A few years ago, when I was 25, I was told by a relative that I should already be seeking a partner to get married and have kids, or I would end up in the future on my deathbed alone and lonely.
That comment destroyed me.
I knew he didn’t mean harm; it was perhaps a comment made out of concern, not spite. He isn’t a bad person, after all. I tell myself that we were just brought up in very different times, him being born in an era where people graduate to work and get married and have kids, and I, obviously, was not.
But nonetheless I was hurt, and I spent the next days crying everytime I thought about what he had said.
And the worst part was, his words made me doubt myself, and question where I was at that moment in my life. Was he right?
There was enough pressure as it was. I was 25 and had never been in a relationship—it just won’t seem to work out with anyone. I kept getting my heart broken. But for someone to point it out to me like that, it was a different kind of heartbreak.
And it isn’t just me.
I met a girl last year who told me of her struggle making her mom understand why she didn’t want children. And I know there are many out there, too. Perhaps what brought you to read this article is because you and I are the same—we go through the same challenges as single women living in a country with such a traditional, boxed mindset.
A culture where family reunions would, quite inevitably, include one (or all) of these following questions: “May boyfriend ka na ba?” “Kailan ka ikakasal?” “Kelan ka magbe-baby?” [“Do you have a boyfriend now?” “When are you getting married?” “When are you having a baby?”]
And if you’re nearing the 30-years-old mark, you’ve probably heard of this one, too: “Mahihirapan ka na mag-baby nyan pag pinatagal mo pa.” [“You might find it difficult having a baby if you want any longer.”] Your titas would tell you you should have a baby soon (regardless if they even asked if you were in a happy relationship or not), because your biological clock is ticking away.
How do you respond to that?
I usually just smile politely and say “Matagal pa po yun,” [“That’s not happening anytime soon.”] but only because it’s a discussion I know will only get longer and more complicated if I say the truth: I do not want kids.
Nope, no kids. That’s something I’ve known for a while now. Yes I want to get married someday, hell yeah, but kids of my own? Not really.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike kids. I have two beautiful nieces whom I love very dearly, and I kind of know in my heart I could make a great mom (lol maybe?), but all those still do not change the fact that I choose not to.
I saw my nieces grow up; it’s a beautiful thing, but I also know how difficult it can be, raising a child. I saw it as this lifetime responsibility that you need not only prepare for financially, but mentally and emotionally, too.
“But you’re gonna miss out on one of life’s biggest experiences.” Maybe. But I guess that means I’ll have to fill that space up with other experiences instead, and hope that I might find something just as magical. I’m sure I will.
Am I open to this decision changing in the future? Yes. But right now this is my truth and I want to speak out about it as it becomes tiresome sometimes to have to keep defending it. To have to explain that I don’t think women’s sole purpose in life is to bear children, that I think they could be whoever they want to be (Come on, guys. It’s 2018.), that their lives could be just as happy and just as meaningful whether they choose to marry or not, have children or not, pursue a career or not, or be a full-time mom or not.
I wish for women to be able to make the choices they want for their own lives, their own bodies, and not be questioned or judged for it. I want women to be free.
People will tell you you need a child in your life to be happy, to live a purposeful life that is utterly, irrevocably complete. I hope you don’t believe those people.
A good career and a family of your own do not always equate to happiness and success. The definition for those two vital words in life are different for each and every person. It is up to you to find what works for you.
Ladies, do not listen to the naysayers. Do not give in to the pressure. It is completely okay for me to not want kids, even if people won’t always understand. It is okay for you to choose that, too.
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