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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit http://www.ticktockcoaching.co.uk/ for more information about my coaching services.
Monday, 17 April 2017
Easter is a time of year associated with new beginnings, new life, fecundity and with family. Perhaps you have just had a gathering with your family over the Easter period and felt the decision weighing down even more heavily than usual. (for more thoughts on the holidays and the challenges they can bring, go to my blog post on the challenges of Christmas holidays Christmas Time and Not Having Children ) Easter can be a hard time for those who are trying to make the decision whether to have children or not. This can be doubly true for those who are attending church or who are regular church attenders.
If you have a faith, you may find that some religious leaders in your faith encourage you have children as a expression of the values of your faith. (see a blog I wrote last year on comments the Pope's view on being childfree. I've worked with clients who have found it difficult when have been advised by ministers or pastors to have children as an integral part of their religion even when they aren't sure they want children. When coaching someone in this situation who feels conflicted about the advice or messages they are receiving from their minster/pastor, I ask this question
'What do you hear when it's just you and God? When you are alone, perhaps praying, to God?'
And usually the answer is very different from the message the person has been hearing from their minister or leader of their religion.
If we have a faith, we know that we can listen to and trust our own relationship with our faith and with our God. Religious leaders can be wise and thoughtful but they are humans and like all humans are informed by society views and norms on having children.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
I realised that this is an important topic that I haven't covered very much on the blog. It is something that I have seen as a coach. I have had a number of clients who have been in a relationship with someone who has their own children and they have found themselves in the step-parent role and part of a 'blended family' Yet, this can be fraught if you also want children of your own.
Common issues experienced people in this situation include:
- Feeling 'left out' or a 'spare wheel' at family gatherings .
- Linked to the above, having a question about 'what's my role?' in this family (a client explained to me once that if she had a child with her partner she felt her role in the blended family would be more solid)
- Resenting your partner for having a relationship with his children that you wonder if you will ever have with your own.
- Having to take on a parenting role with step-children without being able to have a child of your own.
- Not feeling valued as a step-parent or the role
In a recent article on Huffington Post Help for the Childless Stepmom , author Mary Kelly says
Feeling like an outsider in one’s stepfamily system is to be expected. You feel like an outsider because in a very biological sense, you are. It is a humbling position stepmothers and especially childless stepmothers find themselves in. It’s hard to not take it personally when stepmothers show real and genuine care for their stepchildren only to have those feelings rejected or pushed away.
So what do you do if you find yourself in a relationship where you are a step parent and you do want children?
To start with, I always encourage clients to do one last push to see if their partner will reconsider having a child with you. Sometimes, when clients are clear, confident and centered, partners can change their minds. Particularly if clients can 'speak from the heart' and express from a deep place why children are important to you. I've worked with clients to help them do this and sometimes, it has worked.
If you have done this or your partner is very firm about not wanting children (and you don't want to leave the relationship), I suggest exploring how you can own and be confident about your role as a step-parent. I've worked with clients who felt un-confident about their role and yet, the feedback they received from their step-children was very positive. Sometimes, if you are able to own your importance as a step-parent and give it more value, it can make you feel more positive about your role as step mom. Unlike the author of the above article, I do believe that you can have an important and positive role in your step-family as a step-mother. You need to keep talking to your partner and need to keep looking at how you can move from being an outsider to an integral part of the family system - regardless of whether you have children or not.
Monday, 3 April 2017
If you are struggling to make the decision to have children or not, you will know it can be isolating and difficult to work it through on your own. But you might be wondering if coaching on the baby decision could actually help you or how it helps. Some of my clients have written about what they have found helpful about coaching with me and I thought I would share it with you
'I came to Beth because I was in a panic about the decision to have children or not. I was afraid to make the wrong decision and regretting this forever. I have come to realise that there is no wrong or right decision and that I can live with the decision that I make. I feel that I have fully explored the issue and am relieved to know that I will not look back on this time in my life and think that I didn't have the courage to address it head on. Taking the time (6 months) to explore the question with Beth was the best thing I could have done to enable me to move forward on the decision.' (Cassie, Central London, 39)
“I initially came to coaching because I was struggling with the decision on whether to have a baby. I did not feel that I had friends and family who would have discussed this topic with me without having their own agenda. Beth was just what I needed – she was very supportive but provided guidance in a completely neutral way. I eventually understood that the dilemma was actually a reflection of larger issues in my life, and we went about tackling those first. After 11 months working with Beth, I completed coaching with greater insight on a number of areas in my life, in addition to clarifying the baby decision.” (Crystal, NYC, 36)
'I came to this coaching practice in an utter panic, pushed this way and that on whether to start a family by relatives, friends and my husband, all of whom had definite (and different) opinions on what I ought to be doing. The decision to start a family is extremely personal, yet even strangers seem to have perspectives on it, and it's easy to feel badgered and bullied even by well-meaning people. Beth helped me separate my own feelings from those of the people around me and to assess clearly what I wanted. I found the experience very calming. I would recommend that any women ambivalent about whether to start a family go through Beth's process - particularly if she feels she has no disinterested party to turn to.' ~ Virgina, 38, Writer
"Life coaching has given me the opportunity to reflect upon my life and self chosen goals. I have made some positive changes, one of which is to take more risks in life! I am more motivated and confident to change the areas that I am dissatisfied with. Beth has been extremely supportive and with appropriate guidance and homework exercises has allowed me the opportunity to grow on a personal and professional level. I would recommend life coaching to anyone who seems frustrated or disillusioned with the direction that their life is going in. " - Penny, 41, Teacher