Continuing our series featuring Bump & Baby Clubbers who’ve launched exciting new projects or businesses, we’re so happy to introduce you to Evan, who completed our Belsize Park antenatal course a few weeks ago with his partner, Natalie. With their due date just 3 days away, Evan spared a moment to tell us about his fantastic recently-launched Facebook support group, Hampstead Dads…
What is the goal of Hampstead Dads?
The goal is to provide support for dads located in the Hampstead and Belsize Park areas to talk about the joys, pains, issues, and experiences surrounding being fathers. As dads face unique issues to mums, it’s a men’s-only group in order to provide a safe space where members can express themselves openly and honestly. The idea behind restricting the group to these areas is so we can meet up in person easily. Social media is great for making connections but I’d very much like us to be able to spend time in person, as those are the connections that I find most enriching!
How did you come up with the idea?
I noticed a dearth of online resources for dads around where I live. We’re new to the area so I was looking for ways to connect with other fathers and make friends. Given that there are so many families around us I thought for certain there’d have to be groups already – but I found a ton of resources in the area for mums and none for dads. I figured I’d go with the “be the change you want to see” mentality and have a go at starting such a resource myself!
What job do you do and do you think your skills are going to be helpful in building Hampstead Dads?
I work in software development which is pretty far from these types of things, but I’m very interested in applying my skills in ways that help people and enrich the community that I live in. I built a site a year ago that provides a space for bartenders and restaurant workers to share their stories about making a career change (I worked in this field before my current career and it can be very hard to escape) complete with advice from life coaches, so I feel that Hampstead Dads is another way for a different type of community to grow.
How are you feeling about becoming a dad?!
Being a dad for the first time is a mixture of surreality, nervousness, excitement, and anticipation that vacillates wildly! Overall, I just can’t wait to meet the beautiful little nugget that’s been growing inside my amazing wife for the past nine months. I think it also helps that I’m a little older than your normal father (mid-40s) so I’ve gotten a lot of things out of my system already and feel that I’m in a much more positive, mature, and intentional place around being a dad than I used to be. This is a role that I’ve very much been able to choose to take on when I felt I was ready, and I’m very grateful for that.
Is there a particular moment that you’re especially looking forward to?
Being there when our baby is born and playing an instrumental role in helping my wife deliver our child! And then 18 years later when we get to reclaim our lives!
Was there anything on the antenatal course that you found particularly interesting or surprising?
Nearly all of it was surprising (and informative)! During one session, we did an exercise where we were given loads of pieces of paper that contained different activities that had to be done for newborns (feeding, bathing, nappy changes, etc.) and parents (washing clothes, cleaning, eating, sleep—yeah, right!) at different times of the day, and we had to place them on a giant long piece of paper that represented the timeline of a whole day. After putting all the pieces of paper out there was no time to do anything else! It was then I realised that being as organised and developing a system for all this would probably be the way to go. Our instructor, Natalie, was great.
Was it helpful meeting the other dads-to-be at Bump & Baby Club?
Incredibly helpful! We have our own WhatsApp group and have met up a few times since the course ended. They’re all great guys and a few have had their babies already. It’s been wonderful to form this connection and it dovetails really nicely into the larger community of Hampstead Dads that I’m trying to build.
Dads of Hampstead and Belsize Park, head over to Facebook to join Hampstead Dads!