"I don't know if I'll ever want kids."

Like most women I know, I’d always assumed I would have kids – one day.

When I imagined my grown-up future as a child and then a teenager, I always pictured all the usual things – degree, job, house, partner, and kids. I never really felt the maternal urge – whatever that means – but I thought it was something that arrived with age and maturity – I thought one day, I’d suddenly wake up as an adult, and know it was time to have a baby.

Alexis and her partner. Image via Instagram @alexismariecarey

And yet here I am now, six months away from my 30th birthday - still waiting for those maternal feelings to kick in.

Don't get me wrong. I love kids. I worked with kids for years as a children's librarian and then at an after-school care. It's just that the idea of making one of my own straight-up terrifies me.

I've always been petrified of the entire idea of pregnancy and birth. Everything about it - from seemingly endless blood tests and ultrasounds to contractions, mucus plugs and episiotomies - is almost enough to send me into a panic attack.

But the scariest part for me is what comes after: caring for an actual human being.

should i have kids
Image via iStock.

It seems like such a monumental task. Not only are you responsible for keeping a small person alive and healthy, you're also responsible for their emotional wellbeing. What if I am a terrible mother? What if I single-handedly send my children into years of therapy? What if, what if, what if?

I've always believed you shouldn't have kids unless you're certain you want them. Not only is it not fair to bring kids into the world when you're not 100 per cent committed to them, it's also not fair to add to an already dangerously overpopulated planet just because you feel it's something you "ought to" do.

Luckily, my fiance and I are both in the same boat at the moment. We recently had an honest discussion about children and the future, and the end result is that for now, we're both on the fence.

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Which is fine - except that society won't stop telling me that my biological clock is ticking, and infertility is surely just around the corner, and that I should have a baby NOW. TODAY. THIS SECOND.

Hence my dilemma - don't have kids, and risk missing out on possibly the greatest human experience there is, or have them, and risk royally screwing it up.

For now, I'm stumped.

When did you realise you wanted to have kids?