Ann Discusses Motherhood Indecision and Climate Change in Sierra

article climate change parenthood sierra Nov 04, 2019

I’m so glad Katie O’Reilly shared her process about how to think about whether or not to have children in the face of the climate crisis in the November/December 2019 edition of Sierra, the magazine for the Sierra Club. I want people to know there is help out there so they can have their own private uncensored process and take the decision, seriously especially during these times.

One thing that is important for me to convey is that I don’t see parenthood or a childfree life as a debate. One is not better than the other. It’s a personal choice and each person has their personal reasons that are their business alone. I believe the better you know yourself, the better understanding you have into why you say “yes” or “no” to parenthood.

You get to decide if and why you want to be a parent or if you want to be an ally to a young person. Or not. The work that I do is about helping people reach that personal decision.

The time-tested program that Denise and I created in 1991 recommends that people put aside their fears and circumstances of their current life as well as all realities of life -- including the climate crisis -- but only temporarily. All of this stuff needs to be assessed and looked at during the decision-making process—not during the process of discovering what you want and why.

Assessing all the externals of one’s life prematurely gets in the way of one’s clarity of desire. Externals are very important but when they are considered is key.

What one wants is sometimes the same and sometimes different than what one will decide to do. I hope whomever reads this article will decide for themselves what is right for them.

Below is an excerpt and a link to the full article: 

To Have or Not to Have Children in the Age of Climate Change
By Katie O’Reilly

"You can't be honest with yourself about what you want and think about the climate crisis at the same time—you might as well plant your feet in cement," therapist Ann Davidman tells me in her airy Oakland office. A sixty-something who bills herself as a baby-decision "clarity counselor," Davidman has made a career out of using writing prompts and guided visualizations to help people like me figure out whether they want to have kids.

I'm on her couch this sunny summer afternoon because, like increasing numbers of millennials and Generation Zers, I'm worried that if I procreate, I will contribute to melting ice caps, rising seas, and extreme weather. Worse, I might create brand-new victims of climate change—people who never asked to be part of this human-made mess. I've never been a hard yes or no on the baby question, and now that I'm 34, this indecision, not unlike my egg reserve, is getting old. (Click to continue reading.)