I never wanted to be an astronaut.
Sure, when I was younger, every kid wanted to be an astronaut, to do something to sort of honor the victims of the Challenger explosion that we watched on our grade-school televisions. Every girl (including myself) wanted to be Lea Thompson from the movie Space Camp, the accidental hero... every boy went through a phase of wanting to be whomever the famous male astronaut was at the time (take your pick -- they were almost all men).
Oh, if I'd wanted to I could have become an astronaut. I had the brain for science, for sure, scoring above the 98th percentile on my ACTs. But here was the thing... I never really liked science that much. It drove my teachers mad, that I could pick up and do the work if I had to, but I didn't like coming to class, didn't care to spend my time learning that sort of thing. There were better things I wanted to do with my time.
Creative things. Social things. Science just didn't fit into the life I wanted for myself.
Then there was the time commitment. So many years of college devoted to this thing that I didn't really want in the first place, yet people pressured me in high school to go into something more challenging or intellectual because I was smart. Just because I'd be great at science doesn't mean I want to spend a lifetime doing it. I wanted to do something creative, so when I graduated from high school, it was dropped.
I want to be a journalist, I said initially, then a graphic designer. I eventually got my B.A. in both and no one ever questioned it.
When I tell women what I do for a living, they never ask why I'm a graphic designer, a writer, and not an astronaut. I would've been a damn fine astronaut, but that's not the life I wanted for myself.
So why, when I tell women I'm not a mother and have no intention of becoming one, is that so different? Because, in all honesty, the reasons for both why I did not become an astronaut and why I will not become a mother are strikingly similar.
They're both not "me".