Saturday, 17 May 2014

Guest Blog - My Little Soldiers

When my wife and I were struggling to make a baby I found it hard to vocalize my feelings. My failure at fatherhood ate away at my very being and made me feel less of a man. Friends later told me that my body was physically hunched from the emotional weight of my baby wait. I didn’t want to talk about it to anyone and certainly not mates. I would walk past children playing in the park and I’d feel my heart breaking into tiny pieces. Consumed by Bugaboo envy I’d see couples pushing their baby strollers and want to punch them in the face. I would oscillate wildly between anger and depression. After learning a friend of ours was pregnant I didn’t leave my bedroom for two days.

But although as a couple we were, by the World Health Organisation’s definition, officially infertile there was one small life raft I could hold onto – it wasn’t me with “the problem”.
I am ashamed to admit that when my wife and I both had our fertility tests I sat in the doctor’s room waiting for the results silently praying that my sperm would not be judged to be ineffective and that instead it would be my wife’s eggs at fault. So when the doctor opened up his beige file of notes and read them in silence before matter-of-factly announcing that Iza had polycystic ovaries, I almost whooped for joy.

Imagining what it would be like for a man to have faulty sperm was the basis for my novel – My Little Soldiers.

In a modern world where the role of men is being questioned by men themselves, and conferences are even being held discussing what it is to be a man, male infertility is a very useful device for exploring modern masculinity, as well as a good arena for comic material. At its heart, my novel is an unconventional love story but I wanted the comedy, much of it drawn from my own experiences, to contrast the heartbreaking tale of loss and yearning.  

I hope the novel gets more men to open up about their infertility problems, and also for their partners to realise that whilst they may be on the frontline there is man next to them who is just as emotionally invested as they are.

Already one woman has told me that after reading it she saw her husband in a whole new light and for the first time they properly discussed their previous years miscarriage.  

My Little Soldiers – by Glenn Barden (Piranha Press) is available here
Extracts can also be read at
Twitter: @glennbarden    Facebook:

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

My first Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day with a baby in the world was a very sweet affair. I had told Hubby that I had no expectations or requests for the day, all I wanted was what I already had, our Gracie. 

I was four months pregnant last year on Mother's Day, and although I already felt like a mother we didn't really celebrate in a big way. Something along the lines of not jinxing things and rough patches and wanting to lay low meant the day was like any other, with the addition of a slightly swollen belly full of tiny arms and legs.  This year that tiny little body is a bouncy six month old baby girl, who goes by the name Gracie and is beautiful beyond compare.  This year I'm not worried about pregnancy stress, feotal development or morning sickness. All that has been replaced with blonde curls, early morning cuddles and a goofy smile. She is all we could have ever asked for.  And all we have ever wanted. 

My heart feels full. My home feels baby-fied. My Hubby is now a Daddy. I am her Mummy.  And I have never been happier. I have a lot to be thankful for. 

Happy Mother's Day to you all. I wish you a day full of things to be thankful for. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Philadelphia Fertility Project

Recently Sunny Hubby and I have been approached by a number of university and college students from around the world to participate in research regarding the infertility experience.  It makes me happy and proud to be able to share our point of view and aid these students in researching such an important and life-altering topic, as we know that it effects so many couples and individuals around the world.

The most recent request came from a student named Hannah who is a Masters student in the Psychology Department at Drexel University, Philadelphia PA.  She has kindly asked me to share her questionnaire with you all.

Philadelphia Fertility Project

The purpose of this survey is to learn about the social, mental, and emotional experiences of women with fertility problems. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. Your participation is completely anonymous. Women who are between the ages of 18-45, not currently pregnant, and have difficulty conceiving naturally through unprotected intercourse and/or carrying a pregnancy to term are invited to participate in this study.
In appreciation of your participation, two $100 donations have been made to the American Fertility Association and Resolve: The National Infertility Association by the research team to thank you for sharing your experiences and to benefit others who struggle with fertility problems. If you have any questions about this study, you may contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Pamela Geller, Ph.D., or the research coordinator, Mona Elgohail, at 215-553-7121
Click on this anonymous survey link to participate:

I have already taken this survey.  It's quick and easy to fill out.  Lots of boxes to      tick and thought-provoking questions to answer.  So take 10 minutes and help further fertility research.
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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Portraits are powerful

This week marked the magnificent milestone of our little Gracie girl turning six months old.  And to help us celebrate my dear friend Elizabeth, owner and photographer at White Acre Photography has offered to take some family portraits for us.

Whenever Elizabeth offers me her services in the form of a professional portrait shoot, and not just my friend taking some happy snaps, I always question whether it's really necessary.  What's wrong with a bunch of casual piccies taken around the house or at birthday parties?  Well, nothing at all.  These are photos of every day moments captured to fill albums and help us remember days past.  But there is something very special about having your family's portrait taken by a professional (and not just because you'll finally be in front of the lens and not the one who misses out behind the camera).

As part of a branding and image makeover of her brand, Elizabeth has taken the time to explain the importance of keeping photographic memories.  And because she has been a part of and shot so many of my family's most memorable occasions I just have to share her with you too.  Check out Elizabeth's Portraits Are Powerful series.  You may even spot Gracie in a pic or two.

I'll be back later to share some of our most recent milestone portraits with you.