From as far back as I can remember I thought about what kind of family I would have. I knew I wanted to get married, I knew I wanted a wedding, and I knew that with those things came babies. Society had already left its mark on me. Motherhood was a given.

I assumed that by the age of 30 I would have the husband and babies I鈥檇 always expected. But as time went on and I had many different relationships throughout high school and college 鈥 all of them high stress, all of them intense, and all of them toxic in some way 鈥 a wedding and motherhood seemed further and further away.

Right after college, my childhood friends started getting engaged and married, and soon after that, they started having babies. While I left the country on a soul-searching, party fest to Cancun at the age of 24, my friends were putting down roots. Meanwhile I had a substance use problem that was keeping me from pursuing my dreams.

They were planning their lives, starting 401Ks, saving money for their future children, and buying houses. I was avoiding so-called 鈥渞eal life,鈥 trying to find jobs that weren鈥檛 9 to 5, and fleeing from any sense of responsibility. At that time in my life, I wasn鈥檛 sure if I even wanted kids anymore. I certainly didn鈥檛 feel like I would ever be able to take care of another human being.

Then, in Cancun, I met Fernando and got sober. After five years of dating, we were married, and I鈥檝e never doubted that I want to have a family with him. But throughout our relationship, my worry about running out of time to have a baby has competed with my fears about having one in the first place.

When I turned 30, all I could think about was my biological clock, the fact that I wasn鈥檛 married, and how old I would be when I finally starting having babies. When Fernando and I finally did marry last year I was 31, and a few months ago I turned 32. I love the life we鈥檝e built together.

Many of my friends are now on their second, and even third, babies. My sister had her first baby over a year and a half ago, and I鈥檝e enjoyed becoming an aunt more than I can express 鈥 seeing my nephew take his first breath changed me. And yet, I can鈥檛 help but admit that, lately, I am still terrified of becoming a mom.

On the surface, my fear doesn鈥檛 seem to make sense. I am 32 and married and I feel like I should want to start procreating ASAP, and I thought I would by now. Instead, I鈥檝e hit a wall of fear. Suddenly it doesn鈥檛 matter to me that my biological clock is ticking. Suddenly it doesn鈥檛 matter that I might be considered 鈥渙ld鈥 in the world of becoming a mom.

First things first: I don鈥檛 feel ready to give up my body to grow a human being. But mostly I鈥檓 just plain scared.

I am scared of birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, learning disabilities, accidents, tragedies, physical and emotional pain. There are so many factors out of my control, so many things that could go wrong.

Part of me believes I have no business trying to raise and guide another human being. Part of me doesn鈥檛 even want to try. I feel like I have so much self-development to do and freedom to enjoy that bringing a child into the world doesn鈥檛 seem right.

I am also afraid that it could destroy me. Being sober means learning new coping mechanisms that don鈥檛 involve drugs and alcohol 鈥 learning how to sit with my emotions and not run from the pain 鈥 can be described as complicated at best, and overwhelming at worst. How will it affect me as a parent? Will I spend all my motherhood days terrified of what might go wrong, or of how I might screw up my child?

One day I plan to grapple with these questions. But for now, I鈥檓 making peace with the idea that it鈥檚 not the right time. There are still so many things I am striving to achieve: a thriving career, finishing my book, paying off debts, and traveling. Sleepless nights and poopy diapers terrify me.

I didn鈥檛 expect to feel this way at 32, but like with all things that I鈥檝e experienced over these last few years, I will allow myself some grace to embrace the future and the unknown, and to accept that it鈥檚 okay to change my mind. It鈥檚 my body and my choice and all I need to know at this moment in time is that there鈥檚 still time 鈥 when I decide that I鈥檓 ready.

Do you deal with motherhood ambivalence? Tell us @britandco.

(Photos via Getty)