Story #02

Shiho's Story

The Experience of Divorce

Story #02-1

Divorce was the choice I wanted to avoid the most.

At the age of 26, I got married.
We were both very immature, and I think we were connected only by the "faces" we wanted to show each other. "It'll probably be fine, is this what marriage is like?"As if dreaming, I was drawing out my hopes without seeing the reality of the other person.

However, this suddenly crumbled like a castle made of sand when I was about to give birth.
One after another, I found out things I didn't know, and I couldn't handle this information. At a time when I was about to nurture a new life, I couldn't treat my partner generously.

Caught in my own frame of what I "should" be as a parent, the distance between me and my partner grew, and we became unable to communicate.

For me, "divorce" was the path I most wanted to avoid.
Even thinking about my newborn child, I felt that divorce shouldn't be an option so easily taken. I couldn't face the people who had celebrated our wedding. I thought the only way was to recover and rebuild from here. We can't move forward unless we talk about it, even if it's painful! Naturally, I thought, especially because we had a child. But that wish was not fulfilled.

While changing diapers and breastfeeding in the middle of the night, I felt an overwhelming urge to scream that I couldn't abandon this baby as a parent!

This was the only experience I had before or after that that felt so painful that I vomited.

I didn't want to divorce, but the fact that "dialogue" was no longer possible signified the breakdown of our relationship. The divorce, which I thought I had no choice but to make, was a very heavy and painful choice.

Covering Up the Hurt Parts

Story #02-2

As a single mother, how should I live my life?

Even after returning to work, I couldn't publicly disclose that I was divorced. I pretended to be okay, but I was far from it. I think I was surrounded by an aura that said I didn't want to be touched, and it felt like I could burst into tears at any moment. Just seeing other families together made my heart ache painfully.

As a single mother, how am I going to live from now on... With neither significant skills nor a career, am I just a burden to the company as a single mother with a child?

I didn't have anything, so I thought I wouldn't be able to change jobs.

I was working full-time and didn't get home until 10pm.As a mother, I couldn't do anything. I had to reevaluate my way of working.While thinking about this little by little, I put a lid on the parts that were really damaged and lived my life pretending that everything was fine.

The Impact of Receiving Coaching

Story #02-3

To live according to my true feelings, need to deal with the whole life

Through my own life events, I became interested in the decision-making of working individuals, so during the pre- and post-natal period, I obtained the GCDF (Global Career Development Facilitator) qualification as a career counselor.

When I returned to work and realized that I had to finally reconsider the way I worked, I attended an outside workshop. The person hosting the meeting was a professional coach, and I had no idea what a coach was at first, so out of curiosity I decided to try coaching from her.

From my own experience of being coached, I began to feel reassured about my choices. While career counseling deals with "careers," living true to one's heart while raising a child and earning money transcends the mere concept of "career" and requires dealing with "life as a whole." This realization prompted me to pursue learning in coaching.

The most impactful part of the coaching course, which led me to decide to become a coach myself, was the "process coaching." Process coaching involves confronting and fully experiencing "emotions one cannot bear" or "feelings one wants to suppress" within oneself to discover deeper desires. In process coaching, I dealt with the messy and untouched parts of myself using intense bodily sensations.

Touch that? Really? It felt scary to confront those raw feelings.

"What does it feel like to be divorced with children and see no way forward?" Experiencing this through bodily sensations meant physically embodying those feelings. I curled up tightly, facedown, peering into complete darkness, struggling even to breathe... a profound sense of loneliness. It might have been just a few seconds, but it felt very long.

After remaining in that position for a while, from the tiny seed inside me, unexpectedly... "Mommy, it hurts..." I heard a faint voice. Surprised as I hadn't anticipated hearing such a voice, I responded, "Oh, sorry, sorry," and released the hands that were tightly binding my body.

This moment was fleeting.

Realizing I was in this posture meant my child was also suffering. "Right, right, I'm sorry." I decided to stop being in that place. I understood that I could make choices.

"I want to tell all the single mothers out there. To everyone living with vague anxieties while pretending to be okay. It's scary, but once you truly open Pandora's box and experience everything within, you can hit rock bottom and then rise up."

To confront the things you really don't want to see takes courage and preparation. But fully experiencing what you've been suppressing allows you to hit rock bottom and then rise up. This was my lesson from the experience. If you avoid facing the things you're pretending not to see, you won't start living your true life. This has become the foundation of my coaching today.

Exploring Ways of Working

Story #02-4

I can't do something risky like starting a business through coaching.

There Are People Who Need Coaching.
From my own experience, I first thought that single mothers are the ones who have this feeling of nowhere to go. They are always anxious yet pretend to be fine. I wanted to tell them, "Open the lid and look at the bottom, you can rise up!" This strong sense of purpose became a driving force for me to move forward.

At the same time, this was also an "inconvenient truth." You can't make a living off coaching alone. Single mothers have a high poverty rate and struggle with money, they can't afford coaching. How can someone juggle work, coaching, and parenting with young children? Even if you become a professional, only a handful can sustain it. I’m a single mother, I can’t afford to fail. So even becoming a professional, starting a business in coaching immediately seemed too risky! These thoughts loudly echoed in my head.

Despite these concerns, while continuing as an employee, I enrolled in an advanced course to obtain a professional coach certification. It was tough, but striving towards the vision I had for myself also built my confidence.
I considered changing jobs to one that would allow side gigs, and I was actively job hunting. I looked at job listings every day, but none of the jobs that interested me allowed side gigs.

One day, a senior colleague from my previous job posted on Facebook asking, "Is there anyone who has studied coaching and can do career counseling?" I was surprised and took action immediately. Even though it meant a lower salary, I thought, "If I can do coaching, I'll try anything!" Flailing about led to synchronicities that brought opportunities my way.

Will You Go Professional? Can You Become Independent?
I still remember the session I had with my coach because the idea of downsizing my company and lowering my salary was a very scary decision. After that, I decided to change jobs.

I received permission to officially coach as a side job, and began a life of two-legged living, working in human resources and career counseling from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and doing coaching sessions at night.

If you allow yourself to do what you want to do without suppressing it, you will also be grateful for the environment that allows you to do it. Until now, I didn't reveal that I was studying coaching at work, and I didn't show my face as a mother, but after changing jobs, I've been able to be open about my coaching and motherhood. The border has become thinner. The process of being able to integrate and acknowledge all the things that are here and there means that there are more places where I can utilize the resources within me, and although I was busy, my mental health improved rapidly.

Of course, there are also people who learn coaching and suddenly become independent. But I wasn't. I don't know how far I can go, but as long as I have the desire to try, I'll keep doing it, no matter how small. Nurture the small bud within yourself.

That's how I became a sole proprietor, and the experience of creating my own homepage by hand for the first time, filing my tax return, and doing everything by myself was new and exciting for me, as I had only known the world of office workers. While working as a full-time employee, I successfully obtained the Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) certification.

Absolutely impossible! I realized that the limits of thinking are created by one's own mind.

So, What Do I Do From Here!?
Even though I've become a professional coach, it doesn't mean that I have an abundance of clients waiting for me, as one might expect. In terms of obtaining a certification, yes, you can get there by investing time and money.

I knew this, but still, standing before the vast ocean, I found myself facing poignant questions. Where am I headed? What kind of coach do I want to be? That led me to decide to join the "Co-Active Leadership Program." The program was incredibly expensive, and with a small child at home, leaving for a week seemed impossible! I had been ignoring this option and pushing it aside.

Back then, I thought that leaving my son, who was attending kindergarten, with my parents for a week was something a "mother" should not do. I believed that asking my parents for such a favor would be incomprehensible to them, which was my biggest bottleneck.
Once I recognized the feeling of "Absolutely impossible!" strangely, I began to directly confront things I had previously ignored. I wonder why... with a laugh.

On a whim, I mentioned to my parents, "I'd like to attend a training program for a week starting in November..." To my surprise, my mother took out her planner and started checking the dates, asking when to when. "Really!? Is that okay?" I was quite astonished inside. The preconceptions were all creations of my own mind. And so, I decided to go to the leadership program.