Jonathan Bellamy spoke with Sheridan Voysey about infertility, recovering from broken dreams and reconciling with a God who is sometimes silent but never absent.

Sheridan and Merryn Voysey
Sheridan and Merryn Voysey

Expectation, expectation, expectation. Disappointment. After ten years of tear-soaked prayers, repeatedly dashed hopes and multiple failed rounds of IVF, Sheridan Voysey and his wife came to a heartbreaking conclusion: their dream of having a child was over. Empty and confused from a decade of disappointment they left their jobs, packed their bags and embarked on a journey in search of restoration.

To hear more of their journey and how it's been chronicled in a new book Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams Into New Beginnings, Jonathan Bellamy spoke with author, speaker and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey.

Jon: What is a 'resurrection year'?

Sheridan: I guess I would define a resurrection year as a year of new life following the death of something. It's basically a starting again after you've brought some sort of dream to the end.

Jon: Tell us what came to an end then.

Sheridan: I'll take you back to a conversation that my wife and I had in the kitchen when we were living in Perth in Western Australia back in the year 2000. She walked in and she said to me, "I think it's time," and I said, "Time for what?" and she said, "I think it's time we started a family". We'd been married about five years then. We were fairly stable, you know, we'd been moving around from city to city before that and it seemed like the right time. From that point on we went into the pattern that so many couples in that situation go into; the expectation pattern. Every 28 days you're looking for signs that your prayers have been answered and, as many couples experience, it takes a few months, doesn't it? So you have one month come through and then you realise that you're not pregnant and another month and another month. Well, that continued on for us, so at about eight or nine months later we decided to go and get some tests done. Long story short, further tests revealed that there was going to be significant problems for us conceiving naturally and that either we would need some sort of technological assistance or we would need some sort of divine miracle and that really, Jon, began a ten-year journey of trying to start a family.

Jon: You share in the book that the main test was for yourself, in terms of your ability. How did that feel as a man?

Sheridan: It's a very good question. So many people have actually said one of two things, either the men have said, "Gosh that must have really hit your masculinity," and some of the women have actually said to Merryn, my wife, "Were you angry with him?" Because there's a sense in which he's the problem, he's the reason why you can't have children. And starting with the answer from my wife, she would actually say, "He never chose this, why would I be angry with him?" But of course for many people there is that natural anger that happens. In terms of the masculinity it's an interesting one. I've grown up in Australia with English parents and I've never quite felt like an Aussie bloke. The Aussie bloke in Australia is somebody who is, talking about general stereotypical ideas here Jon.

Jon: We've got a rough idea of stereotypical images of Australians!

Sheridan: Yeah! Someone who likes beer, into football, you know, they're generally down the beach every weekend surfing.

Jon: We've got the Foster's ads over here!

Sheridan: Now of course very few people actually look like that, although quite a few do, especially in Queensland where I grew up. I never fit that mould though, so I wonder whether that helped me not to actually hit my masculinity, because to some degree I wasn't even too sure what my masculinity was.

Jon: Did you feel like you were letting Merryn down?

Sheridan: Definitely.