The Story of Why I Decided to Become a Mom.
I never wanted to be a mom.
When people asked, “Aren’t you going to have kids?” I told them, “Kids are amazing! I’m excited to be a cool auntie one day. But I’ve never felt the desire to have children of my own.”
Unlike many people, I never felt mushy-gushy-oogly-woogly feelings about babies. Puppies? Yes. Tiny goats? Absolutely. Human babies? Not so much.
I’d see other people cooing about newborns (“So cute! Precious! What a chubster wubster! I want to squeeze those cheeks!”) and I didn’t feel any of those feelings. My internal baby-switch was firmly, resolutely in the OFF position. Babies just didn’t do it for me.
I figured, “Being a parent isn’t going to be part of my story—and that’s okay.” My life was rich, fulfilling (and honestly, extremely busy) without kids in the picture.
I owned a small business. I wrote seven books. I filled my days writing, editing, brainstorming creative ways to generate revenue, and taking care of my clients. I had a never-ending checklist of tasks to complete, goals to achieve, and constant deadlines to meet.
Outside of work, I practiced yoga and enjoyed long, peaceful walks. I had the World’s Greatest Dog. I traveled often and squirreled away enough mileage points to upgrade to first class. I had enough disposable income to buy “the fancy peanut butter” and “the nice soap.” Life was good, you know? Nothing was missing.
When I met Zach, my now-husband, one of the first questions I asked was, “Do you want kids?”
He told me, “Absolutely. I’ve always wanted to be a parent.”
Disheartened, I replied, “I don’t feel the same way.” Diplomatically, I added, “I suppose it’s possible that I may feel differently in the future. Never say never. But I can’t make any promises.”
For him, kids were a Definite Yes. For me, more like No with a 1% Chance of Scattered Maybe.
I was concerned and wondered if we ought to split up before things got too serious. Nip it in the bud to prevent inevitable disappointment. I brought this up several times in our early courtship. Tearfully, in parked cars or while cuddling in bed, I blurted out:
“Aren’t you worried about ‘the kid thing’?”
“What if I can’t provide what you want?”
“Is it enough to be with me, with no kids?”
“What if we’re not compatible?”
“Maybe we should break up…?”
Zach was not particularly worried. He told me, “Let’s stay together and see where things go. If we just keep loving each other, one way or another, everything will work out.”
I was moved by his hopefulness and faith.
“Okay. That sounds like a pretty good plan,” I replied.
Over the next four years, we just kept loving each other. We loved each other through the pandemic lockdown—making waffles for dinner and scrolling through the frightening news. We loved each other through career changes, through illness and loss, through financial ups and downs. Slowly we revealed ourselves and earned one another’s trust. We built a relationship that felt like a sanctuary—a quiet place to find comfort and renewal in a bewildering world.
Each year rolled into the next. To my tremendous surprise, I began to feel differently about kids.
There wasn’t one big moment when everything changed and suddenly I wanted a child. It was more like a thousand tiny shifts. Little earthquakes rearranging the topography of my mind.
A few quakes that I remember vividly…
… When Zach told me he wanted to teach his future kids to surf, make breakfast burritos, and drive them to school in the mornings, and that being a full-time dad would be his “dream job.” I visualized him scrambling eggs, tenderly tucking a little one into a car seat, kissing me as the new day began.
I thought, “You know, that actually sounds pretty great. That’s a life that I might want.”
… When mom was recovering from surgery and went unconscious at the dinner table, slumped over in her chair next to an uneaten plate of shrimp and rice. Her mouth was slack, hanging open, eyes rolled back and pitch black like a shark. I called 911 while dad held her and cried, “Stay with me.” The ambulance came. Her breathing steadied. Everything was okay. That night, the scene replayed in my head over and over.
I realized, “My family won’t be around forever. Eventually, everyone I love will die and I will be alone.” Something primal and ancient inside of me whispered, “…Unless you add someone new to your family.”
… When I spent an afternoon at the pool with a friend and her charming daughter. Like me, she’s an entrepreneur. We talked about raising kids while running a business. My friend assured me that it’s hard—but the good kind of hard.
We spoke frankly about money. She explained, “After having kids, I’m more driven to expand my business and build wealth, not less so. The kids are my motivation. They’re my reason for everything.” She’s a Black woman with four kids who became a self-made millionaire after having kids, not before.
That day by the pool, I considered, “What if becoming a mom makes me even more powerful in my career? What if parenting unlocks something new inside of me—strengths I didn’t know I had?” Flickers of excitement coursed through me.
… When I flew to Jamaica for a meditation retreat. They gave us psilocybin—powerful plant medicine—and encouraged us to wander the grounds barefoot, hum, sway, dance, paint, or whatever we felt compelled to do. I sat at the water’s edge watching a mother and her baby playing in the ocean. Light glimmered all around them. The mother lifted the baby into the air, then brought her close to her chest, sealing their skin together. Tears poured down my face. I tasted salt and felt my cells rearrange a bit more, making space for new desires.
I drew a messy sketch in my notebook: a big heart with a tiny heart next to it. Mother and child. Below, I wrote two words: “Remember this.”
One little quiver after another. Over time, “Definitely no kids…” shifted to, “There’s a miniscule possibility…” and then, “Maybe…” and then, “Okay, but not yet…” and eventually, “Let’s do this.”
As I’m typing these words, my daughter is 11 days old, sleeping sweetly in her bassinet just a few feet away. I love her with such depth and intensity that it makes me sob and shake, overwhelmed with emotions I can barely put into words.
My breasts leak with milk. There’s a pile of stuffed giraffes and bunnies in the corner. A clipboard where I track her daily feedings and bowel movements. Drawers full of newborn accouterments—teeny nail clippers, a miniature thermometer, fairy-sized socks and garments. Several times a day, I gaze blearily around my home with bemusement and awe. How did THIS *gestures vaguely all around* happen? Who would’ve guessed I’d be here?
Our brains generate thousands of new neurons every 24 hours. Brain cells die and rebuild well into old age. Whether we recognize it or not, we change our minds every single day. We change in small, imperceptible ways and in the biggest ways, too.
I imagine myself sitting down for coffee with someone who doesn’t want children. Her parents are pestering her to get a move on. Her friends have all procreated. She feels badgered and pressured to join the ranks. She wants reassurance and comfort. This is what I would say to her, and what I wish people had said to me:
“It is okay to change your mind. It is okay not to change your mind. It is possible to experience tremendous joy with or without kids. Don’t let anyone push you into a life that doesn’t fit.” And, I would add, “Stay open to surprises. Life can be very mysterious. You just never know.”