This week we have a slightly different inspirational story, different because it’s a man’s story. It’s sad that so few men are willing to speak out, and today I’m pleased to share Robin Hadley’s story.
Robin was probably the first childless man in the UK to speak out and he did this on the back of writing a PhD on men and childlessness. We’ve spoken a few times on skype and Robin was part of this groundbreaking conversation, the first of men and women discussing childlessness. I’m looking forward to meeting him face to face at the Conference this weekend.
I love the fact that Robin is ‘in a place he never thought he would be’ and I applaud his advice to Be kind to yourself wherever you are.’ great advice indeed.
Over to Robin,
1. Where are you on your journey now?
At a place I never thought I would be. I never thought I could do a PhD or talk about my experiences of being a man who wanted to be a dad and didn’t become one. I’m at a place where I see the need for men’s concerns and feelings about non-fatherhood to be acknowledged in the general, academic, medical and social media.
2. What’s your story?
I always expected to be a dad. Like a lot of men and women I just assumed this would happen. We tried in my first marriage and then we divorced. I was 30 at that time. A similar story happened in my next serious relationship in my mid 30’s. My then partner said she wanted me to be the father of her child and then we split up soon after.
I met my wife in my late 30’s and as she was a few years older than me she had already decided that her opportunity for motherhood had ended. I could have ended the relationship but I had no idea where I would meet another partner who would want me and who I loved to the same extent.
I was very ‘broody’ in my mid 30’s to 40’s and still have feelings of loss, sadness and yearning.
3. What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?
Time and finding out that I wasn’t the only one who was ‘broody’ to be a dad. I think the grief is on-going. I carry it with and sometimes it bubbles up unexpectedly. For example, in the TV programme Cold Feet I cried when one of the male characters was invited to play in his son’s band. I hadn’t expected that
4. What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?
I have a great relationship with my wife. I’m not sure how I would have been as a father and as a father-husband.
5. What has not having children made possible for you?
I took redundancy after 30 years with the same employer and entered higher education. I don’t think I would have done that if I was a father.
6. Is there anything missing in your life? (and what do you plan to do about it?)
A permanent job would be nice – I’m trying to get one! I’m not sure if I can get the type of parent-child-bond relationship and wouldn’t know where to get it.
7. How are you different now (who are you now)?
I have times where I am vastly different and others where I am just a working class lad from Manchester. I have 24/7 access to the imposter syndrome databank.
8. What advice would you give to others who are not as far down the road as you are?
It is your road. My experience of the road is that it flips you back and forward. Be kind to yourself wherever you are.
9. What brings you joy/what’s your passion?
Bird watching, dog walking, doing something well. Listening to people’s life stories.
10. What’s your 6 word memoir?
Being, not being, being not, being.
You can read more about Robin on his website.
How did Robin’s Inspirational Story resonate with you?
Please share your comments below to help other women.
If you’re tempted to share your story and inspire others I’d love to feature you. You can use your real name or any other that you chose to give me, and I’ll happily promote your website or blog. Some of the feedback I’ve had from the writers includes ‘I’m so pleased to have told my story now’, I’ve been astonished by the amount of messages I have received …. all grateful for me sharing this part of my story’, and ‘… seeing the response has been utterly humbling and beautiful. I’m so grateful to you.’
Find out more HERE.