In my previous article, I shared my own personal story of choosing to be child-free.
Right around the same time, another therapist, Ann Davidman, contacted me about a book she had just written which she thought would appeal to my readers and clients- she was right! The book is called, Motherhood – Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity and I highly recommend it to any woman/couple who is seriously considering parenthood in their future. I asked Ann to give us some background on how this book came into being:
The Motherhood-Is It For Me? story began in 1991 when my colleague, collaborator, and co-author, Denise L. Carlini, and I met as MFT (marriage and family therapist) interns. Denise asked me if I wanted to run a support group together. I immediately said yes.
We needed to decide the focus of the group, and it was Denise who said that she noticed in her private practice a number of women who were exploring the question of whether to become a mother. I thought how perfect that was, because in my practice I’d noticed how many women were talking about how unwanted they felt when they were young; there was an implied question about whether their mothers wanted to have children. Denise wanted to provide an environment where women could explore their ambivalence about motherhood in a shame-free zone and I wanted the next generation of children to be thought about and wanted.
We decided to give women a place to explore this very important question in an environment free of shame and judgment. Each of us brought our own experience to the table. Denise had already explored her own ambivalence and decided she would live a childfree life. Although I did not have children back then I was clear about the direction I was moving—I knew I wanted to become a mother but not at all costs.
Over the course of time, I was single, then met and married a wonderful man later in life with whom I planned to have children. But his health took a turn and our focus became saving his life. Even after I was widowed, I had a strong desire to be a mom. However, I ultimately said no to motherhood and yes to a childfree life, and that was a choice that sat well with me from the moment I made it. It was after that decision that I finally met my current life partner, with whom I’m enjoying a rich and happy life. This personal journey has enriched my work.
Motherhood – Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity is based on the core program that Denise and I created in 1991, plus the added improvements that evolved from all the work I’ve done with women over the years. A path to clarity is laid out in a book that any woman anywhere can hold in her hands and use to take herself through the program.
A Quick Overview of the book:
Deciding yes or no to motherhood can be fraught with confusion, pain, and loneliness. Many a woman is undecided about arguably the most important life-defining decision she’ll make in her lifetime. With the Motherhood – Is it for me? program, the authors of this book, both dedicated and seasoned psychotherapists, created a process that has helped countless women over the last 25 years.
Motherhood – Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity is the perfect resource for closely examining ambivalence around this crucial life choice. Through precise steps, readers are guided on their own personal journeys toward deeper understanding and learn what they really want. The process even allows a woman who is experiencing painful immobilization to find her way through to her true desire. The authors know from their professional experience that an analytical pros-and-cons approach often fails to successfully answer this most personal question.
Interspersed throughout the book are twenty diverse stories of woman who made conscious choices, half deciding yes and half deciding no. Their stories — and sometimes advice — create a valuable community that provides support to every reader, breaking the isolation often felt when one is embarking on this difficult decision-making journey.