I’m really pleased to see that Robin Hadley’s research looking at how men react to childlessness is receiving the attention it deserves. Robin has been studying how men feel about involuntary childlessness, and his findings suggest that they may feel more depressed and lonely about it than their female counterparts. It’s a very small study, but is important and should be welcomed – we often assume that men cope far better with childlessness and are able to bury their feelings and get on with life. Robin’s research shows that this is often far from the case as the men he interviewed felt sad, isolated and depressed. The only emotion associated with childlessness among women which they did not share was guilt. The men tended to feel pressure from society and from their own families to have children more acutely, whilst the women felt their own personal desire and biological urges were at the root of their longing for children.
There’s more details about Robin’s research here and a really interesting piece by Robin himself here. It’s good that men’s attitudes to childlessness are finally being explored, as this has been an area which is all too often overlooked.