It is when we moved to Geneva for my husband’s job, that I first got introduced to life coaching upon meeting a life-coach-to-be at a party. I volunteered to be his “coachee” for his training and that is how my journey with life coaching started. During the coaching process, I could see how helpful it was be to be heard and supported in times of stressful moments, to be guided and encouraged to redefine my goals to recreate my life. And this is when I really got inspired to give the same support to other expat women.
When I became a mum a year and a half after our arrival in Geneva, I was embarking into another life experience that would deeply affect and redefine my identity.
Being a stay-at-home mum gave me the opportunity to fully dedicate my time and energy to take care of my children. However, experiencing motherhood in another country can be very challenging. The time after giving birth can be very tough and if you are an expat, it means that you do not have much of a support system. Your family and friends are away, your husband, even though he can be of great help, is busy with a highly demanding job or travelling a lot. You may have some good friends around but they might be as busy as you are (and maybe some in the same adventure as you are). So, basically you are on your own.
Being a mum made me realise that I had suddenly become the pillar of the family and in an expat context like ours, the emotional balance that holds the family together. Many of my expat friends needed to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language while setting up their daily routines and continuously be the stabilising force during the transition. Luckily, being French, I did not have this culture/language issue. However, I became so busy and overwhelmed by all the responsibilities of being the family CEO that I had difficulty acknowledging my vulnerability and tended to put my needs and desires aside. I was, once again, experiencing identity loss and lack of purpose, and all the emotions that come with it : frustration, resentment, loneliness and exhaustion. I was in the most need for emotional support and fortunately, based on my previous experience as a “coachee”, I knew I could once more turn to coaching for help. It was crucial in the sense that it helped me reflect upon my needs, desires, purpose and goals. As a result, I decided to start my training in Life Coaching. During this process, I managed to find the delicate balance between family and professional life. I even had my second child before completing the Certification in Professional Coaching.
How about you expat ladies ? Where do you stand ?