Is Parenthood For You? It’s Okay to Say “I Don’t Know”

indecision mentorship parenthood Mar 27, 2023

Do you want to become a parent?

In my work as a parenthood clarity mentor, I frequently hear people say, “One minute I can see how I want to be a parent — and the next minute I don’t see how I possibly can.”

If you’re feeling similarly, it’s official: I’m giving you permission to not know.

Proclaim it loudly and proudly: “I don’t know!”

It may sound counterintuitive, but as you think deeply about whether to become a parent, it’s actually essential that you choose not to know, with intention, for the decision-making process to ultimately work its magic.

Human nature compels us to seek black-and-white answers. It can feel excruciating to not know — and fluctuating between answers creates the perpetual illusion that, any moment now, the answer will arrive and provide relief.

When you find yourself swinging in one direction or the other, returning to a state of I don’t know can feel like you’re backsliding.

Guide your thoughts back to the space of I don’t know. It can be helpful to imagine yourself traveling the trajectory of a horizontal figure eight, or infinity sign, with I don’t know at the center.

As you contemplate this huge decision, it might take time to sink comfortably into the state of actively not knowing. It might feel painful, hopeless, or scary at times — but rest assured that this state is risk-free.

You can’t lose your true desire. Your truth will only become clearer as you allow yourself more pressure-free exploration.

What if you framed your experience of I don’t know as liberating? It can serve as a reprieve that allows you to be more present — and more available to receive authentic answers.

Right now, you might not understand why you can’t decide.

Even if you have an inkling about why you don’t yet know your answer, trust that you don’t have access to all the pieces that are playing parts in your truth — and that you don’t need to.

For right now, you simply don’t know.

The details of why are unimportant at this point, and trying to figure them out prematurely only distracts you from your goal of achieving clarity.

You can be sure of one thing: the reason you don’t know is a good reason!

Maybe societal pressure is preventing you from knowing your answer right now, or unresolved childhood problems and pain, or the belief that you don’t matter, or a general feeling of shame — or possibly a combination of these factors.

The pain or discomfort you experience when you’re not aligned with your true self further disconnects you from finding your answer.

It’s not your fault that you don’t know.

We all have personal struggles, and while we’re accountable for our actions, we’re not to be blamed for our struggles.

If something hurtful happened in your childhood and the outcome has turned into a personal struggle, you’re not to be blamed for that. If you internalized an inaccurate belief about yourself due to earlier events, you’re not to blame for that either.

Yes, it’s up to you to heal the injury that caused the struggle or difficulty. However, that’s different from blaming yourself for the struggle that has kept you stuck.

As best you can, let go of self-blame while you allow your journey to unfold.

You’ve had clarity before about many things.

The truth is, you’ve known (and still know!) many things. You’ve felt clarity before, and you’ll most certainly experience it again.

You can even make a list of three precise times in your life when you had complete clarity — and read it whenever you want to recapture that sensation of knowing. Trust that you’ll experience the same complete clarity regarding the question of parenthood.

When you relax into this self-acceptance, you can more easily gain access to the answers that are already there.

The knowing will come in time — you won’t have to look for it. And I’m always here to support you.