Could you be an inspiration?

You may have come across Lesley Pyne, who offers support to women who are childless. Lesley writes a blog and publishes stories of women who have not been able to have children but who now lead a fulfilling life. She is hoping to publish a book based on the stories in 2017, and so is looking for more women who have inspiring stories to tell. Many of them use their real names, but you can choose to remain anonymous and Lesley is happy to link to blogs and websites.

I know people – especially women – sometimes find it hard to see themselves as “inspiring”, but if you have a story to tell about living without children and learning to come to terms with this, then why not get in touch with Lesley? She can send you a list of the questions she would like to ask, and will need submissions by the end of February. You can get in touch with her if you would like to know more at info@lesleypyne.co.uk

Writing workshops

Writing can be a therapeutic response to fertility problems, and fertility counsellor Deborah Sloan is facilitating a new creative writing workshop group in Brighton for men and women who are thinking about their future without much-wanted children.

Using a combination of peer support and creative exercises, each two hour workshop will help you to explore and express the things you may find difficult to share in other areas of your life. The aim of the workshops is to allow you to connect, to support and feel supported and potentially to discover new ways of thinking and being.

You do not need to have any previous experience in writing or creative techniques, and the emphasis is on the process rather than the ‘end product’. The workshops take place in Brighton on Saturday mornings and you can find more details on Deborah’s website.

 

Life without children for men

Researcher Megumi Fieldsend who has carried out previous work looking at childlessness is working on a new project  “Life without children – lived experience of a man who wanted to be a dad”. She would like to talk to childless men who are in heterosexual relationships with no adopted children, step-children or children of a partner from a previous marriage/relationship and she would like to carry out interviews as soon as possible. There are some other criteria which Megumi can discuss with anyone who might be interested, If you, or anyone you know, falls into this category and might be willing to talk to Megumi for her research project you can contact her at megfieldsend@gmail.com

On childlessness

If you haven’t already read this article by Bibi Lynch in The Guardian, you should do. It’s a powerful piece about the reality of being childless in a world where motherhood is given a status you aren’t even aware of unless you aren’t or can’t be a mother. So much of what Bibi Lynch says will resonate with anyone who has experienced fertility problems as well as those who are living with childlessness.

She talks about the way people react when she says she doesn’t have children, about the assumption that only parents can care about children or are kind and loving people – and the idea of hardworking families as if anyone who does not have a family could not possibly be hardworking.

Read it, share it and give it to your family and friends to read – it may help them not to make assumptions or unhelpful comments, and to appreciate just a bit of how it might feel to be involuntarily childless. You may also want to read Bibi’s previous article about childlessness.

National Fertility Awareness Week starts on Monday

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National Fertility Awareness Week starts on Monday 31st October and runs through to Sunday 6th November 2016. It is your week and you can help Fertility Network UK to raise awareness during the week.

Fertility issues are all too often misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s common for media attention to be focused on stereotypes of fertility struggles: the 30 – or 40 – something career woman who’s left it too late; the against-the-odds IVF success story or the woman who’s apparently easily come to terms with childlessness – but this is far from the real picture.

During National Fertility Awareness Week, Fertility Network UK aims to highlight the unseen, intimate and day-to-day reality of fertility issues, to overturn commonly-held misconceptions about fertility and to shine a spotlight on untold fertility stories.

In the UK, 1 in 6 couples experience the pain fertility issues bring. Even if you don’t have direct experience, you probably know someone who does – a family member, friend or work colleague. We hope people will join in, raise funds and help change perceptions about fertility issues.’

The five focus areas for this year’s media campaign are:

  • The myth of the middle-aged would-be-mum: fertility issues in your 20s and early 30s
  • The truth about fertility treatment: we know that 75% of individual IVF cycles are unsuccessful and that most people who become parents after treatment go through more than one cycle. What is it like to face multiple rounds of treatment?
  • The hidden half: men are just as likely as women to suffer from fertility issues
  • Facing up to childlessness: coming to terms with childlessness is too often portrayed as a straightforward process when the reality is far from that
  • Life after successful IVF: the taboo of secondary infertility and can life as the parent of an IVF miracle ever be normal?

You can find out more about how to get involved at the National Fertility Awareness Week website and on Twitter with the hashtags #NFAWUK #HiddenFaces #fertilityin5

Coping strategies – online group

images-2When Lesley Pyne came to talk to the Infertility Network UK London group about coping strategies, she was a huge hit – so now she is going to be talking about this online on 26 April. Lesley has personal experience of IVF and involuntary childlessness and now works supporting others – you can find her website at www.lesleypyne.co.uk

The online group is run by Infertility Network UK and is completely free of charge – if you would like to attend, all you need to do is email your Skype username to hannahtramaseur@infertilitynetworkuk.com. The London group found her tips and suggestions really helpful so I would definitely recommend joining the online talk if you can

Fertile Minds Forum

I think there may still be time to register for a forum being held tomorrow evening in London called the “Fertile Minds Forum London – Talking About Infertility”. It is open to anyone with an interest in fertility, either in your professional or your personal life, and it based around some new  research on communication about infertility at Lancaster University which highlights the gap between the experience of infertility and how it is viewed by the public and clinics.

The team from Lancaster want you to contribute to the discussion to look at how their research can be used to improve communication and the experiences of people going through fertility problems. They will be looking at a number of key areas including
•Stereotypical representations of childlessness
•Problems with clinical communication
•Managing expectations and loss
You can book via EventBrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fertile-minds-forum-london-talking-about-infertility-tickets-21485533810?aff=es2

Great new book from Jody Day

51Abrnt3PzLI was fortunate to attend a book launch last week for Jody Day’s new book, Living the Life Unexpected. It’s an updated version of her first book, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is facing a future without children. Jody writes from her own personal experience and also includes the experiences of many others who are childless by circumstance. She has a lovely writing style and sets out a pathway towards what she describes as a meaningful and fulfilling future without children.

In just a few years, Jody has created a huge network of women who support one another. She runs workshops and retreats, and has given childless women a voice in the media. There is a stigma around childlessness and Jody addresses that head on – and shows that not having children doesn’t always have to be the worst option.

Gateway Women is for all women who are childless not by choice, however that came about – and if you you want to know more about Jody and the Gateway Women network, see her website here. 

Childlessness workshop

You may be interested in a weekend workshop to be held in London on the weekend of 7th and 8th of November for people who are childless. Anyone who has experience of fertility problems or unwanted childlessness is welcome.  The workshop is run by fertility counsellor Gill Tunstall, and aims to help people to explore their emotions and to open up the possibility of moving on in their life. Women, men and couples are welcome.

You can read more about the workshop on Gill’s website here

 

 

 

London workshop on involuntary childlessness

If you are in or near London and are experiencing involuntary childlessness, you may be interested in a weekend workshop run by fertility counsellor Gill Tunstall.

Running in SW8 on October 18th and 19th, it is for anyone who has experienced infertility, failed fertility treatment, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature menopause, stillbirth, terminations for medical reasons or otherwise neonatal death, or unwanted childlessness–whatever the cause, including lack of a partner. The intention is to allow participants to explore their emotions, and to open up the possibility of moving on in their life.

Women, men and couples are welcome. Partners are particularly encouraged to attend, and all sexual orientations are welcome.

For further information  see http://www.gilltunstallcounselling.co.uk