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3000 Dads, Pregnancy Mobile App For First-time Fathers, Part 1: Research

 

3000Dads is a mobile game app designed to create the consistent involvement of the dad-to-be with their expectant mother and the new child, emphasizing the dad-to-be's role throughout the entire pregnancy and child-rearing.

 

Achievement

The app is still in development, but our stakeholders have shown positive feedback after the presentation. We secured the first fund, and now we continued the development stages.

Contribution

UI - UX,  Presentation Concept, Logo, Initial Research & Interview, Game Content

Team

1 UI Designer, 1 Game Designers, 2 Product Managers, 2 Developers

Motivation

More than 60% of the women I know said they struggle with pregnancy, marriage, and parenting. 

 

My input

Since the start of the whole research and documentation, the first-time fathers being our target audience is a game-changing choice that eventually supposedly will affect expectant mothers. It's hard to address problems without mentioning gender inequality and fatherhood in Asia, 2 irritable topics for certain types of interviewees. It has become a barrier for me to address the user problems to their core.



Define
 

Cultural Context 

Southeast Asian states are in the process of becoming aging societies fast

In 2017, research showed that the total fertility rate (TFR) of Southeast Asia has dropped from 5.5 in 1970 to 2.11 in 2017, and it’s still decreasing.

The reasons:

  • Rapid urbanization and migration from rural areas to the city contribute to the higher costs of raising children and the lack of affordable housing for family buildings.

  • Living quality comes first: raising fewer children with a better quality of life as opposed to having as many children as possible (can you blame us?)

  • Women are increasingly gaining access to higher education and pursuing economic opportunities and consequently delaying marriage and motherhood.

  • Pervasive gender inequality also exerts a dampening effect on efforts to raise the birth rate.

  • Dual-earner couples struggle with the workplace demands of long hours at work and extensive workloads.

  • Decreasing birth rate policies took place after the wars till now in SEAN.

The causes:

  • the working-age population that drives the region’s economic growth decreases.

  • an aging population will increase the pressure on support systems for the elderly, such as healthcare, insurance, retirement payment, and home care from family members…




Governments in SEA released new family plan policies to encourage young people to expand their families early

The governments all over SEA announced some new policies to encourage young people to have more children, such as Singapore doesn't allow women from 40 yo having children, China encourages families to have the 3rd child...

In Vietnam, the government came up with policies to decrease taxes, and decrease mortgage rates to buy houses for couples that have 2 children before the mother turns 35.

 

I find that policy isn't effective, because:

According to the demographic that drags down the TFR in Vietnam, the lower rate occurred in urban areas, big cities, from couples facing a higher cost of healthcare, and child-raising. The basic financial incentives the government offers don’t meet this group's living standards, therefore, it doesn't matter to this group.

With the rural area, the tax and loan support policy does help, but people in the rural areas have always been at a higher fertility rate so this group would not affect the TFR as much.

In reality, the child mortality rate in the rural area of Vietnam in 2017-2021 has been reported higher than in the rest of Asia, with the cause of death is drowning. So overall, the government's solutions appear to be ineffective.

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Problem Framing

Women typically reported spending an average of double hours on daily chores compared to men do, despite both holding a job 

 

The expectation of being a dedicated wife-and-mom from the past is still here to stay even though the moms these days have way more tasks to do. Reports said Vietnamese women typically spend an average of 20.2 hours per week doing household chores, in contrast to men who only spend 10.7 hours on such tasks.

 

Young people nowadays have more access to the internet, they can find absolutely everything online; therefore, they know and expect better for themselves and their family, including their future children. Women these days are well aware that life can be how they want it to be, with stable finance is what keeps that life part going. A successful career or a job is how they stable their finances - getting paid, and also where they're acknowledged, seen, or heard.

Carrying on keeping a decent job, entertainment, family support, housework, pregnancy + self-care is unbalancing for women around 24 - 34 yo; after childbirth, which will add child-rearing, intensive self-care while "job, entertainment" could be postponed for a while by then.

That led to the reason for this research.

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Women these days facing family issues that society has failed to sympathize

 

How can you balance your personal life and career, Mrs....? - Have you ever noticed this question been asked to women a lot, yet rather not to men? 

A friend of mine shared her thoughts about how the question was frequently asked by women, and that rang a bell to me about how to approach social issues. Since the government's policies to “encourage" young couples to exercise family expansion seems not to be efficient, is there another way we can resolve the situation from a different perspective - maybe from a young woman's perspective? And what is one of the most important matters in a woman's world that could affect her decisions: her partner.

Starting with how women go through a day, I joined groups on Facebook of single young moms, and new moms...to just blend in while trying to understand their motives in delaying childbirth. After a while (like 2 weeks, casually checking on the groups), I had come to realize that the 2 groups, the new moms, and the “not ready-to-be-mom”, were just different in the state of mind, not the entire mindset. Curiously, I sent out surveys with little gift cards to listen to both groups of women talking about why they thought they were (or not) ready to become a mother.

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Assumptions

What do we hear from the negatives?

 

The interviewees were very comfortable and honest in sharing. They were well self-aware of how things would be when they become mothers. Besides the financial instability factor, they expressed the absence of confidence, and encouragement linked to their partner in general.
 




What was going through a new mom - expectant mom’s bad days?

 

Child-raising

During COVID-19 lockdowns, I've seen lots of families struggling because of seeking babysitting, and women most of the time chose to stay home for their children. Some of them set their good-wife image so unreal, they couldn't even live up to that. Some of them got stuck with child-rearing and child-raising, and they don't want to have a second child anytime soon. As an aunt, I feel bad for my sisters who hate their lives and only live for their children’s future, and rarely are helped by their husbands.

Depression

When it comes to pregnancy nowadays, women face depression, and unfairness more than women in the old days. Some women are more at risk for depression during and after pregnancy due to hormones triggered, money - marriage problems, love life changes, lack of support from family and friends… And depression could come with some serious results to the baby’s development.

​Anxiety

Expectant mothers and fathers having perceived social/family support were less likely to suffer from antepartum depressive and anxiety symptoms. Intimate partner violence, poor relationship with husbands, depression in earlier pregnancy and husband’s depression in current pregnancy in expectant mothers, and living in a rented house and with parents/in-laws, sex preference for the unborn child, stressful life events, and wife’s depression in current pregnancy in expectant fathers were associated with a greater likelihood of antepartum depressive and anxiety symptoms.

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What do we hear from the positives?

 

 

These "users" were selected through my colleagues who are also their husbands. I noticed that the husbands were also proud of themselves.

They admitted their partners' involvement affects their consideration in having the second child. The rest said their partners have a family-man figure or feminists, which made them feel appreciated. 

 

P/M Fit

Authorities brought the fathers roles into the picture more sharply 

 

It's a universal assumption that childbearing, childbirth, including child-rearing, is only the woman's job. However, countries worldwide are setting benchmarks for policies to support men’s involvement in parenting with a focus on paternity leave. 

Based on a 2019 article, ‘Expanding paternity leave in Southeast Asia,’ paternity leave policies in ASEAN countries vary according to duration, wage replacement rates, funding sources, and eligibility.

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So after the country's leaders have changed laws to push the people to increase family plans faster, it has affected the individuals who have always wanted to play a more active role in parenting, in this case, it's the men, to adapt and use those new laws more effectively. 

 

Paternity leave will enable fathers to play an active role during childbirth and to adjust to the monumental life changes that come with being a father. Various studies show that children with involved fathers have better social, emotional, and cognitive development and perform better in school.

 

said Sumatra Visvanathan, WAO executive director.




Why we thought their partners influence women's decisions on family plan

 

Lack of trust and confidence in their lifestyle and their partner are the keys that have led to women's anxiety that is related to any family expansion plans. Insecurity should be treated with consistent support from a woman's closest ones, starting from their partner - the expected father of their future child. 

Personally, I would put them together like this: 

As if you're a young woman and holding a good payday, you're full of ambition and dreams for a promising future, and you have a lovely partner, having a child at that time could be a pause for your career and love life for at least 24 months. 

However, if you're always well aware that you have a stable and reliable "someone" who always stands by you despite all events, then bringing another life into your and that person's life is not a big deal; because emotionally you know you won't be alone or having to pause your life to take care of that little life you bring. Positive emotion is the key here.




So how does the partner affect the expectant mothers throughout the entire pregnancy

 

Father-child bonding

Paternity leave benefits fathers and children, as it encourages father-child bonding, which is essential for a child’s health. Studies have shown that children with involved fathers have better social, emotional, and cognitive development, and perform better in school.

 

Mother transitions back to work

Mothers also benefit from paternity leave, through increased support and additional time and space for them to heal physically and emotionally after childbirth. Having help in childcare reduces stress in mothers which allows for a smoother transition back to work. With more fathers involved in household chores and child-rearing, there will be a shift in gender norms and a possible reduction in gender stereotypes.

 

Dads who play an active role during pregnancy lower moms’ stress levels

And lower stress means a healthier environment for your growing baby. That's pretty much it, rationally.

Therefore, new fathers should start early; being a supportive partner begins in the months before delivery when an expectant mother’s anxiety levels may be rising about giving birth and the changes a baby brings.

Once the mothers have no doubt they'll get the full emotional, physical, and financial support from their partner, making motherhood more manageable, women will consider having a 2nd child and more before a certain age.



Paternity leaves assist governments in achieving their targets for improved female workforce participation = gender-balancing in the workforce

Paid paternity leave is a step in the right direction to encourage fathers’ involvement in raising children.

Paternity leave policies signal more supportive corporate cultures and lead to increases in commitment from employees. Businesses benefit from men taking paternity leave through improved attraction and retention of staff, which leads to productivity gains. Because paternity leave supports women’s attachment to the workforce, it can also assist governments in achieving their targets for improved female workforce participation.

 

User Problem

New dads are newer to parenthood than new moms can be

 

If you’re a pregnant mom, you’re probably getting lots of attention - even occasionally having female colleagues or neighbors ask personal questions and touch your belly when you’re out and about.

But dads-to-be? Far less visible. Sometimes it's just a simple good-luck wish from their buddies and colleagues. When you don't get people around you constantly reminding you who you're going to be, how your life will be changing, you might reflect on yourself with the fact that nothing has changed so far for you as an expectant dad.

Dads shared why new dads are more overwhelming entering parenting early: - Women are assumed to be naturally better at childrearing than men, particularly for infants and toddlers.

  • Gender inequality persists from the old generation and society causing a bad influence on young men's paternity journey.

  • Comfort zone.

  • No handy practice.

So, before getting a new young husband helping you right, he needs help, too.

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​Discover
 

Research Purpose

The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how first-time fathers perceive so we could connect those insights with the potential solutions

 

The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how first-time fathers living in urban areas in Vietnam and Indonesia perceive pregnancy, childbirth, and fatherhood. Through interview questions, I addressed first-time fathers’ greatest fears, their extreme ideas, and their biggest questions, as well as gained a deeper understanding of the various ways in which fathers modify their lives in order to adapt to these questions, thoughts, and feelings. 

I used a qualitative approach, which provided a rich, inclusive focus on the innermost feelings and questions first-time fathers harbor related to pregnancy, birth, and fatherhood to include the physical and emotional changes involved in the process of pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

Qualitative User Interview

What did expectant and new dads say about their first-time parenting and pregnancy experience?

 

Recruiting users

I invited couples through my connection. The interviews were conducted with a total of 6 dads: 3 dad-to-be and 3 dads with newborns. Following are a couple of the requirements: employed/self-employed, age of the partners and the interviewees is around 20 to 36 yo, residents in the big urban area, expectant mothers must express desire of returning to work soon after birth, expectant fathers must express feelings of care for expectant mother, and wanting to get involved in parenting.

Research Questions 

This study was driven by three research questions: 

1. How do first-time fathers perceive or experience pregnancy? 

2. How do first-time fathers perceive or experience childbirth? 

3. How do first-time fathers perceive or experience fatherhood? 

Example interview questions

What are your biggest fears about pregnancy, birth, and fatherhood? 

What concerns you the most about pregnancy and birth?

What confuses you the most while finding information resources about pregnancy and birth?

So what do dads care about since the first pregnancy test

Children First

All dads expressed their excitement and desire to see and physically be with the future baby.

Being supportive of their partner

All dads-to-be also expressed desires to reduce their expectant mother's physical discomfort, but only 2 out of 6 give attention to their partners' mental issues.

Emotional support is hard

All dads in the early stage of pregnancy said it's easier to show care for their expectant mothers by offering services, finances, and supplies than trying to comfort them.

Moms' content is...gross, sometimes it's just a girl, girl's world

All dads said they tried the pregnancy apps their wives use but the content was so girly, hard to feel connected in some "terms". They quit the apps after seeing a lot of girly and gossipy posts.

Financial Stress

The first-time dad-to-be is concerned about finances during pregnancy and paternity time.

Lack of clarity

All new dads and moms agreed that misunderstanding causes quick resistance and disappointment for both partners in the mothers' beginning and last stages of pregnancy.

Dads get negative emotions sometimes too

Expectant young fathers expressed a couple of emotional moments during pregnancy and childbirth in which they said it feels lonely and overwhelming.

Because the experienced dads in my team admitted they were not aware of expectant dad Facebook groups in the first place, let alone looking for a dad app. So, we thought we needed to aim the social networking's target audience (especially Facebook and Youtube) as the new moms to "find" the app and share it with the new dads, because expectant young moms are reported saying they tended to download every single possible platform they could find in the first few weeks of their baby announcement, then slowly removing them later on.

 

 

 

 

Personas

Married couples from 24 to 36 years old, must reside in urban areas for a long time
 

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​Phil, 27, works as a hotel receptionist, and low-key considers himself higher educated than his wife. Ling, 25, who moved from a small hometown to live in the city with Phil, is a hard-working manicure professional and owns a small salon run in Phil's parent's house. When they found out Ling's pregnant at 5 weeks, he was so excited while Ling was very confused and concerned.

Phil wants to learn about baby development in a fun way to memorize better. 

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Leo, 30, was born and raised in a big city, an enterpriser. His wife, Mary, 31, works as an employee of their company. Leo and Mary were dating and living together for 4 years before marriage and are having a small design studio, a 5 yo husky, and just got a newborn. Leo is a perfectionist so he wants everything to be in control since he just got a baby boy.

​Leo wants to track his newborn son's rearing development.

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Billy, 34, is a web developer, the father of a boy, and will be having a daughter soon. His wife is Lei, 34, a sales manager and very good at her job. Lei's been unhappy because the second pregnancy was so early and her first childbirth was brutal, so Billy wants to take more on the father role and childbirth class to ensure Lei is in good condition.

Billy wants to ensure to prevent every possible scenario that could harm the childbirth and the mother.

​Goals

I invited mostly married couples from 24 to 36 years old and must be big-city residents

With all the above being shared, my team and I have got so many ideas in mind to give in the testing prototype, the followings are our focuses of what users mainly use the 3000-Dads App for:

  • Managing

Allow users to customize checklists, to-do lists, and reminders.

  • Learning contents

Collect parenting-pregnancy material and advanced courses for new dads.

  • Communicating between family

Allow effective and transparent communication for complete clarity to prevent any misunderstanding and tension.

  • Connecting & community building

Build a private community for dads to share achievements, and seek endorsement and help from others. To boost self-endorsement and pride to inspire the rest of the community.

  • Safe space

Create a neutral and safe expression that protects the vulnerability and the ego of new young parents while sharing tasks and approving them.

  • Accessibility

Streamline access to ensure continuous and engaged usage between moms (non-registered) and dads via the app.

  • Entertaining

Write a guy-friendly application that young guys would relate to. Make caring jobs become a joyful and competitive journey that will be fruit with real rewards and rankings.

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