The roles of mothers, fathers and extended family are vital in the first 1000 days of baby’s life from conception until bub is 2 years old, to make sure bub grows up strong with good wellbeing.
Dad plays an important part in those first 1000 days. When men’s roles and responsibilities are not acknowledged, the very foundations of our community is disrupted. Our cultural ways of growing up kids in nurturing homes is denied.
The best way to be a great Dad is to spend time with children. If you are with the bubs biological mother, this connection starts in the womb. Looking after Mum at this time is key so bub can grow a strong body, mind and spirit. Remember bonding and culture starts in the womb.
Knowing how to help out and how to cope can be confusing through pregnancy, birth and after baby comes. You might even think your partner has the ‘looking after baby thing all covered’. Every baby is a new experience for everyone, so ask her how you can help, she will think you are deadly!
Better still be prepared: Why not sign up to Ready to Cope for Aboriginal Dads. You will get regular tips sent to your mobile phone with hints on how to cope with each stage of pregnancy, birth and after baby comes.
Being a 'Hands on Dad'
Bub hears your voice when they are inside the womb as their brain is growing and developing. Bub knows who you are.
Story-telling, reading, singing to bub right from the start is so important.
Even if you are not living with your kids or with their biological mother – you are still important to your kids!
Strong culture starts in the womb. Show them you love them and are there for them! Being the best you can be as a man and father is important and will affect your kids.
When Being a Dad is Hard
Becoming a dad is probably the biggest event in your life. But knowing how to help with a pregnant partner or a new baby can be confusing.
There will be times that you might find yourself going through some strong emotions. Lack of sleep and worrying about how to provide can make these feelings worse.
It is important that you talk to someone you trust; talk to someone who has done this before you.
There is no shame in talking about your worries or for asking for help.
Often, when we have our own children, we remember our own childhood, our own hurts bubble up, or the hurts of our old people. They can all still hurt us today. This makes it hard to cope when big things are going on like having a baby.
Healing past trauma makes a better future
Our old people kept our culture strong for the past 60,000 years. We owe it to our old people and to our kids to make sure our kids have a strong future. We all want to be a great Dad, but sometimes past trauma and stress gets in the way. This can make it hard.
Remember, there is no shame in asking for help.
Connect with others through online networks like the Healing Foundation or through your local health service.
Staying Strong as Dads
….and check out this link below that will take you to the other deadly films and programs, that are a part of the Aboriginal Fathering Project.
The Fathering Project
The Fathering Project seeks to inspire fathers to become better for the sake of their kids. A set of online resources, a workshop series, activities and videos focusing on key Noongar concepts and themes have been developed. The aim is to introduce the program to boys and young men by conducting workshops on country. The program can easily be adapted to other men’s groups locally and internationally.
“Stayin’ on Track” is a website designed by young Aboriginal Dads for young Aboriginal Dads.
Check out what other Dads have got to say: