I have no idea what’s involved
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