How I Became a New Parent Coach
I spent over 10 years as a corporate event planner. Before that I spent several years planning international trips for students. I LOVE to make plans. I love to overproduce my schedule. To imagine exactly what an experience is going to be like and how I will feel. I like to know what to expect, and ideally to be in control of it.
So motherhood really threw me for a loop. Since I didn't have a baby until I was 40, I thought that my additional years on the planet and wisdom from life experience would come in handy. I thought I had cleared enough space in my life to really nail my new role.
But, as each month of pregnancy rolled by, the future felt more and more hazy. From my initial frightened u-turn through Baby-R-Us to my wide-eyed glances exchanged with Max during our Preparing for Birth class at the hospital – I grew increasingly anxious about what to expect while I was expecting.
Then came the birth and the aftermath. I felt like I had been run over. I remember asking Max how the human race has survived, given that OTHER PEOPLE went through this too. Those early sleepless nights stretched into what felt like one endless day of monotony on repeat. I often felt like a stranger to myself. I remember breaking down in tears thinking about my upcoming wedding, planned just 4 months after my little Oliver arrived. I suggested canceling it more than once when I couldn’t even imagine dealing with invitations and my normal Type-A brand of planning. (I wrote more about my experience as a breastfeeding bride here.) There were even moments where I questioned going forward with my coaching business. Everything just felt a bit overwhelming and I couldn't imagine it being "normal" again.
But, here I am today. On the other side of it all and with the gift of perspective. It was probably 5 or 6 months into it that I started to feel a sense of control again. And started to feel more like myself. I had survived the most challenging of the sleepless nights, we had systems in place that worked and I had this amazing smiling red-headed baby that was quickly becoming my best little buddy.
When I look back at myself as I went through each stage of becoming a parent, I just want to reach out a hand to that woman who was so uncertain of what was to come and reassure her and guide her through it.
So, when a former colleague of mine asked me to design a sort of “mentor” program for new Moms to consider using for his team at work, something clicked. Yes! I was meant to do this. To support other women as they too entered this foreign territory of parenthood. I was already supporting Moms in various stages of their lives, why not create a program to intentionally walk women through this huge transition?
And so, Pathways to Parenthood was born. (Pun intended.)
To tell you more about it, here are my answers to some frequently asked questions about the program:
So what is new parent coaching exactly?
I spent about a year researching, surveying (and coaching!) Moms I admire and designing a program that is both something I would have wanted to be a part of and something I think the world really needs. It’s includes 1:1 coaching – where the participant and I have regularly scheduled virtual conversations about what’s most pressing on their mind at the time. In addition, I share with each participant a variety of curated resources and exercises to support them through pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work. Participants also have unlimited email access to me in between sessions.
I notice that at first, some women are unsure what to expect with the program and are slightly tentative. But once we get into a rhythm of working together, they start to see how they can use my support and really optimize our time together.
The result is a new parent who has felt supported and empowered through every stage of this transition, regardless of how challenging it might have been. And, their employer maintains an engaged and loyal workforce, decreasing costs associated with loss of talent. Win-win!
What are some examples of things you talk about in your sessions?
Participants of Pathways to Parenthood discuss anything and everything in our coaching sessions, which are a strictly confidential forum.
Here are some examples of things that come up quite often:
· FOMO associated with being away from work for so long
· Strategic planning for maternity leave
· Time management for getting everything done before the baby arrives
· Getting mentally prepared for the baby
· Sharing their birth story
· Navigating through survival mode the first several weeks after the baby arrives
· Setting up new systems and allocating roles and responsibilities at home
· Preparing for the first day back to work
· Setting new boundaries at work and home
· Career coaching – reviewing goals for the future from the new lens of parenthood
Women have been having babies since the beginning of time- I feel like I should just be able to do this; accepting help from a coach might make me look weak.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since becoming a Mom is that I need to be better at asking for and accepting help and support. I think that is also true for many of the women I work with. By taking advantage of an opportunity to have access to such personalized support as well as resources that save you the time of doing a lot of extra work, it's likely you will emerge from this transition even stronger than before.
I just don’t know how I would fit this into my crazy schedule!
Believe me, I get this! I spent 17 years in the corporate world, so I have been where you are. And I truly believe finding time to proactively set up strategies and work through things that are draining a lot of your energy is one of the best ways to use an hour here and there. I am flexible with timing and offer both 30-minute and 60-minute sessions. Additionally, I always summarize the highlights of our conversations in a follow-up email. The participants going through my program consistently remark how valuable the experience is and find it to be time well spent.
What about new Dads? Do you work with them to?
Absolutely! It's incredibly important to include new Dads and partners every step of the way. I will customize the program to really target the partner's experience, should they want to participate. And, whether I actually coach the spouse/partner or not, when I am coaching each new Mom, I provide her with exercises to complete with her partner and suggest specific topics for discussion during each phase of new parenthood.
How can I share this with my company to see if they would be willing to participate?
I’d love to share Pathways to Parenthood with your company! Drop me an email here and I can share a program overview with your organization.
If my company isn't able to offer this to me or I am not currently working outside the home, can I still participate?
Yes! I customize my program to each and every participant, whether you have a full-time job, part-time job or are a full-time Mama. Message me here to get additional details and pricing information.
According to the Maven Clinic’s report entitled “Back-to-Work: The Billion Dollar Opportunity for Companies”,
“In America, more than 75% of expecting mothers say that they are excited to go back to work after giving birth, but 43% of them end up leaving their careers. Of the new moms who do return to work after giving birth, 50% switch to a lower-paying job at a family-friendly employer. Quitting their jobs is often a disappointing outcome for women, and it’s also a costly outcome for companies. Replacing an employee who leaves after childbirth can cost anywhere from 20% to 213% of an employee’s annual salary.”
My objective is not to make sure all women stay in the workforce, but rather to ensure all women feel 100% empowered to choose their path.
Want to hear more? Check out this recent episode of the She Reaches podcast with the lovely Tiffany Walker, where I chat more about my own path and share some practical tips for each stage of new parenthood. (And I recommend you subscribe to She Reaches to hear Tiffany and her guests’ regular insights, wisdom and tips for working Moms!)
As always, I'd love to hear from you- questions, comments, feedback. Thank you for following along!