268: “I want to be a mother!” (Part 1 of 2)

The featured photo shows Dr. Carly Zankman
at the Big Sur with her 8 month old nephew, Micah

Podcast #268 : An Ectopic Pregnancy (Part 1 of 2)

October was Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. We are dedicating this and next week’s podcast to all the mothers and fathers who have lost infants or struggled with pregnancy complications and tragedies.

This will be the first of two podcasts featuring a live therapy session with Dr. Carly Zankman. Dr. Zankman, a 27 year-old clinical psychologist in our Tuesday training group at Stanford, is facing a serious crisis involving motherhood. She is struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic ectopic pregnancy and some intense fears that she may never get the chance to be a mother. In addition, she is 100% convinced that she can never feel happy or fulfilled in life unless she becomes a mother.

The featured photo for this podcast is Dr. Zankman at the Big Sur with her 8 month old nephew, Micah. You can see the love and joy in her face, and her intense desire to become a mother herself.

The session took place at my Tuesday training group at Stanford, and my co-therapist was Dr. Jill Levitt, the Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California.

You can see Carly’s Daily Mood Log (DML) and Brief Mood Survey (BMS) at the start of the session  The DML reflected her feelings several weeks before, when she felt that her chances for pregnancy were greatly diminished, and the BMS reflects how she was feeling at the beginning of our session. As you can see, she was still moderately depressed and anxious, and her happiness and marital satisfaction scores were quite low, indicating that she was unhappy and somewhat dissatisfied with her relationship with her husband.

Carly was also anxious about being on the podcast, due to these additional negative thoughts:

  1. I’m not going to be able to describe what I’ve been through. She believed this 70%.
  2. There’s a potential to be judged by people. She believed this 100%.

In today’s podcast, you will hear the T = Testing and E = Empathy portions of the session, and in next week’s podcast you will hear the A = Assessment of Resistance and M = Methods portion of the session, and hopefully Carly will be able to join us for a follow-up to see how she’s been doing since the session.

The show notes for next week’s podcast will include eight teaching points.

Rhonda Jill and I are all extremely grateful to Carly for her courage in sharing this intensely personal part of her life with us. She received, as you might imagine, incredibly support from all the members of the training group during and after her session, as others had struggled with similar fears as well.

Thank you for listening, David, Rhonda, Jill & Carly

Dr. Jill Levitt practices at the Feeling Good Institute ( in Mountain View, California, where she is the Director of Training. She can be reached at

Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California. She sees clients mostly via Zoom, and in her office.  She can be reached at She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her website:

Dr. Carly Zankman has a telehealth clinical practice in Mountain View, California and is currently working towards Level 3 Certification in TEAM-CBT. She specializes in the treatment of teenagers and young adults throughout California who are struggling with anxiety (especially perfectionism), depression, relationship problems, and insomnia. She can be reached at

You can reach Dr. Burns at

This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great. The kindle and audio versions are available now too! 

It’s currently on sale at Amazon and ridiculously cheap! Act fast if you want a copy!