Meeting with Renaud Miniaou: Cercles de Papas facilitator

In a world where fatherhood is often relegated to the background, Renaud Miniaou is making his way into the hearts of men by proposing a gentle but profound revolution: Cercles de Papas. We had the privilege of talking to him to understand the essence of these gatherings and their impact on the lives of men today.

Could you explain what a daddy circle is?

The dad circles I organize are spaces where dads and dads-to-be can express themselves freely and share with others what they're going through. They can share their thoughts and emotions.

These are moments of introspection and sharing, where dads take the time to look at what's going on inside, to verbalize things that are often kept secret. There are some difficult subjects to discuss with your partner, mates or family! We'd like to talk about them, but we don't always have the forum or the opportunity to do so. Or we may be afraid of how it will be received. Whatever the reasons, there are often things we keep inside, things we don't dare talk about, but they need to come out. These circles are a space to do just that.

By being present, listening and welcoming each other's stories, these circles enable everyone to free themselves. It's a bonding experience, with others and with ourselves. This can have a powerful healing and calming effect.

I organize monthly face-to-face and online circles. They bring together between 4 and 8 dads, and last 90 minutes.

How did you get the idea to start this kind of meeting?

I first had the impetus to start men's circles, without focusing specifically on dads and dads-to-be. I was just a young dad, and through conversations with professionals in the perinatal field, the concept of dad circles was born!

In fact, professionals in the field are the most convinced of the importance of these spaces for dads!

And yes, moms are the center of attention.

But who asks dads how they feel? How are they coping with the upheavals and emotions associated with the arrival of a baby? When pregnancy or the arrival of a baby is complicated, who cares to know what dads are going through deep down? Beyond the light-hearted "What about you?" or "Are you ready to be a dad?

Dads don 't really have the space to take the time to question themselves, to look at what's going on inside, and to talk about it, to other dads, in a safe, caring environment. From my point of view, this kind of sharing is extremely rich, liberating and conducive to men's equilibrium. It makes them more available and present for themselves, for their family and for those around them. For the good of all.

That's what motivates me to lead these circles!

Are there any recurring topics that are discussed or raised in these groups?

Confidentiality isone of the main principles of these circles, so I can't say here what the dads talk about.

What I can say, however, is that within a circle, there are always resonances between each other's stories as the word gets around, masks come off and hearts open up. And therein lies the magic of these circles: you realize thatyou're not alone in what you're going through. You just have to have the courage to talk about it. It's incredible how the energy in the circle changes. Daring to show our vulnerability creates a bond, because the emotions we experience are universal. So of course, when we dare to talk about it, it brings us closer together.

Do you know any other dad circles?

No, I don't know any. But I do know that there are dozens of men's circles all over France. Even if they're not specifically aimed at dads, all men and all topics of discussion are certainly welcome. I encourage you to look for a circle near you - there's sure to be one nearby. Some organizations, like the ManKind Project (MKP), offer access to circles all over France, and even around the world, after experiencing an "initiation weekend".

What advice would you give to a dad wanting to start up in his area?

It's as simple as finding a venue, setting a day and time, and then talking to people about it. And talk a lot...! Enough to get a few dads or dads-to-be together. As the concept is not yet widespread in France (whether it's dads' circles or men's circles), it's not yet common practice to take part in these circles. So it's only by talking about it that some dads will get motivated, and the first circles will take place!

I also think that getting closer to a hospital, clinic or perinatal healthcare practice can make things easier, such as making a room available as part of a collaboration.

Where can I contact you if I want to take part in one of your meetings?

You can contact me by message on Instagram: @notre.vraie.nature

Or by e-mail:

There are dad circles every month face-to-face at Clinique Belharra or online.

All info and dates are available on our website:

Anything else you'd like to add?

If I hadn't been presented with a fait accompli during a course, I might never have dared to take part in a men's circle or a dad's circle. And yet, it's probably one of themost rewarding things that's happened to me in the last 10 years. I was scared, I didn't feel comfortable in this purely male environment. I had no idea how powerful these collective spaces for men could be. I really understood the meaning of the word fraternity. And it carries me forward in my everyday life: I remember that behind the face of every man I meet, and behind the preconceptions I may have about him, there's a sensitive man, and I feel closer to him.