For some time now, I’ve been toying with the idea of launching a podcast. A couple of my blog’s readers had asked if I’d thought of producing one and I took that as a sign I should take the idea seriously. Of course, thinking only gets you so far, this was going to require action! After a couple of months of ferreting away in the background, I am today delighted to unleash DadPodUK on the world.
What I have produced is an audio-only mini-series that will run from now until mid-January. In each episode, I interview a father with a completely different experience of fatherhood.
Episode one: Stepdads and blended families
In this episode, I speak to the amazing Lee Sands. Lee is a dad, stepdad, blended family advocate and author of the OurBlendedFamily blog (see here). Lee previously featured in this Q&A post on Dadbloguk. On that occasion he was so candid about his experiences that I simply had to ask him back to appear on the podcast.
This is a deeply personal subject for me as I have been a stepson since I was a very young boy. It was great to hear Lee discussing both the challenges and complexities of blended family life, plus the positives. There are very few men out there speaking openly about blended and stepfamily life, so I implore you to have a listen.
Episode two: Adoptive, same sex dad
In episode two, I speak to Ryan. Ryan is an adoptive dad of two young boys. He is also in a same sex marriage (To protect his family’s privacy, we agreed not to use second names or images).
We chat about the adoption process and what it’s like raising boys whose earliest years were turbulent.
Ryan and I also discuss his experiences as a dad in a same sex relationship. Same sex couples have only been allowed to adopt since 2002 in England and Wales (2009 in Scotland and 2013 in Northern Ireland). It’s easy to forget how modern this kind of family unit is. I ask whether he feels same sex parents are represented fairly in the media and about the responses he gets from other mums and dads. You might be pleasantly surprised by his answers!
Episode three: When dad is in prison
I was very keen to speak to a dad who had spent time in prison to get an idea of how this impacted on his family. I didn’t think this would be easy, but it took more effort than I expected to make my idea a reality. I approached several charities and followed up a few other avenues, all of it coming to nothing. My break came when I stumbled across David Breakspear’s website, Journey of a Reformed Man.
David is a reformed criminal, TED-X speaker and a passionate criminal justice campaigner with a particular interest in promoting education of prison inmates. Crucially, he’s also a dad of three and a grandfather.
In this candid exchange, David talks about his early years and how he got involved in crime at a young age. He served sentences in Young Offenders’ Institutions before graduating to adult prisons. Along the way he became a dad.
His time in prison lead to a period of estrangement from his eldest daughter, although they reconciled when she gave birth to David’s first grandchild. In the podcast, David tells the story of how he received the news he was a grandfather. It wasn’t straightforward as he was serving a sentence at the time.
You need to buckle up for this episode. It’s a roller coaster with some incredible highs and lows, but definitely worth a listen.
I obviously don’t want to say too much, but further episodes have been recorded and are presently being edited. In the coming weeks you can expect an interviews with: A man whose child was born during lockdown, an interview with a high-profile diversity campaigner discussing his experiences as a black father and an interview with an individual I shall refer to as The King of Stay at Home Dads.
There is also an interview with an involuntarily childless man. This touching interview will open your eyes to the realities of being child free when you’ve always your own offspring.
Where to listen to DadPodUK
As I mentioned above, you can download or stream DadPodUK from Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Other outlets include Libsyn, Radio.com and Amazon Music. From early-December the podcast will also be available from iHeartRadio.
A big experiment
DadPodUK is a big experiment for me. I really wanted the experience of putting this mini-series together.
It’s been a huge learning curve and I won’t lie, the acoustics improved the more episodes I recorded as I learned what I was doing. If the feedback is positive, I’ll record more episodes next year. In the meantime I encourage you to have a listen.
I must also say a big thank you to all my interviewees for your time and for putting up with me! It’s greatly appreciated.