My husband and I have two kids, the oldest of whom headed off to college recently. When we were newly married, people would ask us "do you want to have kids?" I've realized over the years that that's the wrong question - they should have asked me "do you want to be a MOM?" Having kids is not a goal to be pursued. "Having kids" makes it sound material and dispensable. On the other hand, when asked if you want to be a mom, the question makes you consider whether you have the desire to fulfill a role, be a caretaker, make an investment, be a provider, protector, and be committed to the incessant demands of someone else whether you feel like it or not.
The question really implies "are you willing to become more than you currently are?" No one truly understands what it's like to be a mom until you ARE one. The love, exhaustion, joy, sadness, optimism, worry and frustration never end. You can't truly make an informed decision because the depth of your existence can't be explored until you have a child.
I am grateful for having had the privilege of being a mom. My heart aches, however, at the realization that nothing I will ever do will be as significant, as meaningful, or as profound as being a stay-at-home mom. I often responded to those inevitable questions about why my kids weren't in daycare with "I don't care if Mother Teresa were looking after my child - it still wouldn't be ME!"