- Share statistics.
Including statistics can add a persuasive and quantifiable facet to training which will only support it. 1 in 6 people are dealing with infertility, 50% of infertility in couples is male infertility, fertility has declined in the western world in the last 40 years. What would the statistic be amongst staff?
2. Explain the IVF process to colleagues
A lot of staff will have an idea of this but not the emotional, mental and physical strain this has. Many seem to think the hardest part of the process is injecting hormones. Include a True/ False round and see how many shocked faces you see eg. True or False- infertility is a disease?
3. Sign posting
Point colleagues in the direction of blogs and social media accounts that will support them through their strife: donor egg/ sperm, solo parenting, male infertility etc
4. Sharing of stories.
These could be personal or not, depending on your level of comfort in sharing. Stories keep the message believable as well as humble. They allow an opportunity for empathy and an overall better chance your audience will listen to what you’re saying.
5. Active listening.
If you’re feeling brave try introducing some role play to your session to engage the staff. This will create some comedy moments which is fine as long as dealt with tastefully- this isn’t year 7 Drama so there shouldn’t be any issues. You and a colleague could demonstrate the opposite of active listening (passive hearing) and following a discussion around active listening encourage volunteers from the audience to participate in the role play, demonstrating their understanding.
6. ‘What not to say’.
Create a teachable moment where colleagues learn about all of the questions, advice, platitudes and toxic positivity that are difficult to hear for those struggling to have a baby. Alice Rose has some resourceful videos she created towards her campaign #TWNTS
This applies also to women who are childless either by choice or not by choice. Throw away comments such as “You don’t understand the children as you aren’t a parent” should not be permitted in the workplace.
7. Childlessness in the workplace.
Many men and women around the world are childless not by choice. There are equally consider exploring the danger of promoting ‘pronatalist privilege’ in the workplace. Are joint collections for baby showers necessary?
8. Gather feedback
Create a survey at the end of your training to find out what fertility struggles colleagues have had past and present. Keep it anonymous. Through the survey try to find the answers to questions like: how they feel senior leaders could support colleagues better, and has this session been useful.
If there was one teacher in each school delivering CPD about baby loss and infertility these communities would become so much more of a welcoming place to work. Not only to those who have been through and who are going through fertility treatment and baby loss, but for the teachers who are yet to start a family.
Schools that are flexi-friendly and female friendly attract the best staff.