The path to motherhood looks different for every mom. There are certainly some people who plan their pregnancies, but there are also many others who simply get pregnant and decide they want to keep the baby. Some women struggle with infertility and losses for many years before they can become mamas, while others go the route of foster parenting or adoption. We spoke to nine moms to gain insight into why they chose motherhood, and what the road to becoming a parent looked like for them. Scroll on for what they had to say.

Pregnant woman

“I realized that I really wanted to have children when I reached a point in my life where exploring and having fun just didn’t seem to fill up my heart. Going out to restaurants, hanging out with friends, making art and music, and even traveling didn’t do it. I knew something was missing from my life, and it didn’t take much soul searching to know that it was a family. Once my heart was set on having kids, I just knew it was the right choice for me. We ended up going through about three years of infertility before finally having my first child, and it has been everything I’d cracked it up to be and more.” – Mary, Austin, TX

“I chose motherhood after never wanting to because after a few years of teaching and helping raise other people’s kids, I wanted my own little person to hug.” – Emily, Miami, FL

“I can’t say I chose motherhood for the right reasons, if there really are any right reasons. I was very lonely as an only child, and I always pictured myself being part of a big, loud, chaotic family. I always just knew I would make that happen. Now that I’m a single mom of a 10-year-old and an eight-year-old, the chaos is real, but I’m still pretty lonely. Still, I wouldn’t change my choice to become a parent.” – Jen, Chapel Hill, NC

Pregnant mother with daughter

“I chose motherhood because I felt like I had so much love to give and I wanted experience the ultimate miracle of creating life.” – Krista, Mason, MI

“I don’t think I’ve ever not wanted to be a mother. Everyone who knows me knows that I love kids of all ages and was pretty much born to be a mom and take care of little ones. I am happiest around kids and would not have changed the order of our life for anything. Being a young mom just means we can have the big family we’ve/I’ve always wanted, and at 23 with two and another on the way, we have time to space the next one out and adopt in the future as well. My sister has asked me if I feel like I’ve missed out on life and if I’d rather be single and going out all the time, but that’s never been me. Even when I could have done that, I preferred to stay home with my little brother, or go help someone with their baby. I thrive on the chaos and the simple joys of just watching [kids] grow and learn and be silly at every stage. Even my older nieces and nephews make me cry happy tears when they do simple but great things.” – Arlene, Denver, CO

“I chose motherhood because I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try. I wanted the experience of being pregnant.” – Shannon, Columbus, OH

Mother with son

“I don’t think I would have kids if not for my husband. I did not want kids. He did. I was very happy with my life before I had kids. We discussed kids before we got married, but I think we both assumed the other would come around. We discussed it after getting married again, and he wanted a child more than I did not want a child. So, I had my daughter. I was so unsure the whole pregnancy. And then she was born and my world got so much bigger and smaller, and I am glad that I made the choice I did, even if the reasoning is not the stuff dreams are made of.” – Erin, Islip, NY

“I chose motherhood because I had a terrible relationship with my narcissistic mother and I wanted to break the cycle and experience the love between a mother and a baby. I have two kids, and I love being a mom more than anything!” – Caitlin, Columbus, OH

“I always wanted to be a mother! I don’t know that there was any one reason that made me choose it. I just knew in the depths of my belly that it was what I wanted and that I’d be good at it. Fingers crossed I was right about that second part.” – Liz, Stamford, CT

Have you recently become a mom and have your own take on why you chose motherhood? Share your reasons with us on Twitter @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)