In today’s guest post coach Alison Reede shares some of her personal story and how that’s influenced her choice of coaching niche.
By Alison Reede
In 2010 my husband and I were told that we would never conceive naturally and that we would have to use assisted reproduction to conceive but there was no guarantee it would work. I know that sounds matter of fact but that is how we were told. We were now ‘infertile’. This diagnosis was life changing and I struggled to find support, outside of family & friends that truly understood my plight to become a Mum. This was the inspiration for me to offer Life Coaching to those struggling to conceive.
I know the relationship between Coaching and fertility problems seems strange at first so I will put it into some context. Having to use assisted reproduction to get pregnant and have a family can be life shattering and research has shown that the impact of infertility is as big as the impact of dealing with potentially terminal illnesses. This news is usually shocking to digest at first but on reflection you can see why, the ability to reproduce is something that is taken as given, it is innate within all beings so when the ability to reproduce naturally is taken away, it can have a big impact. However where it does differ from an “illness” is that you are not actually feeling “ill”, there are associated medical conditions but what comes to the fore is a big challenge and huge element of uncertainty in life that needs to be dealt with and adjusted too.
I previously became a Coach as a part of my HR profession but to assist me in the area of “Fertility Coaching” I took additional training as a “Fertile Body Method Practitioner”, which focuses on ensuring a good mind body connection is in place by addressing the negative impacts of infertility on one’s mental, emotional, spiritual & physical wellbeing. It was developed by a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Sjanie Hugo.
Interestingly enough, this approach had many similar traits to Coaching and to help demonstrate simplistically I will compare the ‘FBM’ approach to the GROW model.
- An outcome or goal is established. Note the goal is never to get pregnant as it is not SMART.
- Next the reality, what is actually happening, how is infertility impacting the clients life?
- Then the options, what can the client do about it? What does the client need to change or address to give them the best shot at getting pregnant
- Finally the wrap up, what actions need to happen
As infertility is a highly emotional state, a key part of stage 2 above is ensuring that the client is relatively balanced before moving on and a lot of time is given to this stage, especially working on stress management and mind-set. Mind-set is key really in determining whether someone may perhaps need counselling rather than coaching, so watching out for signs of depression is important as Coaching may then not be appropriate.
Infertility can consume your life, it consumed me, and that is why I am so passionate about encouraging others to try and maintain a good balanced life and to find support as I strongly believe this is so important in maintaining physical & mental wellbeing. With hindsight if I had been less obsessed and panicked about not having children I think my journey to motherhood would have been shorter and certainly less stressful. Prolonged stress does impact our hormones.
There are also many similarities in the techniques of the FBM & Coaching for example, solution focused questioning, lifestyle analysis, value & belief systems, thought patterns, visualization, mental rehearsal & relaxation. A major challenging aspect of fertility problems is decision making, and many people struggle with the decisions which is understandable considering the range and complexity. Decisions about doing IVF or not, using donor eggs or donor sperm, when to stop, financial decisions, decisions that impact your body and health to mention but a few.
So I hope this has given some insight into “Fertility Coaching”. I am pleased to say after several rounds of IVF and some other glitches I became a Mum to twin girls in 2013! I was not aware of fertility coaching on my journey but with hindsight I do think it would have been of great impartial support to me at that time.
About Alison Reede
Alison Reede is a Qualified Life, Business & Executive Coach who lives in Dublin, Ireland and who set up her Coaching Practice this year after a 20 year career in HR & Banking. Alison’s personal journey with infertility inspired her to focus her coaching practice on Fertility Coaching as the impact of fertility related problems is often underestimated and under supported. Alison is also an approved Fertile Body Method Practitioner which is a mind/body holistic approach to fertility problems.