rants, raves and randomness
I have been meaning to write about this for some time already.
The noise is getting loud. We are on our sixth year and people are asking – no, demanding: Why don’t you have kids yet?
I get it from both sides of the family, that is, my mom side and dad side. I get it from my friends and my cousins. We also get it from my husband’s manager (although much, much less here in Japan). What about kids?
It seems like for the Filipino mindset, there are certain stages one has to clear in this life. Find a boyfriend, get married and have kids. This of course, doesn’t have to be in that order. For a fact, we’ve seen a LOT of cases where kids come first before marriage– so much, that I was getting a lot of questions when I decided to get married. “Are you pregnant?” It was ridiculous. Can’t a person decide to get married and not have a bun in the oven?
You would think that people would just leave us alone. But several married years later, and the questions start to pour. Why don’t you have kids yet? I realized then, that it is more acceptable for the Filipino society to clear all three stages (find a bf, get married, have kids) in any order than not clear one stage at all.
To be fairly honest, it is none of your ******* business. I don’t have to justify my life to you or anybody. And you, whoever you are, have no right to make it your business to preach to me or any childless woman about the importance of having kids. We don’t need to explain ourselves to you and having kids or not is a private decision not open to debate.
Mothers my age are merciless. They flood your news feed with their kids’ photos. Look, Elisa is eating her breakfast. Look, Elisa is now eating her lunch. Look Elisa is running to the toilet. Delete from news feed. But it doesn’t stop there. These ladies make it their business to ask questions. They got knocked up when they were in school, and now that their eldest is turning fifteen and ready to knock somebody else up, they start wondering why you haven’t started embarking on this “very fulfilling ultimate journey to motherhood“. Ok that was harsh. Let’s say they willingly chose to be mothers. Sorry. But since when did motherhood turn into a race? They ask, prescribe and preach.Better start now. You’ll regret it.
And let me add this belatedly: families are the worst. I am now the same age as when my mother had me – I think she sort of had it in her mind that I will follow in her footsteps and start producing babies by this age. Mothers,aunts, uncles, cousins- they’re there to make sure you feel the pressure, they remind you every minute that you are childless and not doing justice to the bloodline. I told my mother frankly not to expect me and my husband for Christmas again- this year or the next. I’d rather spend it in peace and wait for the noise to die down. And what’s up with the guys ? “Mahina! Hindi makabuo!” Yeah right.
Common arguments thrown at me:
a) Life is much more fulfilling with kids
b) Iba ang ligaya ng may anak (Happiness with kids is different)
c) Walang mag-aalaga sayo pagtanda mo (No one will take care of you when you get old)
d) It is a woman’s duty to mankind to reproduce. If you have it, use it!
Or all of the above.
Here are my answers to these:
To A : I find it sad that you need another person (namely a baby) to fulfill you. Aren’t we supposed to be fulfilled ourselves?
To B : Excuse me, but do I look so unhappy? In fact, the reason I may not want kids is because I love my life now – I don’t want any major changes!
To C : That’s just wrong. A terrible excuse to have kids.
To D: Are you serious?! It’s 2014.
If motherhood worked out for you, then great. But don’t shove it down my throat.
I am enjoying married life. That is, just my husband’s company. Contrary to what you like to believe, we are happy and content as we are, just the two of us. Are you kidding me? I have a career, I have a flat and I am thinking of buying my beach-side lot and many more. We travel and drink fairly frequently and we surf and meet our childless friends (an occasion to talk about something mutually meaningful where we don’t have to put up with what Elisa ate for dinner). We don’t have to worry about diapers and crying tots and sending kids to school. We’re living our lives. This is the time of our lives where we have a bit of time and still a lot of energy while making a decent amount of money. It’s a great time to explore and do things and learn new stuff. And surf, because I love to surf and I will surf til the day I die.
This may change, of course. We may decide to have kids someday (and take them surfing with us, of course). But for the meantime, we are not ready. We are taking our time. We like to plan. For us, having kids is a great step that we’d prefer not yet to take. You got knocked up, that’s your fault. But please understand that there are women who actually like to plan things out. I was nice to you when you got knocked up and even congratulated you (although your baby was obviously unwanted at that time). Or, for those who simply decided it was time for progeny, I respected that you willfully chose to be a mother. So please, can you give me the same respect I gave you and stop asking and prescribing what could have and should have? And same goes for my family. I don’t owe anybody any explanations!
A lot of people are overstepping their boundaries when talking about kids. While people are more sensitive when talking about homosexuality or body odor, Filipinos make your childlessness their business. Imagine telling a homosexual that his life would be happier if he turned straight. Or someone who smelled perfectly fine was told his life would be more fulfilling if he used a certain deodorant. Or a Muslim told his life would be better if he converted to Catholicism. Yes, it is uncalled for. It is also rude, insensitive and just offensive. So stop it.
But I just don’t think motherhood is the be all and end all of being a woman, and suspect that those of us who don’t have children may well enjoy a broader and more fulfilled existence.
Hannah Betts made such a point in The Times recently, declaring that the real way for women to have it all was simply not to have children. Her conclusion seemed entirely logical to me. The child-free among us can enjoy focusing on our careers, late night gins, impromptu liaisons, and even a night in front of the TV in our pyjamas undisturbed by a baby monitor.
Such a reality is beginning to dawn on many of my girlfriends. For women my age (25), being a mother is lower on the list of priorities than a career, travelling and socialising. We’re not selfish, we’ve just realised being a mother isn’t everything and we can get on with other things.
Henry, Charlotte. The Telegraph. ‘Why my life will be more fulfilling without children. August 08, 2013. Web. January 28, 2014. < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/10231010/Why-my-life-will-be-more-fulfilling-without-children.html >
Your Life Will Never Be Yours Again
The moment you have kids, your life becomes theirs. Everything you do will revolve around them and their needs. Your relationships, your looks and your drive will all become a distant piece of who you once were.
Marin, Lauren. Elite Daily. The Most Brutally Honest Reasons You Should Never Have Kids. January 24,2014. Web. January 28, 2014. <http://elitedaily.com/life/the-most-brutally-honest-reasons-you-should-never-have-kids/ >
More women in the developed world are choosing not to have children. So why do friends, family, colleagues and even strangers think it’s OK to question their decision?
Once this was considered insane or unnatural. Even today, it is viewed with suspicion – women with no desire to procreate say they sometimes face awkward questions and disapproval.
“A woman at work was recently quite shocked by my saying I didn’t want children. She said: ‘You’re a woman, you were born with a womb, God gave a womb so we could procreate’,” Jenny Woolfson, aged 25, told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
“My friends and I have occasionally likened coming out as child-free to coming out as a gay person 40 or 50 years ago. There’s the same sense of shock – perhaps that’s too strong a word. But it’s a lifestyle people don’t expect and it may challenge their world view,” says 31-year-old Rhona Sweeting.
O’Shea,Hayley. BBC News Magazine. The women who choose not to be mothers. July 29, 2010. Web. January 28, 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10786279 >