Like it or not, a woman in her fertile years is expected to have a desire to have children. When a woman doesn’t children, sometimes that is accepted as a valid decision. Perhaps the woman can’t physically produce progeny(but then, why not do what Angelina Jolie did and adopt? There are a ton of needy kids out there!). . Perhaps the woman has an extremely important career saving the world and thus has already met her care giving lifetime quota (Oprah’s off the hook). Perhaps the woman hasn’t found a partner and deliberately raising a kid solo is not the ideal situation for developing pristine emotional well-being. Perhaps the woman is psychologically or morally flawed beyond repair (there isn’t baby college in prison systems). These are all good reasons we’ve decided as a culture for a woman NOT having a child…but to not have a DESIRE to have a child, well, that’s “just not natural.” This under-riding philosophy confuses me. This past week, Kelly Clarkson got a lot of hype about saying she might not want kids. But then she has to qualify it by saying that the decision was an act of realistically appraising her lifestyle…not about a lack of desire. It begs the question What does a desire to have children actually feel like? Is it demonstrated through the urge to play dolls as a girl? (I never really enjoyed acting out Barbie and Ken’s forays into carpooling and dream house maintenance) Does it reveal itself if you were whipping up brownies for your roommates in college? (I’ve been bequeathed “The Potluck Princess” in the past). Does the inclination unfurl itself if you find yourself comforting other people in distress (I own 5 first aid kits). Is the craving present if you don’t particularly enjoy cartoons or video games or clutter or chaos of any kind (I subsist on “everything has a home”). I don’t know if these bones have the mettle for motherhood…the job of it…the immense sacrifice….the responsibility…..the faith and patience it requires…but to dig a bit deeper, I don’t know if I have the desire to have children. I don’t know if I desire to give up so much of me to shape another. The more I delay in this act, the more trepidation I experience. If I am a stranger to myself now, just as easily as when I was 7, pungently curious, or 17, doubtfully cocky, or 24, optimistically wandering, I don’t know if I will ever recognize myself long enough to create a life. And I don’t know if I want to. I know I want to belong somewhere, and that I don’t want to be alone….but that does not equal wanting to have children. Before you say “Just wait until you—(fill in the blank: are older, are more settled, find someone, all your friends have babies)…stick with me here. Is my anxiety perhaps due to the fact that I don’t have kids yet at 30, or is it because I don’t want to?