Yesterday, I saw Michael’s latest blog post and was going to do what I usually do, share on Facebook and Twitter which is absolutely what one should do but… I felt it deserved some sort of preamble.
In May this year, I collapsed into a pub in London, terrified about going on stage at Fertility Fest. The amazing Stephanie Phillips (more on her in another post) was there to pick me up with a good friend Lucy whom I met several years ago via Gateway Women. The three of us were chatting away about goodness knows what, and in this mayhem, Michael and his lovely wife arriving in the middle of their journey around the UK, having flown in from their home in Australia and it felt like I had known them for years. Both he and his wife came to the More to Life event and we gathered for breakfast the next day and then to lunch, where his honesty made us all sob over our fries and laugh like idiots over the pudding.
You will have seen Michael’s Facebook Lives during World Childless Week (if you haven’t then do go over to the page or the website and find them). They are powerful watching along with the video with the equally awesome Dr. Robin Hadley which was filmed for Men Matter Too day.
Michael is a rare find, a man who speaks very openly about male infertility and isn't afraid of letting out those emotions. I can imagine it’s fearful for some to see, worried for a friend or that they may too have to be so emotive but they are conversation starters. He also speaks about his marriage and the impact of infertility on that, a subject that my husband and I still find hard to discuss outside of our home. But he should not be that rare find, and I hope his work leads to a new movement of men feeling able to talk about what it’s like to live with loss.
More than that, he’s a good friend. In the past few weeks several of us from the World Childless Week Champions found our videos published on YouTube for another campaign around infertility without permission. He was instantly in contact with us to offer support. I can understand why they wanted to claim his work as it’s rather good! As distressing as it is, I learned that adversity pulls people together no matter how many miles there are in between.
The point of this piece is twofold. First that despite the journeys that so many of us have taken, there is friendship. Gateway Women posted a great meme about companionship this week, that speaks about the powerful impact of words (thank you Jody!). Michael is one of many people in my life who I suspect I would never have met, if it wasn’t for infertility. It’s not undermining loss and grief when I say that I’m pleased that this was an outcome, but more a reminder to look at the gifts which life can bring us in times of trouble and friendship is a powerful reminder of our worth to others.
The second point was to share his latest blog post with you. And you can read it here. Do please let him know what you think about it by commenting on the blog. It’s so important to support our pioneers.