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Power of the Parent 5: S5 Ep5: Andy Nichols

Power of the Parent 5: S5 Ep5: Andy Nichols

Power of the Parent 5: S5 Ep5: Andy Nichols

Today I’m joined by Andy Nichols, someone who I know kind of by accident because our worlds have overlapped this year!

Andy became a parent through adoption, and I’ve had the absolute privilege of hearing about his family’s experiences for a little while now, so I was thrilled when he said he’d come and chat to me on the podcast.

We delve into the misconceptions he and his family have faced, the boundaries he’s needed in place, the surprises along the way and of course we took some time to delve into what employers can do to support parents no matter what their route to expanding their family is.

Andy is one of those people who makes managing boundaries look effortless – I don’t know if that is his reality but I’m in awe of what he stands for. We covered the importance of recognising when it’s someone else’s story and not reaching for those pieces of unsolicited advice, some of the myths surrounding adoption and where we need to forge ahead in policy support.

You’ll hear a phrase from Andy that you might have come across from other people in this arena, and that is creating workplaces where people can parent and care out loud. This is something I would happily have on a t-shirt, billboard, notebook and coaster! I hope you enjoy listening as much I did recording the conversation.

Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak  00:00

Hello, and welcome back to the next episode of Power of the Parent, the Podcast. Today I am joined by Andy Nichols. In September 2023, I hosted a keynote and story sharing event and had the pleasure of getting to know Andy, and lots more about what his experiences of a parent in the workplace had been. Andy and his wife became parents through adoption. And in every interaction I’ve had with him, I’ve either learned something new or felt like I want to get his words printed on a t-shirt or some sort of billboard.

Charlotte Speak  00:33

Today, we’re going to chat about some of the misconceptions, Andy has navigated. We’re going to look practically at what employers could be doing to help parents going through similar experiences, and hopefully take some steps closer for us all to realise that there are many routes to parenthood that need to be recognised in the workplace. Thank you for joining me today, Andy.

Andy Nichols  00:54

Thank you for having me.

Charlotte Speak  00:56

I want to start off, if we can, with that misconceptions, because I’ve found every angle of conversations with you incredibly interesting, and feel very privileged to have heard your experiences and that you share very generously. I think the misconception side of things of you know, what does the adoption process actually feel like for people. Things like, you know, why you might go through it, or some of the things that we should or shouldn’t be saying to people, seems to be the real big, like, red flags for a lot of organisations. And there’s a fear of ‘what if I say the wrong thing’, so therefore, I’m not gonna say anything at all. Or ‘I don’t want to get it wrong’ so let’s just, you know, skirt around something. And that’s just… it feels incredibly unfair. So from either your experiences, or people that you have come to meet through becoming a parent through adoption, what were some of those misconceptions that you had to navigate?

Andy Nichols  02:01

I think the biggest one that people don’t realise or don’t think about, because adoption is all about extending the family. And most people view it is a really generous thing, a really fantastic thing that you’re doing. It is, or it can be, but it’s actually a really selfish thing that’s happening. And those who are adopting have a different angle on it to those who are being adopted. So adoption fundamentally comes about from loss. It’s a loss for the child, loss for the birth family, could even be lost for the adopters, as well.

Andy Nichols  02:44

So we came about it… we tried to get pregnant, and it didn’t work out. So we went down the IVF route and that didn’t work out either. It was going to cost us a lot of money to keep going at that because we only got one shot. And my wife said, ‘well, what about adoption?’.

Andy Nichols  03:03

And I had a massive misconception at the time, that was very much ‘well, I don’t know that I can raise somebody else’s child’, I don’t know that I can face that conversation of ‘well, you’re not my real dad’. We might go on to some more later about how I might address that now. And it was very much not open to me.

Andy Nichols  03:26

But then I saw a video, well a TV programme about adoption parties. And again, party is the wrong word, but that’s what they used at the time, where basically, loads of adopters come in a room load of children that are up for adoption, and they just see what works. See which children they like or what might fit with their family.

Andy Nichols  03:47

And on that programme, there were two siblings, two brothers, one was about ten, one was five or six. They were deciding that they were going to split them up. And I just had such an emotional reaction to that. ‘No, they can’t do that, they can’t do that’. But all of a sudden, it kind of flipped in my head, that do you know what, maybe this is the route for us. And had we gone through IVF again, we would have to spend more money on a process potentially to bring a child into this world with difficulties. And it was well, why do that when there are children out there who need that support already? And that’s why we went down that route. And I think that bit around the ‘You’re not my real dad’ was kind of… I had that preconception that child gets to 18 and then they find out they’re adopted. That’s not the case. It’s probably been the case in the past when we’ve had sort of all sorts of adoption scandals, but now the idea is that child knows about it as soon as they are able to, in a way that they can comprehend.

Andy Nichols  04:57

So my son is very, very aware that he’s adopted. He has contact with birth family and what have you, but he knows a bit about the process. He knows that that is the case. But he knows that that makes him special, because he’s got two mummies. And he’s got kind of two families, I guess. And if he was to turn around to me now and say, I’m not your real dad, I’d just kind of laugh it off. And do you know what, I am. But that loss bit, and that…

Andy Nichols  05:28

So, when we adopted, there was a lot of excitements at work… ‘oh, great, you’re gonna find a child’ and ‘who is it?’ and be able to share some details on whatever. ‘It must be such a great experience’, ‘you’re doing such a great thing’. And I’m… ‘we’re doing this because we want a family and this is the only way that we can create that family’. And so kind of very, very selfish. And as I say, in what my son was coming from a position of loss. And you get taught that, so you go through training, over the course of the process, you get taught that that day one, the day that you meet your child, could be the best day of your life, but could be the worst of theirs. And that’s a kind of really difficult concept to get your head around. And to try and explain to others and to kind of get them to realise it. The other thing we had, as well, because we’ve been through IVF, we tried for a baby. ‘Well, my friend adopted and then they got pregnant’. And there’s so many stories like that, that well, yeah, it’ll just happen. They think they adopt and then all of a sudden they got pregnant and had a birth child. That’s not how it works. And that’s not particularly helpful, either.

Charlotte Speak  06:47

Other people’s stories sometimes, I think might be, like one of the top five things in the world that…  what’s that phrase, the road to hell is paved with good intention. You know, we don’t seem to learn that actually, we don’t always need to hear what other people have experienced. And that is other people. And you might think that, and you might think, ‘Oh, that’s a story I should be sharing’, Go share it with somebody else. Like, I don’t need to hear that, like, go and tell your dog or somebody else that ‘Oh, you know, this is this is what I’ve seen with other friends, they adopted and then they fell pregnant’ or whatever it might be.

Charlotte Speak  07:32

But hand on heart, I absolutely probably have been somebody in the past that has done that where somebody shared an experience, I perhaps have said, ‘Oh, well, you know…’. We’ve had family members go through IVF, for example. I know that we have, as a family, tried to offer different reassurances and we’ve tried to show what we thought was support. And actually, it was wildly inappropriate. But it’s that once you know better, you need to do better, isn’t it? And this is where it starts. It isn’t just… you don’t always need a voice in the conversation. This is your story. You don’t need everybody to pitch in, do you?

Andy Nichols  08:13

Absolutely. What surprised me, though, was the number of people who knew somebody who was adopted or had adopted or they were adopted themselves, because it’s something that there’s just no visibility of, and I still can’t make up my mind, whether there needs to be more visibility or not. Because essentially, through adoption, or through kinship caring, it’s just a family at the end of the day, and you’re raising a family or you’re caring for a young person. And it shouldn’t make a difference whether they are adopted or not. And but then, we went to a training, a two day training thing. And we were having a meal in the restaurant at the hotel the night before, they said, ‘Oh, well, what are you here for?’. We’re going through an adoption training thing. ‘Oh, I’m adopted’. It’s like, okay. It’s just random stories coming up.

Andy Nichols  09:11

Everybody has a very different experience of it. Some very, very positive, and some very, very negative. And I think it’s one of those things that can be quite divisive, I think, because of the history with it, and because you do have kind of birth families where children are being taken away from them. And in some cases, that might not be the right thing. In other cases the child might benefit from it, but there’s always as I said, there’s always that loss on all sides that kind of, it’s really quite a challenging subject for some people.

Charlotte Speak  09:49

Which kind of leads me to my next… I don’t know if it’s a question or more of a talking point… but boundaries, which is something that I talk about a lot. But one of the things that has struck me, whenever I’ve spoken to you is that importance of boundaries. And some might be really, you know, hardline boundaries, others might be slightly softer ones. And it’s the same whatever parent I talk to. But in this instance, I know that’s something that you are very, very aware of, both for you and your son and your wider family. What are some of those things… either some of the specific boundaries or things that you had to make sure you had in place as you were going through, not just going through the adoption process, but afterwards, as your son’s grown up? What are some of those things that you had to make sure are there for you?

Andy Nichols  10:49

So as you go through the process, you get a report on the child, you get all the medical information and things like that, so the whole history. So we know his history, and we’ve been able to talk to people who have been part of that. But it is absolutely his history. It’s his story. It’s his story to tell. Where there is benefit in people knowing some of that, we will let them know bits and pieces, but certainly not the whole picture. And I think that there are those… you say adoption and people will jump to all sorts of conclusions as to why a child isn’t with birth family and what have you. To be perfectly honest, it’s none of anybody’s business. It’s about the child. It’s about our family unit. And kind of over time, if they want to tell the story, it’s theirs to tell. If it benefits medically, with school, things like that, then we will kind of let bits and pieces come out.

Andy Nichols  11:54

Certainly, I mean, that there’s so much that people don’t know about his background, and we know things about his family and what have you, and I think that it’s being equipped with that as parents is absolutely essential to understand, well further down the line this is what could happen. And to be able to answer the questions that he might have, as well. As he gets older, he’s going to have more questions, and he’s going to want to know what happened. And when he’s ready, we will let him read those reports. We’ll let him read what people have said. We’ll let him read the report that we put together to say why we’d be good adopters. Yeah, I think it’s just really important that people don’t, I guess, pry as to the reasons behind it. And as I say, just take it as this as a family. This is the situation now.

Andy Nichols  12:48

I think we found that… if we’re… I’m trying to be careful and not give too much away around him, but also be useful and helpful. And it’s difficult. And I think if it was just you and I speaking rather than it being something that’s broadcast out, I’d tell you that because I feel comfortable with you. I know that won’t go further.

Andy Nichols  13:12

But essentially, as people need support, supporting him. Or as they’re watching the way that we parent and thinking well, that’s not how I would parent. To provide that information and that explanation. And it’s always an explanation rather than excuse. I think that’s important to do, but we only give it to those who really need it. And really, that’s been kind of really close family and friends, medical professionals, education professionals, social workers that know everything anyway. But then beyond that, it’s kind of, it’s less around the adoption, and more about the circumstances now that we’re reaching out for support.

Charlotte Speak  13:57

It feels like ultimately, the bottom line with this is, it’s none of your business until we tell you it’s going to be your business, kind of. You might say it in a slightly nicer way than than I have there. But sometimes we have a default of thinking, like I’ve got to fill airspace or I’ve got to say something. And I realise that might sound a bit contradictory from what I just said before about not saying anything actually can be quite damaging. But there’s a scale isn’t there, because there are things that we can say that are completely intrusive, that we shouldn’t be prying about. And it’s almost like that… I’ve lost the word, I can’t reach for the word… but almost like we are entitled, that’s the word,  that we are entitled to know things or if we ask it’s only coming from a good place and therefore I should get an answer. But I suppose it’s more being aware and acknowledging that actually some of this stuff is somebody else’s story that they will share if they want to, at some point. And they won’t if they don’t. I think sometimes we live in an age now where so much stuff is shared – good, bad, traumatic, joyous, in the heat of the moment, it’s there. And then like, you can’t often unshare that stuff. It’s just, it’s out in the ether, isn’t it?

Andy Nichols  15:30

Absolutely. It’s for those reasons as well, that he doesn’t have a social media profile, or any visibility on social media. So we haven’t, for years, didn’t even kind of recognise that I had a son, I still don’t, I still don’t put anything about him on there. My wife might put things around Mother’s Day, she might put things around, we’ll put things around causes that we are kind of passionate about that relate to him. But there’s nothing specifically about him. And I think with some family and friends, it was really difficult for them, they wanted to celebrate him as being part of their family. And it’s like, well, that’s not your… we’re saying no.

Andy Nichols  16:21

And we had some really difficult conversations about that. But it all came from the best places, and that they’re so proud. And so everybody loves him to bits and kind of everybody falls in love with him immediately they see him, like we did. I think it’s difficult not to be able to share that. But to recognise that well actually, do you know what, we have a duty, when we went through the whole process, we said that we will protect our son, we would advocate for him, we would support him. And part of that means that well, he might have that presence in future. But not until such a point that he can decide that because it is very much his story.

Andy Nichols  17:05

And there’s kind of the elements as well, because he is adopted that, I think you will find that a lot of families like ours, probably don’t give that profile to children. At his martial arts club, photos are allowed, but not of children who are wearing green armbands. At schools, they’re really protected now as well with… look, we don’t allow you to video, we don’t allow you to photograph other than just your child. Because there are other things that are going on, for various reasons, people don’t want those photos there online. And I think that’s a sensible approach to take, you don’t know what somebody else is going through, you don’t know what their background is. And therefore, kind of if you restrict it to the things that you are in control of or you are part of then I think it’s really important to do that. And many years ago, there were issues around that now everybody just accepts it, which is great.

Charlotte Speak  18:14

Yeah, I read a comment on a social media platform where somebody was being  criticised. And the person being criticised, replied to this comment saying the sum of who, I’m probably going to mess the words up here, but basically, the sum of who we are is not everything that’s represented on a social media account. So there’s plenty that goes on, it was on Instagram, there’s plenty that goes on that is not on these squares. And just because it is not… it isn’t a case of photo or it didn’t happen, kind of, it is just, there’s so much more to the world. And some people will choose to share on that. And some people don’t have a choice and don’t want to share on there  and all that’s in between.

Charlotte Speak  19:07

But there’s this belief isn’t that if you really truly are proud or if you really truly are as happy as you say you are, you’ll put a post on social media about it. Well, why? Like how is that even? And I share things on my Instagram platform. So I realise there is an irony in what I’m saying. Because I absolutely do have an active social media account for my business. I have a private personal one, where I will share things that we’re doing as a family, but that’s literally just family and friends that are on there. And I wouldn’t kind of invite anybody else into it anyway.

Charlotte Speak  19:46

But I think I mean, I realise we’re going off on a slight social media tangent, but I think it is important to talk about because, like you just said, there can be a different experience for you as a parent, because of how you have become a parent. We’ve got quite a few friends that have become parents through adoption. And they all have very different approaches to social media for a variety of different reasons, but that again, like it’s just an assumption that you’re going to make some sort of announcement or you’re going to keep people up to date with what you’re doing as a family. That’s not the right thing for everybody.

Andy Nichols  20:27

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Charlotte Speak  20:30

One of the pieces of conversation that often comes up with employers is policy. And quite rightly so because I honestly have seen some horrific examples of, I don’t know, lacklustre doesn’t even feel like it cuts it, just very, very poorly designed, with no thought,with no consulting with either people that have actually gone through the adoption process, or, you know, the abundance of charities that are out there, perhaps that could offer you some advice. It’s like back of a fag packet stuff that that just shouldn’t be okay.

Charlotte Speak  21:15

But you’re talking about a significant period of somebody’s life, where they’re going to need, like, every part of your life comes together. And we need to do better. And people will often lead saying they’ve got these amazing maternity leave policies. And this is what we do for paternity leave. And I’m sat there… I am somebody who has become a parent, I did have maternity leave. So I’m absolutely not saying that we should suddenly eradicate one type of parental leave at all. It’s all important. But at the minute, it feels like, it doesn’t all get equal airtime or equal consideration. And I’m speaking really, really broadly there.

Charlotte Speak  22:02

There are fantastic examples out there of employers that are doing brilliant things with their policies, they are absolutely. Like the policy and the lived experiences are fantastic for some of their employees. But I don’t actually think it’s the norm right now. A lot of the adoption policies that I’ve seen, things don’t kick in at the right time, for example, or you’ll find that you might have some time off to go to appointments, but it’s actually nowhere near the number of appointments that you actually need to go to, or meetings that you need to go to, or that the wrong language is used in there. And all of those kinds of things. That feels to be some real low hanging fruit, as somebody I used to work with used to call it, some real low hanging fruit there to get some of this stuff, right. From your experience, what would you love to see in adoption policies? Or kind of what helped you along the way?

Andy Nichols  23:04

Well, the whole process for us was nine months. So we were really, really lucky in that. So from the moment that we said, we’d like to adopt, to our child being placed with us, and living with us, was nine months, which is amazing. And as I say, we were one of the lucky ones. And incredibly lucky in that.

Andy Nichols  23:25

So generally, you go through the first stage, which is all information gathering about where you live, past jobs, past partners, that sort of thing. So they can get references from from family, from friends, employers, all of that. And then within that, there’ll be a couple of days, I think, with the agency we went through, it was a Friday and Saturday, I certainly had to take one day off work, which is great.

Andy Nichols  23:51

When it comes to stage two, you have that training again, so it’ll be on a Friday or Saturday or it was for us, but then it’s weekly visits from the social worker. And they might only be an hour or two. So I think it was kind of a half day with us, but some was with me, some was with my wife. So it might only be an hour or two out of my time. Which with the way that work is now where you can flex things, sounds like actually, do you know what, it’s not that bad. You could just kind of do some work beforehand, have the hour with the social worker and then work afterwards.

Andy Nichols  24:26

There is no way on earth, you can do that. There is no way that you can mentally cope with that afterwards. Certainly not in my instance. And because they are talking about loss, they are talking about your experiences, they are talking about how you might be as a parent and talking about your partner, they’re talking about kind of everything. What you might do for the child, what the child is going to need, and that’s just really, really draining. And so I bought extra holiday during that year, knowing that we were going to go through the process and ended up using holiday, once a week, half a day off. Work were kind of supportive of it, they knew what was going on. And yeah, go for it, do what you need to do. But at the end of the day, it was my annual leave that I was using.

Andy Nichols  25:20

And then, so I think having some sort of, something built in, I think I’ve seen IVF fertility policies now that will give you time for appointments, which is great. Absolutely. And there’s the same sorts of things going on there. Less so for men than women. What the women have to go through with that is just, it’s horrendous. I watched my wife go through it. And it was awful, to see everything she had to do. But having that time off for those appointments is great. When you see people having time off for prenatal appointments, things like that as well. Great.

Andy Nichols  25:57

But with adoption, I think that for this time when you’re with a social worker, it’s imperative that you’re able to switch off from everything else, and focus on this. I cried every single week. So there’s no way I could go back to work afterwards. Our social worker took pride in that. I mean, I’m sure it was what she was aiming for.

Andy Nichols  26:19

And then you kind of go through the period of… so we were lucky that we were kind of matched and approved at the same time, essentially, but you go through the approval process, and then once you’re approved to adopt, you go to a panel for that, you want to approve to adopt, then you go through the matching process. As I say ours was was kind of joined together. But most people, they get approved, and then it could be up to two years before they’re actually matched with a child. You kind of go through that, and then you’re matched with a child. So you go through another panel to do that.

Andy Nichols  26:56

And then there are what they call introductions. And this is where I had the biggest challenge with work. So I think shared parental leave had just come in. My wife wasn’t working, that was a deliberate choice on our part, she was gonna be a stay at home mum because I was a higher earner at the time. So it was like, Well, yes, that makes sense, she will kind of do the majority of the childcare. And so work turned around and said you can have two weeks of paternity leave, and then unpaid after that, and like, hang on a minute, that’s not enough. Because in the whole introduction process, you have a week at or near where the child lives, then a week at or near where you live. And then the child is with you after that. And the advice we got was, right, until he’s been with you for two weeks after this process, you shouldn’t shouldn’t be seeing anyone else. It’s just that unit.

Andy Nichols  27:58

And so eventually, I got six weeks off, which I think is a bare minimum, to be able to kind of a) switch off from work because two or three weeks work might not get done, because people were like I was gonna be back soon. But also for that whole bonding process, and to bond with him, and to become a family, and to connect at the same time as being able to bring in other people. But being there to back him to say, Well, look, these people are okay. And I had to fight for that.

Andy Nichols  28:36

The thing with the policy as well, so with with paternity leave, it tends to be from due date. With the adoption policy, it was you can have so much time off from the point at which the adoption order is put in place. Right. So the way adoption works, is you have the introduction process of two weeks, the adoption order can’t be until at least 10 weeks after the child has been placed with you. So that was just a whole complete disconnect. And fortunately, I had a very supportive manager, and one of our HR reps who was working with us at the time, kind of got it and said yes, this is this is nonsense, do that. So off the back of me going through the process, I kind of fought at work for things to be brought in line.

Andy Nichols  29:29

I was quite happy that adoption might be longer than paternity leave because it needs to be for that initial period. But actually, we’ve got to a point where kind of, regardless of how you are taking the child on, regardless of how you become a carer for a young person, whether that be through birth, through surrogacy, through adoption, through kinship caring. There’s at least eight weeks and it’s like well, that’s great. We can go further.

Andy Nichols  30:01

I was having a discussion on LinkedIn last week, with some people who were saying it’s great that there are equal policies in place, but there isn’t long enough, because mothers are going through all sorts of through the process in the run up to birth, and then can have all sorts of physical and mental stuff that they deal with afterwards. And I think that it shouldn’t be kind of a race to the bottom, let’s figure out what works, what is best for one group, and apply that across the board. Because ultimately, we’re all parents, we’re all caring for young people. So regardless of how you get to that point, going forward, it should be the same.

Charlotte Speak  30:43

So basically, your bare minimum, the minimum viable product that everybody needs, should be, that would obviously mean waiting for some versions of parental leave, which are currently severely lacking, but then you have then got, and this is where things like enhanced packages then, that will become a point of difference for a lot of employers, won’t it. That will become a talent magnet. You know, there’s  a very… I hate to say it, but there is a very real commercial reason why employers want to be having these conversations and why they do want to be putting these things in place, because it will come down to a decision point for a lot of people. If you were presented with two jobs looking exactly the same, but one company has got some absolutely kick ass, parental leave policies for everything from maternity, to surrogacy, to maybe it’s equal parental leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, whatever it might be.

Charlotte Speak  31:43

And actually beyond, because we’re talking about a very finite amount of time here, aren’t we, but actually, as a parent, you don’t stop being a parent, after you have had that child however they have come into your family. That is that is you now and, no matter what happens, you are going to have a role that something, you know, you’re not just the person in the workplace anymore.

Charlotte Speak  32:12

And this is going to take a slight turn, and I won’t take us down like a really dark place. But somebody that I know through social media is a bereaved parent, but she will still describe herself as I am still a parent in the workplace, my baby is earthside, but I’m still following different milestones, I’m still working towards different things.

Charlotte Speak  32:42

So sometimes there is this misconception that the best way to support parents is to support them returning from parental leave. And when I say parental leave, there’s a big asterix there. Because what I mean by that is maternity, paternity, adoption, surrogacy, shared parental leave, equal parental leave, whatever you want to call it, whatever your version of that leave is, that that’s what we should be doing, and that’s where we should invest. Because we must throw coaching at this or we must throw workshops at this. And I say that as somebody that delivers these things. They are incredibly important. But they are one tiny slice of the pie. We need to be far more strategic about it and far more equitable in the conversations that we’re having, I think, don’t we, because right now there’s some there’s some whopping great big gaps.

Andy Nichols  33:25

Yeah, and I think being flexible as people go through that parenting journey as well, you might need more time off, or more flexibility as the child is younger,  as they get older and more independent, then kind of less so. I think I’m finding I’m going to more meetings with school now than I ever have done because he’s transitioned into secondary school. And so there’s lots more going on there. But yeah, I think that recognising everybody’s circumstances or recognising that they are an individual, and they might have needs for more leave, for more support, for an EAP.

Andy Nichols  33:26

I think, one massive thing that’s helped me since the pandemic is we’ve got a Parent Care Group. Which basically, during the pandemic, it was like, right, okay, everybody, just, we’re gonna set up monthly or weekly calls, get on, talk about it. And it really opened up, that there is kind of a life outside work, that we have all these responsibilities, but we’re not alone. I think it’s one of those things that I don’t think gets spoken about very often in the workplace.

Andy Nichols  34:36

There’s a couple of phrases that we coined during it, which is parenting out loud or caring out loud. I prefer the latter, because it encompasses more and I think that some of our parents are carers. If you’ve got if you’ve got neurodivergent children, if you’ve got children who are disabled in any way, shape or form or even it is just young children, then you do need to be a carer as well. Yeah. I think it also, there’s an element of the sooner you recognise that you’re a carer, the more support you can access. And the easier it becomes that when you are then supporting elderly parents, or friends or family, you’ve already kind of given yourself that title of, of being a carer, rather than just saying, Oh, it’s just something that I do. Because it is something that’s kind of just really, I think, massive proportion of the country are carers, but very, very few actually recognise that they are.

Charlotte Speak  35:35

I think that’s incredibly important and an absolute mic drop moment. That’s a really lovely place for us to end on. Because the parenting, or caring out loud, is something that I have seen you and some of your colleagues talk a lot about. And something that is one of the things that I’d love on a t shirt, or a billboard or a screensaver, anything like that. Do screen savers still exist? Because I think that’s incredibly important. So thank you for… that wasn’t planned… but thank you for referencing that. Because I think it’s hugely important.

Charlotte Speak  36:15

So thank you so much for sharing, again, so generously with me and with whoever is listening today. I think you’ve been able to break down some really important insightful points that I think a lot of us don’t know how to ask about, would be nervous to ask about and breaking some of those misconceptions is absolutely where it starts and celebrating the bits that are joyful as well. Because as we know, two different emotions can coexist at the same time.

Andy Nichols  36:50


Charlotte Speak  36:51

So thank you so much, Andy. It’s been a pleasure.

Andy Nichols  36:54

No problem at all. Thank you.

Charlotte Speak  36:55

Take care.

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