|Ready for babies vs Ready for work|
пятница, 7 апреля 2017 г.
Ticking biological clocks and IVF worries are women's issues, right?
Ticking biological clocks and IVF worries are women's issues, right? Not any more...
The names have been picked, so has the buggy and the cute cot - even the colour of the nursery walls. All Neil Kirwan needs now is a baby.
The trouble is, his wife Fiona is nowhere near ready to have one.
PR manager Neil, 28, is one of a growing number of young men desperate to become a father but having to wait because their partners are stalling.
Being a daddy is cool these days. Gone are the times when fatherhood meant pipe and slippers time. Über-dads such as David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Guy Ritchie have made 'family man' a tag to be proud of again.
And with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg proposing to extend paternity leave from the "measly" two weeks currently on offer, fatherhood's a hot political topic, too.
'Brokes' - broody blokes desperate to become dads - aren't ashamed to admit fatherhood is their main ambition.
But these days it's tricky, women are busy climbing the career ladder, travelling and enjoying the independence of being child-free.
Self-confessed 'broke' Neil, from Manchester, admits his desire for a child has caused friction in his marriage.
"Whenever I walk past our spare room I see it as the perfect nursery, decked out with a cot and dancing animals painted across the walls," he sighs. "I've decided on names - I like Lola for a girl, Bruce for a boy."
However, his wife Fiona, 32, isn't planning on motherhood anytime soon. "We're in an ideal position to have kids," Neil says. "Financially secure - we've even got a four-wheel drive family car."
But while her husband can't wait to welcome the patter of tiny feet, Fiona's not ready to swap spreadsheets for changing mats.
"A year ago, I was made a partner in a PR company," she explains. "I've worked hard to get where I am now. I don't want to sacrifice all that yet.
"I know Neil's desperate to start a family and that I'm lucky to have a husband who really wants kids, but I think he has unrealistic expectations of the impact having a baby will have on our lives. And on my life, and my career specifically.
"I want to be sure I'm going to make a good mum before I embark on such a life-changing decision," she says. "I certainly don't want to be pushed into it by anyone."
But it seems women are increasingly at risk of being baby-bullied. A recent survey by Virgin Money showed 93 per cent of men believe being a dad is the most significant role in a man's life.
And relationship expert Susan Quilliam explains: "Feeling broody allows a man not only to assert his masculinity biologically wanting to continue the species, but the feeling also enforces his validity."
"These days, women have greater independence, both financially and socially," she says. "This means there is a tendency for men to feel almost redundant, surplus to requirements even. Having children gives them that sense of purpose back.
"As society encourages men to take a bigger role in raising children, they feel more able to express their desire to have babies than ever before."
And with one of America's largest surrogacy agencies, Growing Generations, reporting that the number of single male members has doubled in the past five years, it seems broody singletons don't want to be left out.
Susan believes that the number of men opting to be lone parents will continue to increase in the future.
"Considering around 50 per cent of relationships fail, men don't want to be waiting around for Ms Right only to run the risk of it not working out anyway," she says. "Adopting a child or finding a surrogate is a better option."
Meanwhile, Neil's continuing to hope that Fiona will change her mind.
"I'm putting pressure on her to stop taking the Pill and to leave the situation to fate," he admits. "I know it's a decision we've got to make together, but I don't want to be an old dad. A baby would make my world complete."
'I'VE SPENT £10,000 ON TRYING TO HAVE A BABY'
Peter Dominik, 32, a decorator from West London has spent two years trying to adopt a child. He says:
"Just because I'm a single man doesn't mean I can't be broody. I was an only child and have always wanted lots of kids. I hoped I'd meet someone, settle down and have kids, but that hasn't happened.
My last three serious relationships have broken up over the issue of children. I wanted them, my girlfriends didn't.
Just over two years ago, I began to think about adopting. It seemed the only way. Soon after I started looking into the adoption process, I began a new relationship. But we split up after six months because she was adamant her career came before kids. She was 30 and didn't want to become a mother until she was at least 38. I didn't want to wait.
Now, nothing will deter me from adopting. My parents have both passed away, but I've spoken to my closest friends and they're really supportive.
I've signed up to adoption agencies both in the UK and abroad. I'm now registered with 10 adoption agencies in the UK, Europe, China, Africa and India. I've had police checks done, my finances analysed, and a full medical history taken. It's intensive, but it ensures the child's safety.
I've spent £10,000 on travelling to orphanages around the world to meet adoption officials and children, and getting legal advice.
Soon I'm going to a week-long camp with kids who need to be adopted and other potential adopters. It helps the agencies assess you 24 hours a day.
I've been asked by agencies if I know anyone involved in paedophilia. I understand they have to ask, but it does make me angry to be thought of like that.
There have been a couple of children I'd love to have adopted, but they were placed with couples - they tend to be given precedence. It's frustrating, as I know I could have given the children just as loving a home.
I'm also looking into other ways of becoming a dad. One of which is an embryo adoption programme in Spain.
Couples who have had IVF offer their unused embryos for adoption, to be implanted into a surrogate mother.
My friend Sophia*, who I've known for 15 years, has agreed to be a surrogate for me. She already has kids and knows how desperate I am to be a father. This option is a long way off though. I'd much rather give a child from an orphanage a home.
I'm currently being considered as an adoptive parent to four children, ranging from an eight-month-old baby boy to a five-year-old boy with learning difficulties.
It's down to the authorities what happens next, but I'm hopeful that I'll be matched with a child at some point in the next eight months. I'm doing everything I can to prepare for that day.
I can't wait to be called Dad - I'm ready to be a father. Why should I have to wait for a woman to make that dream a reality?"
Mark Jones, 36, from Liverpool is a business manager. He says:
"Whenever I meet a new woman, I'm sizing her up as a mother, imaging what she'd be like with a child in her arms.
Last year, I ended a relationship after four weeks because she said she didn't want kids. That's a deal breaker for me. While I wouldn't want to rush a romance, I don't want to waste time either. I'm not getting any younger.
Lately, I've started to worry that I'll never be a father. It makes me feel terribly sad that I may not get my dream.
I was with my ex Jenny* for almost eight years, but a year before we were due to be married, I broke it off. We'd been arguing constantly, we weren't right for each other.
That was nearly two years ago and even though she's with someone else now, I still regret it. I worry that may have been my only chance to have kids with someone I love.
Most of my friends have babies and I get a pang when I see them together - I wish it was me pushing a pram.
I've thought about adoption and surrogacy, but they're not really options for me. I want my own kids. I want to be able to look on with pride as my wife brushes my daughter's hair or cheer together when our son scores a goal. I just hope I haven't left it too late."
'HIS DESPERATION TO BE A DAD DROVE ME TO DIVORCE'
Kate*, 34, from Sheffield is an air hostess. She was married to Martin*, 39, for 18 months. She says:
"Martin and I met when I was 30. We'd been dating for a year when he proposed and six months after that we married.
We'd never discussed having kids, but as soon as I became his wife, he told me he wanted to try for a baby. I never even saw him as a baby person - he seemed so into his lifestyle, drinking and partying. I wanted to be married for a few years to enjoy each other before we started a family, but Martin was insistent. Reluctantly, I agreed.
Martin seemed to think I'd get pregnant immediately, but as each month rolled by and I still wasn't expecting, he became moody and criticised my diet and drinking habits.
After about four months of trying, Martin came home with an ovulating kit - a packet of sticks that looked like pregnancy tests, that he'd bought from the chemist.
If a line appeared to say I was ovulating, he'd want to have sex immediately. It was so clinical. I wanted our baby to be conceived with love this felt so wrong.
The constant pestering ruined our sex life. After six months our relationship was so damaged, I told him the time wasn't right for us to have a baby. Martin reacted furiously, saying I'd let him down, but I'd already gone back on the Pill. Life became so miserable, I told Martin I wanted a divorce.
Within three years of meeting, our marriage was over. That was just over a year ago. I'm now 34 and I've decided having children isn't for me. I don't have any regrets. It would have been more selfish to have a child I didn't really want."
Martin, a finance manager from Leeds, says:
"I've been emotionally destroyed by Kate's choice to give up on having kids. I'd have been an amazing and supportive dad.
I'm now single and dating several women, but I'm thinking about adopting if I don't meet the right person soon.
Kate acted selfishly. Perhaps I was a bit over the top, but I was just trying to show her how keen I was to be a dad, for us to be parents.
When we got married I assumed having kids would be the next step. I think she should have thought about whether she wanted to be a mum before we started trying for a baby.
If I'd have known Kate never wanted kids, I wouldn't have married her. I'd never met a woman who didn't want children, or if they said they didn't, I always assumed it was because they hadn't found the right man. I realise now this is naive. I just thought that maternal instinct was something all women have."
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