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Lancashire dads getting more support as their children are born

dad with baby

Published by Laura Pratt at 9:24am 28th December 2018

It's hoped new dads in Lancashire will be helped and supported more during childbirth.

By Local Democracy Reporter Paul Faulkner

The trust which runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals has enlisted the Lancashire branch of an online men’s support network.

Three of the group were invited to take part in a walk-around of the maternity wards to give a “Dad’s eye” opinion.

Dadsnet Lancashire founder Graham Sims says;

“The maternity process can be so difficult for mums.

“And while the midwives were great with my wife, but I was just a shadow.

“If dads knew more about it all, they could try to help it be as peaceful a birth as possible”.

Cathy Atherton, Director of Midwifery at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, told a board meeting of the trust that it had traditionally proved difficult to get feedback from new fathers about their experience in the delivery suite – and the build up to the big day;

“Now we can ask a question via the forum and get dozens of opinions the next day”.

“We were even told that dads liked the fake flowers which we were going to get rid of.”

Meanwhile, dads who are finding the festive period a struggle are being told not to suffer in silence – because there are fellow fathers from across Lancashire who are ready to help.

Dadsnet Lancashire – part of a national network inspired by the similarly-named support service for mums – has seen a spike in members in recent months.

There are now around 800 Lancashire dads who are part of a Facebook group which offers advice and support for any men dealing with the daily challenges of fatherhood.

graham and chloe sims
Dadsnet Lancashire founder Graham with daughter Chloe

And founding member Graham Sims, from Preston, says family problems can be magnified at this time of year;

“Over the Christmas period, everybody is very family-focused and it’s thrown in your face to do this or that with your family.

“The most important thing is spending time with your children, whether you’ve spent a fiver on them or five grand.

"Try and enjoy the extra time you’ve got with your family and not worry too much about the added pressure.

“At the end of the day, they’ve got you – and that’s what is most important to them.”

The Dadsnet Lancashire group is designed to offer support whenever men might need it.

Graham formed it when he took shared parental leave to help look after newborn Chloe – and found little in the way of online support tailored for dads;

“Men don’t often get things off their chest – we keep it in. The primary role of the forum is to give men somewhere to vent.”

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