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.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Is concern about finance a large factor in making the decision to have children or not?

In my last post, I looked at the issue of the cost of having children.   Many studies have shown that having and raising a child to the age of 18 is indeed costly - with most estimates putting the cost over £200,000 per year.

I find it interesting that financial fears are rarely at the top of my clients list of fears or anxieties.  Often finance is taken into consideration into when to have a child. Clients might speculate about timing whether to stay in a job because it has good maternity leave and pay. 

If a woman is considering having a child on her own or not, the issue of whether her income is enough to support a family is often mentioned however.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cost of having children

Figures were released last week that parents spend just under £300,000 on their children up to the age of 18.

The financials are daunting to those people thinking of having kids - as this writer points out.

Financial worries and concerns are often a factor in what my clients say concerns them in making the decision.  Yet I have found that it is very rarely the deal breaker.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Can I care about the environment and decide to have children?

I'd like to bring another persoective on the topic of how our concerns about the environment impact on our decision whether to have children or not.

Some of my clients do express fears about how having a child will impact on the environment.  Others feel that the world is in such a bad state - both in terms of environmental destruction and in terms of the geo-political situation that would it be right or fair to bring a child into the world.

Just living in the world means that often we have to make compromises around our ideals.  And making the decision to have children is no different.  When I work with clients, I facilitate them to explore whether they do have enough of a desire to have children to compromise on an issue of importance to them.  And if they do, we look at ways they could have children that would be least damaging or harmful.

The writer of this piece in AlterNet writes about how she went through a similar process.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Environmental implications of having children

This week I'd like to give some thought to the environmental considerations to deciding whether to have children or not.

This is not a factor that masses of people contemplating the baby decision take into account. Yet with growing concern on our human footprint more and more people are making the link.

In this article, one woman explores some of her reasons - including environmental reasons that she is not having children. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Getting Older Without Children

Following on from my blog post yesterday, the issues facing people who don't have children when they get older is becoming more and more pressing.  The organisation Aging Without Children has been exploring this topic for several years.

They are organising a conference in London at the end of January which will look at many of the related issues and come up with policy reforms for governments and other agencies working with older people to implement.

I'm so pleased that people are taking a pro-active stance on the issue that is of concern to so many women who either do not have children or who are thinking of being childfree.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Who will look after me when I'm older if I don't have children?

'By 2030, two million people in the UK will be over the age of 65 without children. One in four women born in the 1970s will reach 45 without giving birth. This month a conference, the first of its kind, will be held for childless adults over 50 to meet and discuss their care needs in later life. And a BBC poll has found more than half of adults say they won't have relatives they can live with in old age.' ~ BBC press release

Today I been contacted by a few regional BBC radio talk shows to speak on the issue of getting older and not having children.  I've been interviewed on Radio Tees this morning and will be on Radio Scotland Tomorrow. 

I'm very interested in the issue as it's one of the key fears that clients who are considering being childfree often have.   And it is a very real concern.  Many people in the UK rely on the unpaid support of friends or family as they get older.    As a report by the charity Community Links called 'Looking Forward to Later Life: Taking an Early Action Approach to Our Ageing Society'  (photo of front cover on the right) points out,  the value of unpaid care by family and friends is valued at £119bn per year.

But there are many problems in assuming that older people will have children who will look after them.  Even if someone does have children, the nature of how we live today is that many people end up living and working far from their family of origin.  Indeed how little they see their adult children can be point of bitterness for older people.

In my opinion, it is far better to promote mental resilience in later life.  This is an idea that also is promoted by the Community Links report.

When I work with clients for whom this is a concern (and who do have several decades to prepare), I coach them to think about how they can address this risk and prepare for it.  For example, they might decide they need to make more connections in their local community now - through joining community groups as volunteers.  They might decide to plan move somewhere like a co-housing situation where there are built in expectations of support and community.  Or they might look at the idea of fostering young people when they are older - to both give back and to develop connections with younger people.

Monday, 12 January 2015

If I grew up in a dysfunctional family will I be a good mother?

This week I'd like to focus on some of the fears that I have heard from some clients coming to see me.

Some people are concerned that growing up in a dysfunctional or abusive family would mean that they would not make good parents.

There can be a fear that, unless we have learned good parenting skills from being well parented ourselves that we might replicate the dysfunctional situation.

In coaching, we say that, while the past provides a context for our fears, our saboteurs and who we are, it does not have to define us.   I believe that if we recognise and reflect on how we might be as parents and if we are concerned about an aspect of our behaviour and how it might impact on others we are ahead of the game!

Sometimes it might be useful to explore difficult or traumatic childhood in psychotherapy before or instead of going into coaching - as was advised to the woman writing to the advice columnist in the article below.

I would recommend this particularly if you have never discussed this with a counsellor or therapist before.  It's often important that we have a space to explore and reflect on difficult childhood experiences before looking at what we want for the future.

Many of my coaching clients who have this worry or fear have already done this with a therapist or counsellor and have reflected on their childhood experience and are now wanting a forward looking approach which helps them work out what they are really wanting and then, embrace this future without the fears and saboteurs that have been holding them back.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Gender and identity of women who choose not to have children

This looks like an interesting article which explores how traditional notions of gender idenity affect women who choose not to have children.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Identity and Childfree Women

Having explored some of the issues around identity and motherhood, I'd like to turn my attention to the issue of identity for women who are considering not having children and women who have decided to become childfree.

For many women who are debating whether to become mothers or not, the issue of how a childfree woman is viewed by society is a very real issue.  Even in 2015,  notions of women's identity being tied to motherhood abound.  Many clients of mine report feeling pressured into having children and feeling as though they 'would not be a real woman' if they choose not to have children. 

An example of how women's identity is often (wrongly in my view) tied up with motherhood is how, when politicians debate 'women's issues' they are primarily about issues to do with child-rearing and motherhood.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The theme I've been exploring here in the blog this week has been the changes to idenity that happen after having a baby.  This woman describes that shock in having a newborn child in this article.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Will being a mother change who I am?

Following on from my post yesterday, I decided to look again at the issue of how becoming a mother might change our sense of who we are, our identity.

As I mentioned, for women who are debating whether or not to have children, this issue is often very much at the forefront of their mind.  Particularly if they have witnessed friends after having their first child.

I found this study which looked at the question of motherhood and identity.

I think one of the quotes from a woman who was interviewed a year after the birth of her child that she 'is the same woman in a different world' very salient.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

I'm worried I will lose my identity if I become a mother

One of the fears that I often hear from women coming to coaching is focused on fear of loss of identity.

'I like who I am now.  I see friends who are consumed with baby talk all the time. I don't want to turn into that version of motherhood.' said a woman I interviewed for my book.

And this is a common fear.  Particularly for those of us in our mid-30's - if we have fought or struggled with self-doubt or with building up our career, it can seem like a risk to give up our hard won idenity.

Yet, I firmly believe that having a child does not fundamentally change who we are.  When I'm coaching a woman who can't decide whether she wants children or not , we spend time on looking at who she is when she is at her most positive & confident.  Early on we do an exercise looking at values and what her core values are.  While how she will live out these values might change if she decides to be a mother, these values - which are a huge part of her identity - do not fundamentally change. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

I don't want children but my girlfriend does

One of the most difficult situations in a relationship is when one person does want children and the other doesn't.

Most often I tend to coach the partner who does want children but sometimes I do work with people who don't want children but there partners do. 

In these situations, I focus with the client on the following.

1) checking out their decision again - is it a fear based decision? If we look at it from a different perspective or without the fear would they make a different decision? 

2) is there a circumstance where they would consider having children?

3) Accepting the consequence if their decision - are they prepared for the relationship to end?

4) Talking to their partner - How can they have an open and honest conversation with their partner about their decision and the future of their relationship.