Fertility Coaching: the alternative therapy for staff?

Fertility coaching is becoming popular with those trying to conceive.

But what is it exactly?

We spoke to the lovely fertility coach and former midwife Nicola Headley who answered all of our questions .

  1. What is fertility coaching?

Fertility coaching can vary depending on the coach and programme.  I trained with the Freedom Fertility Formula which is a unique mix of coaching, counselling and mind/body techniques, used to improve the mental health and emotional well-being of people struggling with infertility.

Trying for a baby and pregnancy loss have such a massive impact on mental health.  I personally found that much of the support and advice around trying to conceive focused on physical aspects and very little on the emotional side of things.  I think and hope that’s changing now as people become more aware of how important mental health is. 

2. What is the difference between a fertility coach and a fertility counsellor?

As I understand it a fertility coach is more likely to be someone who specialises in fertility while a counsellor may do other things as well as fertility.  Counselling is meant to help you cope with the day to day, while coaching is about taking positive action.  That’s why the Freedom Fertility Formula is described as a mix of both, because there are tools and strategies to cope with the day to day struggle as well as taking positive steps towards the future.  

3. Do you hear from many teachers who are faced with infertility?

I’ve worked with more teachers than any other profession.  I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or if I attract teachers as I’m also from a background of working in the NHS which has similarities to teaching.  I also get a lot of messages from teachers letting me know they’re struggling.

4. What is the main struggle for teachers with fertility issues?

I’ve found teachers to be incredibly hard working, they’re often very organised and like to be in control of things (perhaps also with elements of perfectionism).  So when things don’t go to plan and feel out of control (like infertility and loss) it can increase the stress and anxiety they feel.

When you’re used to being able to work hard to achieve your goals and this, which is more important than anything, doesn’t work like that it can be incredibly frustrating and stressful.

Which of course has a negative impact on fertility but it’s so hard to avoid.

5. Do you support women who choose not to go through fertility treatment? 

I support women who are trying to conceive with or without fertility treatment.  A lot of what I do is about managing difficult emotions and looking after your emotional wellbeing so much of it would be relevant to someone struggling with any aspect of this journey.  

6. What advice would you give teachers or anyone else going through infertility?

Self-care is an absolute must. 

Work and life are so full on.  Most people are used to being so busy all the time that they’re distracted away from how they’re really feeling. Doing this doesn’t make those feelings go away though, it often makes them worse or become stuck, always there in the background- like being short tempered with their partner, feeling close to tears more often than not, feeling unable to deal with “small” tasks they used to be able to handle no problem.

Taking time out everyday to slow down will help those struggling with infertility or baby loss to recharge and feel emotionally stronger.  They could meditate, journal, do yoga, go for a run, read a book.  Whatever they enjoy doing. Allow that thing (they might think of as unproductive or wasting time) to become their priority and notice how that quickly changes the way they’re feeling day to day.

7. What would you say to someone who’s considering working with a fertility coach, but are unsure if it’s for them?

I’d suggest looking through different coaches websites, Instagram or Facebook page and get a feel for who they are.  Does what they talk about speak to you? Do you feel like they understand how you’re feeling?

Many coaches offer a free phone call so you can speak and see if you’re the right fit to work together further. 

They will be more than happy to answer any questions you have during the call or over email.

It can be hard to prioritise yourself and spend money on something you shouldn’t have to spend money on. But it really is an investment in you, how you’re feeling about yourself, about your partner, your family and friends.

Support before you get pregnant will help with the worry that comes with pregnancy after loss or a difficult journey and into motherhood.

I often say to people these are tools that should be taught in school.  Because although they are adapted for fertility they are so useful for everyone to know who is going through a difficult time or finding their emotions overwhelming.

8. Do you work with men and women?

Many coaches work with couples.  Because I specialise in support following pregnancy loss I mainly work with women. 

9. How do your clients benefit from your services?

After our work together my clients talk about feeling calmer and lighter.  Feeling more in control of their emotions and able to feel more connected to their partner, family and friends.

One of the main things though is that they feel so much more positive about the future, either going into IVF or not, that they know their baby will arrive at the right time for them.  That’s my favourite part, seeing the shift from “if I have a baby” to “when I have my baby”.

Although my programme is about emotional well-being and the aim is to feel emotionally strong and resilient, when clients and ex-clients let me know they’re also pregnant it is the most wonderful thing!

Have you considered working with a fertility coach?


What other questions do you have around fertility coaching?