­ner.

“As a fa­ther you do have to step up more th­ese days,” he says.

Maddock says the tone of the beer + bubs nights al­lows the men to learn in a more re­laxed at­mos­phere.

“It’s great you get so many men in the room whose ba­bies are due within a few months of each other, that’s not some­thing you’d find anec­do­tally,” she says. “And be­cause there are no women around and they have had a beer or two, they feel like they can ask ques­tions.”

And men shouldn’t be too scared to keep learn­ing af­ter the baby’s born, says Win Win Par­ent­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Rosina McAlpine.

“No­body should feel like they should just mag­i­cally know how to be a good par­ent,” she says. “Just as we have ed­u­ca­tion for ev­ery other job in the world, we do also need to have ed­u­ca­tion on be­ing a good par­ent. This is the hard­est job in the world.”

g N n a h at n o J : o t o h P

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