I’ve never wanted to have kids. They’re expensive, demanding and time-consuming. I saw what a pain I was as a kid. I was a camp counselor, and saw what pains those kids were. I was going to be a career girl. I’d have cats instead of kids, and to my sister’s children I’d be the “cool aunt” who brought them gifts from my travels around the world. I would not subject my body to stretch marks. I have a hard enough time keeping my abs under control as they are; the thought of what my stomach would look like apres-baby makes me shudder.

But, inexplicably, lately, I’ve been singing a different tune. When I pass parents pushing their babies in strollers down the street, my knees go weak. I recently came across some of my old toddler clothes in a drawer at home. While I’d never make a child of mine wear Day-Glo biker shorts that say “Catch you on the flipside,” I was mesmerized by how small and cute they were – and how small and cute a person that would fit in them would be.

Even worse, I’ve found myself feeling domestic in other ways. My eyes bypass the colorful toys in the circulars and go right to boring things like Cuisinarts, dishware and tablecloths. I am actually interested when my engaged cousin talks about her new bedroom pattern. In the kitchen, I’ve started branching out (gradually) from my usual repertoire of Lean Cuisines, and I derive the sweetest kind of inner satisfaction when a friend compliments my cooking. What has happened to me?

It’s tough being a girl at our age. Our minds are gearing up for careers just when our bodies are starting to tell us to settle down. Now, I’m not saying that I have some incredible desire to get married and pop out a few kids right this second, or even in the next few years. I know kids who went to my high school who have done that, and it makes me sad when I see them at home, shopping in the mall for new trashcans and baby bibs, while I can breeze by the housewares department and try on pleather pants if I so choose. Nor do I want to be a stay-at-home mom. But it’s going to be tough for some of us when we have children. A high-powered law firm might not like the idea of its employees taking leave from work to raise their daughters. Hey, the women may not like that idea either. And there is great childcare out there, but no one can deny the huge responsibility of having children, let alone carrying one for nine months.

I am grateful that I live in an age when girls like myself can go to previously all male schools like Georgetown and compete for the same caliber of jobs as male classmates. And I am disturbed when my girlfriends say things like “If I’m not married by the time I’m 25, I’ll be miserable,” or “I definitely want to have my kids by my early 30s.” Women have great social, as well as biological, pressures to get married and begin families at an age that is just a few years away for most of us. Those of us going on to law school or medical school will just be beginning their careers at that point. How do we reconcile these pressures with our own maternal desires and professional ambitions?

I’m not really sure. But you’ll have to excuse me; I have papers to write and books to read. Before I go, though, let me sew that button back on for you.

Ashley Fedor is a junior in the College.

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