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, 30 May 2018

Egg Freezing - is it the answer?

Last week on the BBC Women's Hour, there was an interesting discussion on the current time limitations on holding your eggs in storage.   Jenni Murray, host of Women's Hour talked to Dr Kylie Baldwin, senior lecturer in medical sociology at De Montfort University, Carolyn Payne, who went through the process ten years ago and Professor Robert Winston. Professor of Science & Society at Imperial College London. 

Carolyn Payne talked about the reasons behind her decision which was to relieve her anxiety about her biological clock.  In the end, she didn't use the eggs as she had one child naturally.  But she had a number of miscarriages before she had her child and having eggs frozen had given her reassurance that she had options.

All the guests felt that the time limitations should be removed to give women more options.  However,  some of the guests had reservations about egg freezing generally.  Robert Winston said that there had only been 4100 eggs thawed to use but only 93 pregnancies and only 41 live births.  Robert Winston felt that there was not enough research into whether there was more a likelihood of miscarriage with egg freezing.

Dr Kylie Baldwin confirmed that it is very difficult to get the confirmation about the number of live births from frozen eggs.  She recommended that women be encouraged to freeze their eggs at a younger age when the eggs are more likely to be viable. The other key point made by Winston is that the egg freezing industry is very much driven by money.

However, Carolyn Payne felt the procedure was empowering as she felt she was taking control of her fertility and extending her choices.  Although it cost her a great deal of money, for her it gave her peace of mind.

I've written on this blog before about some of my reservations about egg freezing in this post Is Egg Freezing a Solution to the Baby Decision? 

If you are interested in hearing the Women's Hour Programme you can listen by clicking on the link below.   The recording will be taken down within 30 days so if you click on it after June 2018,  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2gsn4/segments



Monday, 14 May 2018

The Royal Wedding: Intrusive Specutation Faced by Couples on Their Baby Decision

It's the Royal Wedding week here in the UK and the excitement over the impending wedding of Megham Marklet and Prince Harry is reaching a fever pitch and street parties all over the country are planned. 

One thing that many couples can relate to is the intrusive speculation on whether (and when) they will be having children.   A quick goggle search shows that there is much speculation and talk of whether and when they will be having children.   Meghan would love to have children, close friend says  . In one particularly intrusive article, Meghan is described as having 'Royal Baby Fever.

Yet, even without the press intrusion that Meghan and Harry face, other people's opinions and thoughts can be very uncomfortable for couples.

'Even before we got married, friends and family were asking me when we were going to start a family.  It was uncomfortable as neither of us were sure that we wanted children in the first place.  Once we got married, the assumption seems to be that the next step is to start a family.  And when people say start a family, they mean having kids.  I feel like we are a family now - me and him and also our extended family.   We still might decide to have children but it's easier when people aren't always trying to pin us down and get an answer.' (Janet, woman interviewed for my book Baby or Not?)

Janet, whom I interviewed for my book,  points to the problem. Despite the progress we have made, despite the fact that non-traditional relationships like lesbian and gay marriage are now mainstream, we still see having children as a necessary step in building a family.

What would it be like if Meghan and Harry decided not to have children?  You can imagine the headlines - the shock!  Yet, if a couple feel that they have a full and happy life and if they have other ways they want to bond and grow as family, why should they face intrusive questions?

Another issue - of course - is the pain faced by people who do want children but can't.  Many people who are childless not by choice report how painful it can be to face questions about when they will have children or why they don't have children.

We need to have more sensitively as a society to the myriad of situations that people find themselves in.  I wish Meghan and Harry well and I hope after they get married they don't face endless speculation in the press. 



Thursday, 10 May 2018

When Expectations Don't Match Reality

One of the big issues with the decision to become a mother is the big mis-match between expectations or the fantasy of having children vs the reality.  It's this mis-match that is often behind the maternal ambivalence that is so often felt by new mothers.

In this advice column Dear Dana I'm Miserable , the adviser points this out - bluntly - to the woman seeking advice. 

'Whoever told you that getting married and having kids was going to make you happy? I know – only every TV show and movie and book you ever read. It’s not your fault that you expected the mere presence of a family to make your life complete.

There’s a societal push to get us all into domestic life as soon as we hit our mid-20s. Get on the assembly line, get a job, get a car, get married, have a kid, have another kid, don’t have too many kids because that’ll weird people out, now take care of your kids and be happy like the rest of us.'

As Dana, points out, so often motherhood is sold to women as the solution.  It is meant to fulfil us right?  And when we don't feel fulfilled, when we feel stressed or, like the woman seeking advice, miserable, we also feel like we are a big FAILURE.

So, how does this help everyone out there who is trying to make the decision to have children or not? 

It helps because it takes away the pressure to have children in order to be fulfilled.  And it also helps because it's normalising the grungy and not nice bits of motherhood.   As Dana said, her mother did her a favour by saying that motherhood was not all a bed of roses. 

After we take a step back and look at motherhood with all it's flaws, we might decide not to have children and embrace being child-free and finding fulfilment in other ways.  OR, we might decide that we can embrace the ambivalence of motherhood - with it's down sides and miserable bits too.  We might see how we could create a reality that allows us to - as Dana points out - time for ourselves, time to make OURSELVES happy.   

We could also call on the knowledge that concepts of happiness and fulfilment are more complex than often portrayed in popular media images of family life.   A German sociologist Matthia Pollmann-Schult carried out a long term study from 1994 to 2010 where he said his findings showed that parenthood as 'subtantial and enduring positive effect on life satisfaction.'  So, he argues although on a day to day basis parents of children may not experience as much happiness, they could experience overall positive effect on their life satisfaction.

For me, it's important to stop comparing myself and my life with an ideal of image of who I should be or how I should be.    Where are you comparing yourself to expectations of others (or expectations of your saboteur)?