Spotted any good-looking moustaches out and about recently? While this facial feature rarely fails to cause a smile or double take, at this time of year it also carries a deeper message: we need to get serious about men’s health.
That’s why November is men’s health awareness month. A time to focus on raising understanding, money, and support for men’s mental and physical health through the global movement, Movember.
So, what better time to chat to one of our community’s awesome fellas – Josh – who has just become a dad for the second time, after his wife gave birth at Helensville Birthing Centre (HBC).
Josh and his wife didn’t have far to come to access our services – they live in Helensville – which was a good thing as the labour of their second pēpi was faster than expected!
Thanks Josh for taking time to speak with us.
How did you hear about HBC?
We heard about HBC through our Helensville community, prenatal classes when we were expecting our first baby, and Fiona – our midwife.
What was the experience like as your wife’s birthing partner?
My wife’s labour was a lot faster for our second baby! The original plan was to have our son at Waitākere hospital, but as everything happened quite quickly, she laboured and birthed at HBC.
The Centre is such a fantastic space. They had the birthing pool running in preparation for us when they heard we were on our way.
Sometimes you can feel a little helpless supporting your wife during labour, but I felt really included. I was able to be alongside her the entire time.
Which part of the experience did you find most valuable and why?
After our son was born, I could do skin-to-skin with him while my wife was being looked after by the midwives – I found my place.
Becoming a dad for the second time and holding your newborn is such an amazing miracle – I liked that I felt I could be valuable.
Not all birthing centres allow dads to stay for the whole time. What difference did it make being able to stay overnight with your wife and new baby?
It made a big difference as I could keep an eye on them both when they slept. I think it was also reassuring for my wife as she knew she wasn’t by herself. We were fortunate as my wife’s parents could look after our first daughter to give us space to bond with our new baby and rest.
How did your stay at the Centre shape your first few months as a dad?
With our first baby, it made a huge difference knowing the HBC team were always on hand to help my wife. Also, when I had questions, I felt I could ask and gain knowledge to help me be the best Dad. The second time round, I think it just confirmed a few things I wasn’t sure about.
Is there any advice HBC staff gave you that’s stayed with you and still resonates?
Yes, to make sure I look after myself too – go for a walk, grab some food, rest and sleep. When I fill up my own cup, I can support my wife to fill up her cup and the baby’s. It’s easy to forget your own needs when all your focus goes on making sure your wife and baby are looked after – but it’s important not to neglect your wellbeing.
What advice would you give new dads on how to look after their mental health after the birth of a baby? Is there anything you’ve learnt which you wish you’d known earlier?
Make sure you look after you – if your wife and baby are sleeping, go out and get some fresh air, grab a coffee, listen to a podcast or relaxing music. Find that thing you love. Rest and sleep are huge. Make sure you get sleep!
Other than birthing at HBC and your postnatal stay, what other services did you access from the Centre?
We went to HBC’s pregnancy and parenting classes, and we also saw a lactation consultant. They picked up on the tongue tie which we had snipped early on – preventing latch and breastfeeding problems down the track.
Would you recommend HBC?
Yes, it’s a wonderfulsafe space where you can relax knowing you don’t have to battle those first few days as a new parent alone, wondering if you’re doing it right.
New dads can have so many questions, which they are always available to answer. The whole team’s so friendly.
HBC is an amazing facility. It’s such a caring environment, they make sure you’re looked after. We’re blessed to have the Centre in our community – well done to the team!