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 and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit for more information about my coaching services.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

My fake child or the commodification of desire

I was going to write more about the role of men in the decision to have a child but I haven't been able to get a 'documentary' TV show I saw a couple of days ago out of my head.

A brief synopsis of 'My Fake Child' is this: There is a new market of dolls called 'reborns' which are made to resemble newborn babies. They can come equiped with heartbeats and breathing mechanisms. The women (and it appears that buyers are 99% women) who buy them dress them like babies and wheel them around in prams.

I don't really want to comment on the women portrayed in this programme because I hate the way TV programme makers take real people who have deeper issues which could be explored and portray them as freaks. The programme confirmed my general wariness of TV makers - which is why when I've been approached by TV companies to do a programme featuring me and my clients I've said no.

What I've been thinking about is how this programme highlighted - in quite stark terms - how our culture seeks to commodify desire and happiness in relation to having children.

Unfulfilled? Unhappy? Want more connection with others? Want to nurture something? Dress it in pretty clothes? Buy a doll! OR have a child!

This is why I think the decision to have children or not can be confusing. It is so often framed around being able to be fulfilled - as if fulfillment is something that comes from something outside ourselves. Many of the women clients I see who are on the childfree end of the scale say that they get lots of comments from others about how having a child would be so fulfilling, it would make them 'complete.'

It's about how you live your values, how you honour what is important to you. You can have kids and be unhappy or happy - you can be childfree and unhappy or happy too.

I was asked the other day by a friend who is a parent whether I'm not tempted just to tell people to have kids because I know how wonderful it is. She was shocked when I laughted and said no, not at all! Because no matter how wonderful I find having my son, I know that if I had choosen a child-free path, I'd be finding my life wonderful as well.


laurie said...

there's so many decisions, and so much left to chance. are you with the right partner? are you financially able? are you fertile?

we have no children, and i really, truly hate it when people look at me with pity (which some people do). or when people assume that we made a selfish decision.

there is nothing more private and personal than a decision like this. and sometimes it's not a decision.

Kaycie said...

I think the worst reason in the world to have children is to feel "fulfilled". Having children adds to your life, it is true, but having children won't fulfill a woman who wasn't able to find that fulfillment elsewhere, too.

Laurie is right, sometimes it's not a decision at all. I know women who had children young because they weren't careful about birth control, and I know women who always thought they would have children who end up childless for one reason or another. Frankly, I don't understand women who are mothers thinking that it is right for every woman.

decided said...

This is a great blog entry - thank you!

I am always a little bit suspcious of a woman who wants to have a child to feel 'fulfilled'.

I would never try to tell someone not to have a child when they have said they want one. However, I have had mothers tell me that I do want children - I just don't realise that I'm not fulfilled without one yet!

Beth said...

Glad you've found the blog decided!!

Beth said...

Laurie - such a thoughtful comment about it not always being a decision.