But I was supposed to want to have a baby. I was thirty-one years old. My husband and I—who had been together for eight years, married for six—had built our entire life around the common expectation that, after passing the doddering old age of thirty, I would want to settle down and have children. By then, we mutually anticipated, I would have grown weary of traveling and would be happy to live in a big, busy household full of children and homemade quilts, with a garden in the backyard and a cozy stew bubbling on the stovetop. But I didn't—as I was appalled to be finding out—want any of these things. Instead, as my twenties had come to a close, that deadline of THIRTY had loomed over me like a death sentence and I discovered that I did not want to be pregnant. I kept waiting to want to have a baby, but it didn't happen. And I know what it feels like to want something, believe me. I well know what desire feels like. But it wasn't there. Moreover, I couldn't stop thinking about what my sister had said to me once, as she was breastfeeding her firstborn: "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit."
How could I turn back now, though? EverthingEverything was in place. This was supposed to be the year. In fact, we'd been trying to get pregnant for a few months already. But nothing had happened (aside from the fact that—in an almost sarcastic mockery of pregnancy—I was experiencing psychosomatic morning sickness, nervously throwing up my breakfast every day). And every month when I got my period I would find myself whispering furtively in the bathroom: "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me one more month to live..."
I'd been attempting to convince myself that this was normal, that all women must feel this way. All women must feel this way when they're trying to get pregnant, I'd decided. ("Ambivalent" was the word I used, avoiding the much more accurate description: "utterly consumed with dread.") ...
I don't want to be married anymore.
Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Copyright © Elizabeth Gilbert, 2007