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There is no greater life commitment than becoming a parent.

For some people there’s a clear life vision that involves becoming parents. But for many, it’s not such an easy choice.

Maybe one of these thoughts resonates with you:

  • Parts of parenting seem really dreamy- but a lot of it doesn’t.

  • I don’t know how I could be a parent and not turn out like my parents.

  • Sometimes I want to have a baby, but I'm not sure- and it’s not something you can back out of.

  • I think I want to stay child-free, but I worry I will regret it someday.

  • I’m single and I’m not sure I want to parent alone.

  • My partner and I are on two different pages about having kids- but we really love each other.

  • How do we know when it’s the right time to start a family?

  • I like my life now- do I really want to change it?

At some point in life nearly every adult faces this decision, but you don’t have to face it alone.

I've seen many couples through incredible relationship transformations. Some who end up choosing children now, some who wait, and others who decide not to parent. 

And I’ve worked with lots of individual clients who don’t have a partner on the same page or who don’t have one at all to decide what’s best for them as prospective parents.

Read below for more info on how we sort through this difficult choice.

 

Call to learn how I can support you.

 
We don’t do anything by the book so we didn’t want to just have kids because everyone around us seemed to be having them. These sessions really helped us figure out how to make a family our own way.
— Ted & Kayla, Milwaukee, WI
 
If we’re not going to have kids we need to face the grief of that, and if we’re going to have them we need to figure out how not to be overwhelmed and grow distant. Both options seemed bleak. At least now we’re facing it as a team.
— Derek & Josephina, Madison, WI
maybe baby | deciding to have kids | deciding not to have kids

WHAT THE MAYBE BABY PROCESS IS:

This process is designed to focus specifically on your big decision: parenting or not? Now or never?

This brief process is typically completed in six sessions. The goal is to get the couple unstuck and moving forward, in whichever direction they choose.

The goal-focused, action-oriented work is a coaching process.  We'll focus on your strengths and resiliency factors to help you move forward with integrity.

Discernment work is designed to help you answer:

“What do I really want right now?”

“How can I live with whatever decision I make moving forward?”

“Are we on the same page?”

“How do we partner around our decision- no matter which direction this conversation takes us?

If both partners answer yes, they often move forward to start working more intensely in couples coaching.

WHAT THE MAYBE BABY PROCESS IS NOT:

CONVINCING - These sessions won’t force a partner to choose parenting or a child-free life.  I'm not here to convince either of you, though I ultimately will always hold out hope for your partnership.

JUDGEMENT - I'm not here to take sides or judge which of you is right or wrong.  And that wouldn't really help you anyway, would it?

HEALTHCARE - It's not mental health therapy (aimed at assessing, diagnosing or treating individual mental health conditions or substance use).  We're not going to wander through stories of your family of origin or trauma history.  We'll focus our relationship coaching at the specific issue at hand: do I/we want to parent?

THE ONLY STEP - The conversation doesn’t end here. As with any decision, regret, grief, and struggle (as well as joy, celebration, and connection) will come no matter which path you choose. If you're at this point you'll likely need to do some work to make sustainable change in your relationship patterns on either journey. 

This work will help you identify where you need to focus your continued relationship work as a couple and (if you choose it) as parents.

Part of me really wants kids, and most of me doesn’t. I didn’t see a way forward for us since [my wife] was 100% baby-ready. Gina helped us create options where it seemed there weren’t any.
— Dane, Missoula, Montana
I’m just tired of wondering if I’ve missed my window and if I did then what?
Gina helped me get really honest with myself about what I want.
— Lara, Vancouver, BC
how to break up

One day I am sure I want a kid, and then the very next day I'm absolutely sure I don’t. What's the deal?

There are a lot of reasons you might feel like you're swinging between opposite poles moment to moment (lots of people feel this way, BTW).  This is a HUGE decision that will impact your life forever in one direction or the other- which is why getting help is critical right now.

Can we really become parents without growing distant/re-enforcing the patriarchy/losing ourselves in the process?

Most people have poor modeling about parenthood. Very few of us have egalitarian or intentional role models to follow and it can be really challenging to find good information.

If you know parenting is right for you, I’m here to help you create structures and systems to support growing the family and parenting experience you want instead of just following other people’s patterns. 

I try to be realistic about both pieces so you can assess if you really have the commitment, time, and energy to dedicate to creating the intentional future that’s best for you.    

Can I really do this on my own?

Single parenting does mean facing challenges that many couples parents get to share all on your own. But there are lots of tools, resources, and communities to tap into for support and guidance along the way. I can help you access those and deal with the envy and grief that is common for folks who wish to be partnered but aren’t.

 

I'm happy to answer any questions you have about my work in a free call.

I was terrified to tell my wife I don’t want kids, but it’s just not who I am. Gina prepped me for a really hard conversation and supported both me and my wife through the aftermath.
— Greg, Hood River, OR
 

A NOTE FROM GINA

Hey there, Thanks for your interest in working with me. There are a few important things I want you to know about working with me when making a HUGE life decision:

  • There are a lot of people who might try and pressure you into one route or the other- that’s not my job.

  • I won’t advocate for you or your partner’s position. I’m here to help you find what’s best for you.

  • I am not attached to the outcome of your decision. It doesn’t matter which path you choose- so long as you feel comfortable it’s in alignment with your values and vision.

I share this because I know opening this conversation takes a lot of courage and doing it in a judgment-free space is essential to getting really clear about what you truly want and need. Let me know if you want to talk more! - Gina

 

ABOUT YOUR COACH

Gina Senarighi Madison Relationship Coach

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD, CPC is a certified relationship coach, retreat leader, speaker, and author specializing in human connection, intimacy, authenticity, shame-resilience, and alternative relationships. For over twelve years she has supported hundreds of clients creating fulfilling integrity-based relationships according to their own rules.

She earned her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010 from Saybrook University. She received her Bachelor degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and a Masters of Science in Education with a minor in Human Sexuality from Indiana University in 2004. In 2019 she completed her PhD in Spiritual Studies and Pastoral Counseling.

Gina was named Portland’s Best Life Coach in 2019 by Portland Business Recognition and has taught psychology courses, communication workshops, couples intimacy retreats, and guest lectured on alternative relationships and sex-positive therapy at universities across the US. Students love her no nonsense “real talk” presentation style.

Gina knows with better relationship and sex education we’d build a more compassionate, creative, confident, and fulfilled society.  She believes we are entitled to desire and we all need meaningfully connected relationships to thrive. She knows all relationships need a tune-up from time to time and has been praised by clients for her friendly non-judgmental approach to couples work. 

She understands first-hand the struggles creative and entrepreneurial couples face as they navigate the abundant joys and challenges that come with a high-achieving lifestyle. Her clients span the globe as they set forth to make the world a better place for us all.

When she’s not teaching, coaching or consulting you can find her in her gorgeous urban garden, hiking Door County with her tiny dog, cooking lavish dinners, playing with her two sweet kids, or traveling the world with her partner, Rae.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT WORKING WITH ME ...

WHAT I DO

  • Use a strengths-based approach to help you grow

  • Bring a decade of experience helping hundreds of incredible people deeply connect to themselves and the people they love

  • Help you listen and communicate effectively, end repetitive argument cycles, and let go of baggage

  • Use a sex-positive framework and vast sexuality knowledge to fan flames of passion between you

  • Identify ways to manage intense emotions

  • Rebuild trust and renew intimacy

  • Keep momentum and hope alive - even if it's hard for you to feel hopeful

  • Deeply care about your personal growth and well-being and at the same time hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself

WHAT I DON'T DO

  • Sit and nod - instead, we'll take action. Be forewarned: I've been described as "direct and not-coddling."

  • Add shame or judgment to your experience (there's already WAY too much of that in the world)

  • Get stagnant. I will check in to see if this is working- focusing and refocusing on action and change in your life

  • Collude with your inner critics to let you stay small

  • Treat you like you're broken (because you're not)

  • Assume your experience is the same as mine or anyone else's

  • Pathologize you (I don't treat mental illness, so you won't receive a diagnosis, assessment or treatment for mental health conditions or substance use)