Tag Archives: fatherhood

Dads Matter: 3 Reasons You’ll Want to be Involved

You matter.

As a man and a dad, I admit, we don’t hear this message enough. In fact, far too often we receive the opposite message: “You’re the problem.” Or “It’s her choice; she doesn’t need you.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, research demonstrates that you matter to three very important people. Let me explain.

  1. Dad kissing baby
    You can have a massive impact upon your child’s life and future simply by choosing to be involved in his or her life.

    You matter to your child. You can have a massive impact upon your child’s life and future simply by choosing to be involved in his or her life. There are almost too many statistics and studies to cite that will back up this claim, but here are a few.

  • Your baby’s health is impacted by your presence or absence even before birth. Fathers indirectly impact fetal development, birth weight, preterm birth through their absence. This is because the father’s absence creates additional stress upon the mother. In fact, women without father support experience a higher rate (48%) of pregnancy loss than women with the support of the father (22.2%). This means that children whose fathers are involved during pregnancy are far more likely to experience a healthy birth.
  • As your child grows, simply being present to provide a positive influence affects his or her social and emotional development.
  • Your influence also dramatically affects their education. The lack of a father decreases a child’s ability to perform well in school. Simply not having a father present doubles the chances that children will drop out of high school and never graduate.
  1. You matter to the mother of your child.
  • When fathers are involved and supportive during pregnancy, mothers tend to take better care of themselves. Mothers who have the support of their babies’ fathers during pregnancy:
    • Obtain prenatal care earlier
    • Engage in fewer harmful behaviors (such as smoking, drinking, and using illicit drugs)
    • Eat healthier
    • Exercise more
  • Mothers are less likely to experience depression when the father is involved.
  1. You matter to yourself.

If you ever find yourself thinking, “I don’t matter,” just look at the facts. You do matter. And you can be an incredible influence on the people closest to you—including yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Get involved today.

Here are three easy ways to do that:

  1. Find out when her next appointment is going to be, and make sure you’re there.
  2. Make yourself reminders to ask her regularly, “How are you doing? Do you need anything?”
  3. Start learning how to be an engaged and involved dad by beginning the Being Dad course. It’s free, doesn’t take a lot of time, and meets on your schedule. What’s more, it’s mobile. So pick a place to meet, set up a time and try it out.

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Four Ways to Encourage Expecting Fathers to Step Up

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Longing to hear your boyfriend’s true feelings about your pregnancy decision? We can help.

Being pregnant is about more than having a baby. During the first nine months, a mother’s body adapts and changes so that she can nurture and care for her baby. And then the baby is born, and it’s over…right?

Of course not. A new life has been born into the world. Even though her body might return to normal, the mother’s life will adapt and change so she can continue to nurture and care for her new son or daughter.

Most of us don’t like change, but this is a different type of change. Your world is expanding to include someone who will always love you. Someone who will look to you and up at you. It’s not always easy and fun, but it is an incredible investment that will change your life in a good way.

Young couple on bench
Many women want their man, the father of their child, to be involved. They know he is a built-in partner since the pregnancy involves both of them.

There are many challenges to parenting, but many women share a fear: I can’t do this on my own. This fear stems from an internal instinct–you were never meant to do it alone. It also comes from common sense. Women know that they have a built-in partner, namely the father. Every pregnancy involves two people: a woman and a man; a mom and a dad.

Studies (and real life) teach us that a baby has the best chance at reaching his or her fullest potential when both parents are supportive and engaged in their lives.

For example, research tells us that a child who grows up without a father present in their lives is:
• Four times likelier to live below the poverty line
• Seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teenager
• Twice as likely to drop out of high school

While both mother and father share the common bond of a child, the relationships that produce an unintended pregnancy are oftentimes incredibly complex. Figuring out how to come together and create a healthy home environment for your child isn’t easy. That’s where we want to help you—both moms and dads.

You might already know the many ways we serve mothers, so let me talk about how we also serve fathers. Our Fatherhood Program aims to enable men to be the best dads they can be and to create a healthy environment for mother and child to flourish. We do this through training, encouragement and ongoing support.

Here are three ways we want to help dads in the Madison, Wisconsin area:

  • Meeting one-on-one. When the pregnancy test is positive, we want to be there to help men understand what’s going on. Most of the time, a man’s first reaction is some combination of fear and excitement. A man is often uncertain about the future and his ability to provide for a family. We’ll help your man think through his next steps. We can answer questions, address struggles, and meet needs he might have.
  • Fatherhood preparation. We want to help men prepare for fatherhood through classes or one-on-one training. We cover topics including:
    • The importance of fathers in a child’s life
    • What fatherhood looks like
    • How to be involved in your child’s life
    • Managing your emotions
  • Healthy relationships. Many relationships are complex. Your relationship will be on the spectrum of non-existent, unhealthy or healthy. No matter how you would define your relationship you both share a new goal. That goal is supporting your baby so that he or she can reach his or her fullest potential. How do you do that? We want to help you figure out relational skills so that your child has both a mom and a dad who are actively engaged in his or her life.
Young man by fence
Do you want your boyfriend’s input into your pregnancy decision? Or want your man engaged in your child’s life? Be sure to include him in the discussion.

Here are four ways to connect the father to our services:

  1. Include him in the discussion. Don’t assume that you know what he’s thinking. Men are really skilled at hiding their true feelings. Even if he says one thing, it’s a good bet that he’s not telling you everything. So ask follow-up questions. Here’s an example: You: “What do you think about having a baby?” Him: “I don’t know. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide is alright with me.” Then follow up with, “Do you think that you could be a father? Why?” No matter how far you get, taking this small step sends him the message that you want him to be involved.
  2. Ask him to come to your appointments. Men are extremely visual; they make a lot of decisions with their eyes. Oftentimes he will feel disconnected because the baby is hidden from his view. The baby is in your womb and you’re the one experiencing physical changes, not him. Ultrasounds can change his experience because he’s able to see the baby. He’s able to connect an image with your child. Coming to an ultrasound appointment is an easy first step to becoming more connected with the life of his child.
  3. Ask him to look over the men’s section of our clinic website. Men also like to know what they’re getting into before committing. Our website will provide him with important information about what he can expect from us.
  4. Contact me. I’m here to help and can provide you with more resources and details about our Fatherhood Program.

    Request an Appointment
    Longing to hear your boyfriend’s true feelings about your pregnancy decision? We can help.

Meet Mitch

Mitch Freeman, Fatherhood Specialist
Meet Mitch Freeman, Fatherhood Specialist.

Meet Mitch, our new Fatherhood Specialist.

Mitch is excited to meet with men who are the fathers in unintended pregnancies and offer a listening ear and support. He helps men work through their emotions and process the pregnancy decision.

Mitch’s story began when his mom found out she was pregnant with him. His biological dad left her when she told him the news. Here’s what Mitch has to say about it:

“My biological father left when my Mom told him she was pregnant, leaving her to make hard decisions and become a single parent. The first and biggest decision she made was to choose to continue her pregnancy. Two years later she married an incredible man who adopted me as his own.

“On the one hand, I can empathize with birth fathers because I understand that finding out you’re a father unexpectedly can be a scary time. I understand why the first reaction would be negative. But on the other hand, I can give them a message of hope. If they hang in there, the reward of being a father will be far greater than they now realize.”

After Mitch graduated from high school he began working as a painter. An accident where we fell from scaffolding made him unable to work for a year. He stayed with his grandmother for this year.

When Mitch was able to return to work, he went to seminary and then became a pastor for 10 years.

Mitch is married and is a father to five children, four boys and one girl. He likes to spend time with his family and enjoys coaching baseball for his sons’ teams. Mitch also enjoys reading, watching movies and being outside as much as possible.

Mitch looks forward to helping guys who come to our clinic work through their crisis moments of fear and uncertainty. He wants to walk with them and help them make it through to the other side where it’s not a crisis anymore. He wants dads to know that, even if things look bad, they can get to the other side and experience the great rewards of fatherhood.

Dads Matter

Dads Matter.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to Fatherhood.

While our clinic provides medical services for women only, we do offer other services for the guys. If a man is trying to figure out his role when his girlfriend is pregnant or if he wants to learn to be the best dad he can be whether or not he and his girlfriend will be parenting together – we can help.

So, if you’re a guy – read on to find out about what we can offer for you. And if you’re a woman, share this with your boyfriend, fiancé or husband.

Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you’re a guy and you think your girlfriend may be pregnant, or she tells you she is, it might be hard to know how to respond.

Be sure to listen, stay calm and talk about it. She needs your support now more than ever. Your thoughts are likely very important to her as she makes her decision. Find more do’s and don’ts here.

Don’t just say, “Whatever you want to do.” Even though she has the legal authority carry the pregnancy to term or have an abortion, you have a very active role in this situation. We can help you have this conversation.

We will also provide pregnancy testing and ultrasound as indicated – free of charge. You are invited to be at this appointment, and, with her permission, be there for the ultrasound.

And you can meet with a male peer advocate who can help you fully understand the options your girlfriend may have – and your role in this decision-making process.

If you are coming with your wife or girlfriend to an appointment for a pregnancy test or ultrasound, and you would like to talk to another man about your questions or concerns, text or call 608-259-1605 to schedule this meeting.

Preparing for Fatherhood

Not sure how to be a dad? Perhaps your dad was not involved in your life very much – or maybe you’d just like to learn more than you picked up along the way.

Fathers play a very important role in their children’s lives.

Our Practical Fatherhood curriculum is specifically designed with dads in mind. This series of 10 lessons, in a one to one format, can help you learn about role models, discipline, respecting your child’s mother, and the “dad difference.”

Fathers are also invited to attend and participate in all of our education programs where you will learn about nutrition, safety, fetal development, preparation for delivery and birth and more. There are more than 90 lessons available from which you and your girlfriend may choose.

Interested in learning how to be a dad from someone who’s been there? Male mentors are available to meet and discuss relationship and parenting issues. Get the tools you need to be equipped for fatherhood.

Childbirth Education & Infant Safety

This class, facilitated by a Lamaze trained RN, is designed with you and your girlfriend or spouse in mind.

You want to be a good partner to your wife or girlfriend, and to get off to a good start being a dad. Our Childbirth Education classes help you to do just that. Some of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to time contractions
  • When to go to the hospital
  • The stages of labor and the support you can offer
  • How to advocate for your baby’s mother

Like all of our services, Childbirth Education classes are free and confidential.

Regardless of how far along your partner is in this pregnancy, we can help you along the way. Text or call 608-259-1605 today to get started in having the conversations to make a pregnancy decision or to prepare to be the best dad you can be.