What is it about?
Becoming a parent is celebrated across all cultures and societies. There is much discussion around women and motherhood and not being a mother. Recently, there is an increased focus on fatherhood, fathering and being a father. However, there is little information on what happens if men who wanted and expected to be fathers do not not become one. There are after all, more childless men than childless women. This chapter examines the impact of unwanted childlessness on men who-wanted-to-be-dads and as they age, grandfathers.
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Why is it important?
My findings show that men who-wanted-to-be-dads are affected by not achieving fatherhood. In addition to a sense of loss the childless men are often stigmatised by family, friends and others. Moreover, childless men are not counted in population statistics. As a consequence they are excluded from health and care policy and practice.
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This page is a summary of: Deconstructing Dad, January 2019, Springer Science + Business Media,
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For the approximately 25% of men in the UK who are not biological fathers then Father’s Day can be a challenge. The reality for men who don’t conform to the ideal of fatherhood is something I examine in my chapter ‘Deconstructing Dad’ in The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health.
A pre-publication draft of ' “I’m missing out and I think I have something to give”: experiences of older involuntarily childless men.'
A pre-publication draft of ' No longer invincible’: the impact of involuntary childlessness on older men.' May be slightly different from the published piece. How to cite: Hadley, R.A. (2018), "“I’m missing out and I think I have something to give”: experiences of older involuntarily childless men", Working with Older People, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 83-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-09-2017-0025
The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health, edited by J. A. Barry, R. Kingerlee, M. Seager and L. Sullivan
Explores current debates around male psychology. Takes a lifespan approach to male psychology. Addresses how positive steps forward can be taken for male mental health Publisher's website link to the book. How to cite: Barry, J. A., Kingerlee, R., Seager, M., & Sullivan, L. (Eds.). (2019). The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
'Reviews of "How is a man supposed to be a man"? Male childlessness - a Life Course Disrupted.'
Book. REVIEWS “I think this is an excellent piece of scholarship that covers an often unspoken topic in a sensitive, novel and comprehensive way. In this sense, it contributes important new knowledge to an area by considering it from a different viewpoint – most notably moving beyond a simple biomedical view or an experiential view of younger men and infertility.” • Steve Robertson, University of Sheffield “a ground-breaking book shining the light on men and their experiences, how men may feel when they don’t end up having children for one reason or another e.g. not meeting the right person, infertility.” • Guild of Health Writers “This book provides gerontologists with much needed insights into the lived experiences of male childlessness from a life course perspective embedded in critical theoretical approaches on normative life course expectations, ageing and gender, as well as family and social relations… Robin Hadley’s work is both critical and reflexive. He locates his theoretical work within feminist scholarship and acknowledges his position within the field of research by examining his own biography and social position and what that means when conducting interviews with men who describe themselves as involuntarily childless…The methods chapter can be added to reading lists for postgraduate students and the pen portraits of each of the interviewees are a rare and valuable source for learning about qualitative research and reflexivity.” • Aging and Society “The book has some features that make it interesting to readers from both a professional and a wider audience. First, it is very well referenced and equipped with details related to methodology of the study… It is well written, often in a personalised language, with accounts of the author’s experiences related both to the process of data collection and analysis and to the dissemination of results. The Epilogue particularly warrants attention, as it brings reflections not only on myths around men and masculinities, but also on childlessness in later life and COVID-19 –reflections that additionally illustrate the effects of not becoming a father.” • Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology “A highly personal book yet also an academic one with all the critical rigour that entails and makes this a compelling book. It’s a must read for illuminating men’s experiences of involuntary childlessness for one reason or another…This is a rich thought provoking emotional yet highly academic book – and with its clear structure and excellent index a huge resource to be drawn on.” • Medical Journalists Association “This is an important piece of work that addresses areas of masculinity, sexuality, life and an exploration of lived lives through research that have previously been underrepresented in the academic and public press.” • Josephine Tetley, Manchester Metropolitan University DESCRIPTION The global trend of declining fertility rates and an increasingly ageing population has serious implications for individuals and institutions alike. Childless men are mostly excluded from ageing, social science and reproduction scholarship and almost completely absent from most national statistics. This unique book examines the lived experiences of a hidden and disenfranchised population: men who wanted to be fathers. It explores the complex intersections that influence childlessness over the life course. How to cite: Hadley, R. A. (2021). How is a man supposed to be a man? Male childlessness - a Life Course Disrupted. New York: Berghahn Books.
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