A health worker has shown you this because they know how important this time is for you and how important you are for Mum and bub’s physical and emotional health.
Tell her how well she is doing, how proud you are of her, how pleased you are to be making a family with her and what a great mum she is going to be.
Show her you invested by going to appointments & classes (or talking with her about them if you can’t go)
Walking, cooking, talking about your future.
Especially for her
Over 8,000 dads have joined up to SMS4dads. Here’s what they say…
Do things she doesn’t want to or can’t do for herself
– Get the house ready
– Find out info
– Do the shopping or cooking
– Get help when it is needed
This is an easy way to show her that you’re in the game
Info timed to fit what’s going on
– Good conversation starters
– Info about your baby
The messages were reassuring. They made me more confident.
My partner felt more at ease; knowing that I was getting the messages.
Sms4dads almost senses what you need to know
It was like a mate tapping me on the shoulder.
Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.
“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.
In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.
Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.
Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.
“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people. They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.
“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.
Richard credits a varied career, a talented and innovative team, and much life experience for affording him the insight needed to address the challenges related to actively engaging dads.
After completing his masters in Medical Science, studying epidemiology, Richard earned his PhD focusing on fathers and attachment.
“Fathers are invisible in many places, and that is endemic. Not because people dislike fathers, but because the system is set up to be focused on mothers.”
Some services and organisations are aware of the need to engage dads, but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.
“When people are challenged about this, they generally want dads involved,” Richard affirms.
“Often, however, they just don’t know how to do it.”
Richard works with health professionals on issues related to fathers, and has delivered many antenatal programs for expectant dads.
He credits his own family with giving him an understanding of the role of fathers needed to make his work relevant.
“I have three daughters and two stepdaughters,”
“My kids would say they taught me just about everything I know and they’d be right. They’ve taught me a lot, and still do.”