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Mental Health Awareness Week - Stephen

To highlight Mental Awareness Week we have a blog from each of our company directors.

Here is Stephen's story

So here we are a year later at Mental Health Awareness Week with our baby boy now almost 4 months old. Surrogacy has been a roller coaster to say the least. Big highs, meeting amazing people and making lifelong friends, to massive gut wrenching lows when teams break down and the loss of hope that goes with it. Has it been worth it? Of course, but that doesn't make it any easier

Looking back it was so important for each of us to support each other through those hard times. We picked each other up and our SUK friends kept us both going. We couldn't have gotten here without them.

As a man I find it particularly hard to express my feelings, especially going through an IVF journey. Our role is clear and simple, to support our partner through a difficult process and be there with the pom-poms cheerleading.

Consider this. As a society we teach our boys to be tough, the rock, the DIY expert, the hard-man. Just look at the typical Hollywood superstar such as The Rock (see what I did there?), Tom Cruise etc. For hundreds of years we taught boys not to show emotion, to keep it inside and to carry on. That doesn't mean however that boys and men don't feel like they need a shoulder to lean on. I'm fortunate I have a partner who understands when I'm feeling down, but even then I don't always feel I can express how I feel.

This is not what I will be teaching my son. It is not healthy to keep these kinds of things in. It's good to share, a problem shared is a problem solved after all. I want my son to know, as my parents taught, that it's ok to feel sad and let it show. That doesn't make it any easier when boys are bombarded with images of tough guys and action heroes who get the job done, instead of sitting on the side wondering where it all went so wrong.

Over the years I have learnt a few key things to get me through those dark days.

  • Do what makes you happy

  • Surround yourself with friends who lift you up, not bring you down.

  • If you feel sad, talk to someone. If you feel you have no-one who can listen, contact a support line who can help.

  • Get outside and sit somewhere peaceful for a little while

  • Remember that in all of history, of all the people that have ever lived, you are entirely unique. That makes you pretty special.

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