Group for dads focuses on sharing and learning
WITH fathers taking on a greater role in the home, a Surf Coast man and a Geelong midwifery and birth hub are hoping to facilitate more discussion and storytelling amongst dads.
Last month, The Birth House in Geelong started allowing both new dads and soon-to-be dads to meet at their location on McKillop Street, creating a safe space to discuss and share stories about their journeys through fatherhood while having a laugh.
Andrew Braddy, a former teacher, counsellor and founder of Men’s Health Matter started the Dads Group, which meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, creating an asset and a tool for dads that will allow them to become more involved with their children by listening to fellow fathers’ experiences.
Mr Braddy and his partner also had a child back in April, which is where his relationship with The Birth House first grew from, after one of the midwives caught wind of Andrew’s profession.
“We are entering this time at the moment where dads are wanting to be more involved and they are expected to be more involved, but the structures are not there to support that,” Mr Braddy said.
“Dads in the maternity system are often ignored. In appointments you are rarely spoken to, they generally speak straight to the mum, and it follows this systemic pattern where dads are not expected to be involved so they are not actively engaged.”
Mr Braddy has plenty of experience working with males across all ages, having worked as a teacher and an outdoor educator at schools including Brighton Grammar and Carey Grammar.
He has also worked as a facilitator of Dads programs for the past five years and is also a counsellor registered with the Australian Counselling Association.
Dating back to 2017, Mr Braddy, who considers himself more as a facilitator than a counsellor in these sessions, has been a part of mens groups in the past and understands how daunting it can be to enter one.
“In one of the groups that I run at the perinatal hub in Jan Juc we just catch up, have a coffee and sit around to chat, and that can be daunting for guys to come along to,” he said.
But in Mr Braddy’s Dads Group, it is the group’s informality and discussions that draw the biggest engagement and return rate, and it is pivotal to sharing experiences that other dads can relate to and breaking down walls in the process.
“From there things tend to move into free-flowing discussion, we start to recognise commonalities in each other’s stories, and everybody loosens up a bit,” he explained.
If this program seems like something that interests you as a new or upcoming dad, you can head to menshealthmatters.com.au to see the services that Andrew offers.