How do you know when you're ready to have a baby?

Here's the deal, I'm 31 years old, I got married about a year and a half ago to my college sweetheart. We've been together forever and our wedding was (not to brag or anything) epic. We were surrounded by such a strong group of loving friends and family who have all been involved in our lives for over a decade. It was, hands down, the happiest day of my life.

Since the literal second--I'm not exaggerating at all-- we got married, people have been asking me when I'm going to pop out our first baby. Actually, even before we got married, people have been asking me about kids. I have no idea why they think it's any of their business or why folks feel like such a personal decision between my hubby and I should be public knowledge, but they do. I'm not even offended, because the inquisition isn't what has me frustrated, it's the fact that I have no idea how to answer their question that's driving me crazy...

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I left my last job just as a wave of pregnancies was consuming our office. I'm not joking, no less than five women have become pregnant or given birth in the last year at my former place of employment. I guess that weird coincidence combined with the fact that I now work for a website that caters to moms has really got me thinking long and hard about how to figure out when and if it's the right time to have a baby.

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You see, I was never one of those little girls who grew up dreaming about how many babies I was going to have, I was more focused on how to get down from whatever impossibly high tree I had managed to climb. But my reality now is that I'm past 30 and time waits for no one. After witnessing my sister have a really hard time getting pregnant, I'm also just afraid to take my fertility for granted. I guess part of my fear also comes from all of the reports about how women after 35 have so many more complications and risks when it comes to childbirth and pregnancy, too. These are real fears.

Now for my totally made-up fears: What if I literally can not give birth? What if we don't have enough money/time/space/energy to take care of a baby? What if I'm a bad mom? What if I'm a crazy mom? What if my husband isn't that into our kid (as if this is even a possibility, but I am a freak like that)? And I'm just scratching the surface of my irrational fears here chicas--that is seriously just the tip of the iceberg but I don't want to keep going or most of you will probably think I'm certifiably insane.

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My question to all you battle-tested mamis is this: How do you know when you are ready to have a baby?

Image via bnim/flickr