“It’s a source of sadness that I’m not a dad.” So says Robin Hadley in the latest episode of the DadPodUK podcast.
Robin, or should I say Dr Hadley, is a fascinating individual. He doesn’t have children, although he has always wanted them. Discovering very little academic research had been carried out on the impact of being an involuntarily childless man, he turned it into his field of expertise.
Don’t, however, get the wrong idea about Robin. he may be an experienced academic, but he speaks about his experiences in an incredibly moving, personal way.
In this podcast episode, Robin explains how a mix of economic circumstance, relationship break-ups and relationship choices resulted in him never having kids. He talks about the various pinch points, such as Christmas and Father’s Day, which can be tough for an individual without their own offspring.
The big difference, as Robin explains, is that a man without kids often gets congratulated, whereas women will be shunned. It goes without saying both attitudes are deeply insensitive.
It may seem odd to dedicate an episode of a fatherhood and parenting podcast to involuntary childlessness, but I felt there were important issues to explore. I have sometimes found myself wondering if us parents can get a bit caught up in our “mummy / daddy bubbles” and overlook the interests, needs and challenges of individuals who don’t have kids, especially if they are involuntarily childless.
During the podcast, we also talk about other issues such as how an ageing, childless population may impact on residential care home provision. We also discuss the oddly sexist approach of the Office of National Statistics, which collects data on childless women, but not childless men.
Despite the sometimes heavy subject matter, Robin was a superb interviewee. His Mancunian humour was never far from the surface and he was incredibly open and personable.
I really do encourage you to listen to this episode. It stands out not only because Robin is the first child-free guest I have interviewed, but because he was very open about his circumstances.
If you’d like to listen to previous episodes, please just follow this link to the podcast’s homepage. Over recent months I have interviewed fathers in many different circumstances including reformed criminal and long-term prisoner David Breakspear, stepdad Lee Sands and Elliott Rae, who spoke to me about his experiences as a black father in the UK.
If you like what you hear, please do give the podcast a quick review. Please do also vote for me in the Podcasting For Business Awards. To my amazement DadPodUK has been shortlisted in the Family podcast category. There’s also a Listener’s Choice Award and I’d love it if you would vote for DadPodUK.
All you have to do is follow this link and pop in your name, email address and your favourite podcast name (Hint: DadPodUK). It would mean a lot if you would vote for my podcast. It’s very new but I love making it and it would be great if it got some recognition.