Top 10 benefits of prenatal education for partners/dads
Updated: Jan 21
Call me an optimist, but it came as a surprise how often it's assumed childbirth education classes are just for the mom/birthing parent. I want you (and your partner) to know that classes benefit you both, which is why I always recommend a support person or partner be present during classes. Let’s do a little countdown to bring us to the New Year, shall we? Here are my top 10 take-aways for partners/dads:
10. They will learn just as much as you. Maybe more. Really! They don’t have the stories and decades of societal “preparation” that you might. That can be a good thing, having a fresh slate. Pregnancy is happening to your body, but it’s changing you both for 9 months. Understanding what is/will be happening has value for partners, too. There is so much they can learn alongside you that you can’t get from a book. They just have to show up! 9. Pregnancy anatomy! Not many partners really know what is going on in the pregnant body—by choice or not. I mean, we have an extra organ to begin with, then we grow an extra, disposable organ alongside an entire human! Maybe it seems scary and mind-boggling, but it translates to relief when we take away the veil and mystery for the partners. I’ve had some dads in classes be pretty amazed this stuff wasn’t taught in school! 8. They will meet other soon-to-be parents. Making parent-friends can be a challenge without a close circle full of parents. Partners/dads need that social support, too! Group classes make it easier. Get to know other pregnant families and have something shared to talk about that isn’t related to the weather. 7. The parent role begins during pregnancy. They don’t have to wait until baby’s first breath to be a great parent. Having them as involved in the process as possible every step of the way creates empathy, will help them connect with you and baby, and grow as a parent/partner. Remember, they don’t have the same hormonal changes and physical connectedness that you might have to your baby—and that’s okay! 6. They have just as many concerns and questions as you. Even if they don’t admit it, for fear of worrying you more... they absolutely do worry. Especially if it’s your first child, it’s all new for both of you! Classes are a safe space to get it all out on the table. 5. Learn to face the monster(s). There is a lot of fear surrounding childbirth and parenting, for both parents. It is fear of the unknown. Avoiding those fears doesn’t make them less scary or real… but facing them, naming them, and knowing you’re not alone with those fears can shrink them into some far less threatening creatures. 4. We talk about the uncomfortable stuff. Is it awkward? Well… less so than in grade 7, trust me. It’s better to discuss the taboo things in advance so that when you encounter them, you can’t say, “WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS?” I keep it real. I mean, if you don’t expect the possibility of poop while pushing, that can be pretty alarming… knowledge is power. 😉 3. They are not expected to know everything. Or anything! Just because it’s new, doesn't mean it needs to be uncomfortable (even the unexpected/taboo topics). If they knew it all, they wouldn’t be there. Same goes for you! Questions are always encouraged, and cliché as it is… there are no stupid questions, and you will not be judged for your desire to learn. 2. They deserve to feel confident in the delivery room. They are there to support you, after all. Maybe they won’t want a front row seat at the foot of the bed, but they will learn how to support you emotionally and stay by your side—because they have the confidence to do so having taken a class. You may feel confident too, but in the thick of birth, you could lose it… and someone needs to take the torch and carry that weight. 1. You deserve to feel confident in the delivery room. Maybe you’re more scared and nervous about birth than they are, and you need them to be the rock both here and now, and when the big event comes. You are worthy of that. There is no such thing as too much education, and that task shouldn’t be yours alone to undertake. Share the load, learn as a team, and you will both be better for it. Cheers to ALL that! Happy learning in 2020, friends!