Q&A: having a baby--worth it or not?

Jennifer writes:

"We have been starting to think about having a baby, so I have been perusing some of your archives for pertinent info.  And I must say, the more I learn overall, the more I wonder, WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS??  I love kids, always thought I would have them eventually, and sometimes feel the urge, but not very much.  I will be thirty next year. Seriously, the more I think about it, the more conflicted I become, and feel like I am being driven primarily by fear on both sides.  We should go ahead and do it because life is short, what if something happens, what if it takes a while, etc.  We should wait a while or not do it ever because what about the money, the fact that I live far away from my family and generally am homesick as it is, and the pain, physical and emotional pain. 

I was just reading through the plan to prevent PPD and I feel like if we went ahead I would be setting myself up for failure.  I feel like if I have any hesitation I should wait, but then everyone says "there is never a right time!" but what if suddenly ten or fifteen years fly by, what then? 
 
I know myself and I don't like change and I hate doctors so maybe that has something to do with it.  All I know is I feel like I am drowning in anxiety just thinking about this - and it hasn't even happened yet.  Do you have any recommendations of books to read or things to do to get a grip here.  I am working through "Maybe Baby" and thus far, it hasn't helped.
Sorry if this makes no sense!  I really can get myself worked up just thinking about this.  For example - my wedding.  I know I can be prone to stressing out over things, so I decided, some things I am going to care about, some things I am not going to care about.  I am going to worry about the invitations and then not care at all what people eat or how things are decorated.  This strategy went over fabulously, but I don't see a way I can apply this to pregnancy.  I can't exactly say, well, I am going to care about having support set up for after, but not going to stress out about what to eat."

See, I'll disagree that you can't let a bunch of things slide. If you're reading What To Expect or any of the really alarmist books, you get the feeling that you have to do every single thing right during pregnancy. But any of us who were really depressed during pregnancy (so depressed we couldn't force ourselves to eat healthfully, or exercise, or think happy positive thoughts, or even imagine that it wasn't all some elaborate vicious hoax that wouldn't end in a real baby after all) are proof that you can let some things slide and still have perfectly healthy children and be great parents to them.

And, honestly, the pregnancy is 9 months, but parenting is for a lifetime. If you just can't get it together to eat 5 servings of vegetables or break the Cheetos habit or cut down to 2 cups of coffee, you do what you can. It's way more important to put your energy toward helping get yourself set up to deal with the baby and your new role once the baby is on the outside.

The other thing to remember about parenting is that there is no perfect. You do the best that you can at that particular moment. It helps if you have good support, and if you can identify some guiding principles before the baby arrives to help you make decisions on the fly. But no one is perfect, and everyone comes out of childhood with some scars, even those of us who were parented by thoughtful people who were free to follow their own good instincts. You do the best you can, and let everything else go.

Now, all that doesn't necessarily mean that you should have a baby. I've known since I was a kid that I wanted to have children and be a mom. It was the only thing I knew for sure I'd ever be good at (which is why it's coming as quite a shock to me that I don't really like the SAH gig as much as I thought I would--I guess I assumed being good at being a mom meant I had to love being with them 24/7. Ha.). There are plenty of people who never really crave parenthood who end up with children who are their hearts' true desires. But I think, despite the fact that people like to say "No one ever regrets having their children" that there are people who do regret having kids. Not that they regret bringing those particular people into the world. I'm sure they love their children as people. But I think some people would have been happier without the sacrifices and responsibilities of parenting. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, assuming you never admit it where the kids could find out about it. (Remember, to make an anonymous comment, put a fake URL in the "URL" box and put in an obviously fake email in the "email address" box.)

I can't tell you how to go about weighing this decision. Having children can be the most amazing thing you'll ever do. You'll love your children with a fierceness and purity that scares you. You will become the woman you never thought you could be. But there are also a billion little shitty moments every day that make you wish you had your old life back. For me, the good absolutely outweighs the bad, and the bad moments are much fewer and far between as the kids get older. But I can't say "Do it. You'll love it. It's so worth it." to someone else in any good faith.

Readers? What do you think? How can a person or couple really make this decision with honesty and courage? Whatever thoughts you have on this topic are going to be helpful.