A collection of three peoples stories as told in 10 minutes talks and will be chaired by Dr Dawn Llewellyn.
The rise of the new MAWFIA: Men Ageing Without Family: Invisible & Alienated.
It is estimated that in the UK by 2030 there will at least 2 million people aged 65 ageing without children. Within this figure it is fair to say at least 25% of will be men who are not fathers and an unknown percentage of men who have lost contact or are estranged from family. I will draw on my PhD study to show how childless men are invisible to policy makers. I will use interview quotes from involuntary childless older men to show the impact of childlessness on their social wellbeing and health. I will then offer solutions to the structural exclusion of men ageing without children or family.
Barbara Dillon Barbara Dillon first became involved with Gateway Women in 2013 and completed the Plan B Mentorship Programme in 2014/15. In the early stages of her grief she was still hopeful of becoming a mother and denial played a big role in her life. The worst of her grief lasted 10 years. Barbara says that she will always carry grief for not being a mum but that she now has purpose and meaning in her life that was illusive for years. Outside of a mother role she now feels able to experience joy again and to live rather than just exist. Barbara has spoken at various events over the last three years about her own personal experience of recovering from the grief of her childlessness. She has also written and delivered talks and workshops to counsellors and social workers, and to counselling agencies. Barbara is a twice qualified counsellor having re-trained recently following a 10 year break where she did not feel able to continue counselling due to the emotional paralysis she experienced through her own grief.
Barbara is a member of the LGBT community having come out in July this year. Barbara feels that the strong pull of her biological clock prevented her from coming out sooner and described viewing all men as potential sperm donors when she was at her most desperate to conceive. She is now living more authentically and showing up as her whole self. Barbara will be sharing her own childless story and her unique experience of the grieving process. She is now actively involved in raising awareness of the grief of childlessness and challenging the unhappy ending of childless women that is frequently presented in the media.
In November 2018, Shona Hookham visited her GP with some confusing symptoms: irregular periods, hot flushes, and night sweats. Following a series of tests, Shona, at the age of 24, has just been diagnosed with Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), which means her fertility is reduced prematurely and the menopause has begun. Although POI can occur in women in their early 40s, it only effects 1 in every 10,000 women under 25. In this interview, Shona shares the story of discovering her recent condition in her early 20s, what POI means for her, and some of the ways she is making sense of her involuntary childlessness.
Shona Hookham is recently married, a doctoral candidate in sociology of religion at the University of Chester, and works in a local church.
This event is part of Storyhouse Childless. A pass for the whole day, which gains you entry to every event, is £15. Find out more here.