Dear Monterrey • "Nothing but misery"? Wow.
Theoretical children do tend to be easier.
When a kid is whining, squirming, nose-picking and generally making life visually and aurally miserable for anyone within a surprisingly wide radius they have that power most adults are thinking two things: (1) "Please leave" and (2) "I am SO glad that kid isn't mine."
Yet the majority of people have kids of their own.
I suppose some of this majority are delusional or careless, but most just do the math and decide that having kids is worth a few (or few years) of these scenes.
You need to figure out why your math is different. Are you lying to yourself (and/or your girlfriend) about ever wanting kids? Are you just unwilling to suck it up? Are you waiting for something concrete, specific and realistic to change?
Also: How do you feel about older kids? Have you had positive experiences with them, or are they just not as obnoxious (i.e., visible) to you as the diaper brigade?
There's nothing wrong with not wanting kids, and your fear of having your life upended makes emotional sense. However, your argument doesn't make sense-sense. Either you can project enough joy in family life to accept that kids' needs are anything but convenient and, therefore, can say, "I do want children" without setting off any pandering-, wishful-thinking- or crap-meters or, you can't.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.