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.

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. 








No comments: