Dads in training
It’s all about the dads for a change. A new class is helping daddies-to-be get prepped for fatherhood.
After teaching classes to women for years, Amy Molzer, RN, a certified childbirth educator, at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., realized the need for a class geared toward expectant dads. She wanted to create a safe place for dads to ask questions and to be themselves. So she created a “Training Day for Dads” program.
“Often dads stay in the background and don’t ask a lot of questions,” Amy Molzer says. “I want to help empower dads to be more involved and engaged in both childbearing and childrearing.”
Amy has four children of her own and she saw the benefits of her own husband’s involvement. As a way of giving back to the community, she created the program from scratch on her own time.
“Many dads-to-be have never held a baby, let alone baby-sat,” she says. “They need this time with other future dads who understand exactly what they are going through.”
Her husband, Mark Molzer, volunteers his time as well to give the dad perspective. He encourages and supports by sharing his own experiences during this life-changing process of becoming a parent.
“As an involved dad with four kids of my own, I want to share my experiences and encourage dads to find their own way of doing things,” Mark Molzer says. “I want to help alleviate any fears, give some practical fathering skills and let them know they are going to be ok and that they are going to be great dads.”
Amy Molzer created the class using a sports theme. The pregnancy is referred to as “pre-season,” labor and delivery as “game day” and postpartum/baby at home as “post-season.”
The goal of the program is to share information in a fun, non-threatening and relaxed environment. The dads can enjoy some pizza and practice diaper changing, burping and other infant activities on model babies. Discussions also include ways to support their partner during pregnancy and delivery, breastfeeding, infant care and even safety proofing their home.
“One of the best parts of the class is when the experienced new dads return with their baby to share their recent experience,” she says. “This open-forum question and answer session with their babies in their arms allows the future dads to see new dads in action and ask questions.”
Amy Molzer says she sees experienced dads and babies come back to the class to share how it truly benefited them and to share their experiences, but also to show their support.
“It is amazing to witness the student becoming the teacher,” she says. “It wouldn’t be the same if it was just me, a nurse, teaching it.”
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