Hello everyone! Civilla Morgan here! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life; although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.
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Well, today I have a special guest! This wonderful gentleman and I follow each other on Twitter. But one day I took a longer look at his Twitter profile and became intrigued with his platform. He talks about childlessness from a man’s point of view! Many of you recall there was a time when I did not consider the thought that men could have difficulty dealing with childlessness. I am so thankful for growth and for revelation!
Since I opened my mind to the fact that men can and do suffer whether emotionally or from society’s expectation, I have had the great opportunity to discuss childlessness from a man’s point of view a couple of times here on the podcast. And now I have the great opportunity to interview Dr. Robin Hadley. Let me tell you a little about him!
Was born in 1960 in a working-class area of Manchester (UK). He was the 7th of 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. Dr. Robin left school with only a few qualifications. But his wide-ranging careers have included such roles as counsellor, deputy technical manager, and scientific and technical photographer (28 years), kitchen assistant, and even bartender.
Dr. Robin’s training as a counsellor and his own experience of the desire for fatherhood, led him to research the subject of involuntarily childless men’s desire for fatherhood as research dissertation for his Master of Arts in Counselling, The University of Manchester.
He followed up with a self-funded Master of Science (again at The University of Manchester) exploring the levels of desire for parenthood (‘broodiness’) in females and males, parents and non-parents. He was a Social Gerontology PhD studentship at Keele University in 2010. And for his PhD study examined the experiences of involuntarily childless older men, and awarded his PhD in December 2015.
Post PhD, Dr. Robin has held a number of short term Research Associate posts on projects relating to ageing, dementia, technology, and fathers influence on infant feeding.
Welcome Dr. Robin!
*Please note that Dr. Robin’s contact information, along with links to his Theses are in the show notes.
- First, for our non-UK listeners, tell us exactly what ‘broodiness’ means. I believe the term may be used in a slightly different way here in America!
- In our first meeting, I asked if you are childless not by choice and you advised you are. Was it due to circumstance or was it biological? I may seem nosey, but I know there are many men listening, and I want them to realize they are not alone.
- In your research, you mentioned the biological clock. Did you find that men have biological clocks like women do, in a different way, or not at all?
- In your thesis, you said: quote: ‘Research has mainly focussed on family and women, with the fertility intentions, history and experience, of older men being overlooked. Most nations do not collect the fertility history of men and consequently, it is impossible to judge the population level of childless men. Although involuntary childlessness has frequently only been associated with infertility treatment there is growing recognition that there is a latent population that is absent from research literature. ‘Have you seen any change in the two years since you wrote this?
- In your PhD Thesis Summary where you mentioned the research of the 14 men aged 49-82, did you notice a trend of any type, aside from the ongoing grieving, was there anything that stood out or that surprised you about their responses? I am assuming grieving is ongoing?
- Did you have the opportunity to teach these men anything that would help them cope with childlessness?
- Is there a word of encouragement that you can share with the male listeners?
- ‘Post PhD, you have held a number of short term Research Associate posts on projects relating to aging, dementia, technology, and fathers influence on infant feeding. Tell us more about this research, such as did you recognize an elevated level of dementia, or any other negative impact on the men you researched?
- In closing, is there anything you would like to add, anything I missed? There was so much, and I found your thesis papers intriguing. So I am sure there was much more we could have discussed!
Dr. Robin’s contact information:
Specialty areas include: men, masculinity, male childlessness and infertility, fatherhood, gender, aging, older men, impact of childlessness/infertility, family.
Dr. Robin’s Papers, Thesis and MSc Thesis:
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Until next time, thank you! bye!