How Motherhood - Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity Came To Be
I’m delighted that Motherhood - Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity is finally available for every woman. I’d like to share with you how it came to fruition, as well as aspects of my personal journey that I rarely talk about—how I struggled with ADHD and how my deep desire to become a mother was followed by my ultimate decision to live a childfree life. Both of those topics are deeply relevant to how the book evolved.
How It Began
The Motherhood-Is It For Me? story began in 1991 when my colleague, collaborator, and co-author, Denise L. Carlini, and I met as MFT (marriage and family therapist) interns. Denise asked me back then if I wanted to run a support group together. I immediately said yes. After my experience participating in peer support groups, I wanted the experience of co-leading a psychotherapy group with another therapist.
We needed to decide the focus of the group, and it was Denise who said that she noticed in her private practice a number of women who were exploring the question of whether to become a mother. I thought how perfect that was, because in my practice I’d noticed how many women were talking about how unwanted they felt when they were young; there was an implied question about whether their mothers wanted to have children. Denise wanted to provide an environment where women could explore their ambivalence about motherhood in a shame-free zone and I wanted the next generation of children to be thought about and wanted.
We decided to give women a place to explore this very important question in an environment free of shame and judgment. Each of us brought our own experience to the table. Denise had already explored her own ambivalence and decided she would live a childfree life. Although I did not have children back then I was clear about the direction I was moving—I knew I wanted to become a mother but not at all costs.
My Motherhood Journey
I’d like to share a bit of my personal journey about motherhood. Over the course of time, I was single, then met and married a wonderful man later in life with whom I planned to have children. But his health took a turn and our focus became saving his life. Even after I was widowed, I had a strong desire to be a mom. However, I ultimately said no to motherhood and yes to a childfree life, and that was a choice that sat well with me from the moment I made it. It was after that decision that I finally met my current life partner, with whom I’m enjoying a rich and happy life. This personal journey has enriched my work, and the people I’ve worked with have enriched my life. I’ll write about my own journey in more detail in the future.
Groups and Workshops
Shortly after we agreed on the topic, the Motherhood-Is it for me?™ program was initiated. At the time I think it was an eight-week support group, with a weekly group exercise followed by writing assignments. The eight-week support group grew into a 2½-day workshop, and eventually I think we decided ten weekly sessions were best to allow women to fully process the feelings associated with the question, “Is motherhood for me?”
Denise and I led these groups and workshops together for ten years, and then Denise decided to close her practice and move on to other endeavors. I decided to continue working with women addressing the motherhood question, and I developed the program further to serve individual women, adding exercises and writing assignments to the core program. Sometime in 2005 I resumed the group format, leading the groups myself.
Today I offer my Motherhood Clarity Course™ privately one-on-one, as an online group class that’s four months in length and as a Self-Guided course designed to be done in tandem with the book.
Helping Even More Women
After many years of doing groups in my office, developing the program, and reaching my own clarity, I realized in 2015 that I wanted to reach and help more women. I started the online Motherhood Clarity Course then, so that any woman in any time zone could participate in this one-of-a-kind resource and take advantage of the opportunity to have clarity around what might be the most important decision a woman makes in her lifetime.
Meanwhile, in 2008, Denise and I had come together over this work again; we decided to write a book so that women everywhere could have it as a resource at their fingertips. We knew that many women had nowhere to turn to explore their ambivalence, and we knew based on our own experience that the ambivalence was far more complex than most women were articulating when they described their struggle (if they were able to describe it at all). It ran deeper than external circumstances (age, partner/no partner, career/no career, finances, etc.).
We started slowly and chipped away at the project for eight years. I know for me personally that one of the reasons it took so long was my struggle with ADHD. It took a long time for me to realize and acknowledge how debilitating it was and to learn what the disability really entailed. Finally, I was properly diagnosed and treated, which allowed me to gain focus and attention, which in turn led me to feel greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
Motherhood - Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity is based on the core program that Denise and I created in 1991, plus the added improvements that evolved from all the work I’ve done with women (men, too, actually) over the years. A path to clarity is laid out in a book that any woman anywhere can hold in her hands and use to take herself through the program, just as I do when I mentor women through the program.
I finally feel that I can rest knowing that this still one-of-a-kind program (after more than 25 years) is available to so many women.
My life is very rich. I get to do this important work and help improve the internal lives of many. I also get to have impact on more of the next generation than if I were raising them, and I get to have an adoring, amazing life partner.
I hope this book makes a difference in your life, or in the life of your loved ones. There’s more to this book than meets the eye—please read it, write a review, and let us know how the book has supported your life journey. I look forward to hearing your stories.
Above all, never lose sight that your truest desire matters, that you can reach it, and that you matter.
Copyright © 2016 Ann Davidman
The Motherhood Clarity Course ™ is based on the original Motherhood-Is it for me? ™ program: co-created in 1991 by Denise L. Carlini and