Tuesday, March 28, 2006

No baby by choice


“EU states are trying to understand why the birth rate is falling - and if anything can be done to stem the decline.”

“No-one is yet berating bachelors or mooting medallions for multiple births. But Europe's many governments are scrambling to find a solution.”

“Europe is still feeling its way in this area, and may, some say, have to come to terms with the fact that there are women remaining childless or having small families by choice.”

For the full story read the BBC: EU’s baby blues

A Dutch mother towing her daughter in a cart in the streets of Haarlem.

The Netherlands is of course not exempt to this European-wide baby blues crisis.

Just the other week, there was a news flash on TV that the Dutch population has stagnated in the last few decades at a 16 Million figure. There is no growth despite the massive influx of immigrants to the country in the last years.

Why? Well a great example is us, Dutchman and I. We are one of those couples who do not want to have kids and in the recent years, our likes have multiplied, unprecedented.

In less than 3 months I will turn 36. Many people I know and met, especially Filipinos [the Dutch will not bugger you with this] always reminds me that my body clock is ticking away, very fast. Essentially the message is: You must decide to have a baby within 3 years time.

Peer pressure. *sweats forehead* I don’t like it. Isn’t it quite ironic? My direct families [Filipino and Dutch side] are not even demanding such?

My sister in law, the wife of my 33 year old brother gave birth to her first and last baby, a healthy boy, last January of this year at the very ripe age of 39 [yes she is older than my brother, he-he]. The birth went fine, that is --- caesarean. She was also put on the high risk state by her obstetrician gynecologist during the whole pregnancy. She had blood spotting and because of this, she had to stop working.

One thing I know, this baby boy will be the first and last grandchild of my parents. My other sister, she’s 25 years old, also confessed to me discreetly that she doesn’t have any plans nor will she be compelled to have kids. Oh dear, what has become of our lineage?

Anyway, in the last few years, I tried pumping some maternal instincts into my awfully autonomous system but helaas it doesn’t seem to work. Like what we say here in Holland, “Het komt vanzelf.” [It will come naturally.] – But this isn’t happening.

Two years ago, I visited my old high school friend in Sheffield, U.K. She gave birth to a big healthy baby boy. During my visit, she was tied up busy preparing for the christening and organizing the party, so I of course helped out by babysitting her newborn son. The experience was a revelation. It was THAT time I realized that being a mother is not the most noblest vocation in my book.

The adorable baby boy of our friend from the north.

This might come across quite mean, but I never enjoyed the babysitting encounter. I can’t seem to smile when the poor little thing starts crying. And because of carrying the weighty baby for days, my left arm was throbbing in pain. Ugh and argh... It also started to irritate the hell out of me, when my friend, all of a sudden, is incapable of holding a decent conversation as her attention is only focused on her little baby angel.

Everyone in the christening and party too [yes most were parents anyway] were literally baby-awed and baby-whipped. They kept acting like characterless clowns and mimicking amorous sounds in front of the baby. The baby was like a star, a celebrity and all of them were like paparazzi eager to devour a part of him.

After 3 days, I really have had enough. I felt so suffocated. I must leave!!!

DISCLAIMER: There is nothing wrong with babies and children or the parents. IT IS JUST ME.

And here in the Netherlands too, when I see mothers with their adorable little trophies smiling and cooing, propped up neatly in their prams, the first few things that come to my mind, somewhat like my reflexes, are (mothers I plead, please do not rebuke my blunt sincerity, LOL):

(1) Uh, such a hassle. I can’t even clean the flat, how much more taking care of a baby?
(2) Sleepless and stressful nights. Ah, there goes my night owl lifestyle. Huh, huh, huh.
(3) Loss of freedom. Yes I am selfish. I want to travel, earn money and do whatever I want without any baggage.
(4) Pressure to [insert a thousand important items here]. I want to keep my life simple, very simple.
(5) Responsibility in all kinds. For the next 20 years? Oh, no!

Children are cute little angels and I like their company too... but as long as I can return them to their parents at the end of the day. Is -rent a baby- a good idea for a business? Een gat in de markt misschien? ;-)

I guess, if I find out that tomorrow I am pregnant, this stubborn free spirited independent girl will have a major heart attack. Although I am a flexible person and do not see change as a threat, I can honestly say that right now I am somewhat quite set in my ways and rearranging my current lifestyle by inserting a kid into the domestic familial bliss state, will require a phenomenal paradigm shift in my system.

The friends who really know me in real life just shrug off their shoulders and say, “This is very you.”

Oh well, I am doomed to be a childless woman, by choice. If only I can donate my ovum [egg cells] + ovary, cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes to those women who are dying to have kids but just can’t. Life isn’t fair eh?

Or who knows, a miracle will come crashing down like lighting on earth and I change my mind? Then ah, NL and the EU will surely benefit from it!

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