I put this topic here because people tend to have very strong reactions when it comes to this kind of topic. So let me get this out there.
I've been struggling with this issue for awhile now. I'm not even slightly interested in having children. However, I know that at least 80% of the eligible women out there are going to want a baby eventually. I'm not a big fan of the child-centric culture we live in. George Carlin called it "child worship". Others have called it "kindergarchy" and "the cult of the child".
This may be a product of my upbringing, but my parents never made my siblings or I the absolute centers of everything in their lives. I was taught that if I wanted (not needed) something than it was my burden to get. It gave me a sense of self-reliance and independence that I don't see a whole lot in other people no matter what their age. It's different nowadays though. If I go over to visit a friend for any reason (play D&D, have a meal, general bullshit, etc.), the child will inevitably appear and monopolize any and all attention. The child is usually not sick, in pain, or otherwise in a situation where he/she truly needs parental attention. He/she just WANTS attention now and will wind up getting it in spades, regardless of whether the kid was to stay with grandma, was supposed to be in bed, etc. If I ever get annoyed by this fact, I'm called a 'child-hater', 'not good with children',etc.
To be fair, they may have a point. I have never felt a great urge to nurture. Also, the moment children start crying, whining, throwing tantrums, yelling, screaming, etc. as they're inclined to do just makes me want to leave. And when they're your own, you have to spend tons of money on them, drive them to their countless activities and attend every single one, and suffer through all the problems they can potentially inflict (drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, juvenile criminal behavior, etc.). And if the child is becoming too much, you can't send them off the grandparents or aunts and uncles for a month holiday like in the past. Distance has changed the equation. In addition, in our nation that worships the individual, people will say 'you chose to have the child, you have to deal with its bullshit'. The dark side of individualism here is that while nobody has a right to inflict their problems on you, they have no obligation to help you solve yours either.
One of many reasons I had held off on dating was because of the assumption that every woman I get into a serious relationship will want to marry and have children. And in America at least, this is mostly true. Between natural growth and societal conditioning, the vast majority of straight women are going to want children. This is placing me at an odd crossroads.
So I ask you, members of E. Make the case to me. Parents and non-parents alike, please chime in. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Why? Maybe if the culture, my family, and my general circumstances were different, I'd be more open to the idea. But I only know how I feel right now. And right now, children look like too much work for me to put my life on hold for a minimum of two decades.