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.

Monday, 25 December 2017

'So when are you having a baby?' - Surviving Intrusive Questions Over The Holidays

Merry Christmas to all, wherever you are in the world and however you are celebrating today!

For many women struggling the decision of whether to have children or not, Christmas can be a particularly stressful time. The focus on Christmas as a time for families and children can be overwhelming - and when you are trying to decide whether to have children or not, it is not great when distant family members at Christmas family gatherings comment or ask questions about whether you will have children yourself.

I recommend this exercise to help my clients deal with situations of overwhelm and stress. AND it's also helps in clearing your head and approaching challenging questions from relatives from a place of centre and wholeness.

Take a moment now to find yourself a seated position where you can sit upright – preferably with your hips being a little higher than your knees.

1. Take a breath in and imagine that breath travelling up your back, giving you uplift through your spine and neck and out the top of your head. Then, on the exhalation, imagine your breath travelling down your front, softening those muscles in the front (without losing the uplift in your spine)

2. Imagine you can extend your energy out around you to about 12 – 14 inches around your whole body. Take a moment to check if this bubble of energy is equal at your front and back, to your left and right and above and below you.

3. Let gravity take the weight of your shoulders and chin.

4. Now think of a quality that you would like alittle bit more of – ease, or centeredness or inclusion. Ask yourself the question ‘What would it be like if I had a little bit more of this quality in my body right now?’ Listen to the answer you receive from your body.

And now, return to either the baby decision or the family gathering/pressure from friends and family - whatever is causing you to feel overwhelmed – do you feel more present, more centred, more able to enter these next few weeks with more ease and flow? You can take the above exercise and streamline it when you need to – just take 10 seconds several times a day to breath, sense your field of energy and invoke your quality.

I also discovered this advice on a UK Quaker webiste called Courageous conversations over Christmas  - if you can combine the above exercise to help you centre with the advice around having courageous conversations then you might be able to make it through the Christmas season with less stress and more authentic conversations with your family about the 'baby decision.'


Monday, 11 December 2017

Thinking about having a baby? Some stats for you to consider

I love info-graphics and a friend drew my attention to this which was published in the Guardian last week.    Read This Before You have a Baby

The article is full of relevant stats and data about the impact of having a baby and this is presented in a very attractive way.  What is very obvious from this article is the very different impact that having a child has on women as opposed to men.   As the writer Mona Chalabi says,

'The conclusion is pretty stark: if you’re a woman who enjoys paid work or relaxing activities, having kids will cramp your style. Being married with kids also isn’t looking like a great idea according to the numbers.'

Women who have children spend much less time on leisure activities and work related activities.  For men, the impact on their lifestyles is very different.

This data backs up what many of my clients know intuitively from watching women friends struggle - particularly in the early years.    They know that it will be them - and not their male partner - who will have to do the bulk of the child-care and child-rearing and they also know that support for working mothers in the workplace is often not there to the extent that it could be (see my last post on Iceland for an example of a country that seems to have got it right)

However, despite all the compelling evidence that having a children does impact your leisure and work time in a negative way,  many of us are still draw to having children.  Looking at the cold, hard stats and your head would say 'no'.  Yet, our heart is often saying a different thing all together. 

When working with a client who is struggling to reconcile the tension between the head and heart, I often get clients to look how, with full awareness of the facts, they might begin to create a life that avoids some of the deep traps of motherhood.  How can they discuss the issues with their partner and how can they negotiate  a more equal parenting arrangement?   Importantly, what are the ways that we can still live our values of independence and freedom - despite the changes and responsibilities that motherhood will bring?   It may be that the small ways we can do this can help us through those difficult early years when our time is much more restricted.

In the New Year (I can't believe it's almost 2018!) I will be putting on the blog a through review of the wonderful book by Denise Carlini and Ann Davidman Motherhood: Is it for me?  .  I've been wanting to put a review on the blog for a while but I really want to give it the time and space it deserves.  It's wonderful to have more resources for women who are struggling to make this decision!  

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lessons from Iceland

In my last post, I looked at recent reports that fewer women are not having children than a generation ago.   This research was carried out in the UK and I'm not sure if it holds true in other parts of Europe.

Iceland has higher birth rates than other European countries.  It also has a high divorce rate and many children are brought up by single parents or in step-families.

Over the last ten years, the fertility rate in Iceland has been around two children over the lifetime of each woman. In 2014, the average European fertility rate was 1.58 children per woman—lowest in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.  In 2015, 30.1 percent of Icelandic children were born to married parents, 52 percent to cohabiting parents, and 15.3 percent to parents neither married nor in long-term relationships. By comparison, of the 28 European Union countries, around 40 percent of children were born out of wedlock. After Iceland, the second-least-likely countries for children to be born to married parents were Bulgaria (58.3 percent), Slovenia (58.3 percent) and Sweden (54.6 percent).  At the other end of the scale, only 2.8 percent of Turkish children were born to unmarried parents and 8.2 percent of Greek children.  From the website Icelandic Review

 Yet in Iceland, this is not a cause of stigma or disapproval.    Interestingly, Iceland also has a high rate of happiness and well-being. 

In this fascinating article on Iceland and what makes Icelanders so happy, John Carlin came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons was the acceptance of different forms of family AND a high level of governmental support for family through good parental leave, childcare and schooling.

When a child's birthday comes around, not only do the various sets of parents turn up for the party, the various sets of grandparents - and whole longboats of uncles and aunts - come too. Iceland, lodged in the middle of the North Atlantic with Greenland as its nearest neighbour, was too far from the remit of any but the more zealously obstinate of the medieval Christian missionaries. It is a largely pagan country, as the natives like to see it, unburdened by the taboos that generate so much distress elsewhere.

So it would seem that is the decision to have children as much less stressful and fraught than it is elsewhere.   I'm sure that there still are women in Iceland who are struggling but it appears that without the worry and stress of judgement coupled with generous government support makes it much more acceptable for women to have children in a range of different situations.

If you were free of all society expectations of how you should have children and what your family should look like, would you find the decision easier?