First-time Tasmanian fathers in focus

First-time Launceston father Marcus Ling at home with 15-month-old daughter Harper. Picture: MARK JESSER

First-time Launceston father Marcus Ling at home with 15-month-old daughter Harper. Picture: MARK JESSER

FIRST-time fathers in Tasmania are the focus of a new study that explores fatherhood and seeks to rectify a shortage of support services for men.

University of Tasmania sociology lecturer Meredith Nash is seeking soon-to-be first-time fathers from the North and North-West to be interviewed twice for her research, once during their partner's pregnancy and once after birth.

Dr Nash said Australian men often set high expectations of themselves as fathers but little was known about how they prepare for fatherhood.

"We have conducted a number of interviews and a lot of men are talking about their anxieties and their desires to feel more included in antenatal care," Dr Nash said.

"They are also talking about how excited they are to become fathers.

"[But] men often do not discuss their anxieties with their male friends or family members so frequently feel isolated and under quite a lot of pressure to be a good father and to support their partner as well."

Launceston first-time fathers Marcus Ling, of Newnham, and Damon Thomas, of Mowbray, said they had read pregnancy books and researched on the internet to prepare for fatherhood.

Mr Ling, who is father to baby Harper, said he and wife Bec only attended one antenatal class, preferring instead to get information from family and friends.

Mr Thomas, who is father to baby Henry, said he did not belong to any official fathers' groups but had contact with other fathers through social groups, work and church, who would often discuss parent experiences.

"There is a lot of vomit, a lot of late nights and there is tension so I guess you do need people around you who will listen and who will give you advice," Mr Thomas said.

"I get a lot more out of that than reading the books."

For information contact Meredith Nash on 6226 2715 or email meredith.nash@utas.edu.au.

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