Millennials are so anxious that they're paying coaches and taking courses to help them decide whether to have kids

Syda Productions/ShutterstockShould we or shouldn’t we?
  • Many millennials wonder: “Should I have a baby?”
  • The struggle to decide has prompted them to pay for coaches, classes, and books, The New York Times reports.
  • One such online group course costs $US397.
  • Many women are worried about juggling parenting and their careers, and about giving up their freedom.

Over the summer, The New York Times’ Hannah Seligson wrote an article about the growing number of millennials who are plagued with indecision about whether to have kids.

The result is the proliferation of classes and coaches to help people choose, and book-long accounts of individuals’ struggles to figure out where they stand.

“The pendulum is swinging toward more focus on this grey area,” clinical social worker Merle Bombardieri told The Times (her practice has for 30 years focused on people who are uncertain about having kids). “There used to be a lot of either/or, either parenthood is wonderful or it’s terrible.” Now, many people find themselves stuck between different visions of their future.

Bombardieri runs a one-day workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called “The Baby Decision“; the cost for one person is $US115 (couples get a discount).

Meanwhile, Ann Davidman is a so-called “motherhood clarity mentor.” An online group course with Davidman costs $US397; one-on-one coaching presumably costs more, though the price isn’t listed on the website.

And San Francisco Women’s Therapy (not mentioned in The Times) offers counseling for those considering motherhood, with the goal of helping women “overcome feelings of guilt, regret or fear attached to your decision” and “recognise patterns from your own childhood and break through unhealthy ones.” (The website doesn’t list the cost, but indicates that they don’t directly bill insurance companies.)

Many women worry about juggling the demands of work and parenting

Reasons for indecision around having kids vary, but research suggests that for many women, the paralysis often has to do with worrying about work/life balance (or lack thereof). In a survey conducted by Bustle Trends Group, EJ Dickson writes, many respondents said they were so anxious about juggling parenthood and their careers that they weren’t sure if they wanted to have kids.

Read more: Top execs in banking, retail, and tech are saying they don’t practice work-life balance – because they found something better

Indeed, a Pew Research Center survey published in 2015 found that 58% of working millennial mothers said being a parent made it harder for them to get ahead work, compared to 19% of working millennial fathers.

If you find yourself among the undecided-and-freaking-out, an expert’s four-factor framework can help you move (slightly) forward. Business Insider previously spoke to Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist who’s published multiple books about parenting and he said that four factors determine whether you’re prepared to have a kid: a solid partnership or support network, the ability to take care of yourself, self-discipline, and a vision of parenting as self-fulfillment. Most people, Pickhardt said, only consider that last factor – but “love is not enough.”

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