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.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Should I have children?

Should I have children now?? Or should I wait?

That's another question I often get asked.

And of course, being a coach, I can't answer that for my clients - but I can help them work out the answer.

'What are you waiting for?' I ask

And the answers vary - but usually they revolve around money, career, relationship.

In these uncertain ecomomic times, more people are factoring in money as part of the decision. The difficulty people have in buying property is another key factor.

As I have often explored on this blog, women's career paths and the decision is often a tricky one - as women do face discrimination for having career break or for taking maternity leave.

Another problem is around relationship - if you have just gotton into a relationship, when is the right time to have a child?

Sometimes, we put up barriers or we let our inner saboteur obstruct our decision by throwing up practical reasons why we shouldn't have children now. So it's important to shine a spotlight on our saboteurs - to really determine whether we are being run by a negative sabatoging voice inside us. OR whether we are truly making a positive and conscious choice.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Dealing Christmas Overwhelm

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 this dilmema 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 alittle 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.

Have a good holiday and I look forward to connecting to many of you in 2012 - either through the blog, emails or through coaching!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Judging women around the decision to have children or not have children

Barbara Ellen wrote this very thought provoking and relevant article in the Observer this weekend

One of the big challenges that women trying to make the decision of whether to have children or not face is around work and career. Women are the ones who are hit if they decide to have a child in relation to career. A study done several years ago by the Equal Opportunities Commision (now the Commission for Equality and Human Rights) showed that women with children experience the most discrimination in the workplace.

And Barbara Ellen points out the great unfairness - if a woman decides to have children and goes to work, she is branded a uncaring alpha woman for sorting out child-care so she can do this. If she doesn't have kids and goes forward with a career she is a sad career driven woman who has put her career ahead and forgotton about her fertility. WHATVER women do in regards to the personal issue of having children is able to be judged and commented upon.

Men are not judged in the same way.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Short Story - When one person doesn't want kids

I saw this short story by Hilary Mantel in the Guardian Review on Saturday

It focuses on a couple - the wife wanted children but her husband didn't want a children on their way to a holiday destination. The narrator is the partner who did want children and her reflections on their life together are thoughtful - reflecting some of the thoughts some of my clients come to me with which is why I wanted to share it with blog readers here. The ending was rather disturbing though - it was a metaphor I'm sure.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Is the decision to have children a rational decision?

I love this article that was published in the Guardian this Saturday.

The article looks at research that has shown that using rational decision making processes may not necessarily help in the decision making any more than 'listening to your gut' or your instinct.

That's why as a coach I often work with helping clients listen to their instinct, and I use creative techniques such as visulazations, standing up and shifting perspectives, exploring polarities (i.e. freedom vs autonomy) that they may be struggling with. And I do more and more work around conscious embodiment - which is around listening to the wisdom of the body. So I might ask a client - so what do you feel in your body when you think about this decision. Or I might say so what would your heart say if it had a voice?

When I am first talking to a client who is particularly analyatic and rational I usually ask 'So has their analyatic mind and rational thought process helped them get any closer to making a decision about whether to have a child or not. The answer is inevitably no.

That's because the decision to have children is definately not a rational one. No amount of listing pros and cons can really help - we need to engage our emotions and our creative sides to help us with this dilemma.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Do parents ever regret their decision?

I took part in a discussion on BBC Radio Scotland on the subject of regret - do parents ever regret having children? You can listen to it hear - but only for the next 6 days!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Common Challenges: 'I want children but my husband (or boyfriend doesn't)'

This is a problem that can be particularly tricky.

You are in a relationship. You love him. You had dreams about having a family.

And yet.

He doesn't want a children. There may be many reasons for this including:

- he already has a child or children from another relationship.
- he thinks he is too young or not ready.
- he has never wanted children - maybe you never discussed this or maybe it wasn'tan issue before in your relationship.

SO, you've got some questions you need to work through to - do you want children more than the relationship if he is adamant he doesn't want kids? Or is there a way you can discuss this with your partner so he will listen? What if he doesn't change his mind? Would you be prepared to go off and 'do it alone' as a single mum? Or try to find another relationship?

There are no easy answers - I've worked with women who have decided to stay in a relationship and they had to do some work on letting go of the dream of having children, and then, looking at what they would be positively bringing into their future. I've worked with some women who have decided that they would leave the relationship - because they felt that yes, they did want a child more than the relationship and they didn't want to leave with the regret of not having a child. And for some women, the refusal of their partner to discuss or look at the issue meant that they realised the relationship was not want they wanted.

For everyone in this position, this is a challenge in life that we have to face head on and do what feels most incongruent with our values, our vision of what we are wanting in our life and with what our deepest inituition tells us is the right move.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Young women advised to freeze ovarian tissue for the future

This week there has been alot in the news about calls from a fertility expert to encourage young women in their late teens and early 20's to freeze ovarian tissue - as an insurance policy for the future. The idea is that this tissue could be grafted onto the woman's overies in the future Below is a link to a BBC article about this.

But as others in the article point out, it is too soon to know if the technology is reliable enough to work in the future. I tend to agree with this thought from Susan Seenan:

"But Susan Seenan of Infertility Network UK told BBC News there was no guarantee that any of the currently used methods, including IVF, would ensure a woman could conceive.

"People should be very careful not to rely on this as a guarantee of success in the future, because you can't actually ensure your fertility.

"There could be other fertility issues, such as blocked tubes or an infertile partner.

"People need to know that it is not a guarantee."

Sunday, 10 October 2010

When is the right time to be a Dad

This article appeared in the Guardian Weekend this Saturday.

Five fathers from ages 20's to 60's are interviewed about their decision to become a father and one from a man who still hasn't decided.

Interesting as usually the focus is on women and how/if they made the decision.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs revisited


I can see it's been over a month since I posted here - and that wasn't a very long post either!

So - I mentioned in the last post an article about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Apparently, some researchers have changed this - replacing 'self-actualizsation' with 'parenting' and 'having a mate'.

I find this rather problematic - it implies that the highest level that you can achieve as a person in society to to parent a child - and also be in a relationship.

I'd rather that we have values such as nurturing or having connections to others at the top of the pyramid.

I know many single people who lead happy and fulfilling lives - and many child-free people too. And although I'm sure that the researchers don't mean to imply that single and/or child-free people aren't just as fulfilled, how they've placed parenting and being in an intimate relationship at the top of this pyramid certainly implies this. What do you think?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Ticktock Coaching - Coaching for women struggling with the decision to have children or not

I've been featured in today's edition of The Province - a Vancover publication.

Aside from mis-spelling my last name (it's not Beth Follani - it's Beth Follini!),
I thought the article was very good and I'm going to revisit the discussion about this new revision - which places parenting at the top of the pyramid!

Anyway, if you've come seeking coaching as a result of googling my (mis-spelt) name in this article have a look at my main coaching website which is

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

It never rains....

but pours. An article about me and what I do has appeared in the Evening Standard today!

More and more people are taking the conscious step to think carefully about this decision - and I think the interest in my work reflects this.

Anyway, in other news, I'm currently on holiday in Canada - taking some much needed time off from coaching! I did lead a Polarity and Wholeness workshop while I was here however - which was great. I use polarity coaching techniques when working with women who are trying to make the decision to have children or not. A common polarity women often struggle with is the polarity of 'known' vs 'unknown'. There are many things in life we don't always know - we can't always be 100% sure of everything and sometimes we have to be willing to lean into the pole of the unknown. For instance, if you decide to become a parent there are many unknowns - if you will be able to get pregnant, what the birth will be like, how you will like being a parent, what personality your child will have. So we need to be able to deal with and actually embrace the unknown - as well as the known.

In October, I'm leading a retreat in France with two wonderful colleagues - if you are interested in finding out more, please go to

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Women's Hour Programme!

Hello ALL!

Well, I'm appearing on Women's Hour tommorrow!

If you go to this link here, you can find out more about the programme which starts at 10am UK time - the focus is on Women who have decided not to have children!

I am very excited as you can imagine!

Hopefully, it will raise the important issue to the surface - allowing more women to feel that they are able to make the choice to have a child or not from a positive position - as opposed to feeling like they have no choice.

If anyone has come here from the programme, I hope you find the posts useful and you might like to go to my coaching website at to find out more about me and how I work.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Fertility and delaying having a child

When is the best time to try for a child? Should you put of the decision till you've saved the money or established yourself in a career. Many women ask these difficult questions. This fertility doctor has a strong opinion on the issue.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

When is the best time to have a baby - if ever?

This article featured in the Guardian last week - it has a number of interviews and case studies from women about their decision to have (or not have) children and why they did at that point in their lives.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Research into effects of having children on women's income

Here is a fascinating study on the effects of having children on a women's income.

Sadly, the study showed it had a negative impact.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Decision to have another child

Most of the women who contact me havn't got a child - but once in a while I hear from a woman who has a child and is trying to decide whether to have another child or not.

Here is an advice column about someone in this position. Interesting answers!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Advice ~ Are you ready?

This is an article that was orginally published in Conceive Magazine - with a few helpful suggestions if you are struggling with the decision of whether you (and your partner) are ready to have children.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Should I adopt if my husband doesn't want kids?

A woman posted the above question here on this on-line discussion board.

It is a tough question - and personally, I think she will have problems with the adoption agencies as they would not probably be happy that the child is being adopted into a home where one adult doesn't want kids!

It would be different if she left her husband and adopted on her own - that would probably be easier for the adoption agencies to understand.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wanting a child but no partner - The Archers explore the issue

Uk readers of this blog will probably be familiar with the Radio 4 drama/soap opera 'The Archers'. I myself am a big fan.

I have been very intrigued with a current storyline following Helen. Helen has been very unluckly in love - and her last husband died tragically. Now, she is approaching 40 and would like a child. She has decided to try to go it alone but is facing disapproval from her father - who does not feel it is right to bring a child into the world as a single parent..

This is an issue that some of the women who come to me for coaching on must deal with. For some who do not have a partner or whose partner has said they definately do not want children, the difficult issue is 'Do I go it alone?'

One of the women I interviewed for the book that is an ongoing project for me talks about her struggles in making the decision to go it alone:

I always wanted children. But a couple of years ago, I split up with the partner who I had planned to have children with. The relationship was very problematic.’

‘We moved in together very quickly. I was a bit Bridget Jones – feeling panicked about babies. But the relationship was horrific. I was struggling with it – the main thing that kept me in the relationship was the idea of having children.’

‘After I had my IUD out, I decided I had to leave – I couldn’t be chained to him forever. But it was a very hard thing to do.’

‘After I left, I decided I still really wanted to have children. So, I would do it on my own. I wasn’t going to wait for Prince Charming. It was actually quite a relief to have made that decision. For me, it would be better to be a single parent than to be a troubled family. ‘

‘My parents however are quite traditional. So at first, when they find out they will be horrified! But then when the baby comes they will be delighted. But it will all have to be kept quiet so the neighbours don’t find out!’

Sara is aware of that what she wants to do is seen as controversial in some quarters.

‘Yes, it’s a powerful argument that babies need fathers and yes, I might be being selfish. But, that’s the way it’s going to be!’

She has been thinking about how she might manage the situation so that it can be as supportive as possible for her and her child.

‘I would like to live in a community – such as a co-housing community – as I see that it is very difficult for single parent families, emotionally it is very hard. I’ve never heard of anything formal like this and I was hoping that it might happen informally through discussing it with friends or throughout getting to know people.’

‘You know, I do regret that I couldn’t just do this normally and be married. It feels like a forced decision. But generally, it still feels like a positive thing to do.’

‘What troubles me is around going to a clinic, using an anonoumous donor and paying a lot of money to be inseminated when there is absolutely no guarantee that I will get pregnant. I vaguely looked at the possibility of using a known donor but I don’t have any male friends close enough to ask. And then of course, I would have to manage the man’s relationship in the process – which seems complicated. Of course, now the law has been changed, male donors can be contacted by a child at the age of 18.’

‘Families for me in my life are warm and rich – my family has given me a sense of identity – it is a traditional tribal family with many cousins and siblings. I will regret not being able to pass that on to my child – they will not have another parent with another branch of the family to know.’

‘Next step for me is to finish my research about the different clinics and options before I put down my money! I need to also sort out my living situation – I’m living in a shared flat with a friend who definitely doesn’t want to share her space with a baby!’

‘I’ve been talking to my sister who wants a child and we thought about sharing childcare so that would be very supportive.’

‘One of the reason I want a child is because I have a powerful feeling that I really want to live in my body and I think that having a child in one of the things our body is for. It is a way to connect on a deep level with my body as a woman.’

Sunday, 14 February 2010

This article appeared in the Guardian Weekend - it explores the environmental impact of having kids and suggest that we make the decision to have few children.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Things to weigh up in making the decision

Here is a short article with some helpful thoughts on both making the decision to have kids and on the pitfalls and good points of postponing having children.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

'Types' of couples making the decision to have children or not

Here is a short article with one journalists perspectives on how people make the decision to have children or not.

Interesting how he divides the couples into different types - I think I would add a few more to the list and I'm not sure about all of the types he describes.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A balancing act

Oh dear! I have realised I haven't done a blog entry for a whole month!!

I have been extremely busy in January -many new coaching clients and consultancy work keeping me very active!

Anyway, I found this interesting article in an Australian paper about the difficulties facing working mothers - reflecting a concern faced by career women trying to make the decision whether to have kids or not.