One to One Coaching

I offer free 30 minute telephone/Skype consultations for people wanting to find out more about coaching on the 'baby decision'. Email me at mailto:beth@ticktockcoaching.co.uk and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit http://www.ticktockcoaching.co.uk/ for more information about my coaching services.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Trapped by the 'either/or' - What I've learnt over 10 Year of Coaching on the Baby Decision (Lesson 2)

An integral part of my coaching approach is working with polarity.  Polarities are interdependent opposites which form a whole.   Common polarities that we all experience are Order vs Chaos,  Control vs Letting go,  Independence vs Connection, Knowing vs Not Knowing.  We commonly talk about 'either/or' thinking or ways of being.  Of course, having a baby is a choice to either have a baby or not!  But when I look at polarity in coaching, I'm looking at and exploring an 'either/or' way of thinking and way of being that is actually preventing women from making the choice.

I learnt this lesson because soon after I began to coach women on this decision,  I noticed that many of my clients seemed to be stuck in what is called a 'polarity trap' where we find it hard to allow ourselves to experience or be with one of the poles in a polarity.  For example, some of my clients report that they like to be in control - they find being in control makes them feel safe and they find not being in control frightening.  Yet, there are many times when we have to accept that we can't be in total control - there are factors outside our control, other people make decision or do things that we would not.   If we are going to have a baby, we might not be able to control how the pregnancy goes, what the birth is like and what kind of mother we will be. 

What I do with my clients when they are struggling with this,  is to explore each pole in the polarity to see what works and what doesn't work for them about each pole.  And then we look at how they can have a little bit more integration where they are able to move more freely between each pole or way of being.

R.V is one of my coaching clients.  She is also an artist and drew these wonderful illustrations of the polarity of freedom and responsibility which she has been exploring in our sessions.  I feel they show beautifully the  process of working with polarity and wholeness.  They show the journey we go on to explore the ‘landscapes’ of each pole, to make each pole our own (or embody it) and then to experiment with what it is like to both poles in one landscape. She has given me her permission to use these photos (without her full name attached ) on this blog for which I thank her greatly!    Rather than me try to explain each illustration or write a commentary on them, I think it would be more powerful for you the blog reader to see what speaks to you, what resonates with you, what sparks of your thoughts about this polarity?

Questions to help you include: What do you notice about the drawing of each pole, what speaks to you about the energy of pole?  What seems to be good or not so good about each pole? In the final last where she explores the place of integration, where there is both freedom and responsibility, what is different, what has shifted?




Friday, 13 April 2018

Message in a bottle

 I've been writing on this blog for over 10 years now.    Sometimes it feels like I am putting messages in a bottle and sending them out to sea!  I'm never sure where the messages in my blog land.  Who is reading? Is it helping people make the decision.  I know that people read it from seeing the statistics of who is reading the blog.   And I'm aware of people who read the blog but need extra help making the decision whether to have kids from readers who contact me to ask for coaching after reading the blog.   But sometimes I wonder whether what I'm writing truly impacts on all the people who are reading it around the world.

Yesterday,  I got an email out of the blue that helps me know that it's all worth it!

'I've been reading your children or not blog for a couple of years now and it has really helped me to articulate my fears both to myself and to my boyfriend. We're both over the moon about this ENORMOUS change and I don't feel like I'm going into it naively. Thank you!' - Blog reader, UK

Wow! I feel so honoured to have been able to have an impact and have helped people like this reader.  I know what a difficult place many of you find yourselves in when you are really struggling to work out whether you want to have children, whether you want to be a parent or whether you want to continue to enjoy and embrace your live without children.   This reader points to one of my most important messages, that  we need to be able to acknowledge and articulate our fears about having and not having children.  Our society doesn't want us to give a voice to these fears and many people feel like they can't say that they are afraid of being a parent... or of not having children.  Once we can do this, we can then address those fears... which is the first step in being able to move on.

Thank you to all my readers over the years.  I shall continue to be writing on the blog, sending my messages off into the sea to wash up where-ever people are in the world who need to read them!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Can you regret becoming a parent?

Today, the BBC published an short film Film: The mothers who regret having children  and an accompanying  article:   BBC Article on mothers who regret with several interviews of women who said that they regret motherhood. Although not thought to be common, the article points to a You Gov poll which showed that 8% of 1,200 participants said they regretted becoming parents.

What ways did the regret manifest?  Loss of freedom and a sense of overwhelming responsibility was the key regret and this is something I have read in other reports of parents who have experienced regret at parenthood.  That loss of self and loss of identity was extremely overwhelming for many people.  One woman described it as sacrificing your freedom for someone else.

One of the interviewees spoke about how difficult she felt it was when she became a single parent in particular.  And this can be very challenging - particularly if we had expected to have the support of a partner in parenthood.

Interestingly, several of the women said that they didn't realise that it was possible not to be maternal until they had children.   One woman said in the film that 'I just wasn't that frilly lovely mum.'  Another woman said 'I did love my children but I didn't enjoy my children.'   As one women points out,  women are seen as the nurturers, the ones who nurture and care and if you don't feel that, you aren't a natural woman.

A common belief that some of the woman realised wasn't true was that having children would make you 'complete'.   I think this is very very important to know and no matter what decision you make, I don't believe that it is children that complete us.   A very poignant point in the interview is when one of the women discusses how she had this image of the happy family, children trotting off to school and everyone one happy family.   Part of the shock for her was that she hadn't realised how far off reality was from this image. 

Much of the problem I think is because we still have such idealised visions of motherhood and family life.  And when the reality doesn't even come close to this, disappointment and regret is indeed possible.   What was clear from all the interviews was that, despite the feelings of regret, all the woman said they still loved their children very much

So how can this all help you if you are making the decision.... particularly if one of your main fears is whether you will experience regret the decision to have children or not?    It's very important to try to untangle fears that might be led by your 'saboteur' (part of you that is very critical or might be sabotaging yourself) from what your instinct/gut/wisdom is telling you about wanting children.   When I work with clients, we explore these fears and interrogate them.  Then, when we've brought those out into the open, we can begin to look at what our gut is telling us.  In all of these case studies, the women did have a fairly strong sense that having children was not ultimately for them but they didn't feel able to give this part of them a voice.

There have been times when I have worked with clients who have really wanted to be able to feel a desire to have children - mainly because their husband or partner wanted kids and they didn't.  But in some of those cases, when we have untangled and unpicked their fears and then really looked at what their inner voice was saying, the client still had a strong sense that they didn't want children.  And sometimes, women found themselves surprised to discover that they did have a desire to have children that had been buried by fears that, once looked at, didn't seem so large or overwhelming.

At the end of the day, we need to be able to listen to our gut and make the best possible for us at this moment in time.  I believe when we take the time to consider this crucial decision and look at it from all angles, we are much less likely to experience regret because we are making a pro-active choice that is based on self-reflection and exploring the issue as best we can at the time. 








Sunday, 11 March 2018

Not Being a Mother On Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day in the UK - a time to celebrate mothers and acknowledge the impact in our lives.   But, for many women, Mother's Day can feel painful and exclusionary - particularly if

  • you are trying to decide whether to become a mother, 
  • you're trying to get pregnant but haven't had any luck, 
  • you do want a child but you can't because you're partner said no, 
  • you have simply decided that you don't want children, 

So how can you be on this Mother's Day if you are finding it difficult?

The blogger 'That Girl' wrote an article called  Mother's Day When You Are Not A Mom  had some good practical suggestions and some amusing suggestions of activities you can do on Mother's Day.

Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women (for women who are childless not by choice) wrote this powerful piece for Red Magazine What Mother's Day Feels Like When You are Childless    In it, she talks about the importance of owning and accepting the range of feelings you might be feeling today - the full range from sadness to anger to bitterness. 

Anger has vital work to do, if only we’d let it. I think bitterness probably has a lot more to do with not allowing ourselves to take the actions and have the conversations (both individually and culturally) that anger wants and needs us childless women to be having!  Silencing ourselves for fear of sounding bitter is much more likely to make us bitter. We need to understand that anger is an entirely valid emotional response to the unfairness we’re forced to make our peace with.  -  Jody Day

In many Christian traditions,  Mothering Sunday is often seen as an opportunity to celebrate anyone who has taken a mothering role in some aspect of life.  This might be a teacher, a minister, a favourite aunt, a volunteer and so on.  This article echoes that view http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2017/05/12/mothers-day-marjorie-s-rosenthal

So on this Mother's Day, remember to take time to just acknowledge and be with your anger.. but then, perhaps there is a way you can celebrate your 'inner mother' - the part of you that is nurturing and caring.... whether you have children or not.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

10 Lessons Series: Number 1 - Fear of Regret Keeps Us Stuck

I'm kicking off my series of '10 Lessons from 10 Year of Maybe Baby Coaching' with my first lesson:

Fear of Regret Keeps Us Stuck

Most of my clients come to see me because of their fear of experiencing regret in the future  Many, many times I've heard in my first session the anxious question 'What if, no matter what decision I make, I regret it?'   Their anxious mind goes round and round in circles - working through different scenarios.   The very fear about regret seems to bring about a catastrophising tendency in many of my clients.   It can seems safer to our fearful and anxious minds to not move forward and make a decision - particularly when any decision may lead to disaster. 

As one client said to me 'If I walk through one door, then I'm shutting the other door.  And all I can imagine is feeling regret, and never being able to change it.'  When we look at the baby decision from this perspective, it seems an impossible one. What I have noticed that even though have not yet made a decision that will cause them regret, in thinking and worrying about regret, they often seem to recreate the mindset people get into when they experience regret. This article in Psychology Today, 'The Psychology of Regret'  describes this 'regret mindset'.

'Regret can have damaging effects on mind and body when it turns into fruitless rumination and self-blame that keeps people from re-engaging with life. This pattern of repetitive, negative, self-focused ruminative thinking is characteristic of depression and may be a cause of this mental health problem as well. Other research, reported in the AARP Newsletter, shows regret can result in chronic stress, negatively affecting hormonal and immune system functioning. Regret impedes the ability to recover from stressful life events by extending their emotional reach for months, years, or lifetimes.'

It's crucial that in order to make the baby decision that you break out of this negative, fear based mindset.   There are two very simple steps to help you get into a better mindset to move forward.

1. Interrupt your repetitive and anxious 'what if' thinking .  This can be hard because once you are in the grip of anxious thinking in can be hard to pull yourself out of it.  As soon as you notice yourself doing this, find a short sentence you can say to stop the thinking.  Even 'I'm not paying attention - I'm putting these thoughts in the bin!'.  OR change your environment.  Go for a walk.  You can also use a simple mindfulness technique of simply noticing everything you are feeling and noticing about where you are right now, starting each sentence in your head with the words 'And now I am noticing.... the sounds of the cars, the colour of the sky, etc'

2. Once you've interrupted the thoughts, I invite you to spend some time connecting with TRUST.  This is your sense of trust - trust in yourself to make the right decision for the future, trust that things will work out even if you don't know exactly how yet.  You can connect with trust by shutting your eyes and imagining that you can go inside yourself and see where trust lives in you - you can imagine what trust looks like or feels like inside of you.  You can also discover trust by simply asking yourself the question 'What would it be like if I could have a little bit more trust in my body or my being right not.'

When we have abit more trust in ourselves and in the world, we become less fearful and worried about the future.  We are more likely to believe in ourselves, believe that we are resilient and able to deal with life's challenges.










Thursday, 1 February 2018

Celebrating 10 Years of Maybe Baby Coaching

2018 marks my 10 Year Anniversary of Ticktock Coaching! 10 rich and fulfilling years of coaching women (and occasionally men) on the decision to have children or not... and of writing this blog of course!   This is a very exciting milestone for me and I would like to spend the whole year marking it ... in many different ways.

So how it all began?  13 years ago, as I approached the age of 35  I found myself at the crossroads of a major dilemma - to have children or remain child-free?   It was a real struggle.  I found there was very little support or guidance.  When I walked into the bookstore, I would search the self-help shelves searching for something to help me.  But all the books were either for wannabe parents OR people who were definitely child-free.  Nothing much to help people like me who found ourselves directly in the middle!

In the end, after much angst I decided to become a parent.(and I then managed to get my own partner on board and I experienced the very real difficulty when you are with a partner who is not as keen on having a child as you are). Yet, I also realised that I could have had an equally satisfying child-free life if I hadn't had a child.    Today I firmly believe that there is no 'wrong choice', there is no privileged position, no better way of life for women. 

I realised that if I struggled so much with the decision, other people must be struggling as well. I had gone for career coaching and I had also used coaching skills as a manager,  I realised that coaching would be a very appropriate way to help people through the baby decision.  Coaching focuses on helping people look at an issue in a different way and explore it from different perspectives.  Trust is a big factor in coaching, helping people to learn to trust themselves and their inner wisdom.

 As I went through my coach training and accreditation process, I did question my choice to focus on this area and wondered whether there were enough people who were struggling with this decision.  But I soon realised how great the need was once I launched Ticktock Coaching 10 years ago.

Throughout the year, I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary with looking at 'Ten Things I have Learnt As a Maybe Baby Coach'  Every month, I will be writing a blog post on one of those ten things I have learnt over these 10 years.  Look out for the first post next week.

Another way that I will mark my 10 year anniversary is through carrying out a survey of all my former clients to find out how the coaching impacted upon them and what percentage made the decision to have children and what percentage decided to stay child-free.

I've coached hundreds of people on the baby decision over the years and it's been uplifting and interesting to hear back informally from client but it will be good to get more statistics and data on what decisions people made and how coaching has helped.  I'll be publishing those results later in the year here on the blog.

I'm going to be brainstorming other was to celebrate throughout the year too as well I'm thinking of getting an anniversary cake baked and having an afternoon tea part with friends, colleagues and former clients.  If you have any ideas, please leave a comment or drop me an email.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Book Review - Motherhood: Is It For Me?

Happy New Year! If you have been struggling with trying to decide whether to be a mother or not, then 2018 might be the year you move forward and make the decision.

To start the New Year, I wanted to introduce you all to a fantastic book and resource by Denise L. Carlini and Ann Davidman called 'Motherhood:Is It For Me?.   When I started coaching on this topic 10 years ago, there was very little out there to support those of us who really weren't sure whether we wanted to have children or not.  And, as most of you know, that's what led me to start Ticktock Coaching and write my book Baby or Not? Making the Biggest Decision of Your Life.

Yet, I was just starting out on my journey to develop my coaching practice to help women, Denise and Ann had already been working for 10 years with women on the very same issue in the USA!   

Denise and Ann are experienced psychotherapists who have developed a program and process for helping women through making this decision.   It's very evident and apparent how much their experience working with individual women over many years has informed this book.  They have spent two decades - 20 years - creating the program which takes readers carefully through the full process they use with individual clients.   This depth of experience which the book and their process is based upon really gives the book a solid foundation that gives you trust that the writers know what you are going through. 

There approach very much chimes with my own belief in coaching on the baby decision.  This passage in their introduction very much resonated with me.

'We've learned that your uncertainty is complex and likely accompanied by powerful feelings such as fear, ambivalence, doubt, confusion, sadness and shame.  Experience has taught us that a deep knowing of what you truly want must precede making a clear and informed decision.'

The book takes you through the 12 week process from Week 1 'Preparing for Your Journey' to Week 12  'Arriving'.    Throughout the process, they give a range of writing and creative exercises (including many creative visualisation exercises which I find so valuable) to help you reflect on yourself, your fears, desires, who you are and then finally, helping you to move forward out of the limbo of indecision. 

If you are interested in buying the book or finding out more about their work you can find out more on their website at Motherhood Is it for Me?

I'm so glad that Denise and Ann  - and other practitioners in the world such as Baby Dilemma in the Netherlands - are working to help women (and sometimes men) who are struggling to decide whether to have kids or not.   There are so many women all over the world who are wondering whether motherhood is for them that we need a variety and range of people, books and resources to help them navigate their way through this important decision.

Monday, 25 December 2017

'So when are you having a baby?' - Surviving Intrusive Questions Over The Holidays

Merry Christmas to all, wherever you are in the world and however you are celebrating today!

For many women struggling the decision of whether to have children or not, Christmas can be a particularly stressful time. The focus on Christmas as a time for families and children can be overwhelming - and when you are trying to decide whether to have children or not, it is not great when distant family members at Christmas family gatherings comment or ask questions about whether you will have children yourself.

I recommend this exercise to help my clients deal with situations of overwhelm and stress. AND it's also helps in clearing your head and approaching challenging questions from relatives from a place of centre and wholeness.

Take a moment now to find yourself a seated position where you can sit upright – preferably with your hips being a little higher than your knees.

1. Take a breath in and imagine that breath travelling up your back, giving you uplift through your spine and neck and out the top of your head. Then, on the exhalation, imagine your breath travelling down your front, softening those muscles in the front (without losing the uplift in your spine)

2. Imagine you can extend your energy out around you to about 12 – 14 inches around your whole body. Take a moment to check if this bubble of energy is equal at your front and back, to your left and right and above and below you.

3. Let gravity take the weight of your shoulders and chin.

4. Now think of a quality that you would like alittle bit more of – ease, or centeredness or inclusion. Ask yourself the question ‘What would it be like if I had a little bit more of this quality in my body right now?’ Listen to the answer you receive from your body.

And now, return to either the baby decision or the family gathering/pressure from friends and family - whatever is causing you to feel overwhelmed – do you feel more present, more centred, more able to enter these next few weeks with more ease and flow? You can take the above exercise and streamline it when you need to – just take 10 seconds several times a day to breath, sense your field of energy and invoke your quality.

I also discovered this advice on a UK Quaker webiste called Courageous conversations over Christmas  - if you can combine the above exercise to help you centre with the advice around having courageous conversations then you might be able to make it through the Christmas season with less stress and more authentic conversations with your family about the 'baby decision.'


Monday, 11 December 2017

Thinking about having a baby? Some stats for you to consider

I love info-graphics and a friend drew my attention to this which was published in the Guardian last week.    Read This Before You have a Baby

The article is full of relevant stats and data about the impact of having a baby and this is presented in a very attractive way.  What is very obvious from this article is the very different impact that having a child has on women as opposed to men.   As the writer Mona Chalabi says,

'The conclusion is pretty stark: if you’re a woman who enjoys paid work or relaxing activities, having kids will cramp your style. Being married with kids also isn’t looking like a great idea according to the numbers.'

Women who have children spend much less time on leisure activities and work related activities.  For men, the impact on their lifestyles is very different.

This data backs up what many of my clients know intuitively from watching women friends struggle - particularly in the early years.    They know that it will be them - and not their male partner - who will have to do the bulk of the child-care and child-rearing and they also know that support for working mothers in the workplace is often not there to the extent that it could be (see my last post on Iceland for an example of a country that seems to have got it right)

However, despite all the compelling evidence that having a children does impact your leisure and work time in a negative way,  many of us are still draw to having children.  Looking at the cold, hard stats and your head would say 'no'.  Yet, our heart is often saying a different thing all together. 

When working with a client who is struggling to reconcile the tension between the head and heart, I often get clients to look how, with full awareness of the facts, they might begin to create a life that avoids some of the deep traps of motherhood.  How can they discuss the issues with their partner and how can they negotiate  a more equal parenting arrangement?   Importantly, what are the ways that we can still live our values of independence and freedom - despite the changes and responsibilities that motherhood will bring?   It may be that the small ways we can do this can help us through those difficult early years when our time is much more restricted.

In the New Year (I can't believe it's almost 2018!) I will be putting on the blog a through review of the wonderful book by Denise Carlini and Ann Davidman Motherhood: Is it for me?  .  I've been wanting to put a review on the blog for a while but I really want to give it the time and space it deserves.  It's wonderful to have more resources for women who are struggling to make this decision!  

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lessons from Iceland

In my last post, I looked at recent reports that fewer women are not having children than a generation ago.   This research was carried out in the UK and I'm not sure if it holds true in other parts of Europe.

Iceland has higher birth rates than other European countries.  It also has a high divorce rate and many children are brought up by single parents or in step-families.

Over the last ten years, the fertility rate in Iceland has been around two children over the lifetime of each woman. In 2014, the average European fertility rate was 1.58 children per woman—lowest in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.  In 2015, 30.1 percent of Icelandic children were born to married parents, 52 percent to cohabiting parents, and 15.3 percent to parents neither married nor in long-term relationships. By comparison, of the 28 European Union countries, around 40 percent of children were born out of wedlock. After Iceland, the second-least-likely countries for children to be born to married parents were Bulgaria (58.3 percent), Slovenia (58.3 percent) and Sweden (54.6 percent).  At the other end of the scale, only 2.8 percent of Turkish children were born to unmarried parents and 8.2 percent of Greek children.  From the website Icelandic Review

 Yet in Iceland, this is not a cause of stigma or disapproval.    Interestingly, Iceland also has a high rate of happiness and well-being. 

In this fascinating article on Iceland and what makes Icelanders so happy, John Carlin came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons was the acceptance of different forms of family AND a high level of governmental support for family through good parental leave, childcare and schooling.

When a child's birthday comes around, not only do the various sets of parents turn up for the party, the various sets of grandparents - and whole longboats of uncles and aunts - come too. Iceland, lodged in the middle of the North Atlantic with Greenland as its nearest neighbour, was too far from the remit of any but the more zealously obstinate of the medieval Christian missionaries. It is a largely pagan country, as the natives like to see it, unburdened by the taboos that generate so much distress elsewhere.

So it would seem that is the decision to have children as much less stressful and fraught than it is elsewhere.   I'm sure that there still are women in Iceland who are struggling but it appears that without the worry and stress of judgement coupled with generous government support makes it much more acceptable for women to have children in a range of different situations.

If you were free of all society expectations of how you should have children and what your family should look like, would you find the decision easier?


Monday, 27 November 2017

Number of childfree women has doubled within a generation

Figures released this week show that the number of women who have never had children has doubled within a generation.  While this may seem like a surprise to others, this does not surprise me, judging my the numbers of women who have been approaching me for coaching on whether to have a child or not over the last ten years.

 "While the two child family remains the most common family type in England and Wales, with 37 per cent of women born in 1971 having two children, the prevalence is below the peak of 44 per cent for the 1950 cohort.

"Families with no children or families with one child were the next most common for women born in 1971 at 18 per cent each. 

"Only 1 in 10 women born in 1971 had four or more children, compared with nearly one in five in the 1940 cohort."

The ONS report tracks women born in each year to examine how many children they have and when.

It also found that women have become more likely in recent years to have had a child before they turn 30.   While the average age of childbearing has increased, women born in 1987 were slightly less likely to be childless at 30 than those born the year before. '   (From the Telegraph )

I was asked today by a radio interviewer why I thought this was? My reply is that I don't think there is one answer to the question.

I do think we have had a major sea-change within a generation in our choices around women's choices and the shape of our families.  It's no longer a given that women must have children and couples who decide not to have children are not so very unusual.   This has allow for many more people to see being child-free as a valid choice.    However, there is still pressure from society and families to have children and when I'm working with a woman who does feel she wishes to be child-free, we will explore and look at how she can deal with this pressure.

In addition to women who are choosing not to have children and who embrace being child-free, there are also a group of women who are child-less not by choice.  Factors which impact this group of women are:
  • Wanting children but being with a partner who doesn't want children
  • Having left trying to have children till their late 30's due to various factors (one can be not having found the right person to have children with) and then finding it difficult to have children naturally.
  • Feeling like they need to choice between their career and independence with having children.
The reality is that even in 2017, it isn't easy to be a working mother.  Many of the clients I do work with report that they see their colleagues with children struggling with child-care and all the other responsibilities that working mothers face on a daily basis.   

Perhaps if our government and society made it easier for working mothers, the choice wouldn't be as difficult as it currently is?   In my next article, I'll be looking at the birth rate in countries like Norway and Iceland where government support towards working mothers is much higher. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Culture of The Family

As most of my readers will know, the making the decision whether to have children or not, is a difficult one.  And, it can be even more complicated and stressful if the culture you grew up revolves around family.

I was interested to read this article Childless in a Houseful of Children in the New York Times from a woman who is actually based here in London.

My childlessness in a family full of offspring would be poignant, tragic even, were it not by choice. I alone among eight siblings have decided not to breed — a choice that baffles and mystifies everyone in a family as fertile as mine.

My Bangladeshi heritage doesn’t help matters. With values more suited to Victorian England, my parents raised me with one overarching objective: to marry well and raise a family. Shirking this responsibility is an aberration in our culture that tends to provoke questions.

I have worked with clients from different cultures including clients from India, Italy and from small town USA, where the concept of choosing not to have children is not understood and often looked down upon.     Often people have been brought up with cautionary tales about maiden aunts 'Poor Aunt Mary.... she never had children and lived and died alone.'   Unpacking these family stories reveals some new truths.

'I had been brought up to think that my Aunt had a lonely life with her flat in the City and always travelling alone. Now I'm looking at her life and thinking 'Wow, what adventures she had, what an amazing woman!'  an interviewee for my book Baby or Not

In coaching, we can begin to re-examine and 'unpack' these old family stories and beliefs that we have inherited.  One of the best coaching exercises for this is to look at the topic from different perspectives or mind-sets.   When clients do this, they often (like the interviewee above) find themselves challenging old beliefs.

What's is the family belief that you need to challenge?