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Season 3 #2 Robin Hadley

My guest today is Robin Hadley, a childless man, an associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and a founder member of campaign group Ageing Without Children. Rob has conducted a wide range of research on childless men so he brings both personal and professional experience to the topic. We discuss some myths around men and reproduction. We also discuss the implication of 'validity through virility' for everyone, and what happens when you don't follow the expected life arc, either by choice or not. Rob makes what can be heavy topics so accessible and relatable; this conversation will interest you regardless of your gender or childfree/less status.

This is a link to Rob's website where you can read his research and order his book 'How is a Man supposed to be a Man? Male Childlessness - A Life Course Disrupted'.

Mgt O Connor 0:09

Hi and welcome to the Are Kids For Me podcast. My guest today is Robin Hadley. He is a childless man and associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a founder member of the campaign group Aging Without Children, and an advisor to the advocacy group at New Legacy Institute. Rob has conducted a range of research on childless men across his career so he brings both personal and professional experience to this topic. I wanted to speak to Rob to get the male perspective which is often missing from this topic. However, you don't have to be male or childless to find this discussion fascinating. We discuss why men are often missing from the topic, along with some myths around men and reproduction. We discuss the implication of validity through virility for both men and women. And what happens when you don't follow this expected life arc, either by choice or not. We also discuss the need for decision making and policy to reflect the reality of people's lives. And to count and plan for an increasing population aging without children. Rob makes these heavy topics really accessible. And I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed taking part in it.

Well, hello, Rob, and thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. I really appreciate it.

Robin Hadley 1:32

Thank you for inviting me on. It's great to talk to you.

Mgt O Connor 1:35

Thank you. So yeah, lots of interesting topics to get through today because you have so much research. I love talking to people with research, because we generally don't have enough in this area. So it's brilliant to be able to have informed conversations, I suppose. One of the first things I thought I wanted to ask you about, I suppose is that you you talk about those myths around men and reproduction. So that might be a place to start. If you if you wanted to throw a few out there and bust them?

Robin Hadley 2:06

Yeah, absolutely. I think a big one is that men are fertile from puberty till death, fully fertile. I think that's because that hides so much. And it's just an obvious thing for people to throw out, Oh, it's okay for men. Because they're fully fertile. And they're not therefore concerned about reproduction, because it's always going to be available. And it's more and more evidenced that men's fertility, efficacy drops after the age of 35. Not in the same way as the menopause. It's a slow and gradual decline. But mixed in with that is the environmental impact over time anyway, on all our cells, cells, and that goes for, for women and their eggs and for men and their sperm, as well. So there's an environmental degradation, as as well. So that convenient myth that goes across I think all societies is really there for reducing. And I think one of the things around why is that so popular and why is it held on to is really, societies don't want to see men as being vulnerable. And that's by one of the core, sort of defining things about men is their validity through virility, outside themselves. And not not just biological virility, but economic virility and social virility. You know, how are we existentially defined. (laughter) This is a nice, simple, easy thing to go in straight at the top. But how are we defined? And how is that reflected in society? Are women defined by their internal validity, internal virility, by the motherhood mandate in society, there's so much around that. And then for women who don't go down that route, the issues that they face, and I think that's more overt and out there for women, and depending on where you are in the world and your culture, how that is expressed and how you receive that. And I think there's a similar thing for men, but it tends to be overt, but it's still there. And again, depends where you are in the world and your culture, but in sort of the Western societies, it's just the same thing. But it's delivered differently.

Mgt O Connor 4:56

Yeah, that's fascinating. Like I've literally never heard anybody say that about men. And I mean, we hear all the time about women, when you're 35, your fertility is going to drop off a cliff. And I've never ever heard of that in relation to men. I've never heard that before. That's so interesting.

Robin Hadley 5:12

Yeah! I'm sorry to shout it out but yes. I do get excited about this subject (laughter), I think men are fascinating because of that lack of narrative, and how they then try to struggle to express themselves. And yeah, compared generally with women, and how easy and doing the inverted commas around easy there around how easy it is for women, and maybe there is an expectation of women, that they're going to be nurturing and expressive and in touch with their feelings. On the other side of that is, how its constructed that men can't be like that and how they're socialized not to be expressive. The work that needs to be done, so that you're as a man, at ease with yourself to say, actually, this is what's happening inside for me. And this is when I was counseling, I sort of learned not to say to men, how are you feeling? Because you could see the well how am I feeling and that process of, I don't want to be making myself vulnerable or exposed, or flood the other person. So I think I feel was the key phrase that they would come out with, and I think that really describes the process and getting what's happening down there, I've got to get past this concrete block, that's between my inner and outer, going across from the shoulder just below the neck that's been placed in there. But let's take, take it that when we're born, male or female, we have the same emotional capacity. So what happens then, for men, not to be able to express and for women to be able to express and one of my sort of go to places would be if you look on Facebook, at what age babies even, are called my little man, my little soldier. And that's to me indicative of putting that in place that actually you're not a child. And I guess for children, they get a bit of a confusing because you are a child, but then you're being called my little man, be a man. Be strong. In in Manchester, don't be soft. And I guess the opposite, for girls would be do be soft. Yeah, you're my little princess. It's what women tell me you know, I'm in my 30s 40s 50s 60s and I'm still my father's Little Princess, or my mother's Little Princess. And I run a run a company with 5000 people. Those things are placed in very early and reinforced in society. So we started about myths around men. And I think I've gone down that one and also related to that is men aren't bothered about reproduction. And I think if we went off planet, to a planet where there's a race where there's male and female, and either one of them wasn't interested in reproducing, it wouldn't get very far. If we come back to this planet, then we wouldn't be talking over all these hundreds of miles, kilometers distance live. And we wouldn't have all this technology around if, because there'd be no point in developing all those protective things. And the agricultural revolution and all that because we'd be happy wandering round, wherever, not reproducing (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 9:06

Okay (laughter). And there's something in that isn't there? It's almost like, it's almost odd for men to express a desire to be fathers or you know, to be broody. We never, I know you use that term and it's so interesting, because again, we don't I don't, I don't anyway, see that word associated with men, generally, or not in a good way.

Robin Hadley 9:27

No, absolutely. The definitions of that when I started using that sort of googling lots of things about chickens (laughter). Yeah, what is that? Why can't, we associate that women but also, why can't men use it and generally, they use intimate terms and revealing terms only in one to one relationships, and they're very close intimate relationships, then they might be able to trust enough to go around that concrete block to say, actually, yeah I'm really, I really want to be a dad and not say it in a jokey way. Which is another another way, yeah, so men are lot of men really want to be that. But there's I don't think it's down to the social narratives, you've sort of have gotten this thing as, you know, a it's natural to reproduce, and it happens to everyone and everybody is fully fertile. And until you're in a position of realizing you're not, then it becomes different. There's a social expectation built in in many different ways that you are going to become a parent. And then the issues around how you feel, how you are treated, and your reflections, your reactions to not hitting in that arc of life. The ideal arc of life. The thing about ideals, is that they're hardly ever achievable. And when you do achieve them, there's another arc.

Mgt O Connor 11:20

True, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. There's so much in that. Yeah. My, my brain is going in lots of different directions (laughter). And there, there's so much crossover isn't there? So I mean, that applies everybody. Again, that assumption is that a) you will want to b) you'll be able to and c) it'll be easy. You know, and if there's anything different along the way, it feels like a problem. Maybe to other people, even if not to you.

Robin Hadley 11:49

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then where do you go to get a social narrative that's acceptable. So you can be still fit in with society, and we are social beings.

Mgt O Connor 12:02

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Okay, any other myths you want to get into (laughter)?

Robin Hadley 12:10

(laughter) Yeah I think that there are two big ones. Really, that men aren't bothered. And I guess, on with that is that's not really been questioned. But in like, sociology, or psychology, or the social sciences or humanities, how true is this about men?

Mgt O Connor 12:30

Yeah, yeah. So it's not being actively researched? And maybe that's something to look at. I suppose there's lots of issues in terms of research, or even in terms of definitions of, you know, are you researching a group of childless or childfree people? Or is it they just haven't had children yet? Or all those all those things. But you were saying, like men are even more marginalized in that research because it tends to be focused on women and groups, the cohorts of woman?

Robin Hadley 13:03

Absolutely. And there is a paper by a guy called Mike Lloyd from I think, 1996, who was arguing that men are seen as uninterested and one of the reasons why is that researchers, particularly when they've been dealing with people going through infertility and ART, have done the research and based questionnaires etc, on women, and just assumed men would fill it in the same. And it's not really being adjusted for men. And the thing is, a lot of men feel isolated during the process of ART, and are isolated. So they may go to the clinic, and they'll be called under the partners or wife's name. So it's like, they don't even exist too much. And what they're there for is to give a sample. And so quite often, they say, you know, I'm just like a cash machine. And that's, that's it, and it's outside. And also, the women have a more direct connection with the clinicians and the researchers. So men feel isolated, the research questionnaires aren't specifically for them. And also, I think, deep down it means an awful lot to a man. We've already discussed how difficult it is for them to express around it. So I don't want to be seen to be vulnerable. I don't want to be seen to be weak or failing. And you're coming to me with a questionnaire actually going straight into that bit that I absolutely want to avoid and have very little defenses or structure around for me to answer

Mgt O Connor 14:59

Yeah, I suppose it's a strange situation to think about, I was going to say that women can relate in many ways to that situation of feeling invisible or not being acknowledged within a setting. But, and it's very unpleasant and it doesn't work for anybody, like it doesn't work for in this case, it's the couple. That is not good, because they might feel like the burden falls to the woman or the burden of responsibility, you know, so everybody's feeling isolated and unsupported in that way. So yeah, I suppose I hear that. And again, it will be more people considering the choice, not childless as such, but you know, where the woman might feel like she is driving the decision. Age and time feels like a more pressing issue for her. Because men may or may not think it is, going back to the earlier point. Or maybe don't feel they're able to express that it is and yeah, trying to make a decision that impacts two people. Yeah, you know, equally, but feeling that that decision is not being made equally is not good for anybody.

Robin Hadley 16:13

Absolutely. And Gail Leatherby. She's done a lot of work in this area. Brilliant. Professor Gail Leatherby. She says, you know, fertility decisions are taken in a whole range of relationships, hardly ever by one person by themselves. And yet, if you look at the narratives around, it's all around the women. Yeah. But very few people actually say, right, I'm gonna have a kid by myself. This, you know, I've got support around me. I'll discuss it with whoever and...

Mgt O Connor 16:52

Yeah. And you did mention specific research on broodiness in men. What did you find from that research?

Robin Hadley 17:00

Aright, well, I did an MSc in research methods following my MA in counseling. And one of the things from the MA was the the lack of stuff around men and men's experience of wanting to be a dad or not being a dad. And what came through all the time was, women were broody, men weren't bothered. And this was some times in really big fertility journals, and also in the main media and advertising and all that sort of thing. That, you know, men weren't bothered and women were. And it's almost like it's 100% for women and zero for men. It seemed to be the binary there. And so I wanted to find out in my MSc about, was that true? So I did an online survey, and found out it wasn't true. It's slightly more for women than for men. And this was for people who didn't have children. For the people who did have children. It was like 90% no, we don't want any more (laughter) and that was equal, so having got there no thanks. But it was only a small, my MSc. But the interesting thing, I did a an item called yearning. I sort of developed it. And men were more depressed, more angry than women. And more jealous, I think as well. Just to qualify this, it was a small survey that I did on my own. But I asked the question and found that, and that was really interesting. And then if you think about how men react, that they've got all this issues with their emotions inside, and they can't express it or don't know how to express it. And in the little graph, I've got the childless men, the childless women and the mothers on like, so many items are very, very close. It's the fathers that are really different. I can pop that to you. It's, I can do it as a poster and it's on there. And so that's easier than A4 to print off or whatever. And that's, yeah, so that was really interesting for me that they they expressed that. And also that's really not been picked up. I don't think before I don't want to be saying I'm a great fellow here doing this research. I did it. This is the answer.

Mgt O Connor 19:47

Yeah. And can I just check for those, the man who said that, so feeling depressed, feeling angry, what was that in relation to?

Robin Hadley 19:57

In relation to yearning and not becoming a a parent.

Mgt O Connor 20:02

Right. Okay.

Robin Hadley 20:05

I thought it was really interesting that I think that sort of stood out against equivalent women.

Mgt O Connor 20:16

So yeah, being left with very strong, important emotions coupled with not feeling able or being given to express those not a good combination.

Robin Hadley 20:29

I think if you're in a situation where things have happened, other things are happening to you as a man, like you, maybe you lost your job or things are going badly, the relationship ended and you're collecting the negative tokens, then you do tend to compare yourself to the ideal. Where this is me. And that's where I should be, that shoulda woulda coulda bat that you'd beat yourself up with? I'm saying you, obviously I mean, me (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 21:08

Speak in the 'I' Rob, come one (laughter).

Robin Hadley 21:10

Absolutely (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 21:15

There was a piece in one of your I can't remember which one now... I read about...And I do think this applies to childfree people, but for childless people you were speaking about that.. You wrote about this constant negotiation of the loss of experience. Yeah. Yeah.

Robin Hadley 21:35

Yeah..gosh..that fella sounds like he knows what he's doing (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 21:37

(laughter) Very impressive! You.. I'm not sure if you identified or where these stages came from.. that there was like a pre transition, a transition and then a post transition to the acceptance that you are going to be childless. I was just really interested in that because I think people seem to think like, it's this one off, or you make this decision on a Wednesday, and then you just..or find out the news that it's not going to happen, and then you just carry on or start a new life or whatever it is. And we know it's not that easy. So I just thought it's the first time we've seen that kind of structure on it.

Robin Hadley 22:10

Yeah, that I think that came through the MSC, the MSC.. that idea of transitions. I picked up from the literature somewhere, I thought, yeah, at one point, you're on that arc of life. At some point, you're assuming you're going to try and transist I was going to say (laughter), transmit, then you're going to move into this other zone. And then what happens when you don't? Yes, and I think the other thing people do seem to see as a fixed or a binary. And yet, life's complex. And as you go, as you go through different stages and ages, you know, you may be child free, but you then hook up with somebody who's children, who's got children, and so you become a social parent or a step parent. Or the other way around, maybe you split up with someone. And so this idea of I think of transitions, and it's an abrupt thing, you're either in and you're out. I think, even as we speak, and everyone's going yes, this is obvious stuff that no transitions fixed, and no point in life is fixed. But sometimes saying the obvious like, men get broody and quite often people go when I'm when I used to go to bus stop says before COVID, you can talk to people quite often and they'll go Oh, yeah, I hadn't thought of it. But it is obvious.

Mgt O Connor 23:43

Yeah. And I think sometimes I wonder does that thought that it's that it is actually going to be an ongoing process can feel a bit depressing or, you know, you might like it to be a shorter process, the thought that okay, this is something I might have to navigate or renegotiate as I go through life might feel a bit overwhelming. I was just wondering, is there any..yeah. Is there any way to frame that more positively for people?

Robin Hadley 24:11

Well, as you go through life, you grow and you pick up skills, and I think, depending where you are with your childlessness, so I call myself a mediated childlessness man. In my 30s, I was desperate to be a dad. And it was really awkward because my friends and peers seem to be pulling kids out of cupboards or their pocket, you know, just got another kid. And in that, that thing of actually, I should be there. And one of my pals at work I worked with became a dad. We used to have brew times, and I couldn't go past his office and we were on the same floor. So I had to go the long way around. I just couldn't face him, that it was so critical for me. And eventually we did have a chat. And I said, you've got the life I should have. And he said, Well, I can't do anything about that. We just have to work together (laughter). There is something about being pragmatic, you can only do so much. But I think acknowledging it, yeah, was a thing. And that was quite a difficult thing. To actually say it to another, another man. But that's how strong it was. It broke the the social boundaries. Yeah, I think once I recognize that, that actually, that was why I was so moody. I was gonna swear there but moody will cover will.. cover it in. Yeah, being moody in myself and also being out of step. We're on that ideal arc track, so my track was a big distance from the ideal. And you can see people being on there being on the track and where do you fit in then socially? And then that obviously goes into mood, as as well.

Mgt O Connor 26:21

Yeah. I think that's such an important piece. You know, it's easy to say, oh, okay, you know, you'll need to plan for a new situation now, or, you know, what will we do instead, but, I suppose, again, with clients that I'm speaking to, it feels like there's such a void. Like, you're bombarded with that arc and what it looks like, and that involves children as far as society is concerned, and to think, okay, like, what do I do instead is literally the question like, people just don't know, or it feels so challenging to try or, as it feels like a lot of effort. Ironically, I think, you know, being childfree or not having children actually feels like more effort than being a parent, because you have to work or it feels like you have to work hard, creating this other life. And that can be just very overwhelming to think about.

Robin Hadley 27:17

Yeah, and just negotiating your own stuff in that journey, but also managing other people's as well, and what they say because people tend to do simple solutions to complex problems. Well, you can adopt, yeah, yeah, take mine. You know, you'll change your mind. It's a it's about finding your people around you and your your own group. And that may mean taking a few more steps than just holding up your kids as the defense shield. I sometimes see them as sort of human defense shield (laughter). Yeah, you can hear it, you know, I'm a mother, I'm a father. So my opinions hold more value and my actions, and I'm first off the boat thanks very much (laughter) because of this. I, it's gone through my head recently is that we're like transponders on ships. You know, there is a course that is sort of plotted, that we've got an idea of, and we're pinging all the time, where am I? Where am I? Who am I? Yeah. And the closer those pings come back, the sooner they come back, the more you know where you are. And there's nothing like having something right in front of you, ping, I'm here. And also becoming a parent, there are so many narratives you can occupy. So for for men, like I said, when I was 35, I'd be going out doing the things I did when I was in my mid 20s. Like other lads did then, but they were staying in and they have the social narrative. Well, now, I'm a father, now I'm a man, now I've got this status. I don't have to do that. And I think there's some research about changes in the in the brain after becoming a father and accessing the more emotional side of that, that allows that, but also socially, there's certainly research which shows so many become parents go into work, and there's another string to their conversation. And it also usually, there are more childed people in the work situation. So you've got that exchange, you know, what's your baby done? What's your kids doing? I was in work way back in the 90s and two colleagues were talking about a DS, their kids was seven or eight. The son's playing DS. I had no idea what DS was. And I said, you know your kids are playing Drug Squad. A bit early isn't it? And they, they really took the rise out of me again, avoiding the swearing (laughter). Because I didn't know. And I guess up to date minions, I have no idea what the minions thing is about. But it's very popular.

Mgt O Connor 30:30

Minions are great, they're for adults too (laughter)!

Robin Hadley 30:32

Oh are they, ok fine (laughter)Okay.

Mgt O Connor 30:34

I'm a big fan!

Robin Hadley 30:36

Well that's fine. Yeah, that sort of where the ping goes.

Mgt O Connor 30:44

I really love that image, that that is really lovely. Because, again, I think there's a sense of distance people can feel like there's a gap. Yeah, everyone else is over there doing this, and I'm over here. And yeah, that's a really lovely way of putting it. And so there is some effort, I guess, in that of how do you find people. And once again, we're not saying, of course, parents are fully entitled to talk about their kids. We're not saying they can't. It's just the fact that it tends to take over and not leave much space for people in different situations.

Robin Hadley 31:22

Yeah, I think sometimes. Have you got kids? No, I haven't. There's a big gap, then. It's almost like people will say, Well, I've got nothing here (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 31:40

There is a silence then alright (laughter).

Robin Hadley 31:40

But also, I think, deep down, there's a recognition of an existential thing there. Yes, that I could have been there, like, you're my fear of not being on that arc not being there, right in front of me. So no, thanks. I'm going to talk somebody, I have something of a shared experience with. But for me, actually, I just, no, I don't. But that's why I'm really interested in men. And then I've got them for hours, as you're finding out (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 32:17

Brilliant (laughter). And as well, you're quite involved now and I'm very interested to hear about that, the kind of the advocacy and maybe social justice side. So okay, we're aware of the situation. And I always feel like there's a gap, say, between the reality and the theory or the policy. So the policy in most countries, and I know, obviously you're talking about in the UK does not match the reality of what actually people's situations are. So yeah, so I'm just wondering, what can we do about that or what are people doing about that?

Robin Hadley 32:54

Really good. There are more and more groups coming up. There's one called New Legacy Institute in America, which is trying to raise the awareness of childlessness in all its broad categories. They're going to try and influence policy with putting up the thing now how pronatalist society is and what that means, if you're not in that group, I was gonna say something... All the men I've interviewed have all said, there's something missing. And I think that's so powerful, because it's not tangible. I know there's something not there inside. But now what we're talking about, it's not there outside out as well. So in the social structures and stuff like that, so for the childless are a non category in, so we're not going to count them. Because it's a bit difficult, really, more than more than anything. And usually, there's a bit of a track of well, are they voluntary or involuntary childless? Does that really matter? It's much more important to know what percentage of the population is like that? And what's the impact for in terms of policy? How are you going to deliver health and care, particularly in later life. Because certainly in the UK, and in quite a few countries, health and care is predicated on your adult children, being intermediaries or advocating or even going from just keeping an eye on you, phone calls or stuff like that to being actually directly involved with the services. So in the Mid Staffs issue in this country, way back in 2007... It and quite often when these things come up, where there's been an issue in a care or health setting, where there's been abuse by staff, it's the adult children who raise it. So it was Mid Staffs, it was Julie Bailey, who raised that her mother was being mistreated, and that unveiled that. But if you don't have somebody representing you, noting that maybe you got bruises or your sheets haven't been changed, or, or whatever, who's doing that for for you. So counting who doesn't have familial support is very important. The other thing is when it comes to demographics, and the fertility rate, it's all based on women. Yeah. Because, and this goes for all, like 90% of the countries in the world, I think, apart from some of the Scandinavian countries, where.. so most countries, they record the mother's fertility, history, birth registration. So it's quite an easy job. I say it's quite easy. Obviously, I'm not going to do it, because I'm useless at figures. So you know, how many women there are in the population. You know how many have had children. So you know, how many don't have children. So, in the UK, it's about 19%. of women. 20% don't have children, and probably 25% of men. Whereas the..and that goes, I think, more or less around the world, there's usually more childless men than there are childless women, usually a shock to people. Yeah, I think because they tie in with that all men are fertile, ergo, they must have reproduced. But also maybe reflecting how much of the narrative is around women, as well. And so I've been trying to get the, in the UK the ONS to agree to do that. But they're, they're resistant to it, because big organizations are resistant to change. But also, maybe it's something they don't really care about men. Yeah, maybe that comes into a societal view is we don't want to see our men as vulnerable. Our men are disposable. But we've got to protect women. As women are the portal to the continuation of the species and society,.

Mgt O Connor 37:22

Yes. Interesting.

Robin Hadley 37:26

Yes. And I'm a founding member of a group called AWOC, Aging Without Children. And that has two sort of aims. One is to do local groups. So in York, there's a fantastic AWOC group where they, people who are AWOC, come along, and have a have a brew, go and do stuff, but the social thing and the social network, so people can buddy up, connect with each other, but also going to other groups like Men's Sheds, sports groups, all those sort of small groups that can be, you know, just notifying, you know, there's this group here. And that you may not be catering for, but you can easily do just include some people in, that person down the road, who you know, doesn't get anybody visiting, just drag them along with you, for want of a better word (laughter). So there's that. And the other thing AWOC are trying to do is actually get a group of people aging without children, again, that's chosen childless, involuntary childless, whatever term, and also, people who have lost contact with their children, who are functionally childless, who are estranged. And as people get older, that group gets bigger, because of all those different situations of not having somebody close by, you know, children are on the other side of the world or whatever, you are functionally childless. So who is going to know when something's gone wrong? Who are you going to go to that can do something more or less, quite quickly? So we're trying to raise that with the the people who make policy and for me, if we could get men's fertility history, recorded at birth, then we would know exactly how many childless men there were. And we wouldn't be basing policy on 51% of the population, because in 20 30 years time, it's going to be maybe 34% of the population of the older population over 65, who are childless. And if you're providing health and social care, suddenly there might be a group of people knocking on the door saying, well, we need this. Yeah, you're gonna go well, where have you come from.

Mgt O Connor 39:53

Yeah, but that is I mean, that is it. I mean, we're seeing the fertility levels drop, longevity is increasing. I mean, again, it kind of should be obvious. Yeah, it's obvious to us, but it doesn't feel like it's obvious to a lot of people that. Yeah. So it's we need, that's what we need the data for. That's what research does, is the basis to say there is a need here that needs to be addressed. Yeah.

Robin Hadley 40:18

I think, particularly these days, because everything is metric driven, you know, if evidence based practice is really metric based practice. I guess I'm gonna say the old days or some sort of generic old days whenever, when, actually. And sometimes it didn't work. It's common sense to look at this group. Yeah, they must exist. Yeah. And sometimes that just was reflected from biases within society. Yeah. But now, it's not only what you measure, it's who you decide to measure. And why you decided not to measure this group. So why are the childless a non category.

Mgt O Connor 41:02

I think that's what I love... I remember reading that description of the Aging Without Children group, it really was, you know, if you're at a point in your life now, where children are not available to you, you know, it was it was so wide, but there is great strength in that, you know, I think I don't know who to blame for it... But you know, it can end up being quite divisive, it can end up being parents versus non parents, childfree versus childless. And that doesn't serve anybody. There's a strength in however, you ended up in this situation. If you're in a situation where children are not available to you, then there's, you know, the needs are the same. Yeah. And there's great strength in that. I think it's really important to foster that kind of idea.

Robin Hadley 41:51

Yeah, we're in the shared experience zone. How we got here...not really important.

Mgt O Connor 41:59

Yeah, at this stage..

Robin Hadley 42:00

It's what we do now. In the future.

Mgt O Connor 42:03

Yeah, yeah. Really important. Oh, wow (laughter). So much to go and think about really, really interesting. And thank you so much. Is there anything else you think we didn't cover or anything else you'd like to bring in at this point?

Robin Hadley 42:20

Yeah, my books available from the library. It's very expensive. So if you're in the university fine. Or if you've got lots of money, or you, you want to buy something that's really going to irritate someone, or you're going to get some one person ship up by buying something expensive, that they don't really need and never heard of. And this is the book (laughter). And it's called, 'How is a Man Supposed to be a Man? Male Childlessness - A life Course Disrupted' But I would get it from the library because it is expensive. It is available on Kindle but yeah, get it from the library. Great salesman aren't I (Laughter).

Mgt O Connor 43:09

(laughter). I'll put that information in. And yeah, lovely to just have on the coffee table just casually. No, honestly, Rob, thank you so much really, really fascinating, and lots to think about. So hopefully, people find that interesting. And I hope it's positive, you know, I suppose if we call it, the movement, the childfree/childless movement, you know, has has been developing so much. And it feels like that next stage, that advocacy piece is, I suppose the next really important stage. So it's, it's brilliant to know that it is happening in places already. And this has just really highlighted the need for it. And also the fact that we can work together and this was, again, that part of finding community finding like minded people, which is so important. Yeah.

Robin Hadley 43:56

And maybe you have to be the innovator... the starter..I tried to say a word I can't say there (laughter). To start a community. Yeah, you find one, you find two, and then you're having a brew, that can be it. And there is stuff out there with aging in society, Aging Without Children, around the material you can do use to form a group. And I just like to say, Margaret, it's been lovely talking with you, I think, maybe a bit at you (laughter). But But thanks so much for inviting me on, uh, let me let me talk and now you know, how to avoid me at parties.

Mgt O Connor 44:37

Not at all, I'm happy out (laughter). So, so interesting. Thank you so much. And, yeah, we'll see where things go from here, I guess.

Robin Hadley 44:47

Great. Thank you.

Mgt O Connor 44:48

Thank you.

Thank you to my guests for taking part and to you for listening. Please check out Are kids for me on Facebook and Instagram for more content.

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