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.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Is it possible to have a successful career and have children?

One of the issues that sometimes prompts women to seek coaching with me is around the question of how having children could affect work/career.  In this article Three Women on whether it is possible to enjoy having children and a career  in a Scottish paper, three women are interviewed about their decision to have or not have children. 

Although there is an assumption that it is only women in 'high powered careers' who struggle with this question, I find that it affects women across the board.  For example, I often see women working in the creative or media industries where there are long hours or travel involved.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Why should I have children - a perspective from a teenager


I find it is usually women in their mid 30's who are discussing and exploring the issue of whether to have children or not.  But I found this blog post on the UK feminist site the Fword from a teenager discussing her perspective on not wanting biological children of her own. She talks about adoption as her preferred option if she does decide to have children. Some people might argue that it is too early for a teenager to know what she wants.  I think that it's good that young women are discussing and thinking about their options in advance - if they change, that's OK but how great that someone that young is thinking forward and questioning accepted norms.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

On not being a grandmother

Lovely piece in the Guardian called Why I never became a gran.  The writer Diana Athill, in her 90's talking about not having children and therefore not being a grandmother.  It is great to see a woman being positive  when she is looking back on her life.

'That I have never become a grandmother, or indeed a mother, ought, I suppose, to be a matter of regret, but I can't say that it is. In middle age I had a brief spasm of hormone-dictated urge to breed, but I think an earlier experience is nearer the truth of my nature. ...Now I have reached great-grandmother age, I dearly love certain young people of my acquaintance and am happy to have them in my life, but am I sorry that they are not my descendants? No, I much prefer thinking of them as surprising and very gratifying friends.'


What if you don't want kids but end up with someone who has them?

I really liked this 1st person story Kids? I prefer animals in the Guardian family section from a woman who had never wanted kids but then found herself going out with a bloke with three children.  Funny, positive and poignant it points to a dilemma that childfree women can find themselves in. What do you do if you definately don't want to be a mother but end up in a relationship with someone who has them, finding yourself in the role of stepmother?  

Friday, 16 November 2012

The cost of having children - is it sensible to opt out of parenthood in order to remain childfree?

There has been debate in America sparked by this article recently published in the NYT:

I've mentioned the issue of finance and the decision about whether to have children or not several times on my blog before.  In my experience of coaching women for over six years around this issue is that finance is rarely the prime sticking point in making this decision. That is echoed by the surprise of the writer of the above piece that she found that the issue was hardly mentioned in books she had read about the subject.  I personally  believe that when someone is really struggling with the decision and hasn't already decided to be child free for instance, the logical focus on things like finance don't apply.   It's an old joke that if everyone totted up how much children cost, no one would have any!

In response, an article on the NYT Motherlode parenting blog was published called The Benefit in Dollars of Raising a Child

Interesting debate.  What are your thoughts?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Having children over 50

One of the unintended consquences of struggling with the decision to have children or not is that, if you do decide to have a child, you could be having a child abit later in life.  I don't often see women in their 50's but I have had women in their mid 40's come to see me.  As in the case of the woman in this article, if you start tackling the decision of whether you want children or not in your mid 40's, you could end up having a child over 50.  I thought this was a great personal article exploring one woman's decision making process.

What was intersesting is that she and her partner did not have a clear discussion about the decision and had made assumptions that the other didn't want children when this wasn't the case. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

If my partner wants kids and I don't, should I marry?

Last week I appeared on the Huffington Post Live Webcast TV show on this very topic! It was abit crazy as my technology almost let me down but I managed to connect with my trusty Iphone at the last moment.  It was also difficult because I am so aware of how BIG and complicated this issue is and it's hard to fit that into a short 15 minute segement.  This discussion was also very much from the perspective of those partners who didn't want kids and who wanted to remain childfree.  I'm aware that if we were discussing it from the point of view of the partner who wanted children, it would be a very different discussion.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Just saw this from the Scotish Herald from a woman who is childfree.  Many of my clients who are leaning towards being childfree report that they have to deal with thoughtless comments from friends and family.  It can be annoying but there are techniques that will help deal with these comments/barbs.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Listening to your inner voice or intuition

One of the unintended consquences of having greater choice and freedoms is that we need to be thinking and considering the baby decision in a much different way than our mothers or grandmothers.  Helping my clients listen to 'their inner voice' is the mainstay of what I do as a coach and so I was really pleased to read the writer of this article say that this is the most important thing that women who are considering this decision.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Why women choose not to have children

I'm always on the look out for positive articles about women who have made the decision not to have children.  I found this which gives some great and positive reasons why women have decided not to have children.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Should I marry somone who doesn't want children?

Here is a piece of good advice from another woman wondering whether to marry someone who doesn't want children.

I give people in relationships similiar guidance as the author of the advice column said in her article:

'Together you could discuss what your relationship will be like if you do not have children. What can you see yourselves doing? What might you enjoy as a couple? I am assuming from your question that you want children, but it may be worth thinking about how much you do want a family and whether you would be genuinely happy with him in a childless relationship.'

If you can work together with your partner to create a vision of your relationship without children, that is a good place to start.  You might also find you need to do some individual work on your own to discover whether you really do want children.  I often work with women in this situation and one of the reasons they come to me first (rather than go straight into couples therapy or coaching) in order to really get clear whether they want a family or not. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Combining having kids with work

A question that clients raise in coaching sessions is how about how they would cope with a busy career and raising a family.  As I have mentioned elsewhere in the blog, women without kids can see how their colleagues who are mothers struggle to maintain a work/life balance.

I found this interesting article where senior women leaders in the tech industry talk about how they have developed new ways to overcome this age old problem for women.  One of the interesting points that one of the women raised was about how they noticed how women talked themselves out of a career before even having children, assuming that they couldn't have both.  I also see it the other way around - where women will talk themselves out of having children assuming they can't have children and their career.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Answering the question 'When are you going to have kids?'

The Huffington Post often has good and relevant articles on the the issue of having or not having kids.  I came across this great article

It has some light-hearted advice for couples finding themselves on the receiving end of this question!

'Whether you have decided to wait a while, or are choosing not to have children at all, it's smart to prepare yourself (and your spouse) to joust questions on the subject numerous times. Being prepared and united as a couple on the topic of babies can minimize the impact of family questioning on your relationship'

I couldn't agree more!!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

If you don't want children but your partner does (part 2)

So what do you do if think you don't want children but your partner does?

One of the big reasons clients who are in this position cite for contacting me is because they want to really explore and get clear to themselves intially that they are making this decision for postive reasons - as one client put it  'because they are moving towards something positive not running away from something'.  Sometimes clients do go through this process and realise they have been influences by old fears or beliefs that they challenge.  Once they do this, they may decide that actually they do want children.  And other clients go through the process, look at and challenge their fears but realise utlimately there are many positive reasons they wish to stay childfree.  Either way, it is a relief to know that that you are making a positve choice.

 If you know that you are not being led by old fears or beliefs, I would suggest that you do some writing about why not having children is a positive decision for you.  Some of my clients find that when they get really clear about their reasons for being childfree and in a positive way, this helps their partners understand their decision.  How does this decision fit in with your values and your vision on how you want to live your life.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Do men worry about their biological clock?

I'm back now from my August vacation/holiday ~ and getting back into the swing of blogging again!

I saw this while I was away and thought it was an interesting article.  Even though it is now thought that a man's age plays a part in fertility and in the higher risk for having a child with a disability, it seems that men are not likely to worry about their biological clocks.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

What if you don't want children but your husband or partner does?

Last week, I received an email from a reader of this blog.  She has found the blog really helpful but was hoping for more information and writing about women who don't want children but their husband or partner does.   She raised an excellent point as I have more often explored the subject of when women want children but their partner/husband doesn't.    This is also where the emphasis is placed in media articles who are looking at this topic.

But I do regularly get clients who don't want children or aren't sure if they want children but who are feeling pressure from partners who do want children. In fact, I'd say that I've seen an increasing number of women in this situation.  So I will be exploring this issue over the next few weeks.

It's a particularly difficult issue for women because women are physically more involved via pregnancy and women are generally more responsible for child-care duties.  Whereas a man might take the attitude that they can be a father and be somewhat more removed from the process, this isn't possible for a woman.   So what keeps a woman from simply saying 'no, I'm not going to have children?'    I know from the clients I've worked with that there are several key reasons:

  • Having a certain amount of doubt whether they really don't want children OR whether there is a fear or anxiety if they overcome would allow them to make the decision.
  • Feeling guilty.  Many women who come to me feel guilt around not being able to give their partner or husband what would make them happy.
  • Fear that the relationship will end if they say this.
  • Having a small amount of desire to have children OR having a knowledge that they might enjoy having children or a family.
In my next post, I will look at the process of working out what to do if you are in this situation.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Some of the coaching clients I work with are leaning towards not having children but are often concerned about whether they would regret not having children or that they would be seen as strange or 'different'.  Even in 2012,  there are still not many childfree role models for women who are exploring this decision. That's why I thought this article where the voices of people who are positive about being childfree was great.  It's really important that a number of voices are heard and people can see that they have real choices.

Advice on wanting a child when your husband doesn't

Here is some advice given to two women who want children but their husbands don't.

This is one of the most difficult issues to deal with - the ability to remain calm and centred is crucial to anyone in this position. Get clear about what you really want AND at the same time what you are prepared to let go of.  Sometimes, there is no ideal solution - and it might not be possible to have both the relationship and the child.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

How having or not having children impacts on happiness later in life

I've been away for the last few weeks - enjoying visiting family and friends in Canada where I'm originally from.  So apologies for the lack of blog posts!

I think I might have referred to this study a couple of years ago but it is worth repeating.

Basically, researchers found that a greater impact on women's happiness later in life than whether she had children or not was whether women were in relationships of not.  Interesting article!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

More advice on the question 'I want a baby but my husband doesn't'

Mariella Frostup over the years has clearly recognised that this is a big issue for women as she has often featured queries from women who are struggling with this dilemma in her advice column.  I know that many of the women contacting me for coaching come because they are needing support to decide what to do.  This is from her latest column:

Friday, 13 July 2012

More women having children later in life

A few days ago, a report was produced showing that women the number of women having children in their 40's has trebled.   It shouldn't be a surprise considering how many more choices we have as women now.  Over the six years that I have been coaching women around this decision, I have noticed that there has been a steady increase in the numbers of women coming to see me who are in their early to mid 40's. 

 I personally think it's postive that women can consider many more choices and can choice to have children at a time that is best for them.  The only caveat to this is around the issue of fertility - as it is more difficult to conceive in your late 30's or 40's.   

Monday, 9 July 2012

Is there ever a right time to have a baby?

Hello to all my readers!

I was interviewed for the London Magazine 'The Stylist' a few weeks ago and my interview has now appeared! If you'd like to take a look, you can read the whole piece here Is there ever a right time to have a baby?

I think many of the people who wrote in the comment section had some good points about the article - personally, I think there is huge scope to write about the problems women have whose partners don't want children or who find themselves single.  That's why in my book (which I hope to be publishing via Kindle FINALLY) by September will have two large chapters dedicated to this issue - so what this space!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The ethics of having children

Short article on the ethical issues of having children in a world which is veering towards over-consumption and over-population.  The article is short but there are many, many comments which are interesting!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Respecting the choice to have children or not

Short & humourous look at the issue of asking people about their decision on whether to have kids or not - yup. It's all about respect!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It's not only us commoners who are wondering whether to have kids or not...

Even the Royals have to struggle with the decision to have a child or not!  To be fair, it's mainly a 'now or later' decision for them but interesting to see how the issue of career has impacted their decision to have children.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

How rational is the decision to have child?

I've been thinking a lot about the role of rationality in making the decision to have kids.  One thing that interests me is that many clients come to me having tried to work out the decision in a very rational, logical way.  Some are in very rational professions - scientists, fiance, etc. And yet, in this decision, over-reliance on the rational can actually be a hindrance.  As I have said before in the blog, this is a decision in which we need to be able to access the un-rational side of ourselves, or our intuition.  I think this short article points to some of the problems with viewing the decision as strictly a logical choice.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Leaving a relationship because he doesn't want kids

This morning, I was talking to my associate Judy Van Zon (who coaches couples around the decision to have children or not) and she was saying that she wished couples would come earlier to coaching rather than see it as a 'last-ditch' thing to do.  Judy is going to be writing regular features on this blog so keep your eyes out for her posts which will start soon.

After our conversation,  I stumbled across this first person piece written by a woman who felt she had to leave the husband she loved in order to be a mother.  She had to make a terribly difficult decision which I have seen many of my clients faced with.   And often, it is left fairly late in the relationship to do (as the writer points out).  In relationship coaching, we encourage people to come to the coaching before things get to the state where you are planning on leaving the relationship.  It doesn't guarantee a different outcome but it means that you and your partner will be able to work through the issues together, learning how to communicate better and see if you can develop a joint vision of your relationship.

I'm looking forward to reading Judy's thoughts on the issue on the blog - and hoping her words will help more couples in the future.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Australia's Leading Woman Chef 'I put kids off because I love my job'

One of the themes I'm often exploring with clients is how having a child will affect their career.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not just women in the corporate or finance sector that are affected. I find that an equal number of clients come from the creative, media and other industries.  One of those industries is hospitality.  In this interview, one of Australia's leading female chefs talks about the challenges of working as a woman in her industry.

'But other factors that have disadvantaged female chefs cannot be brushed aside. Ribaux says young female chefs have to think long term. "If you want to get into restaurants, do you want kids? As a female, you have more worries about the future."
"I always wanted to be a young mum. But I love my job, a lot. So I've decided to put kids off.'

For the full interview, go to Wanted: Women

Thursday, 10 May 2012

When should I 'let go' of the idea of having children?

This is a very difficult decision for women who do or have wanted children but aren't able to go forward because something is in the way.  Maybe they are with a partner who really doesn't want children.  That is a very strong sub-category of women who come to me for coaching.

And at some point,  as a coach, I might help the client explore the idea of letting go.

Why? you may be asking.  As a life coach, surely it is my job to help clients go for what they want - despite the barriers.  But, as this article in the Huffington Post points out, sometimes it's more helpful to look at letting go.

It's my belief that often when we let go of something we have been holding on to (but something which hasn't manifested in reality) we can make room for something new to come in.  We can go about creating something new and exciting.  So when should you let go of the idea of having children?  There is no definative answer to that.  But if you feel you have exhausted your options (for example, if your partner definately doesn't want kids, won't be moved and you don't want to leave him), maybe explore the idea of letting go.

Not wanting children (maybe)

I just saw this fantastic article on-line entitled It's Not That I Don't Want Children, Exactly

It very beautifully describes the process that many of my clients experience. Many clients, like the author, say that they can't believe that they do not know what they want to do!  And I thought many of the comments very interesting - reflecting many sides of the issue.

I think what can help is to find ways to step back from the issue and examine it from different perspectives.  This could be through journaling, visioning, and of course through coaching!

Sometimes it might mean, as the author points out, just listening for the answer to come through.  Other times, you may need to 'jump' into one option or the other - make a firm committment to one option and let the other go.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Why have children?

A fascinating debate is being held on the ethical issue of having or not having children.
The New Yorker refers to books and discussions that look at both sides of the debate in this article - Why Have Children: The Ethical Debate?

The reviewer ends with this interesting point.

'The decision to have a child, or one more child, or yet another child may seem to be a personal one—a choice about how many diapers you want to change in the short term versus how many Mother’s Day cards you hope to receive later on. But to see it in these terms alone is to be, as Caplan points out on the cover of his book, selfish. Whatever you may think of Overall’s and Benatar’s conclusions, it’s hard to argue with their insistence that the decision to have a child is an ethical one. When we set the size of our families, we are, each in our own small way, determining how the world of the future will look. And we’re doing this not just for ourselves and our own children; we’re doing it for everyone else’s children, too.'

While I agree that the decision is not simply a personal one, I would argue that it is almost impossible for anyone to take the decision to have or not have a child from anything other than a personal standpoint.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Making the decision to have a baby using a sperm donor

I found this interview with the director of a new Indian film called Vicky Donor. It looks like a great film - and the topic is all about the issue which is still a taboo subject in India of sperm donation. The director says:

"The incidence of childless couples in Mumbai alone for example for 1982 to 2002 has grown by 50% and there are a lot of people out there and women out there who back what I'm saying. There's always this need to have children. I sometimes feel the need to have a child. I want to get married and have a child someday and what happens to us when we can't? Do we adopt or do we get the sperm from a sperm bank? It's a tough decision."

What the director does speak to is how do you make a decision to have a baby or not when you can't? I often get calls from women (and sometimes couples) who have wanted children but then don't know if they want them enough to go down the route of IVF or egg/sperm donation.

I'm also very interested in this because recently I've had several people call me from India and it shows how things are indeed changing on the Indian sub-Continent.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

How having kids affects women's earnings and career

An ongoing theme that I explore on this blog is how having children affects women's earnings and career. The Atlantic recently asked readers to comment on the issue and they printed many of the best comments in this article below:

I thought this was an excellent point - although I don't agree with what the author went on to suggest (basically that it is not so important as it is a matter of choice)

'The biggest remaining pay gap is about women overwhelmingly being the partner to sacrifice for marriage and kids. That means not just taking time off from work, but also getting onto the "mommy track" of working reduced hours, not killing oneself for the top promotions, or choosing jobs with more benefits and security at the expense of pay.'

Sunday, 25 March 2012

How can I bring a child into this world?

How can I bring a child into this world? That is a question that sometimes people wondering whether they should have kids or not ask themselves.

This columnist in a Canadian newspaper also asked himself this question in this recent article for his paper.

A difficult question and one that there is no easy answer for.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Have I waited too long? Am I too old to become a mom?

Although the majority of my clients who come to me are between the ages of 29 - 40, I do have a significant minority of women who are coming to me in their mid to late 40's. This article written on the Forbes blog is not the most positive nor the most well written that I have read on the subject. But it raises issues of the problems that can happen if we leave it too long to become a mother.

I have worked with women in their late 40's who have decided to go ahead and have accessed egg donor technology. I have also worked with women who have also decided to work on letting go and accepting that they will not have children. It's a very difficult and personal decision.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Married Couples who are choosing not to have kids

I sometimes have clients coming to me when they have recently gotton married. (or who opt to work as a couple together with my associate relationship coach)

'But everyone says that having children is the next step - but we don't think we want children! Are we werid?'

As this article points out, more and more people are choosing marriage without children. And while there is less pressure to have children than there was 20 or 30 years ago, pressure by friends and family can lead people to doubt and worry about their choices.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Do parents ever wish they could go back to being non-parents again?

A little insight into the question of whether parents ever wish to be free and single again in this blog piece on the parenting blog Motherload called Fantasising about Single Life

I want kids but I can't have them. Should I adopt?

The issue of adoption comes up for clients sometimes for various reasons. Perhaps they are single and are wondering whether to go ahead and have a child on their own. Or, like in this case featured in this article, infertility means that it is difficult for a woman to have a biological child. This article explores this issue - Why I won't adopt

Adoption isn't for everyone - and this article explores one woman's decision not to pursue adoption. I find sometimes clients are very clear that adoption is not a decision they want to explore. But for other women, it is something that might be a possibility and through the process of coaching it becomes an option that they do decide to pursue.

Friday, 10 February 2012

New novel published on deciding not to have kids!

A reader sent me a link to this article about a novel by Sonja which revolves around women who have decided not to have children. Written by a former journalist, the question the novel looks at is this: ' Tradition says women should dream of having a successful career, finding a suitable mate and starting a family with kids. But what happens when you achieve the same satisfaction by taking a different path?'

I really like the way the author describes how she came to write the book. She decided not to have children after struggling with a health condition. And often, I have clients who come to me because they have a health problem or condition which means that being pregnant would be very difficult. And I can't wait to read the novel myself!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Careers & having a family: Do they mix?

I found this Conture - a magazine/website for architects. The article explores the gender gap in top management. The writer makes this point:

'An additional obstruction for women, especially those interested in attaining top management positions, are the concomitant issues of child-bearing and child-raising at the crucial time in their careers when they either have to choose to have children or forgo them to pursue their careers. Men do not have that worry since, the world over, men still do not perform primary care duties, which also happens to be both unpaid and domestic labor.'
Following on from my last post, someone brought this advice column query 'Is it madness to think about having children at age 45?'

In the article the writer lists all the women who have had children in their 40's including:

'Cherie Blair was 45 when she had Leo, Jane Seymour had twins at 44, Susan Sarandon gave birth at 46, supermodel Imam, actress Meera Syal and swimmer Sharron Davies at 44, movie stars Geena Davis and Holly Hunter each had twins at 48 and 47 respectively, and choreographer Arlene Phillips had a baby at 47. '

Monday, 16 January 2012

Should I have kids if I'm over 40?

Statistics show many more women now are leaving it till later to have kids. As I've mentioned before in this blog, we are extending our period of 'youth' often way into our 30's. This is not a bad thing of course! But unfortunately, our biology still means it is more difficult (despite advances in reproductive technology) to get pregnant after 40. There is a great deal of unfair judgement on women who have children later in life ~ after all, it's fairly acceptable for men to have children well into their 50's and 60's!

Although the majority of my clients are in their 30's, I have worked with a number of clients over 40 who are seeking to resolve the question of whether they have kids or not. My feeling, like this article points out, 'In the debate over “how old is too old,” many say the benefits for children of older parents are too often not taken into account, financial security and wisdom chief among them.'

I also suggest that clients take a long, through look at options like adoption or fostering. There is no longer an age limit on adoption (other than that there should be no more than 50 years between yourself and a child you adopt) and this might be an excellent option for those who don't want to go through the trials of IVF or who have found it hasn't worked for them.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

'What is the point of having kids?'

That's the question posed in this article in the Washington Post called 'What is the point of having kids if your life ends when theirs begins?'

Yup. I've heard this many times before from clients who have heard all the tales from mothers about the difficulty of juggling work, interests and kids. Why have kids then? Some of the comments at the end of this article on the reasons why people have choosen to have children are thoughtful and reflective and some are knee jerk reactions but there are different perspectives on the question!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Do I want to be a mother?

Here's a short piece called 'Do I want to be a Mother?' in Glamour magazine from last year about a report that shows that fewer women are choosing to be mothers. What I find more interesting are all the comments underneath ~ many different perpectives and viewpoints!