How to Find Freedom When Making Decisions

parenthood resources Jul 31, 2016

If you were asked, “Do you want to be a parent,” how would you answer? Yes? No? What if you didn’t know the answer? You’re not alone in this dilemma. Often women can’t answer this question because they’re trying to figure out their desire and their decision simultaneously. Not only can this not be done, it creates a gridlock in your mind.

“What is your desire?” differs from “What is your decision?” and sometimes the answers to each question are completely opposite. To try to figure out the answers at the same time creates an indecision loop in your mind. First you must examine your personal inclinations. You know yourself better than anyone else; therefore, only you can dig deep enough to grab hold of your true desire. You own it—no one can take it away from you.

Once you acknowledge your honest desire, you can then make a conscious decision about that desire. This process can’t be rushed. You need to take the time to tap into your awareness: you need to experience owning your desire. For example, a woman may realize that her true inkling was to be a mom, but she doesn’t think it’s the best decision for her at this moment. It’s not what she wants to do right now, but it was what she wanted years ago.

Admitting this truth can be staggering. When you step out of your comfort zone into self-exploration, you may discover you wanted to be a mom years ago but didn’t act on that desire then. Now parenting may not be what you want to do with your life. What’s necessary at this point is to reconcile your desire with your decision. The desire to be a mom is still there, but it has become part of your history. The decision that is in the present is no, thus, two different answers to desire and decision.

What about a woman who recognizes she doesn’t want to be a mother? It’s not her calling. However, she becomes a mom through pregnancy, partnership, or one of the various ways children may enter our lives. So she makes the decision to be the best mom she can be. Again, desire differs from decision.

This all sounds logical and easy to follow, but in our culture, women who desire not to be a parent may find themselves incapable of making a negative decision. We’re taught early on never to say no. When a woman fails to make a decision and lets time decide for her, she settles for anxiety because emotional and mental energy are required to sustain a state of uncertainty. Indecision blocks a thriving life.

It’s also possible for a woman to know she doesn’t want to be a mother but is afraid to act on her desire; so, she becomes a mom. Even if she’s an adequate mother, she suffers in silence because parenting was not her true preference. Of course there are women who don’t want to be moms but end up loving the experience. It’s wonderful when that happens, but chance is not the path to a fulfilled life.

Women need to give themselves permission to appreciate their desires and to make decisions according to those desires. This is what real freedom is all about.