"Becoming a mother scares me," wrote a Reddit user in the AskWomen subreddit. "I'm afraid of losing myself, of the commitment, and the toll it will take on my relationship," she continued. "But I'm also afraid of regretting a decision to never have children when I'm older."
She asked her fellow users to share how they feel about their choices, whether they became mothers or not. Did their children keep them from living the life they wanted? Do they regret deciding to be child-free?
Mothers and child-free women alike responded, sharing their personal experiences with total openness. If there's one thing that all respondents had in common, it's that none of them answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Ahead, we've rounded up some of the most eye-opening responses. These truly embody the idea that the first question about motherhood isn't "when" — it's "if."
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.