Wow---what a powerful question! I wrote about why I choose to have kids in another recent post ("Where is My Biological Clock?"). You may also be interested in reading a similar post regarding "How Does Your Marriage Affect Your Children". Both of these posts have excellent insight from all who responded!
Similar to what many other women have said, I just knew that I wanted a future with children. I wanted my husband to be a father. I wanted my relationship with my husband to be that of "parents", and raise a child (or children) together. As the above post, I wanted my parents to be grandparents. I don't know---there was never a strong biological or emotional "pull", but just could not imagine any other way of living without a family.
I also have friends who do not have children, and they are very happy! I don't believe they think/feel that they are missing anything. We talk about it sometimes, and they say they feel guilty not wanting to have kids in this society, which I can understand.
I never felt the need to "pass on my genes" or anything, and prefer not to think about the celebrity's lives...who knows what is fact or fiction when it comes down to what pictures/stories we see and hear. It's not really relevant, in my opinion!
I don't think anyone is ever really ready to have children at first. Not financially, not emotionally. It's impossible to prepare for the unknown. Your marriage can change for the best or worst. Same with your finances, your body, your career, your self-image.
Personally, we have ups and downs with all the above "categories", but our lives have improved 110% with having a child! I feel closer to my husband, I am more confident and assertive, I changed jobs/careers and it was the best decision. I feel like I see things more clearly than I did before; I have more perspective maybe? My son is just the love of my life, and I love being near him (most days--ha!) and watching him learn and grow. The world is different. And, again, I never had the biological urge to even have kids; I actually never was a kid/baby-kind-of-person, so this is all strange to me!
I don't need to tell you the downsides to having kids, as anyone can tell you that it is physically and emotionally exhausting (I can't seem to stay up past 10pm anymore...so uncool)! Some marriages are strained; finances have to be re-worked. New friends will be made, both for your child and yourself...and this extreme protectiveness comes over you that you would not believe! I have new insight as to what my parents were going through as I was growing up.
Do you have any new thoughts?