The Dad Course is a Brighton based organisation that aims to equip and encourage new dads to be the best parents they can be. We offer practical, interactive and relaxed courses providing a blend of practical skills, chances to hear from experienced dads, useful information and space for honest conversations. All courses are led by Dave Perrins (whose bio you can ready below) with contributions from other dads during the course.
My journey of preparing for fatherhood
Hi, my name is Dave, I’m 30 and have lived in Brighton since graduating from university. I’m married to Abby and we have a son who was born in autumn 2014.
Throughout my wife's pregnancy I was keen to support her however I could and took the time to read and learn lots about how to be a good dad as well as chatting to friends who already had children. By the time she had reached full-term I was ready to go.
The birth of my first child was the happiest day of my life. On that morning as the midwives were, ahem, ‘seeing’ to my partner (more about this on the course!) the midwives checked my son over and asked me if I could put a nappy and a babygrow on him. Everything in me wanted to say yes but all I could manage back was a blank stare - I hadn't prepared for this! My wife and I had attended a great ante-natal class which taught me all about the birth but now he was here I was quickly realising how little I knew. I didn’t know how, and after a long labour, now was not the time to learn! I watched as the midwife got his nappy on and dressed him up. I don’t look back on this experience with regret, but this is one of the many things that I wish I had learned before I had my baby.
With the support of lots of amazing friends and family I learned over time all that I needed to know to keep my son happy and healthy. I’ve been fortunate to have a strong group of friends who became dads at roughly the same time as me who I could chat and be really honest with, which also helped keep me sane. But there were so many things I wish I had been told as a dad, practical skills I could have picked up beforehand and also the importance of having a community of dads I could be really honest with. Our course is all about providing these things before your child is born, rather than leaving you playing catch up after they’re born.
And how The Dad Course has helped other guys like me...
I am passionate about seeing dads equipped and encouraged and growing in confidence to be the best parents they possibly can be, and think that the Dad Course offers a great platform to start from that is unique to anything else currently on offer. I've loved the journey I've been on over the last year, both my own as a dad as well as supporting others as they’ve been going through the same things.
We ran the first Dad Course in January 2016 as a pilot with six men expecting babies in the coming months. The feedback we received was incredibly positive and we have gone on to run a number of further courses since, with some of the dads who have taken part in earlier sessions even coming back to talk to more recent groups about their experiences in the first month of fatherhood.
Men come to the courses with all kinds of expectations, reservations and uncertainties about both how they'll find the course and the journey of parenthood that they are about to embark on. It's been brilliant to have had honest conversations with groups, see guys at all different stages and from all kinds of backgrounds grow in confidence and preparedness. It's also been a lot of fun!
As well as continuing to grow in Brighton and Hove we're planning on rolling out The Dad Course in a number of other cities in 2017 as word spreads and people start to get in touch requesting courses elsewhere. All of our experience and feedback so far shows there is a real need and demand for what we're doing and that those coming along have really benefited.
When I get a bit of time I enjoy writing, listening to music, drinking good coffee/beer and travelling to new places. I’m also a sport fan, particularly football - I play when I can and make as many Brighton matches as possible.