While women can prepare for months to become a mother, men suddenly have children. That is why Alexander Kosinsky offers preparatory courses for childbirth for expecting fathers.
Your children are already grown up, were there preparatory courses for men when you became a father?
No. I did a couples course and felt like a spectator. It varies between taking your partner to a childbirth preparation class – where almost everything revolves around the mother and the baby – or whether the man is up for the challenge of becoming a father.
How nice that expecting parents want to get ready today…
Honestly, some are sent by their wives. Mothers are usually well informed. They check all possibilities to prepare themselves. They find the course for parents and say to their partner: Hey, that’s cool, go over there.
At least that’s what men like to do. Your offer is called “Intensive Course”, and one topic is “Postpartum Management”. Should you talk to fathers differently than you do to pregnant women and husbands?
Men want maximum facts and information in the shortest possible time. So the course should be short, concise and informative.
The intensive course takes only three hours…
This is still acceptable for most men. If it lasts longer, it will be cause for many to say: I don’t have much time for that.
What can you convey in a nutshell?
Among other things, I work with dolls and show expectant parents how to treat a child. Men want to do something practical. But my concern is getting men to talk about it. So away from the facts, toward your expectations. Talking about children and the family is still a woman’s domain. But men should also talk to each other about being a father, and about their fears and fears.
This sounds like a call.
yes! be ready! Share! Find allies by your side, and form a father’s network. He goes to crawling and swimming lessons for the kids. Do not leave everything to the woman.
Men have always been part of the delivery room.
This is a sensitive issue. It can be a parenting booster for couples. But some men feel overwhelmed and forced to leave because their wives see it as an affront to shared fatherhood. Men should then have the courage to say: Baby, this is too much for me. It is best to take your mother or a friend with you.
How do you prepare men for childbirth?
Explain to them that they don’t have to do much at all. They are just a close friend besides their partner. Midwives look at men in advance: is it helpful or could it become a problem? Accordingly, they give them the opportunity to stay out of it or to contribute.
Such a birth is not without…
For me that was rudeness at the time. My wife was in excruciating pain – for hours. As a compassionate being, you have to put up with that. That’s why I talk to men about the meaning of these labor pains.
You have been offering courses since 2010. How have expectant parents changed?
The group of participants has become more diverse. All classes are now represented. However, the majority are still well educated and educationally oriented. More men with immigrant backgrounds are coming to the courses.
What do men suffer from?
Since there are no role models, they have to define themselves individually: What ideas do I have of myself as a father? How does my wife see her role as a mother? They need to talk about co-parenting — and not just after giving birth.
What should men take away from your studies?
Above all, I would like to give them the feeling that they have contributed to the success of their future family.
If you look at the men of today…
… I have to slowly adapt to the fact that the course participants are no longer just talking about resolving roles between men and women. And it does. Great development. But mothers have to play their part, too.
Why don’t they?
Many moms find it difficult to hand over responsibility – even though they desire an equal relationship. There is a gap between theory and practice. Women need to trust men more. Men must demonstrate confidence in themselves to meet the infant’s needs.
“Away from the facts, toward their expectations. Men should talk to each other about fatherhood”
Alexander Kosinski is a social worker who lives in Berlin. Information about parents’ courses: beratung-im-kontext.de