The clock is ticking and you don’t know what to do. Not everyone wants kids, and reaching that conclusion can be a journey filled with confusion and regret. But with the help of Ann Davidman, a "Motherhood Clarity Mentor,” you can reach your decision after about 12 weeks of exercises she designed to help you figure it out.
In 1991, she created a program along with marriage and family therapist Denise L. Carlini called Motherhood —Is It For Me? and started to help women who were experiencing ambivalence about motherhood. “There was nowhere these women could go without feeling shame or being judged,” Davidman explained.
The two led support groups together for 10 years before Davidman started working with women and men individually. She also published a book Motherhood – Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity, which provides the course.
“There’s so much shame in not knowing what you want to do,” Davidman told Personal Space. “People think if you don’t know then you shouldn’t do it.”
Davidman describes the course as a very structured and ordered process where over 12 weeks there are exercises that you do to help you decide if you want a baby. “Very little of it has to do with parenting,” she said. “It’s about yourself, making decisions, and figuring out what you want.”
The way it works is the questions and exercises identify your fears and the circumstances of your life so you can put those aside in order to see what you want and why. “It’s just between you and you,” Davidman said. “From that place you can then look at a decision.”
Each week the course builds upon the previous week — out of context it seems inconsequential, but it starts out identifying what you thought your life would look like right now, and what you can put aside. “Someone will call me and say I don’t know what I want; maybe their partner wants something different, that gets put aside and you’re putting aside all distractions for the inner journey.”
She added that people who have always wanted to have kids have also taken the course because “it’s still valuable to discover why.”
“In the end people have clarity, whatever that may be,” Davidman said. “And if they still don’t know if they want to be a parent, they will at least know why. Some people could go either way. Others have assumed their entire life they don’t want children and then something comes up and they’re faced with a decision — and then they want kids because they realize it was unresolved issues that they can work through.”
The program is really just helping people pause long enough to ask themselves what in their childhood has gone unquestioned, what needs to be resolved. “You can have a great childhood and still not know, and I’m a therapist, so it’s really about self-inquiry and also exercises and visualizations that are designed to tease that out of you. It’s not about your answers to the questions, it’s more what that reaction is about.”
In the end, Davidman wants to help women discover the answer outside of societal pressures (like those Vanderpump Rules' Ariana Madix addresses). “People are very quick to say, ‘Don’t think about it, you’ll love it,’” she said. “I wish people who had clarity would take it too. You can have clarity and have a rich and fulfilling life. I work with lots of men too. It just gives you clarity around the situation.”
Her next “live” course begins on Aug. 7, an online series for women trying to decide. “They can actually hear other women who are struggling and it’s safe place,” she explained.
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