I echo Diane's message about trying to answer someone's question, "what is so great about having kids? Do they make life more meaningful?" with using the pet/dog metaphor. Of course, raising a human being vs. an animal does not compare...but putting the question out there in terms that are understandable makes sense. You have dogs you love, and I assume Diane's post resonated with you--it would be hard to explain to a non-dog lover the same answers to the questions, "what is so great about having [dogs]? do they make life more meaningful?" It is hard to put into words the answers to these questions, whether you are talking about dogs to a non-dog person, or talking about children to a non-kid person. I, for one, was a "non-kid" person before having a baby, and I DID NOT understand how women could breastfeed, how they could stand snotty-noses and changing diapers. It was beyond me! However, I have cats that I absolutely love, and it is no problem cleaning up hair balls and kitty litter. That's where the comparison ends, though...it serves just enough to understand that there is a world out there that is indescribable, with feelings that are intense, about a living human (or pet) that you love.
I'll tell you this---as much as I loved my cats, and never thought I could be without animals....the love of my son is a million times more powerful than I ever thought possible, and my beloved cats are far down on the priority list (I never thought that would happen!!).
Oh, and regarding weight gain. Yes, it will happen (it's supposed to!). Breastfeeding helped me take the weight off, no problem. Keep exercising throughout pregnancy (per doctor's orders), and you'll be fit and healthy. (Most doctors recommend exercise throughout pregnancy, barring any health problems). There is a lot of support for breastfeeding, and it is such a small amount of time compared to the child's life that it really is a non-issue. You do it, you have support...then, it's over. Once you have a child (if you choose), the other women with newborns literally come out of the woodwork (!), and it's wonderful support to breastfeed in a group of women while the babies goo and gaa, and you talk about your sore nipples or Obama or the weather or the economy...
Everything works out in the end. If not, then it's not the end.
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