They arrive anxious for an answer. Or maybe, finally, a sense of peace. They arrive because they haven’t been able to resolve the biggest question of their lives: Do I want to be a parent? And so they come to the California therapy practice of Ann Davidman — by plane, by car, by phone — in the hope that the self-titled “motherhood clarity mentor” might deliver an epiphany.
Next comes a simple instruction: Write down every fear, every loaded question, every disapproving comment and every panic-inducing headline that has coalesced into a stranglehold of indecision.
Will my mom be disappointed if I don’t give her a grandchild?
What kind of world will my kid grow up in?
Will I regret it if I don’t have a baby?
Will I regret it if I do have a baby?
Then: “You put them all away in an envelope,” Davidman says. “These are really important issues, but we just don’t want to talk about them right now. When you’re considering all those external factors prematurely without knowing what you want and why you want it, they just get in the way.”
Parental indecision has been Davidman’s area of expertise since 1991, when she and fellow therapist Denise L. Carlini created a group for those who sought help deciding whether to have a child. The pair co-authored a book, “Motherhood — Is It for Me? Your Step-By-Step Guide to Clarity” in 2016. And in the years since then, Davidman says she’s found herself busier than she’s ever been, as waves of 30- and 40-somethings — members of the “xennial” microgeneration, made up of the youngest members of Gen X and the oldest millennials — have realized that if they are going to make a choice about building a family, they should probably make it soon.
For members of this cohort, the decision might feel especially daunting.
“Imagine, she says, if there were a line on the patient history forms you fill out at your doctor’s office: Do you know whether you want to have children? Here are some resources to help you decide.” https://t.co/oA3jatH6Ke
— Tara Burk (@TJKB) March 18, 2019