Ann’s Interview on The Imperfects Podcast: "Should You Have Children?"

fatherhood interview Apr 13, 2023

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to join Hugh van Cuylenburg, Josh van Cuylenburg, and Ryan Shelton on their wonderful podcast The Imperfects — their motto being “we’re all imperfect.”

Hugh, Ryan, and Josh invite various people from all walks of life on the show who are willing to make themselves vulnerable, by sharing their own struggles and imperfections — discussing valuable takeaways we can all apply to our own imperfect lives.

What better place to discuss the incredibly important and vulnerable topic of parenthood? And more specifically, fatherhood.

They released an episode earlier this year titled To Breed, or Not to Breed. During this episode Ryan discusses his indecision, and anxiety really, around whether he and his partner should have children or not — or at least try to have children or not.

Because of the strong response to that episode, Ryan, Josh, and Hugh invited me onto their show for a follow-up episode to explore this topic in more detail — discussing Ryan’s experience and recognizing that his is not a singular one. Men all over the world struggle with the same exact decision, often in silence.

In the beginning, my clarity course was designed for women. But, shortly after that, we started to create a program for men that mirrored the women’s program — we realized there was a need for men to get the same support.

Men often don't feel like they have permission to think about this because,  especially in heterosexual relationships, they feel like they'll just do whatever their partner wants.

Ryan shares that one of the obstacles he faces in his decision is this apprehension about sacrificing certain things, certain aspects of his life, that he really loves. A lifestyle that would be better suited for someone who is childfree. Ryan is absolutely not alone in this line of thinking. And ambivalence can often feel shameful. Because of the way society views and communicates about parenthood, we don’t always know if it's normal for people to not know. But it is normal. We don’t always know if it's normal for people to want to be childfree. But that is normal, too.

What Ryan is talking about, this hyperfocus on how parenthood might affect his future self, is sort of where the problem lies because you are trying to sort out what you want and what you're gonna do about it at the same time. And that is what creates mental gridlock. You can't think your way out of that. You have to separate your desire from your decision.

So, first you have to sort out your desire, do you want to be a parent — a father? Do you want to raise a child? What's your heart's desire — from the inside out?

And that's what I help people uncover so that they can know themselves better. If you want help uncovering these hidden truths to begin your journey towards clarity, join me for one of my Parenthood Clarity Courses.

And click here to listen to the full episode of The Imperfects.