Here's another one of those deeply personal stories.
When I was sixteen, my best friend and I felt we were equipped to have babies. We knew we could care for them (I came from a large family), and we knew we'd be able to love them and raise them well because we were both very smart. In fact, we were so smart that we didn't go out to find some random guy to knock us up just so we could experience motherhood. We just enjoyed the idea of having a baby at that age.
When I was seventeen, I met my perfect match. I went on birth control shortly after meeting him because I didn't want a baby to get in the way of this blossoming relationship. The stresses I could bear alone at sixteen were too much for a relationship at seventeen. We both had plans for college, and it had been made clear to us that babies were not to be part of the picture for a few years by my future in-laws. We married six months after we met, and we started purchasing and collecting baby things and toys for when we would eventually have children.
When I was twenty, we decided to try our luck at baby making. If we timed it just right, I'd get into grad school a year late and we'd have a school-age child when we were ready to find work in our trained fields. Alas, the stars didn't align in our window of opportunity so we decided to wait a little while before trying again. We also decided not to go to grad school or start our careers yet.
When I was 23, we decided to try again. We'd heard miracles of people who couldn't get pregnant all of a sudden having babies after doing Scientology, something about mental blocks having a physical effect on the body. After a couple years of trying, we decided to stop. Early warning signs for us that Scientology was not the miracle elixir the church touted it to be.
When I was 27, we decided to give it another go. This time we improved our nutrition and did the basal temperature readings and the ovulation tests. Baby making became a chore and wasn't as fun or as fast as it was supposed to be. We read a bunch of articles and books trying to figure it all out. We turned a room in our home into a bit of a nursery (painting it light blue, putting all our stuffed toys on shelves, not really using the room). Still no luck. We decided to stop worrying about it and it stopped becoming a point of stress. The nursery became a home office.
When I was almost 34, I saw a couple doctors to see if my parts were broken. All the tests seemed to come out okay, but seven years of unrestricted loving hadn't resulted in a baby. It's entirely possible that the severe childhood illnesses Andrew and I both suffered cooked our production areas. Still not stressing about it. In fact, we're not worried about what happens either way.
I turn 35 next month. No baby yet. Of course, if we had kids our lives would be completely different. We're now focusing on our careers. If we get an interruption of a child, so be it. We're also cleaning out our closets of the stashed baby clothes and books we've accumulated over the past 17 years. We've moved those things with us so many times and we're both tired of having the space in our home occupied by a box of stuff we may never use.
I don't share this for pity. I love my life. I share this so people may understand why not everyone has children. Maybe they'll stop asking in polite conversation, "So, are you planning on having children?"