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:beth@ticktockcoaching.co.uk and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit http://www.ticktockcoaching.co.uk/ for more information about my coaching services.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Do I want a baby enough to go through IVF and ongoing fertility treatment

For some of my clients, deciding whether to have a baby is complicated by problems with fertility. According to the NHS website, around one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving. This is approximately 3.5 million people in the UK.  That's a lot of people who do want child but who are struggling.

I've sometimes worked with clients who, if they could have gotten pregnant naturally, would not be struggling with the decision.  But the stress and heartache of IVF forces people to ask themselves the question.  Do I want to go through IVF? Do I want a child enough to go through what can be a long and difficult process?  Will I regret it if I don't do everything in my power to have a child?

This article Motherhood and Waiting Takeover explores the journey of IVF and how the waiting takes over your body and your life.

'It is not just the takeover of your body that makes IVF so challenging, but the takeover of your schedule, your life. Every-other-morning appointments, waiting by the phone for news about the results of blood draws, timing injections precisely, ordering more medication or procuring discounted or free leftovers from women finished with their cycles: it all takes time'

Clients who have tried to have a child naturally and are now facing the decision to go through IVF often feel guilty and worried.  A common theme is 'I've wanted this and now that there are some challenges, I'm questioning whether I do want children because if I really did, I would go through anything.'

 I believe that it's important to give ourselves permission to make the choice not to go through with a difficult and stressful medical procedure.  Many times clients say that they are not keen to go into IVF but they feel that they should, that they should try everything or else they will regret it.  Yet, when we are kind to ourselves and give ourselves permission to let go of guilt and the 'I should'  we can make the choice that is right for us.  

When clients do this, sometimes they realise that it's ok to make a decision based on the context.  It's not giving up to say that in this circumstance, I have decided not to have children.   And then, sometimes  sometimes they decide that they will try IVF but without the same negative feelings of guilt or worry pushing them to do so.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Why would I want to bring a child into this world?

It's been a heartbreaking couple of weeks here in London.   As some of my readers may know, I sing with Borough Market Choir.  My practise room where I see face-to-face clients is just 5 minutes walk from London Bridge and Borough Market.  It's my neighbourhood.  The photo above is of one of many moving tributes for the victims of the attack that have sprung up all over the area.

And then, two nights ago a terrible fire in West London in a tower block.  The horrible images of people being trapped  including the desperation of parents trying to escape with their children is almost unbearable.

When terrible events come close to us, it's frightening and disturbs our sense of security.   It can bring a sense of despair.

So for those considering parenthood, it can seem as if it is madness to bring a child into the world.  I wrote about this before in a blog post which explored how the concern about the environmental crisis in the world does affect some people who are considering whether to have children.  Why would I want to bring a child into this world? is a question I've heard from clients.  

There is no simple, no straightforward answer.    There are things happening all over the world seem chaotic and frightening.  For me it comes down to a key question.

 Do you want your decision to have children or not to be based on fear? Do you want to you want to give into the standpoint that the world is essentially a violent and hopeless place?

What happens when we tap into the feelings of community, love and belonging that always shines through in terrible times?  We can see people connecting more in the face of tragedy, people donating to charity and volunteering their time.    Maybe bringing a child into this world would not seem so hopeless, maybe we can see how our lives and the world would be enhance.

Or maybe, we would decide we didn't want a child after all.  But not because we were scared or thought the world was a bad place.  But, because it's not right for us - because we could create love and connection in other ways.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Will I regret having children? Will I regret not having children?

Long-term readers of this blog will note that often I return to this topic of regret.

It's probably the one main driver in women (and some men) seeking coaching on the baby decision. Recently, a client said to me 'I feel trapped.  No matter which decision I imagine making, I constantly feel consumed by the fear that I will regret whatever choice I make.   When I imagine having children, I worry that I will regret this choice.  And then, the consequences of this choice will not only affect me, but it will affect my child and partner.    So then, I turn towards the option of being child-free.  But very soon I am overwhelmed by worries that I will be lonely, that my partner might have died or our relationship will have split up and I will be alone.  He might also regret the choice that I made - and he might find himself longing for fatherhood.'

This sums up the place that many of my clients find themselves in... of being driven by a fear of regret no matter what choice they make.

I think that's what keeps my clients and others in a limbo state - because when you are still deciding, you don't have to face the possibility of making the wrong choice, of regretting the choice you have made.

I've tried over the years to find ways to articulate my thoughts on regrets.  I say to clients that it's a paradox of the decision.  It's a decision that has big implications for our future and yet, we can only make it in the here and now.   In coaching, we work on visioning, looking at how we want to live our life now and in the future... and yet, we also have to be able to let go of the worry and desire to know and control our future in order to make the decision.

I found this short article by Oliver Burkeman Stop Worrying About Future Regrets really spot on about regret.  He references another recent article about parents who regretted having children.  Says Burkeman:

'The worst part about trying to minimise future regret, surely, is that you’ll never know if you succeeded. Who’s to say you’d have felt more or less regret if you’d taken a different path? In a feature in the Guardian back in February, several parents broke a major societal taboo by admitting that they regretted having kids. Obviously, though, they can’t know for sure if they’d have regretted not having kids even more. (The same applies, in reverse, to those who regret being childless.) I suspect what’s going on is not that some choices are more regret-proof than others, but that some people are more regret-prone, given to ruminating on roads not taken. Rather than having made a terrible mistake, maybe those regretful parents are just the kind who tend to regret things.'

I interviewed a woman who had decided to be child-free and she was in her early 60's.  She said that occasionally she felt a pang of regret when she saw a friend with a grand-child.  But she believed that whatever path you choose in live, you will feel regret.  It's part of being human.