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.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

And the debate goes on..... should you decide against having children for the sake of the environment?

Check out what BBC Blogger Ethical Man has to say!

Monday, 14 December 2009

I saw this query on Malasyian Yahoo Answers from someone who has been in a 6 year relationship who wants kids - but her partner doesn't.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The decision to have a child easier for public sector workers

I just got this information about a new research study into employment and the decision to have children or not.

According to the researchers, the decision to have a child is easier for public sector workers due to better family friendly policies.

And the researchers will be engaging in a longitudanal study into employment and childbearing patterns.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Perspective from a Muslim Woman

I found this interesting blog post today from a Muslim Woman who is leaning towards the decision not to have children.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I found this article on line about the reasons why the decision to have children or not can be difficult. The author has done a survey about why people decide not to have children

The author choose to be kid-free in the end. Even though the focus on her research was on people who have decided not to have children, she highlighted many of the reasons that my clients (who haven't yet made the decision) give for their dilemma.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

What is your sabeteur saying?

In the coaching I do with clients (from all over the world as I do telephone coaching as well as face-to-face coaching), I introduce the concept of 'the sabeteur'. The sabeteur is the part of us that wants to keep us fearful and stuck - it is the bit of us that sabatoges our happiness and well-being. I've found that, when people are struggling with the baby decision, the sabeteur comes out very strongly. Maybe it says 'You would be a terrible mother anyway - if you had kids' or perhaps it says 'If you don't have kids, you'll grow old and lonely.'

I get clients to give their sabeteur a personna - identify it, find out what it says and what triggers it. And then, we work to weaken it's grip - so that you can make the decision from a place of power and confidence - instead of a fearful place.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A view from a man wanting kids (or maybe not?)

I don't often read articles by men who are thinking abou the baby decision.

But this article in the Observer Women's Magazine caught my eye. The author talks about how he wonders if he has left it too late - wondering if he should have taken the decision to start a family earlier.

Most of my clients are women - and I've never been contacted by a man. But do you (or are you) know men who are struggling with this issue?

Friday, 2 October 2009

Advice on 'I want a baby and my partner says no'

In the Oberserver Magazine, there was this advice from columnist Mariella Frostrup to a woman in her early 40's whose husband (after previously agreeing to have children) has said no. In her advice she says this:

'If in the long-term you are not going to have a baby, which is by no means a certainty at the moment, then make sure that you are living the life you want. Would that include sharing it with a man for whom your long cherished desires are so dispensable?'

Yesterday, I was asked by a friend for my advice on what to say to a partner who is humming and hawing about having children - he would like her to wait a year when she is 40 to start trying for a baby. In coaching, I don't give advice. I ask questions and I work with clients to find a solution that works for them.

In this situation to friends and to clients I say 'What is your bottom line? What are YOU prepared to live with in your life and what aren't you?' And then - have you made this clear to your partner? If they don't agree - what do you want to do then?

Because I agree with Mariella above - life is to short to be living a life you don't want to be living.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Recession affecting women's decision to have children or not

This week, the internet has been full of stories related to a report produced by Guttmacher Insitute called 'A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Women’s Family Planning and Pregnancy Decisions'

The researchers surveryed just under 1000 women and the results were fascinating. Nearly half of those surveyed said they wanted to delay or reduce childbearing because of the economy. 64% of the women surveyed agreed with the statement 'With the economy the way it is now, I can't afford to have children.'

Of course, the worry is that women who delay having children because of the economy (but do ultimately want to have children) will find their chances of conceiving reduced the longer they want.

Other postings/articles about this topic:,8599,1925944,00.html?imw=Y

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Should you have a child if you don't feel it is a 'vocation'

I came across this article posted in May on the Times Online. The authors suggests that unless you feel strongly that you want a child, that it is a vocation that you shouldn't have one.

Strong stuff indeed!

She says she was shocked how many children weren't planned.

Well, personally, I don't think it is as black and white as she states - yes, some women are always sure they wanted kids, some aren't, sometimes 'accidents' happen. What would be really interesting would be to see if there is a massive difference in how these children are parented or are loved once they come into the world.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Perspectives on the decision from a retiree

I found this wonderful blog posting from a blogger 'Graceful Retirement'.

She reflects on a common concern of women struggling with this decision - bboth the finance cost of having children and the impact of having adult children in retirement. the blogger herself hadn't been sure if she wanted children. And then did decided she wanted to adopt children. She discusses the impact this has had on her finances - and also points to some of the debates around being child-free. In the end she says:

'Having children has greatly impacted my finances. Yet I don't regret my decision to parent. Then, again, neither does my sister regret her decision to remain childfree.'

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Radio Play - The Second Best Bed

Here is a really interesting radio play - all about a woman who has decided she isn't going to have children. A good exploration of many of the issues - from dealing with pressure from friends and partners.

Monday, 7 September 2009

A view from Japan

More proof that people all over the world are struggling with the decision of whether to have children or not.

This article published in Japan highlights some of the issues behind people's struggle to make the decision.

According to the article, the Japanese government is actually thinking about paying couples to have children. As the writer points out, is this really an answer? Particuarly with both the costs and scarity of childcare in the country.

But why is the governement getting involved in this decision - you might be asking yourself. The problem is the demographic shift - with more people getting older - the pressure on the pensions and social care system will be huge. A generation of workers - paying into the tax system is needed to keep everything going.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Why I coach women on the decision to have children or not

It's the 1st September and that autumnal feeling is here - at least here in London, England where I live and work. A reader contacted me last week - asking about how I got into coaching women on the decision to have children or not.

It was through personal experience - about seven years ago, I was in my early 30's. I had never wanted children before and my partner has a grown up son - and he pretty much didn't want to have another child.

So it came as a complete surprise - to me and to him - that I began to wonder whether I DID want children after all.

Like many of you, I looked through bookstores and on the internet - there wasn't alot of resources out there that were very helpful. In the end, after a year of soul searching and fraught discussions with my relucatant partner, I did decide to have a child.

But I always knew that I could have also picked just as fulfilled life if I had decided not to have children - it would have just been different.

When I was contemplating re-training as a coach at the Coaches Training Institute I thought that this would be an ideal situation for coaching - as coaching takes a non-judgement approach to situations and places where clients are stuck. Coaches use tools and techniques to help clients find the way that is right for them.

Now, I have clients who I coach all over the world - via the telephone. And, in London, I see clients face-to-face. It's work I love - because it's helping people through what I know, from my own experience is very, very difficult.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Keep your friends

And here is a more light-hearted approach to the discussion, in another contribution to the Canadian Paper The National discussion on this topic Keep your friends - don't have kids

Saturday, 29 August 2009

This week, the National newspaper in Canada is having a debate around the merits of becoming a parent. This writer Robert Fulford, discusses his thoughts here - for him, parenthood was definately worth it.

Yet, what I like about this writer is that he points to the very personal and subjective nature of the decision to have children or not.

'There's no generalized one-size-fits-all answer to this intensely personal question.

Some people desire passionately to have offspring, and all of Maier's satiric hectoring won't budge them. Others do not much want to be parents. Their choice demands respect, for the best reason: We should have children only if we want them. No matter how things go, parenthood brings a blizzard of large and small difficulties. To enter it reluctantly can be a route to disaster.'

The focus on respect is so important - often women who I coach report that friends/family often don't seem to respect choices that they are planning on making. If they are leaning towards being childfree, then they find they are met with disapproving comments.

Friday, 28 August 2009

From being a couple to being parents

This article came out in an Indian magazine this week - it is primarily aimed at people who have decided to go ahead and have children. But I thought the advice on what to think about before having children was equally applicable to someone trying to make the 'baby decision'

Saturday, 22 August 2009

I just discovered this web based forum today - for women who want to have a baby but whose partners doesn't.

It's one of the common themes I see emerging for many women (and sometimes men) - being in a relationship where one of them does want children and the other one doesn't. It is a very difficult place to be in a relationship.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Personal Finance and the baby decision

Many of the women who come to me seeking coaching on the 'baby decision' often cite concerns over the cost of having children. Often, they are dealing with partners who also give this as a reason not to have a child.

Yes, having children is an expense! Nina, blogging on the question at this blog discusses the key issue of finance in relation to their arguements of whether to have a second child or not pointing to some key facts:

'A report (PDF) by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released last week indicates a middle-income family with a child born last year will spend about $221,000 raising that child through age 17. This averages out to $13,000 per year although annual expenditures typically increase with the age of the child. Housing is identified as the largest single expense, followed by food and child care/education costs.'

But as I've said before here on the blog - if everyone truely thought about the cost of having children - no one ever would have a child!!! In my experience of coaching women on this decision over the years is that no one ever truly makes the decision based on finance alone.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Signapore and the baby decision

Following on from my last blog posting about the declining birthrate, a regular reader of this blog in the Far East send me this link to an interview with the Prime Minister of Signapore, Lee Hsien Loong

The article is quite long and goes into issues not all my readers may be so interested in and so, I've reproduced the section where he disscussing the question of why women aren't having children here:

'You made a statement on the problem with young women not having babies, and you have encouraged them to have children. Can you elaborate on this?

I can explain but I can’t solve. (Laughs.) This is the problem of many developed countries. In Kuala Lumpur you have this same phenomenon except that you are a bigger country; you have the rural area so taking Malaysia as a whole, birth rates are okay.

In developed countries and particularly in the cities, many of the women are working, are professionals, and if you tell them to have one more child, they would say that it’s a heavy burden. Because it’s a heavy responsibility, not just a financial burden, because you want the best for your child; give him or her the best. That’s a very heavy responsibility because having made the baby, you’ve got to make sure he is properly brought up, educated, guided. You can’t just leave him to maids or even to tutors.

And, therefore, responsible women are saying, ‘I’ll just have a few, two, maybe one,’ some don’t even want to start. If everybody decided that, [then] I don’t have enough children. So we are trying to encourage them to have children with not just the financial incentive but also the overall social spirit; the ethos so that people welcome you when you have kids; when you turn pregnant, they fuss over you, they ask if it’s a boy or a girl. At work they will make adjustments, they will give you a room to breast-feed, reasonable time off, and you can still participate while fulfilling your responsibilities as a mother. So these are adjustments that we must make in our society, but it is very difficult to reverse the trend and get more babies born.'

So, an interesting point he is making at the end I thought - that the ethos must change.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

More signs of declining birth rate

More evidence of a declining birth rate reported in this Detroit newspaper

The article, 'Where have all the children gone?' looks at the sharp decline in the birth rate in the state of Michigan which has had the highest drop in population and asks why. One of the reasons given is the economy and another, is the move of young people out of the area.

Although the issues in this state seem linked in with the economy and people migrating from the area as well, I think there are two key reaons generally why the birth rate is declining:

a) living a child-free life is now much more of a culturally acceptable option, people do not feel as pressured into have children


b) women are putting off having children now till much later - this can mean that some of these women may find that they are unable to have children - resulting in people becoming child-free but not by choice.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The debate on having children and the envrionment continues

Does having children hurt the environment? There is an on-going debate whether people should have children at all from a green perspective. Radical environmentalists are adament that people should choose a child-free life to help save the planet.

One green blogger is definately not of that opinion!

Personally, I think that there are many other factors that are damaging the environment - industrial pollution for instance - that need to be addressed as a matter of priority.

But, if you are deeply committed to environmental causes and are also struggling with the decision to have children, this debate could impact on the decision making - or maybe it would influence you to look at other options like fostering or adoption?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The main headline article of the Sunday UK Paper 'The Observor' was this '

Women urged to test for fertility at 30:Expert calls for 'fertility MoTs' and education

And this related two page article appeared as well.

The article -which included a double page spread inside - addresses so many important issues for women making the baby decision. One of the key reasons why women are delaying having children is the issue of discrimination at work - many women are aware that it is difficult to get back on the career ladder after having children and so are choosing to delay having children untill they are more established in their careers. However, this has massive ramification -with women finding their fertility has decreased as they become older.

Reducing discrimination against women with young children and pregnant women will make the decision whether to have children or not easier and more straightforward.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Play exploring the 'baby decision'

In Australia, there is a play in which the main character is grappling (amongt other things) with the decision whether to have a baby or not. Here is a link to an interview with the playwright,25197,25815235-16947,00.html

I think more and more TV shows, plays and books will be exploring the issue in the near future.

Deciding to have children Forum

I came across this forum on Amazon - called 'Deciding to have children' discussion forum.

Again, it shows how this is a decision that many people are struggling with.

One of the things I find when people first contact me for coaching is the relief to know that they are not alone in their struggle to make this key and important decision.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Single Mothers by Choice

In the Telegraph, this article appeared about one women's experience of 'going it on her own' or becoming a single mother by choice - that is having a child without a partner with assisted conception.

One of the interesting points the writer makes is that:

'An alternative explanation is that women are leaving it too late. Research indicates that by the age of 30 one third of British women have not yet decided whether or not to have children. Researchers at the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University London found that two thirds of SMCs who chose DC did so because they felt that they were running out of time to meet Mr Right.'

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

International Reach of the 'Baby Decision'

Over the past few months, as my blog has received a higher profile - I have received emails from women all over the world - including the United Arab Emitres, the US, Holland, Australia and South African. What is remarkable is how many women all over the world are struggling with similiar issues. Is now the time to have kids? What do I do if my partner doesn't want kids and I do? Do I really want children or would I rather have a childfree life?

Blogging about the decision

I found this lovely blog entry from a woman who discusses the decision whether to have children or not.

It was so thoughtful and moving - I wanted to share it with you all!

What I love about this entry is how the writer reflects on how she knows that whether they have children or not - her life will be full of value whatever they choose. That's the message I really want to give all my clients and all my blog readers!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

This is an excellent article which addresses recommendations by the Royal College of Obstetrics that women aim to have a baby between 20 - 35 years of age.

As the writer points out, this is all very well and good advice - but much of the problem lies with men, partners of the women involved who say they are not ready to have children yet.

Monday, 1 June 2009

More on freezing eggs for the future

Another article on women who are freezing their eggs for use in the future appeared in an Australian paper yesterday.

This is an option more and more women who are trying to decide whether they want children or not OR who do want children but do not have a partner are seriously considering.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Discussion on 'My partner doesn't want kids'

As regular readers of this blog know, a very common issue for women is when they do want kids but their partner/husband doesn't. There has been a very popular discussion on the Money Saving Expert on this very topic when a women asked for help on this very question of what to do.

I first work with clients coming to me for help on this issue through really exploring what it is they are wanting, and then, how they can best discuss and negiote the issue with their partner. Then, if their partner is still adamant they don't want kids, I work with my client on where they want to go now in regards to the relationship - which is a difficult and painful decision.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I found this article on the NY times post about how we make life decisions and life choices.

Although the baby decision isn't explicity mentioned, I thought that much of what the author says is relevant to the decision to have children or not.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Discussion in Washington Post on Work/Life Balance

Well, it was very nice to have this blog referenced in an online discussion on the Washington Post's website!!

Here is the link to the discussion!

I'm very interested in the discussion about work/life balance and how it affects parents. Of course, this is a key consideration to people trying to make the decision to have children or not - particularly women. Women bear the brunt of child-care responsiblities and face more discrimination in the workplace as a result.

Friday, 10 April 2009

My husband wants kids but I don't

This was a very good piece of advice published in the on-line magazine Salon to someone writing in with the above dilemma

One of the answer's the columnist gave was totally spot on - and pretty much how I approach coaching around the issue - to ensure that clients are connected to their authentic values, and how they want to life their lives, their vision - how to find meaning in their lives

'But in and of itself, not having a kid will not address the deeper question. The question is how to find connection and meaning in life, how to feel more authentic and more "right" about what one is doing. How to feel, like, yeah, OK, what I'm doing is right for me, it makes sense, I'm where I belong, doing what I was meant to do. '

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A interview for Glamour Magazine and the gift of uncertainty.

Hello everyone - to regular followers and to new readers! It's nice to see from my stats that the readership is up - many people who are typing in various questions into Google around the subject of deciding to have children or not are turning up here and finding the blog helpful which is good to know.

I was interviewed a few days ago for Glamour Magazine as the expert on this subject for a piece they are doing on the decision to have children - 'When is the right time?' I did find it amusing to be interviewed by Glamour - being the sort of 'not-traditionally glamouress' type of person!!

They were structuring the piece in the traditional way - a sort of tick box list of things or ways you will know that you are ready - for example, how will you know when you are financially ready? How will you know you are emotionally ready?

One of the main things I did stress with the journalist was that it's really, really important for people explore how they relate to uncertainty when making this decision. Often, I see clients who come very stressed about the decision who are often very fearful of 'uncertainty' of making the 'wrong' choice. AND of course - it's one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make!!! It'll change your life. Yes, of course, it is frightening. BUT,- it's a path that is fraught with uncertainty.

For example, if you decide to try to conceive, you don't know when or if you will conceive. If you get pregnant, you don't know how your pregnancy will go. You don't know what kind of birthing experience you will have, you don't know what being a mother to a newborn will be like, you don't know how you will discpline your kid, etc. etc. etc.

One of the scariest things about making this decision is that it's one of the decisions in life we actually have very little control over - we can't see into the future, we don't really know what is in sort for us, how our lives will turn out with OR without children. SO, I usually work with clients so they can see the 'gift' in uncertainty - even if they can't embrace it fully! It's like in other work I do around polarity - I encourage clients to try to hold the tension between 'knowing' and 'not knowing'

Well, anyway - the article will be appearing in a few months - I'll let you know when I have the exact publication date and I'll post a link to the article on my main website

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Men's biological clock

A great article about men's biological clock - at the end, the author points out how if men had the same worries of their biological clock, women wouldn't feel the pressure of worrying about trying to convince reluctant partners.

From the article is this quote:

'For decades men have been diligently discovering their feminine side, and couples have been announcing “we’re pregnant”; yet the hows and whens of having a baby are still juggled primarily by women. We are the ones who hold the time lines and calendars in our heads, who have to surrender space in our bodies and clear time in our lives. Too soon could derail a career. Too late could risk infertility. Becoming a mother means compromising with biology — “settling” for a mate or for single-parenthood or for an ill-timed career interruption — in order to beat that clock.'

Being a Godparent - an alternative to having kids of your own

Here is an article that appeared in today's Guardian:

In the article, the man in question talked about how he had orginally wanted kids of his own but it never happened. He is extremely positve about being a goparent and the chance it gives him to be involved in the lives of children as they grow up.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

More thoughts on getting pregnant by 'accident'

Another article on the phenomenon of women getting pregnant by 'accident'

As I mentioned before on the blog, while I can understand why some people would do this, I generally don't think it's a good idea!! There is of course risk of STI's with unprotected sex and, as anyone in their 30's trying for a baby will find out, the chances of falling pregnant after a one-night stand are not too high!!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Should I have a baby or a career? Advice column

Well, here is a bit of advice from the funny and irreverant columnist Lucy Mangan!

All I can say is that it's definately NOT an either or choice in my book - but, you will need to work out decent childcare arrangements in order to continue with your career if you have a child. Which isn't always easy.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Deciding not to have children

Several features appeared in last weeks Observer Woman Magazine on the decision not to have children and be childfree.

Here is columnist Polly Vernon explaining why she doesn't want to have children.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Blaming Feminism

Here is a link to an excellent post by blogger Hugo Schwyer

He critiques the arguement made by Zoe Lewis in a recent Times article that feminsm is to blame for her not having children.

I am very, very, very aware of the dangers of having this discussion around the decision to have children or not. I've heard too many times that it is the feminist movement that is to blame for women leaving the decision to having children too late!! As a committed feminst, I too disagree with Lewis's arguement.

Where I do think there is a problem is that much feminist theory today - unlike 1st wave feminism - as tended to negate/ignore personal issues around motherhood and fertility. Too often, I've been in meetings with feminist colleague where there has been a concern not to 'align' ourselves too closely with motherhood or fertility - as these are areas where women find themselves regated. Yet, in ignoring many women's concerns of fertility, relationships, etc - we allow anti-feminists to claim that ground! We also don't allow us to posit the wide range of options for having families or not - for living child-free lives, for fostering, adoption.

I'm curious to see whether anyone else is exploring issues to do with the decision to have children or fertility from a feminist standpoint.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Childfree Women Role Models

I got an email from a regular reader of the blog asking for more about childfree positive role models. Some I know include: Helen Mirren, Kylie Mignone, Betty Boothroyd. Also historical figures include Florence Nightingale. Can you add some more?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Interview with author of Eat Work and Pray

An interview with the bestselling author of the book 'Eat Work and Pray' came out in the Guardian today. I was particularly interested in how the decision not to have children played out in her life. This is a particuarly relevant quote:

The journey started with an act of bona fide bravery: an admission that she didn't want to have children, not with her husband, not with anyone, ever. It's not expressed as categorically as this in the book, and when we find her appealing to God from the bathroom floor while her husband sleeps innocently in the bedroom next door, it reads like an overreaction. She was praying because she didn't know what else to do; she hated her marriage and didn't want to have a baby at that point. But she was only 31 - what was the big deal?

"I think it was a crisis because the pressure was on to have kids," she says. "My ex-husband was very eager to do it. There was no neutral position. Me saying I don't want to have kids was effectively me saying I don't want to be married, if that's what the conditions of the marriage were. I'd also lived a very accelerated decade in my 20s. My career started young and I was really ambitious, and then I had success and I hung out with people who were much older. I think I might have been temporally misplaced, so I thought I was 40. It was a premature midlife crisis."

The end of her marriage constituted the first real failure Gilbert had dealt with. The crisis was so huge, she says, because she was not used to disappointing people or herself, a sneaky piece of self-promotion. She believes that her breakdown was also fanned by grief for the children she'd never have. "When I diagnose my depression now, I think it was partially about saying goodbye to these kids that I always expected to have but already knew that I wouldn't."

Gilbert then went on to marry an older man - who didn't want children which she says was a conscious choice.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

New Year - A new leaf!

Hello readers old and new! Welcome to 2009!

Yes, I am going to attempt to turn over a new leaf and post more regularly - I realise my posts have been somewhat erratic in the last few months - I've just been trying to juggle my expanding coaching practice, my leadership programme I'm doing through the lovely CTI, my post-natal group facilitators course and my fundraising work with non-profits. So the blog has suffered abit!

But, I know many of you are finding your way here through googling baby decision related questions - and I know from feedback from regular readers that many find the blog and the articles I point to here, helpful to you in making this important decision. So one of my new year resolultions is to post here at least twice a week in 2009.

Do you have any resolutions for the year ahead?