How Did You Know You Were Ready to Have a Baby?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “How did you know when you were ready to have a baby?” I’m very happy to share my answer, of course, and over the past few months, I asked 11 other women to weigh in, as well. Their answers were fascinating (and so different!)…

Ignorance is Bliss

For me, the initial decision-making process was clear. My whole life I knew I wanted children. I played with dolls, babysat for years and cooed after every child that passed me by. After meeting Alex, I felt even more sure about starting a family sooner than later.

Even though none of our friends had kids yet, my arms would literally ache for the weight of a baby. It was a surprisingly physical, visceral feeling. We agreed to try for a baby after we got married, and once we got home from our honeymoon, lo and behold I discovered I was pregnant.

While my decision to have a child was clear, I was still blown away by what a huge life change motherhood was, and I faced ups and downs that came with having a child. I adore parenting, but funnily enough, it’s almost like only in hindsight did I realize what a big decision it actually was.
— Joanna

Starting Young

I always wanted to be a young mother. My mom had me when she was 34 and she died when she was 52. I realized that if she had had me younger, I would have had more years with her. I wanted to give my kids the longest time possible to have a mom. So at the ripe old age of 23 I gave birth to my daughter, and at 25 I had twin boys. My dreams of being a young mom came true. I just hope my kids still want me around when I’m a grumpy 98-year-old.
— Sharon

Accidental Baby

Our son was a total surprise. I call him my juice cleanse baby. At the time, we were using a diaphragm for protection. I did my first juice cleanse (this was many years ago now) when they were all the rage. Well, I lost 12 pounds — I didn’t realize that would affect how the diaphragm fit, but, it did! So, I didn’t have the challenges of deciding to have a child, but I did struggle with motherhood. I love my son and was so humbled to become a mother but I hadn’t been emotionally prepared for everything I was giving up (alone time, time with my husband, casual morning sex) and I didn’t realize the energy and willpower it takes to juggle a career and a child, and just the general ongoing sacrifice of myself for my family that comprises being a mother. It took me a long time to find my own way through those woods.
— Audrey

One Mormon Experience

I was 25 when my first daughter was born. It’s common in the Mormon culture to have kids really young. Financial stability isn’t always a factor, it’s often assumed everything will work out fine. My husband was still in law school; we didn’t question whether we were prepared or not.

My mom had us young; I was the oldest of five, and, growing up, family was the forefront of everything in our Mormon community. Although I love that, the way girls are raised can sometimes be unbalanced. My parents would always talk about their excitement for me to be a mom, but they’d never say to me, we’re so excited to see what you’ll do with your college degree. It wasn’t pressure, it was an assumption; it was just what you do.

I don’t want to make assumptions for my daughter, and I’m always trying to plant seeds, like saying, IF you want to be a mom someday, or IF you want to be a doctor someday. I want her to have a different mindset. I want her to feel open to every possibility and know there is joy in all of it.

When it came to having kids, I honestly didn’t think about it. It’s so silly to admit that, it makes me feel kind of foolish! My friend recently joked, “I put so much more thought into which stroller to buy than whether or not to have a kid.” I’m happy with the way everything has shaken out, but its funny to imagine what our lives would be like if we hadn’t had kids so young.
— Linsey

Deciding to Adopt

Before I even met my husband, I knew I wanted to adopt. I didn’t feel a deep desire to be pregnant, but I felt deeply that I would be a loving mom to a child “who is already here,” as I used to say to my friends. My husband is adopted, so when we started talking about having a family, he was very open to the idea. When it turned out that I had some medical issues that would have made pregnancy tricky, even dangerous, he was one hundred percent pro. When I asked him “How do you feel about being the adopted father of an adopted child?”, he got this very tender look in his eyes and said, “I’ll know how to explain it to her.”

I have many friends who’ve adopted, and each one is a beautiful story, but ours was uniquely fast. We had had one preliminary “how does this work?” conversation with an adoption attorney, but we were busy in our lives and thought we’d wait six months or a year before starting the paperwork and all the other requirements.

Then one day, out of the blue, our adoption attorney called and said, “I have a situation with a birth mom. She’s six-months pregnant and the couple that was going to take her baby found another baby. Would you like to be considered?” We looked at each other over the phone for a moment. It wasn’t our timing. We were still living in my tiny apartment. But we had no reason to say no.

A few days later our attorney called us back with a trill in her voice. “The birth mom picked you!” she shouted. I felt like my heart was bursting out of my chest. Miracle, miracle, miracle, I kept saying to myself.

For the next month, we did nothing but paperwork, or so it seemed. Finances, background checks, original birth certificates, testimonials from friends, bank records, tax returns and meetings with a social worker. I said it was like going to work for the CIA combined with buying a house. At the same time, our birth mom found out her baby would be arriving early. We were in a race against the clock to get our paperwork done before the baby was scheduled to be induced.

We made it by one day. We were in the hospital when our daughter was born. We were holding her within hours. It had been seven weeks since that phone call from our attorney. Seven weeks from no baby to being a mom.

We are so grateful to the birth mom. She made the hard decision to put her daughter up for adoption. I never forget that. And I love my little girl so much. She is a joy to us every day.
— Anne

An Intellectual Decision

I was the baby of the family and didn’t babysit, either. So I never grew up with the feeling that I had to have kids. I just figured after I got married I would one day have the urge. So I waited, and waited… no urge.

As my mid-thirties approached, my husband and I realized that our choice to have kids would be more of a intellectual decision instead of an emotional decision. We felt stable financially, were enjoying staying home on Saturday nights, and basically said, “Why not?” I was worried my lack of urge would make it hard to adapt to being a mom, but I loved my son deeply from the second I met him and have never regretted our decision. I always say I wasn’t ready to have kids, but I readied myself.
— Lanie

‘There’s No Perfect Time’

My husband and I knew we wanted to have kids. When we were nearing 30, my husband suggested we get started. I said, “But things are so good the way they are,” and he replied, “There’s no perfect time to have a baby.” That resonated with me.

There was always some career or life reason why the timing wasn’t ideal, but I realized in retrospect that that would forever be the case, even with our second or third baby. I don’t think everyone has that alarm bell inside that says, “Today is the day.”

Of course the moment our children joined us, our lives made room for them. That’s just the way it is. I think as humans we get apprehensive about change, but then we adapt to it so much that we can’t imagine what life was like before.
— Samantha

A Long-Term Vision

My partner and I asked ourselves what we wanted our lives to be like in 10, 15 or 20 years and we tried to make the decision based on that vision. We decided we wanted to be a part of a bustling, interdependent, multigenerational community of adults and kids, and we wanted to go to soccer games and graduations. So it wasn’t as much a matter of “am I ready to be horribly sleep-deprived; will I find that awesome?” as it was “the life we want to have when we are 50, ideally, has kids in it.”

I think that if we assume that when you are “ready” it means that the adjustment to a with-kids lifestyle will be fairly easy and natural and we won’t regret it, then almost no one is ever ready. It’s sensible to feel ambivalent about that disruption, and a certain pragmatic ambivalence doesn’t mean you’re not ready.

It’s also such a stark decision. It’s not like deciding to go to grad school and knowing that if you hate it you can drop out. Once you have a kid, you have him or her forever. So I think a lot of this question is about trying to predict regret. If I have kids, will I regret it sometimes? If I don’t have kids, will I regret it sometimes? And for most people, the answer to both questions is probably yes. There’s not really a self-awareness quiz that will help us never to feel wistful about the whatever path we didn’t take.
— Emily

Just One Kid

While working at Elle Magazine, I heard so many women talk about the ups and downs of parenthood. So I was able to think and think and think about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a child. But I wasn’t sure that I didn’t want a child. I was 50/50, completely ambivalent. My whole thing was I wanted to be totally sold on it before getting into it. I wanted to want it.

But, a fertility counselor I once interviewed for a story told me you don’t actually ever want to get to the point where you want a child more than anything else in the world, since usually when women get to that point it’s because they can’t have one. Another doctor I interviewed suggested that instead of thinking “yes” or “no” on kids, it might help to think, “one kid” or “more than one kid.” She pointed out that one kid would provide the joy of parenting in a less intense way than multiple kids and that many of the things I was worried about might not be a factor with one child — my career, my relationship, my finances.

That’s was first time someone mentioned one child as a compromise. So we had a child.

Now I struggle all the time with how to tell people what it feels like to have a child. Before I had decided to have a child, I would get very frustrated when people would say super optimistic things, like, “Once you have one you’ll love them SO much.” I would roll my eyes. But I struggle now because it IS such a wonderful thing. How can I tell people that without sounding like an brainwashed, annoying person who is overly besotted with her baby? But, it’s so awesome. Every single day I feel so happy, like 100% happy, that we had a child. That’s why I never write about it or address the topic of motherhood with a tone of “and we lived happily ever.” It just sounds so ugh. But I’m so, so, so glad we did it.
— Corrie

Deciding ‘No’

Even as a child, motherhood was never something I pictured myself doing. Pretending to be a mother was a role I found boring compared to other games, like pretending to be a spy, a dancer or a teacher. There was so much world to explore beyond the relatively small domestic realm of raising children, I thought. When I got older, I never enjoyed babysitting, either.

I noticed that I wasn’t captivated by the everyday aspects of parenting people envision when they yearn for a child, either — dressing and undressing a baby, bath time, bedtime, playing in the park. I’ve always felt that focusing on those things would involve missing out on intellectual stimulation and that I would resent the repetitiveness, endless housework and other demands that come with being a mom.

Articulating why I don’t want children has been a long, thoughtful process for me because I have been asked to justify it so many times. People sometimes take issue when you say that you don’t want children, so I always felt I had to come up with brash or witty responses to being attacked for expressing this preference, ranging from “I don’t like babies” (for the shock effect) to “There’s so much else I want to do in my life” to “I would have kids if I could have a wife and be a father.” I don’t think I would have encountered the same level of skepticism, curiosity or even hostility about my decision not to have children if I were a man.

People often think of a life without children as empty, but the only times I feel my life is empty are when I am creatively blocked or when I am not able to spend enough time with friends and family whom I love. Quiet and order are important to me. I need both to be able to think and read and write.

When many of my friends started having children, I became more aware of the fact that some day, as I got older, my option to have kids would definitively end. And being in a committed relationship has made me stop and think through my decision once more. But ultimately, my partner and I are both committed to our work, to travel and to having our lives be open to opportunity.
— Meg

A Busy Calendar

A lot of the decision was just finding a quiet stretch in our schedules. After our wedding, we waited a couple of months to take our Italian honeymoon and I knew I didn’t want to be pregnant and miss out on the wine and the cheese and the cured meats. Then, in the year that followed, a seemingly endless string of life circumstances intervened: we had five more weddings we wanted to fully celebrate; I quit my job; we moved apartments; I started my freelance career, making life more hectic and uncertain.

We felt like it made the most sense to wait until we had settled into our marriage and our careers and the mad rush of trips and weddings slowed. I ended up getting pregnant RIGHT after my best friend’s wedding — at the same time she did.
— Stephanie

Hoping Every Month

I was quite sure I did not want a child throughout my twenties. I had a strong gut feeling that I didn’t want someone to need me that much. I had always adored kids, but I wanted my freedom and having a family just wasn’t calling me!

Then something changed for me around age 32. It wasn’t a lightning bolt, it was a slow shift. I decided to take some time to get my cycles in order and see if I could work on general fertility for a while. I dove into the book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and adjusted how I ate and took care of myself.

I started to welcome the idea of a child and let it sit with me. I started talking about it more with my sweetheart. I started to feel more emotionally connected to our idea of a family of three and we felt more sure it was something we were hoping for and not just wondering about.

By the time I turned 35, were were hoping to be pregnant every single month. It was a long journey for us, which took many twists and turns, but we finally found out I was pregnant about six weeks before my 39th birthday. I am now 30 weeks along and due this summer. We are not at the end of our story by any means, and I feel lucky to be where I am every single day. I’ll always remember and respect how long everything took.

My only real piece of advice about figuring out if you are “ready” is to take your time. So many of us rush around all day long and take that same approach with the big decisions in our lives. People always say life moves quickly, but I disagree. I think life moves slowly if you are paying attention. There is so much for us to take from and learn from every single day. If you pay attention, you will know if and when you are ready and even the pondering becomes an important part of the journey. I wish everyone a good and fulfilling path toward their own families, no matter what they look like!


Thank you so much to these women for sharing their personal stories. What about you? Are you weighing the decision right now? If you have a child, how did you know you were ready? I am so curious to hear…

P.S. How many kids do you hope to have (we’re torn!), and would you ever decide not to have kids?

(Top photo by Ruth Orkin; bottom photo of Toby as a newborn. A few names have been changed for people’s privacy.)

  1. Kasey says...

    I’ve loved reading all these comments .
    When I first started reading this, I was feeling very nervous at the thought of having kids.
    I’m 25, been with my husband since I was 17 (8 years), got married 2 years ago.
    I’ve always known I wanted to be a mum. I used to play mum with my friends at school, always dreamed of being a young mum, but always knew I wanted to be married, with a house, first.
    We finally bought a house (3 bedroom) last year, and I’ve been desperate to start a family. It comes up in conversation almost every week and is on my mind most days.
    Last week we decided we’re probably ready, and maybe after the summer we could start trying.
    As soon as we decided this, I got incredibly nervous. I suddenly thought that although I had been bringing it up for years, maybe it was only because I knew he was sensible and would say we weren’t ready. I started panicking that we don’t have enough savings, haven’t travelled enough, don’t have enough family near us, I haven’t been in my job long enough (I’m a teacher, have only been qualified a couple of years, and was thinking of moving to a different school maybe next year).
    However, after reading all these comments, it’s reminded me that there’s probably not a ‘perfect’ time. We are in a very good place, financial security, etc.
    I then calmed down and thought back to when I got engaged. I had been mentioning marriage since early on in our relationship, always knew I wanted to be married young, was always disappointed when another milestone passed without a proposal, but when he did propose, I got the same panic, suddenly felt I wasn’t actually ready. However I was so happy at the same time, I loved the planning process, and as soon as we were married, I completely relaxed, and knew it was right. I’ve not had any regrets since that day.
    I loved the comment I read, someone said they felt nervous right up to the day their baby was born, then it fell into place. I think this describes me perfectly, and I now am back to my excited stage. I can’t wait to start a family!

  2. Jessica says...

    I will be 24 soon and dating my serious partner who will be 31 soon. I am completely terrified of having a baby. I cannot, I mean, CANNOT picture myself with one and that scares me. And the fact, that I know I dont want one now my bf will leave me scares me even more. I have never wanted kids and now, am still hesitant. I always figured the urge would come, but not now- I am still too young and immature. We talk about the future and if I dont get pregnant by 27/28 then my bf said he absolutely wont have one, because he doesnt want to be that old when the kid is graduating hs. How long do I wait? How do I know in the next yr/2 yrs I will be ready to have one? I read stuff like this article and others all the time, trying to help me envision a life with a baby. I see cool, young moms hiking through the desert with a baby and think, “ya, that could be me.” And then I see my dream of becoming an elite runner, of traveling and writing for a running magazine go down the drain. My bf says my life doesnt have to change, but come on? How would it not? I know I am young and still have some time, but the future is closer than I think-and the baby issue is the elephant never leaving the room

    • Ana says...

      I’m sorry but your partner seems more immature than you. You are the mature person who carefully makes decisions taking all pros and cons into consideration. 35 yrs for a man is not being old. I’m 31 just now, my husband is 34 and we are not planing to have a child for next 3-5 years. You wait as long as you need to. If you are pressured it may not end up well for yourself.

  3. Melinda says...

    I’ve been going back and forth whether I should have kids or not. I just never felt any kind of maternal instinct. I have a huge family, so I was always surrounded by babies. I was babysitting, taking care of them, playing and feeding them, but not once did I think “I can’t wait to do this with my child.” When we were kids, my younger sister always played with baby dolls, baby strollers, fed them with those fake baby bottles and slept with them. I never did that. I don’t think I had a baby doll to begin with. I knew I didn’t want kids since I was 13. My sister knew she wanted them since… forever. I got married relatively young, at the age of 23, a week before my 24th birthday. I told my husband I don’t want kids and he was ok with it. Now he’s not cause he’s turning big 30. I’m 26, about to turn 27, and still haven’t felt the need, the urge, anything to have kids. I’m testing myself with thoughts “This baby blanket would be perfect for my baby” or start knitting baby sweaters in such beautiful patterns, but to be honest, it only made me feel even more sure I don’t want any. And it breaks my heart. It would make so many people so damn happy. My mother is getting old and has dementia and every few months she says she misses grandkids. She’s planning a swing on an old pear tree in the garden, she saved most of clothing she knitted for me when I was a baby. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not putting any pressure on me, she’s only sharing her emotions with me; I just know deep down inside she is disappointed. This brings tears to my eyes for the first time ever. I’m finally saying/typing out loud how I feel. I wish I had any maternal instinct, for the sake of my husband and parents, but I’m afraid that day will never come.

    • I’ve been there. I helped raise my sister through my teens and decided at the age of 14 I would never have kids. I just turned 34, And now it’s like my body is INSISTING I have a baby. Best not to force yourself into a mindset now that may come naturally later. The decision to have a child will affect you the most, so it has to be based on what you want.

  4. Cindy says...

    Thank you all for sharing a bit about your journeys. Having children is something I look forward to with a bit of reservation because of the huge responsibilities associated with being a mom. Reading these stories tells me there’s no single, right way to get started. Best wishes for all the women who shared their learned lessons.

  5. Mrs. M says...

    I am 27 and married for 5 years. I want to have a baby but I am so scared about spoiling my career which is just kicking off. I am scared my body will be forever changed and I am scared that I will alienate most of my friends who aren’t even married yet. All along, I also feel I am being immature about this.

  6. Katrina says...

    I love how the majority of the 11 women polled said “only in retrospect did I realize how much work it would be.” Really? The main reason I avoided children for 10 years was because I knew EXACTLY how much energy, effort, and responsibility it would take. How can you not know or think about that before getting pregnant? Especially when you’ve been a babysitter, or have been told and/or shown your whole life exactly how difficult it is. I’m sorry, but I truly cannot stand women who are like, “Well I always knew I wanted a baby, but it wasn’t until I had one that I realized how much work it was.” Okay then! Whatever you say… But the worst time to realize that is AFTER you’re pregnant. And how young do you have to start having sex to be pregnant by 23? I don’t even want to think about it…

    • Cody says...

      I don’t understand your frustration. How can someone know EXACTLY what it’s like to have a child when they have never had a child before? That doesn’t make any sense. Yes of course you can see from others experiences what it could be like but every child is different. You won’t know what it takes to raise your child until you do it. Also, why would 23 be too young to have a child? Especially if you are married and can provide a loving home to a child? You can get pregnant after having sex once so I would say as young as 23 to be pregnant by 23:)

    • Truthful taco says...

      You’re 100% right. If someone doesn’t have enough experience w children to know exactly view much work it’s going to be, they have no business starting a family. Yes, 23 is too young considering the immaturity factor. That offends a lot people, but only because they know deep down that it’s true.

  7. I never wanted kids but when I met and married my husband, I thought MAYBE. Seven years later we decided we were ready (it was mostly me who was doubtful) and we started trying. To be honest, I really wasn’t trying very hard. We eventually did get pregnant but unfortunately, we lost the baby. That’s when I absolutely knew I wanted a baby. I’d imagined a whole life and future for my child, and it was the hardest thing I’d ever had to endure. We got pregnant again very quickly after, and we’re expecting a little girl later this year. The strange thing is my parents went through the exact same thing before they had me, and that’s when my mum knew she wanted kids.

  8. Clare says...

    Lovely thoughts. I would love it if you could do a post on a variety of women who ultimately chose not to have children, or who partnered with someone who didn’t want kids! It’s such a complex decision to make, one that doesn’t get a lot of airtime in the blogosphere.

    • ThePonderer says...

      I agree, would love to read more stories from women who have chosen not to have children and how their lives turned out. Did they ever looked back? Regretted it? And also, what else came in place instead of kids? Is the only other option career? Or is there something else? I just so so wish to be able to connect with other women who’ve gone through this already.

  9. Lauren says...

    Thank you for the thoughtfulness and openness of this post. It’s nice to really hear from real women instead of just crappy cliches about wanting to be a mom. I am a mom of two and have always wanted to be a mom (specifically a mom of 3!) but my second child, my son, has a malformation in his brain and several developmental delays. He is incredible, brings me joy every day, every MOMENT I am with him, but he takes a lot of work. Just the thought of a typical child that can almost sit up by themselves at 6 months and then feed themselves at a year sounds like a breeze! I don’t feel like we’re ‘done’ but I also have to consider the children we have- am I, are we, being fair to them? I don’t have anything else to add- it was just so nice to read thoughts from multiple women that were honest.

  10. I’ve always wanted kids. I’m 23, single & have no kids but if I could snap my fingers and have anything I wanted I would be a mum right now. I think timing has so much to do with it, it’s just not my time yet.

  11. Love your post!
    I’m a mom of two boys (8&10 years old). I always wanted to have children before my 30. As it’s healthy for woman. And you’re a young mom. And so it was, I was 27 & 29. I will never regret.
    I have to admit that even though we felt ready we probably was’t. But being a mom is forever. Once you’re in, you don’t want to get out :)

    • Truthful taco says...

      Before 30 is a strangely placed goal.

  12. I feel defensive for women who decide not to have children because that is their own choice. And no one should EVER ask them why they don’t want kids that isn’t their business either. And she is right she would not be getting as many questions if she was a man. I am Mormon and it is very heavily taught that we are to be mothers. I agree, it’s a holy calling and by the most important thing you can do in this life, but i wish there wasn’t so much pressure. And the pressure to stay home is there too. It has lessened over the years but still, I don’t want women to feel bad for Wyoming when they have a kids. Women should have careers! And the Church is fine with that but they encourage us to stay home if we can. I’ve been married a year and people ask me “when are you getting pregnant?” And I just want to shake them and yell ” ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! In a few years!! I want to be a mommy more than anything! But can we just be married for a second first please?!?!?” My sister says I should respond to that question by saying “how much money do you make? Cause that’s what we are doing tight? Asking inappropriate questions?”

    • Madeline says...

      This is a genius response that should be trotted out every time a random stranger asks a highly inappropriate question! I’ll be sure to follow your sister’s advice :-)

  13. Michelle says...

    My husband and I thought we wanted two kids, but when it came down to deciding to have one, I hemmed and hawed. I just wasn’t sure I wanted a baby, but I felt that my husband married me thinking that I did. He told me that I could choose not to and that he’d be ok with it, but I felt like that would be cheating him of something, and so, since he felt stronger than I did, I decided to do it and once we actually started trying to get pregnant, the ambivalence went away. It took almost 3 years before I decided that I really wanted to have another one. The first one had been so hard to have and to adjust to, and I’d felt pretty traumatised. Even if it is as hard as last time, though, I think it will be worth it to see my little girl holding a sibling in her arms (I’m due at the end of the year when I’ll be 38).

  14. Thanks for doing this post. I’m going to turn 27 and finish school this year (finally) and will have been married for 7 years. This is a constant stress for me and I see myself and my thought process in some of these stories. Thanks for making me feel that I’m not alone in maybe not wanting kids and definitely not knowing.

  15. karla says...

    We had two kids relatively young, when I was 25 and 27. Looking back, having kids just seemed like the next step. We had finished college and began our careers, bought a home, and were responsible. The transition wasn’t easy because I was the first of my friends to have kids and had no idea what was coming my way. I think everyone has a vision of how parenthood will be before you have kids, but most of the time it’s different, be it good or challenging. For me, it was challenging. My first kid was tough and nothing seemed to go smooth. I must have been incredibly resilient to be able to handle some of those situations. We now have a 10 and almost 8 year-old who are awesome. We travel with them and have energy to play with them and handle whatever comes our way. I LOVE that by the time they both graduate high school, we’ll still be in our 40s. Plenty of time for us as a couple to spend traveling, and enjoying each other. We hope to be able to enjoy them longer (and vice versa) during our younger healthier years. Doing it our way was hard in the beginning but easier now, and I’m so glad we had them young.

  16. Hmmm. I totally teared up reading the adoption post… I remember that my husband and I agreed that we wanted to wait a little when we got married. I was so young, only 20, when we got married. We waited, but not for long. And I’m a fertile myrtle, so the very first month I was off the pill, I was pregnant. Our daughter was born just a month before my 22nd birthday.

  17. El says...

    I got married at 31… I’m a week away from 34 now. I have to say I’m glad that my husband and I have had ‘just us’ time. We’ve travelled, we’ve spent long lazy weekends doing everything and nothing, we’ve been hugely spontaneous, we’ve slept a ton, we’ve ticked things off bucket lists, we’ve enjoyed working hard at our careers. We’ve been selfish and self-indulgent. Finally it feels like we’ve got our finances in gear, we’re ready to add another person into the mix, and we’ve seen how much joy it’s brought to friends and family. And I’ve no doubt my husband will be an awesome father. Truthfully, I’m not the most maternal person in the world and I’m the biggest introvert ever (I live for alone time, and peace and quiet, and order). I’ve never had that I HAVE TO BE A MOTHER urge. But… lately… there’s a little whisper in my head saying, “Go on… it could be the best thing that ever happened to you.” And this year, I think I’m going to listen to it.

    • Kelly says...

      Wow this could have been me that wrote this! Thank you for sharing. I’m in exactly the same place! I’m turning 38 this year, I married my wonderful husband at 34, so we wanted some ‘us’ time before throwing children into the mix. But I’m getting older and there is some degree of pressure there to make a decision, which is hard as I am not hugely maternal…..and an introvert like you! Good luck with it all.

  18. i love your motherhood posts. i’m a mama of two (2.5 years and 3 months old) and my foray into motherhood was not a giant “aha!” moment. i didn’t feel it in my gut or my heart even which is exactly how i felt when i got engaged to my husband (who i should say, i am madly in love with). i’m a type-a planner and for me, having kids was just a thing to plan. i considered my age, me and my husband’s lifestyle and finances and just felt like, “yeah, i guess we’re ready.” it may sound weird or like i made a mistake going off head, not heart, but it has worked perfectly for us. to all the potential mamas waiting for that flash that says its time, don’t worry if you take the plunge without it as it may never come if you’re like me! xo

    • Hannah says...

      Thank you for this. I’ve been married for nearly 4 years, and I’ve been waiting for that “I’m ready now” moment. My husband is 6 years older and desperately wants to have kids soon. I haven’t had that moment yet, and I WANT to feel ready so badly. But it’s encouraging to hear that maybe it’s okay to “jump and a net will appear.”

    • Bonnie says...

      Such a relief to read your post. My husband and I have been married almost 5years and have loved it just being us two but feel we should probably move things along. Maybe. I’ve just turned 34 and all our friends are having children and loving it so I’m wondering – should we? I had a friend that asked me – do you not have that ‘burning urge to have children’ and no I don’t. I’m waiting for it though!! But a relief to think it may not happen like that. I like to think of Christmasses when we are older and a big family around the table but the early years – the lack of sleep, the nappies don’t pull me towards the idea of a baby. But then we are secure financially, about to move house, have parents desperate for grandchildren and we love each other and feel we could provide a loving stable home. So maybe why not? Worried about sharing my husband though!! I selfishly love my time with him so much!

  19. Anonymous says...

    I sent this article to my friend who was having trouble deciding whether she wanted to start having kids, and she decided two days ago to start trying with her husband! Thank you for posting this balanced and nonjudgmental article to help women have a real conversation about the timing and impact of having children in our lives.

  20. Jen says...

    Such great comments. Congrats to all expecting and mad props to all you mamas. I need to weigh in on the ‘no’ position – I know there’s some girl out there who’s decided no, but still a little on the fence and scrolling through all these comments looking for me. I was on the fence for about a decade and half. I thought I SHOULD have a baby more than wanted to. My husband felt the same. We bought a big house, moved to a small town – I used to say things like – this kid in this bedroom – this kid in that bedroom. Some serious soul searching led to questions like What do I really want in life? Nowhere on my list of things was children. So we decided no. I’m 41 – have I regretted it, even for a second? Never. I love children though – I tear up for a good baby story – I LOVE halloween when those neighbourhood bebehs come to my door. I just don’t want one. When we decided no, I lost 10 pounds almost instantly – the headache I’d had for 5 years went away and the stomach problems too. I’d been putting huge pressure on myself and now I’m free.

    • amy says...

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this comment!

      Out of my four siblings, my husband’s nine and the countless friends, co-workers, acquaintances, TV stars, TV and movie characters, bloggers, personalities, etc, etc, it feels like my husband and I are the only ones choosing not to reproduce. We have only one set of childless friends left. I ADORE children, and am the best auntie I can possibly be. I decided early, however, that I don’t want any kids of my own and found a man who felt the same way. I’m 35 now without any doubt that we made the best choice for us. But sometimes, it can be a lonely decision filled with people who just don’t get it… It’s so nice when someone finally does!

  21. This is such a lovely post, I’m someone who hasn’t hit any kind of maternal instinct yet many of my friends can’t wait! So glad to see so many people that felt the didn’t have to rush into it and I feel much more normal now


  22. Samantha says...

    These comments are so lovely! I have always wanted children. I felt very sure about that my whole life. My husband and I have been together since I was 19, and he has felt the same way as me. He actually used to say he wanted children much sooner than I could imagine having them. We always used to say we wanted 4, a big, loud family! We got married when I was 25, and he was a surgical resident, so we knew that wasn’t the right time financially, and he was working up to 90 hours a week. I also had just begun my career as an elementary school teacher and was enjoying that. Plus, I was still pretty young and loved hanging out with friends, and being able to take off for a weekend getaway at a moments notice. After we had been married for 3 years (I was 28) we decided to try and get pregnant. It took us a little over a year to get pregnant, nothing was wrong, just took a while. In that year of trying, I desperately wanted to become a mom. It was so visceral. We conceived my son and he was born 20 months ago. Now at 31, we have a toddler and I am due with my second baby this December. I am now sure I do not want 4 children, but we are considering a third after this one is born….maybe. I love being mom, and I love my son in a deep and primal way that I couldn’t have really imagined before he was born. I do miss the spontaneous aspect of my former life, but it is all worth it for us.

  23. KM says...

    I’ve always loved children, and instinctively knew I wanted to be a mother. When I met my husband, it was funny, it was this incredibly physical feeling, basically a craving—like being thirsty and not being able to stop thinking about drinking water. I would walk by playgrounds and immediately see children that looked like my husband, and I’d imagine what our child would look like with both our features smushed together. It didn’t help that it was so apparent my husband would make the best dad ever—all the kids in our apartment building would knock on the door and ask if he wanted to play. :)
    BUT. We got married young. Really young. And we were so poor! I knew it would be irresponsible. So we waited (and waited) and would cuddle up talking about our future-child at night. Seven years after we got married, our son was born, and seeing his tiny face was a revelation!

    Hilariously, I thought having a child would wash all that baby lust away. It didn’t, it’s almost worse! I can’t wait to welcome a second child, possibly even a third child, into our family! I’m head over heals in love with motherhood.

  24. Nicole says...

    I had never really thought much about having children, although I think I always assumed I would one day. Then, about three years ago, two people very close to me died within a few months of each other. First, was a friend I grew up with–she was only 24. She was diagnosed with cancer in October and died three months later. She lived in another state and hadn’t told anyone but her immediate family about her diagnosis or treatment. I didn’t find out she had cancer until I got a phone call from her brother telling me she had passed away. A few months after that, my grandfather, who had been my primary caretaker for most of my childhood, passed away after being in hospice care for several weeks. Those two deaths hit me really hard. I couldn’t shake the feeling that death was everywhere. I felt weighed down and lonely. The following October, my sister-in-law gave birth to the first baby my family has seen in nearly 20 years. I was 25 at the time. My niece’s birth was a revelation to me. For the first time since those two deaths, I felt like i understood that life really does go on and that I could be happy again. And that’s when it clicked for me. I really wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be part of that circle of life. I wanted that hope that babies bring. Now, about two and a half years later, I am about 8 months pregnant with my first child and couldn’t be more thrilled.

    • Nicole says...

      Thank you for this. I am in a similar position and I feel like my biggest takeaway is that life goes on and you shouldn’t wait to do what makes you happy. Best of luck to you!