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, 22 November 2014

Claire's Story

I interviewed women who were struggling with the decision to have children or not when I was writing my book.   I wanted to include case studies from women who had made different choices and found different solutions to the dilemma.  Below, one of my interviewees Claire, tells her story.

“I had married very young but we divorced before we had a chance to have children.  I was in other relationships – in one relationship, we had been trying to get pregnant but nothing happened and we split up.“When I was 40, I was in a serious relationship and knew that I wanted kids.  But the man I was with didn’t want another child.  He already had a little girl from a previous relationship and we spent a lot of time together.  We were essentially a family.  But it was a sticking point for us – the fact that he didn’t want to have a child with me.  With his first wife, he had been dead set against having children but she really wanted a child.  He then became a great dad but he didn’t feel he had the emotional energy for another child.  So I took the decision to end the relationship.”Around the same time, I was feeling burnout from a high pressure job as CEO of a charity.  I was on a 6 week sabbatical which gave me time to reflect.“I always wanted to be a mum but I didn’t need to be a biological mum.  I never felt the urge to physically have children but I always thought I would be a mum.  I decided that I was still going to have a child even though I was on my own.  I had always wanted to be a mum but hadn’t found the right relationship.  I thought that if this is what I am meant to be doing, I should do it.“I decided to register with a foster parenting agency and test the water with fostering.  I got accepted as a foster parent and then, I handed in my notice at work.  The week I left, I got my first foster child who was 2 and half years old.  Fostering is an amazing experience but very challenging.“The biggest challenge in fostering is the care system.  It can take days to get a decision from the system that affects your whole life.  For example, if I want to go away for the weekend and take the child I’m fostering, it is a huge thing – we can’t just go on a whim or in the spur of the moment.  For example, if a visit is arranged to see the child’s mum on the weekend you want to go away, the mum can just say no, you can’t cancel my visitation and your weekend is cancelled. Fostering as a single person is tough.  You can’t leave your child with anyone else without that person being checked 15 times!  The system stops any kind of spontaneity.  There are some other difficult things – if the child you are fostering has been in an abusive relationship, the child is not allowed to get in your bed in the morning for instance – because of their confusion with boundaries and because it puts you in a problematic position.  However, those are the rules which are very different from the practical realities when you have a crying 4 year old in your room at 3 in the morning.  “The biggest role you play in the life of the child you foster is preparing them to see their parent and helping them deal with it when they come back from the visit.  You are the rock for them.  And gradually they realise that.”Another challenge for me, as someone who had been quite senior in the Voluntary Sector was that I went from being seen as a bright and respected professional – from being an equal to senior managers in the system to being a low rated foster parent. “I’m now in a committed relationship and we are getting married.  He has mucked in with the fostering and is keen to be a foster parent as well – but he doesn’t want any more kids biologically.  That’s ok for me now as long as he is up for the fostering.“There is such a massive need for good foster parents.  It is a full-time job though.  I manage to combine work with fostering but that’s because I freelance now.“The thing everyone thinks is the hardest is saying goodbye.  To be a good foster parent you have to quickly bond with a child, love them and then say goodbye.  You get masses back – it isn’t just a job.  Yes, it is hard and awful saying goodbye and packing up their stuff.  But a month after saying goodbye to my first child, I was chomping at the bit to foster again.“The difference you will make to their lives will be massive.  But you need to be selfless – and let them go.”

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