I clearly remember the days WebMD (sort of) reported on today, when motherhood was not on my to-do list.
If you look at my sidebar's reproductively focused history, you might glean that the pursuit of motherhood failed to make my list until I was 38.
As a child I always assumed I'd be a mom. Frankly, I didn't think anyone could get out of it. Once I hit teenagerhood and heartily embraced my future as an Enjoli woman, I told myself "I will do this, but on MY modern-woman terms. I will wear Charlie instead!"
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Later as a young adult, despite adoring children, motherhood got bumped to my eh-I'm-just-not-sure-I'll-do list. It stayed there for YEARS. My feeling was why think about it when I don't have that fire? Never mind that I didn't marry till age 30 (I was in nooooo rush on that front either). Surely I'd know when/if the time was right and just act on it then. No biggie.
I'll admit that throughout that ambivalent period some part of me still assumed I'd reproduce. But it was the same part that still thought conception basically just happened to everyone.
In those days I never heard one peep about anyone trying to conceive. (Maybe that was considered crass? Or, quite probably, maybe I didn't pay all that much attention to the details!) Every pregnancy was announced as having come as a BIG surprise to everyone involved. You know, birth control failed, glances were exchanged, towels were shared, coats were hung up next to each other. Of course, everyone I ever knew would, eventually, make their BIG announcement(s). That was fine for them. I wasn't there yet. And oh boy did I balk at anyone telling me I needed to get on the baby-making stick. (Three's Company–style double entendre intended.)
At just shy of 35 (and right before a second round of major abdominal surgery), starting a family made the pretty big jump to my to-probably-do list. Concerns for my future fertility were effectively scared into me, and I followed every last recommendation about ensuring proper uterine healing. I took it very seriously. Yet I still felt a surprisingly deep (er, stupid?) sense of "time on my side." And I deferred all serious family-planning talk — in favor of chasing a "better" career and a big stretch of settled alone time with DH — to age 38, at which point getting pregnant shot straight to the top of my to-do-and-do-NOW list.
The desire hits different people at different times and in different ways. When it finally hit me in the face, its impact got right to knocking me down at every turn. Luckily, I was blessed with stamina, so I keep getting up.
At 43, I know putting "create a healthy take-home baby with DH" on my to-do list (see how I've learned the art of specificity!) doesn't mean it's going to happen.
But man, oh man, that item IS on there. Crazy I might be. But ready to crawl away from the fight I am not.