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This is a slightly-edited copy of an article I wrote for the North Staffordshire NCT newsletter. --avantman42

The first rule of Dad Club is, "We're macho, Dammit!". It is not, as has been suggested, "You do not talk about Dad Club". That said, you do not talk about what is said in Dad Club. What is said in Dad Club, stays in Dad Club.

I discovered Dad Club when we announced that my wife was pregnant. At the time, I didn't want kids, and I was having a difficult time coming to terms with what was happening. Luckily for me, Dave, a dad we know, introduced me to Dad Club. Dad Club is basically a support network for dads. When a dad finds out that someone he knows is going to become a dad, he introduces him to Dad Club, and the dad-to-be then has someone he can go to, either for advice, or just to talk.

When you're an expectant dad, it can feel like no-one cares. Everyone asks about the expectant mum, but very few people ask if you are OK, or how you're coping. It's very easy to come to the conclusion that no-one cares about you. Dad Club, however, provides someone to care about the dad-to-be. I knew I could ring Dave at any time of the day or night, and he'd be there, whether I wanted advice or just someone to talk to. I knew he'd ask how I was, not how my wife was. I knew that I could tell him that I didn't want to be a dad and he'd accept it. (I honestly thought that anyone else would treat me like scum if I told them that). As it happened, I didn't talk to him very often, but just knowing that someone cared about what I was going through helped no end.

I'm happy to say that once my son was born my attitude changed completely, and it didn't take me long to realise that being a dad is fantastic. There have been times when it's been difficult, and being able to talk to Dave has helped me get through those times. Since then, I've introduced others to Dad Club, and I've also set up a Live Journal community to try and bring the benefit of Dad Club to more men. If you know a dad, tell him about Dad Club, and tell him he can join the Live Journal community at http://community.livejournal.com/dad_club (it's only open to dads and those trying to, or about to, become dads).

I don't know who first came up with the idea of Dad Club, but I, and I suspect many other dads, owe him a great deal. I hope he knows that, and that he's proud of his creation.

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