Motherhood Is An Option, And That’s Okay.

Despite all of the progress in encouraging women to have choices in life, there is still one option that is difficult for many to admit: the decision to not be a mother. I sometimes treat patients who openly discuss the conflict they feel about becoming pregnant. They wonder why they lack the enthusiasm so many others espouse. And despite this very honest and serious doubt, some still proceed with becoming pregnant.

On the one hand, they’ll confess this negative feeling, and then quickly follow up with guilt because they know of so many women who desperately want a baby and can’t conceive. They may also feel shame for denying their partner the possibility of parenthood. And, they wonder if these doubts and negative feelings will grow — like their bodies — and they’ll turn out to be mothers who can’t form an attachment to their babies.

From our first meeting, I let my patients know that my office is a safe haven where any feelings can be discussed and openly explored. There is no judgment or weighing in on one side of the other. My office is actually a sanctuary where women can feel completely free to confess any uncertainties that arise prior to becoming pregnant, during pregnancy, or after delivery.

For that reason, I was pleased to see a post written by Avni Trivedi that showed up in my LinkedIn feed. She says, ” It’s a topic that other people can feel it’s their right to question- implying there’s a level of selfishness about the choice. Various arguments include: Aren’t you letting down your partner and his right to be a dad? Or, What is your purpose in the world if you aren’t going to have a family? They might talk in hushed tones assuming that fertility issues are at play.”

And she brings up some of the reasons women may feel conflicted, “Travel, leisure pursuits, personal development, charity work and social lives can offer a vibrant lifestyle, that can feel at odds with the ‘monotony’ of family. Compared with our grandmothers’ generation, there are so many more options. It’s little surprise that all this choice can lead to overwhelm.”

She concludes her essay with this, “Choose your life, and in my experience, many of my friends who have chosen not to have children are natural nurturers — it’s just that their care is channeled in a different way. Whatever your choice, to be a mother or not, I want you to know that you matter, and you make a difference.”

I think that’s beautifully said and I hope that I can convey this sentiment to my patients and that they truly feel safe in my presence to divulge any feelings that are robbing them of a happy, fulfilling, self-designed life with motherhood or without.

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~ by ppdsus on February 1, 2015.

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