I went to a baby shower last weekend and I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to have a baby of my own. Actually, every time I’m around kids (which isn’t actually that often), I find myself thinking this. But then I think about how painful it would be to actually physically have a child, and how I’m happy being an unmarried, not pregnant college student. But I do have thought of some plans for my future first baby. Before I get pregnant, I’m going to read all the parenting books available and take advantage of every birthing class. Then I’ll be ready. Won’t I?

But really, no. I don’t think anyone is ever ready to have a child. First, there’s the pain of childbirth. Then, you have to deal with a crying, poopy kid for a few years. I’m sure the toddler years are adorable, but once the kids hit teenagedom, it’s a nightmare. I wasn’t a teenager that long ago (I’m celebrating my twenty-first birthday as this is posted), and I remember all the angst-ridden days and all of the anger I held toward my parents for no apparent good reason. Motherhood really just seems too difficult.

But even as a college student, I find myself dwelling on parenthood. It’s something I feel is so far away yet so close. It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience. I even want to take in foster kids once I get the hang of the parenting thing. Sometimes, I start to really enjoy my classes and my coursework, and I think, “Yeah, I’m going to have a career, and it’s going to be awesome.” But although that thought occurs, it is frequently overridden with the thought that I’m supposed to do something more than that. I’m left thinking that I won’t be completely satisfied if I don’t pursue motherhood along with a career. And that desire to be a mother sometimes overrides any fear of kids that I have.

I think it’s good that I’m having these conversations with myself now. And although I’m not anywhere near motherhood at this moment, I think that admitting fears is the first step to overcoming them. So hopefully, by the time that I’m at the point in my life when I can provide for children, I will be ready. And I will love my children as they go from toddlers to teenagers and on, because that’s what motherhood is all about.