Undecided About Motherhood? Let’s Look at Your Relationship With Your Mother

May 02, 2023

As Mother’s Day approaches, how are you feeling?

If you’re tortured by indecision when it comes to motherhood, you might not feel so great during this time of the year.

Most women who can’t decide whether to become a parent don’t fully understand why and likely feel tortured by the indecision. Trying to think your way out of it only digs a deeper hole.

My heart goes out to you — and this is my Mother’s Day message

Please assume there’s a very good reason you don’t know whether you want to become a mother or live child-free. Please have compassion for yourself...

Examine Your Relationship With Your Own Mother

While there are usually multiple reasons one doesn’t know which path to take when it comes to parenthood, your relationship with your own mother — whether it’s thriving, close, challenging, or non-existent — is worth examining.

Could you be harboring any internalized messaging that stands in the way of being able to decide what’s right for you?

Sometimes we internalize beliefs about parenthood we didn’t even realize we had — and they play in our heads all the time.

Your mother may have strong beliefs about motherhood that she’s never challenged. An unchallenged belief gets passed on to the next generation without awareness. It’s difficult to escape the pronatalism message that women should want to become mothers and want children.

Your mother might:

  • Want you to decide what’s best for you, while also wanting grandchildren. The message might feel mixed to you and as a result, you feel stopped in your tracks.
  • Want you to experience the wonder of motherhood as she did.
  • Not want you to experience the stress of motherhood as she did — and thinks you should opt out of being a parent.

As a result of these messages from your mother, you may have developed beliefs that are now getting in the way of making a clear decision.

Can you think of something you’ve said to yourself about motherhood or living child-free that you assumed was true — and never challenged it?

There’s No Risk in Challenging Your Beliefs — Try These Writing Prompts

You’ll benefit from challenging your beliefs
— and determining whether your beliefs are yours — or if they’re beliefs you’ve internalized without realizing it. If an idea is indeed your belief, then challenging it will only make it stronger! There’s no risk in challenging something you believe in.

The following writing prompts will help you discover whether you’re holding on to beliefs that are worthy of challenging.

I encourage you to write out your answers, not just think about them. Stream-of-consciousness writing allows thoughts to come forward that we didn’t see coming.

  • What do you or did you appreciate most about your mother?
  • What messages (direct or indirect) did you get from her about becoming a parent or a mother?
  • Did your mother enjoy motherhood?
  • What was her greatest joy in being a mother to you?
  • Does your mother have any regrets about how she raised you?
  • How dependent was she on her role as a mother for her sense of self?
  • How much did the demands of motherhood compromise her sense of self?
  • What was meaningful to her in addition to you?
  • What would she have focused her attention on if she had not become a mother?
  • Does your mother expect you to be a parent like she was?
  • What is meaningful to you in your life now?
  • Does your mother know what’s meaningful to you?

Write down the following words and what each one means to you:

  • Mom, mum, mama, mommy, parent, or mother
  • Do they feel empowering, warm & fuzzy, repulsive, etc?

You might realize you are holding on to judgment about some of them.

A Proven Roadmap For Making a Decision

As you review your writing, I hope you’re able to glean a piece of new information to help you move forward. Some of these exercises can be found in the book I wrote with Denise L. Carlini, Motherhood — Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity. We wrote it so women everywhere could have access to this time-tested program.

If you’d like more support and guidance, I designed the Motherhood Clarity Course (and the Fatherhood Clarity Course (new format!), to provide a roadmap to making a clear decision — and help you understand what’s been standing in the way.

Registration is now open for the upcoming Motherhood Clarity Course and Fatherhood Clarity Course (new format!), both beginning in June 2023.

Only you can know what’s true for you. I’ll help you get there.