A friend of mine, Donavon Jones, a male midwife and researcher from Australia is studying just that question. Enjoy this short blog, as Donavon begins to explore the positive benefits of being mindful. Look out at the end of the blog for a link to a free mindfulness online program, you can begin to test out the benefits yourself.
Your emotional wellbeing as a man who wants to support your pregnant partner is fundamental to supporting both her and your baby. There is sadly loads of evidence to support that high levels of stress are as prevalent for men as women during pregnancy. However, stress experienced by men during this crucially important time in their lives is more likely to be displayed as anger and violence than in women. We as men are just as likely to experience stress associated with childbirth and becoming a new parent as our pregnant partners. Depression or anxiety experienced by men as a result of stress during their partner’s pregnancy can increase the possibility of stress being expressed as anger and/or depression. Can mindfulness make a difference?
Mindfulness interventions can help you to learn useful coping strategies and to be more effectively equipped to manage any stress, as you seek to be the very best supporter you can be while she is pregnant and when she gives birth.
Mindfulness is a concept that is described as a process of becoming aware of the novel distinctions or the everyday anything’s, you know, the stuff you do, that you long since needed to think about doing, or the things in life that you may never have noticed before. Regardless of what is noticed, whether important or trivial it don't matter, it is just the noticing of new sensations as they arise that is important in mindfulness practice, and practice is the key word here. Like most things in life, this wont happen by accident, you gotta do something, right. How does mindfulness practice work?
When you become actively aware of these distinctions this will enable you to remain in the present moment, you will have a sense of being there. Allowing your attention or awareness to settle on these novel differences has the power to create: (1) A greater sensitivity to your environment, who knows, you might find yourself at the place you begun and not recognise it. (2) The space created by this new awareness has the potential to create more openness to the information you are always receiving from the outside world through your senses. (3) This new openness to more of the information that is always coming at you, will begin to create new mental categories, new ways to think about stuff. Different ways of structuring how you perceive the world, which could lead to you seeing possibilities that you hadn't noticed before, hey, we could all do with more choices when it comes to problem solving”.
Can mindfulness really make a difference as a man prepares for his partners birth?
The evidence suggests that it can, but of course it definatey won't if you don't take action. In summary mindfulness is a process of awareness and acceptance of the present moment, including thoughts, feelings, sensations, environment and physical being. Mindfulness involves you enjoying a state of relaxation. The important thing is not getting caught up in your emotional reactions. The techniques allow the regulation of your emotional reactivity, those responses that have been automatic until now, this can lead to fast recovery from negative/unpleasant emotional experiences, and prepare you for the stresses that you might experience while she is pregnant and when she gives birth.
Practicing mindfulness extends to you the possibility of transforming emotions and behaviours that if you left them unchallenged might otherwise have the potential to cause stress, anger and violence. An improved ability to cope with stress is likely to increase your wellbeing and decrease the stress experienced during this important period in your life. If you know of anyone that is interested in mindfulness for dads,
This is a link to a free program of mindfulness teaching, with audios of mindfulness meditations. If this article has got you interested in exploring the multiple benefits of mindfulness practice click the link. Take Action.
Mr Donovan Jones
Deputy Program Convenor Bachelor of Midwifery
Lecturer RN, RM, Mid Stud, PhD Candidate
Donovan Jones is a Registered Nurse / Registered Midwife / Master of Midwifery / PhD Candidate, he is currently a lecturer and deputy program convenor with the Bachelor of Midwifery at University of Newcastle. Researching under the direct supervision of Professor Mike Hazelton and Dr Lyn Ebert.