Seeking Clarity: Interviews with Women Who Sought and Found Their Answer to the Motherhood Question
When women seek me out to get clarity on choosing a life with children or choosing a childfree life, they usually have time to decide. Even if they feel time pressure because of their age or a relationship that's about to end, they still have a few months.
But when a woman contacts me and tells me she is pregnant and needs to make the decision within a few weeks to terminate or carry this child to term, she doesn’t have the luxury of a 14-week program. That doesn't mean she can't take steps toward discovering her desire.
Today, I continue the series, Seeking Clarity: Interviews with Women Who Sought and Found Their Answer to the Motherhood Question with a a client who needed to find her answer quickly.
In January 2016, I received an email from a woman looking for guidance:
"I recently found out I am pregnant, which was quite unexpected as I was told I would always have fertility issues. I am now faced with the incredibly difficult decision, along with my husband, whether to proceed with this pregnancy or not. I have always been undecided about motherhood, perhaps ambivalent is the right way to describe it.... I recognize no one can make this decision for me but I am having a really hard time sorting through my true feelings on motherhood and would love some help."
The way I counsel a woman in this situation is different than the way I counsel women who have more time. What we go on is what she knows now:
Do you want to want to be a mom and raise a child?
Do you want to want to live a childfree life?
Do you feel disappointed that you’re in this situation?
Do you know that you’ll be a good mother if you decide yes to motherhood?
Do you know that you’re life will be good if you don’t raise children?
Do you have a fulfilled life right now? What does a fulfilled life look like and feel like?
Do you believe one can have a satisfying life whether you parent children or not?
What would it take to decide yes to motherhood and it feel good to you?
What would it take to decide yes to a childfree life and it feel good to you?
After hearing from this woman again in August 2017, I asked if I could share her story with you. Please read on...
Why did you reach out to Ann Davidman, Motherhood Clarity Mentor, for help?
I found out, quite unexpectedly, that I was pregnant in January 2016 and knew I needed help processing this news in the days that followed.
I had been advised in my late teens that if and when I wanted to get pregnant, I would likely need medical intervention of some sort due to a common hormonal condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I guess you could say that my husband and I took this advice for granted over the years, believing that it was near impossible for me to become pregnant, as I never had regular cycles or normal signs of fertility. Needless to say that because of all this, we were completely and utterly shocked to find out we had conceived.
While there are many women who would be absolutely thrilled to find out such news, I was quite the opposite. I was terrified, panicked, anxious, overwhelmed and truly in a state of shock. I had been fairly certain my entire life that I would likely never pursue having children. I just didn’t feel the same calling that so many women seem to speak. I wasn’t drawn to children in the same way I saw many of my peers were and my perception of motherhood was not a positive one. Now I found myself in a time sensitive position that required a decision about this pregnancy, one that would change my life forever either way.
It was in this place of desperation that I began to scour the Internet for any information for women like myself, who truly didn’t know whether they ever wanted to become a mother. Thankfully I found Ann’s site and booked an appointment immediately.
What were you hoping would happen by consulting with Ann?
I knew Ann could not make the decision for me but I was hoping she could help me sort through my feelings and thoughts about it. I needed an impartial third party to talk through my concerns, worries and beliefs about the subject.
What surprised you most or what was most helpful about your consultation with Ann?
I guess you could say I was surprised that after just one session I was able to gain such clarity on my decision going forward. While she remained impartial about what decision I should make, she helped me uncover my true feelings about motherhood and all it entails.
Where did you end up and were you satisfied with the consultation?
In the end, I was able to come to the conclusion that I did want to see my pregnancy through and become a mother. My husband and I joyfully welcomed a baby girl to the world in 2016. I was absolutely satisfied with the consultation, 100%.
What kind of process did you have with yourself and your partner after the consultation?
We had many, many heartfelt discussions about what motherhood/parenthood would mean for us both and how we felt about it. I was able to better articulate and pinpoint my areas of concern and ambiguity, which helped us ultimately make the final decision that was right for me and us as a family.
Would you recommend the Motherhood Clarity Course™ to others and why?
Yes, absolutely. While I only had time for one session to the situation I was in, my time with Ann was totally worth it.
What would you tell a woman who is struggling with not knowing or struggling to decide about motherhood?
I would tell a woman who is struggling with this topic that what she is feeling is completely normal. I always found it frustrating that it is often assumed that all women just have a natural, innate desire to become a mother. I certainly didn’t and in fact, I leaned towards not ever having children for the majority of my life.
I also found it perplexing that there is virtually no information out there for women who are undecided about the topic (aside from Ann’s website of course!), knowing that if I felt this way there had to be others out there who were in the same boat. It is something I feel many women feel uncomfortable or even embarrassed to admit to others, yet shouldn’t be.
I would also tell her that she owes it to herself to really explore her feelings on motherhood before coming to a final decision. There is no wrong answer to the question of motherhood – if you decide you do want to pursue having a child, great. However, if you decide motherhood just isn’t something you want to pursue, that is perfectly okay as well. You can lead a happy and fulfilling life either way.
© 2017 Ann Davidman
Denise L. Carlini and Ann Davidman co-authored, Motherhood-Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity. The Motherhood Clarity Course™ is based on this original program, which they created in 1991.
Explore your feelings about motherhood
Sign up for the Online Group Motherhood Clarity Course to discover whether motherhood or living a childfree life is the right choice for you.