09/19/2014 08:59 am ET Updated Sep 19, 2014

What If You Just Don't Know If You Want Kids?

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I was super excited when my friend told me she was pregnant last year. Not because I knew she’d always wanted to be a parent, but because she hadn’t. In fact, she spent most of her life unsure. She wasn’t closed off to the possibility of motherhood, but she wasn’t all that into the idea, either. Her husband really wanted kids, though, and she was in her mid-30s, so they finally went for it. Selfishly, I was thrilled to watch a real-time experiment unfold: What happens when a woman who’s ambivalent about motherhood decides to get knocked up?

Many women are certain they want kids someday. A smaller number are positive they don’t. But there’s another group that isn’t the subject of many hand-wringing studies or best-selling books: the ambivalent. The ones who vacillate between “I don’t feel compelled to have children” and “What if I regret not having had children?"

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