The royal father of three headed to a "Future Dads" session to learn how the program helps build stronger families

By Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit
February 14, 2019 11:43 AM
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Being royal doesn’t get Prince William out of diaper duty!

After visiting Pall Mall Barbers, which provides training for barbers to recognize signs of depression and mental health issues, on Thursday, the royal father headed to a “Future Dads” session to learn how the program helps build stronger families by providing practical guidance, advice and support for men. He spoke about relating to the fears that come with having a baby on the way.

“The fear of having a newborn baby, that’s very vulnerable and that’s what you spend most of your time worrying about, thinking what do I do?” William, 36, shared. “And that’s the thing isn’t it? It’s very daunting of how tiny they are when they first arrive.”

The Duke Of Cambridge Mental Health And Wellbeing Projects In London
Credit: Stuart C. Wilson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Future Dads, set up by the charity Future Men, aims to develop their confidence in their role as dads. William was taken through a series of set up scenarios that attendees of the course go through, from learning how to feed a baby to dealing with personal mental health.

The Duke Of Cambridge Mental Health And Wellbeing Projects In London
Credit: Stuart C. Wilson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Future dad Rick Karadia-Hudson, 34, from London, whose wife is expecting a baby boy in May, demonstrated to the royal dad how he had been taught how to change a nappy.

As Karadia-Hudson handled the doll – which had been filled with a brown substance to make it seem real – William pointed and asked, “Is that Marmite?” The royal added that he was “glad it smells alright.”

William also shared that diaper changing can be a bit intimidating.

“They are so fragile and everything’s so tiny, their little fingers and toes, you do feel like if you move them around too much they’re going to break almost but they don’t!” he said.

Rick agreed, adding, “Yes, and they move about so much.”

Slapping him on the back, William knowingly replied, “Wait ’til they’re nine months, then they’re off. You’ve got one leg and one arm!” as he gestured as though a baby was on the move.

The Duke Of Cambridge Mental Health And Wellbeing Projects In London
Prince William
| Credit: Stuart C. Wilson - WPA Pool/Getty

The royal dad to Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 9 months, sat in a round table discussion with a group of men and their children who have completed the course to discuss the impact of the program and how they have found the reality of the transition to fatherhood. William learned that one in 10 new dads suffer from post-natal depression and many suffer in silence over lack of education around the problem.

“From a young age, you’re a taught to kind of like have a vision, have a plan, have a career and then all of a sudden babies come along and then suddenly you have to start thinking about a lot more,” William said. “And I think one of the things is, ladies are a lot more giving and I think a lot more generous, whereas I think guys we kind of get into trying to get into making a success of whatever we are trying to do, we get into a rhythm and then children come along and it’s like, ‘Which way do I go now?’ ”

He added, “I always wondered how that affects new dads’ mental health. Because it’s such a change, your whole life goes one way and then suddenly you’re taught that you’ve got to adapt.”

The Duke Of Cambridge Mental Health And Wellbeing Projects In London
Credit: Stuart C. Wilson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Ben Myers, 32, told William that it was important to realize the signs of faltering mental health in order to be the best help to one’s partner.William replied, “Like you say, it’s better to be four arms rather than two in those situation before it actually comes along for real. Because obviously once the lack of sleep is setting in, then the stress levels go up and the sort of panic comes, the sooner you get ahead of it, the more you’re equipped to deal with it the better.”