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This is just a sample of the questions, fears, and concerns I hear all the time from my clients. People just out of a relationship and people just starting a relationship. People from ages 28 to Our goal is to help people make possibly the biggest decision of their lives: whether or not they want to become a parent.
Our society allows little room for ambivalence around this topic. While the burgeoning child-free movement rejects this notion, as it should, the loudest voices from that group tend to articulate an assured decision to be child-free. This can add another layer of shame because it can often seem like everyone else came to their decision with ease.
The sad truth is that most people who reach out to me have struggled with this decision for 10, 15, 20 years. That pains me to no end. From desperation, they have to make a decision. Fear instead of desire runs the show. Operating on fear is a lonely, excruciating process that leaves many immobilized. But when a decision is made from a place of desire, joy, or clarity, the experience is quite different. Making a conscious decision only after knowing what you want and why you want it is what real freedom is all about. In my opinion, if everyone paused and pondered whether or not motherhood or fatherhood was for them — no matter how certain or uncertain they felt about the answer — the experience they would have of coming to an ultimate decision would feel more expansive and have fewer fears attached to it.
The result is gridlock in your mind, and you cannot think your way out. The goal is to know your truth about each of them. You may want to become a parent and decide not to for a variety of reasons. Deciding to have kids may not have been your first choice, but you decide conscientiously to become a parent for other reasons and not from a resentful place.
The most efficient way to make a decision is to actually put that decision-making pressure aside temporarily and focus only on your desire. What if there is a place where there is no right or wrong, good or bad answer? Sound nice? I believe one needs to have their own private, uncensored process in that kind of environment Do i really want kids find out what they want.
I have had the great honor of providing that environment. And I want to help you create that environment for yourself. But there are ways to get unstuck and move forward. Begin with deciding to take a deated break one to three months from any discussion about the topic with your partner. No more thinking one way or the other. Stop trying to figure this out by making a pros and cons list. It will keep you stuck. Write a few sentences on each one describing the sensation of how good it felt to have made them. Create separation between desire and decision by putting the decision to the sidelines until clarity of your desire is known.
To do this, make a list of all your fears related to this decision. Then put these two lists in an envelope and put that envelope out of sight. Do not look at it or entertain anything in it until you have clarity of your desire, and you know why you want what you want. The why is important, not because you owe anyone an explanation but because you need to know what is driving your desire from the inside out so that Do i really want kids can be honest with yourself. This time of exploration, without the pressure of having to make a decision, will help you discover your honest desire.
To entertain a decision prematurely without complete clarity of desire will only make your decision-making process more complicated than it needs to be and delay the peace and calm you so deserve.
You can only know how you want your life to unfold and do everything you can to have it unfold that way. Parenthood is neither a destiny nor a debate. There is no single right choice. Ann Davidman is a d marriage and family therapist, parenthood clarity mentorand author.
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Should I Have Kids? This Therapist Can Help You Decide