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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Trapped by the 'either/or' - What I've learnt over 10 Year of Coaching on the Baby Decision (Lesson 2)

An integral part of my coaching approach is working with polarity.  Polarities are interdependent opposites which form a whole.   Common polarities that we all experience are Order vs Chaos,  Control vs Letting go,  Independence vs Connection, Knowing vs Not Knowing.  We commonly talk about 'either/or' thinking or ways of being.  Of course, having a baby is a choice to either have a baby or not!  But when I look at polarity in coaching, I'm looking at and exploring an 'either/or' way of thinking and way of being that is actually preventing women from making the choice.

I learnt this lesson because soon after I began to coach women on this decision,  I noticed that many of my clients seemed to be stuck in what is called a 'polarity trap' where we find it hard to allow ourselves to experience or be with one of the poles in a polarity.  For example, some of my clients report that they like to be in control - they find being in control makes them feel safe and they find not being in control frightening.  Yet, there are many times when we have to accept that we can't be in total control - there are factors outside our control, other people make decision or do things that we would not.   If we are going to have a baby, we might not be able to control how the pregnancy goes, what the birth is like and what kind of mother we will be. 

What I do with my clients when they are struggling with this,  is to explore each pole in the polarity to see what works and what doesn't work for them about each pole.  And then we look at how they can have a little bit more integration where they are able to move more freely between each pole or way of being.

R.V is one of my coaching clients.  She is also an artist and drew these wonderful illustrations of the polarity of freedom and responsibility which she has been exploring in our sessions.  I feel they show beautifully the  process of working with polarity and wholeness.  They show the journey we go on to explore the ‘landscapes’ of each pole, to make each pole our own (or embody it) and then to experiment with what it is like to both poles in one landscape. She has given me her permission to use these photos (without her full name attached ) on this blog for which I thank her greatly!    Rather than me try to explain each illustration or write a commentary on them, I think it would be more powerful for you the blog reader to see what speaks to you, what resonates with you, what sparks of your thoughts about this polarity?

Questions to help you include: What do you notice about the drawing of each pole, what speaks to you about the energy of pole?  What seems to be good or not so good about each pole? In the final last where she explores the place of integration, where there is both freedom and responsibility, what is different, what has shifted?




Friday, 13 April 2018

Message in a bottle

 I've been writing on this blog for over 10 years now.    Sometimes it feels like I am putting messages in a bottle and sending them out to sea!  I'm never sure where the messages in my blog land.  Who is reading? Is it helping people make the decision.  I know that people read it from seeing the statistics of who is reading the blog.   And I'm aware of people who read the blog but need extra help making the decision whether to have kids from readers who contact me to ask for coaching after reading the blog.   But sometimes I wonder whether what I'm writing truly impacts on all the people who are reading it around the world.

Yesterday,  I got an email out of the blue that helps me know that it's all worth it!

'I've been reading your children or not blog for a couple of years now and it has really helped me to articulate my fears both to myself and to my boyfriend. We're both over the moon about this ENORMOUS change and I don't feel like I'm going into it naively. Thank you!' - Blog reader, UK

Wow! I feel so honoured to have been able to have an impact and have helped people like this reader.  I know what a difficult place many of you find yourselves in when you are really struggling to work out whether you want to have children, whether you want to be a parent or whether you want to continue to enjoy and embrace your live without children.   This reader points to one of my most important messages, that  we need to be able to acknowledge and articulate our fears about having and not having children.  Our society doesn't want us to give a voice to these fears and many people feel like they can't say that they are afraid of being a parent... or of not having children.  Once we can do this, we can then address those fears... which is the first step in being able to move on.

Thank you to all my readers over the years.  I shall continue to be writing on the blog, sending my messages off into the sea to wash up where-ever people are in the world who need to read them!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Can you regret becoming a parent?

Today, the BBC published an short film Film: The mothers who regret having children  and an accompanying  article:   BBC Article on mothers who regret with several interviews of women who said that they regret motherhood. Although not thought to be common, the article points to a You Gov poll which showed that 8% of 1,200 participants said they regretted becoming parents.

What ways did the regret manifest?  Loss of freedom and a sense of overwhelming responsibility was the key regret and this is something I have read in other reports of parents who have experienced regret at parenthood.  That loss of self and loss of identity was extremely overwhelming for many people.  One woman described it as sacrificing your freedom for someone else.

One of the interviewees spoke about how difficult she felt it was when she became a single parent in particular.  And this can be very challenging - particularly if we had expected to have the support of a partner in parenthood.

Interestingly, several of the women said that they didn't realise that it was possible not to be maternal until they had children.   One woman said in the film that 'I just wasn't that frilly lovely mum.'  Another woman said 'I did love my children but I didn't enjoy my children.'   As one women points out,  women are seen as the nurturers, the ones who nurture and care and if you don't feel that, you aren't a natural woman.

A common belief that some of the woman realised wasn't true was that having children would make you 'complete'.   I think this is very very important to know and no matter what decision you make, I don't believe that it is children that complete us.   A very poignant point in the interview is when one of the women discusses how she had this image of the happy family, children trotting off to school and everyone one happy family.   Part of the shock for her was that she hadn't realised how far off reality was from this image. 

Much of the problem I think is because we still have such idealised visions of motherhood and family life.  And when the reality doesn't even come close to this, disappointment and regret is indeed possible.   What was clear from all the interviews was that, despite the feelings of regret, all the woman said they still loved their children very much

So how can this all help you if you are making the decision.... particularly if one of your main fears is whether you will experience regret the decision to have children or not?    It's very important to try to untangle fears that might be led by your 'saboteur' (part of you that is very critical or might be sabotaging yourself) from what your instinct/gut/wisdom is telling you about wanting children.   When I work with clients, we explore these fears and interrogate them.  Then, when we've brought those out into the open, we can begin to look at what our gut is telling us.  In all of these case studies, the women did have a fairly strong sense that having children was not ultimately for them but they didn't feel able to give this part of them a voice.

There have been times when I have worked with clients who have really wanted to be able to feel a desire to have children - mainly because their husband or partner wanted kids and they didn't.  But in some of those cases, when we have untangled and unpicked their fears and then really looked at what their inner voice was saying, the client still had a strong sense that they didn't want children.  And sometimes, women found themselves surprised to discover that they did have a desire to have children that had been buried by fears that, once looked at, didn't seem so large or overwhelming.

At the end of the day, we need to be able to listen to our gut and make the best possible for us at this moment in time.  I believe when we take the time to consider this crucial decision and look at it from all angles, we are much less likely to experience regret because we are making a pro-active choice that is based on self-reflection and exploring the issue as best we can at the time.