Sunday, September 09, 2007

Childfree

When you reach the late 30’s age mark, and without a child, some of the numerous forthcoming questions popping out from people’s mouths are, “When are you going to have kids then?” The hard-hitting ones would push and scoff, “You need to hurry up. You are 37 already!!!” and “The clock is ticking! It won’t turn back!”

Then there are those self-serving packs who believe that their pension-for-a-child-premium-motive is but a conventional take in the evolution of societies and culture. They say with horror, “Who will take care of you when you are old?” -- Makes me want to grab a pan and hit them right on the head.

You also have the idealists and their philosophical profound echoing statements of, “A woman is perfected through motherhood...” leaving everyone in stitches, emotional and teary eyed - sniff. Of course, how can we miss the spiritualists and traditionalists lamenting, “What’s the purpose of your life if you are not going to have children?”

Yes, I have been asked, and harassed, a million times over this when-are-you-having-a-child topic. Over, and over again, it is not entertaining anymore. It’s getting so tedious, old, and uh, irritating.

Particularly by Filipinos (and I suppose Asians in general) who are not even family members, and many are acquaintances you just met, they do not seem to know that there are words in the vocabulary such as “privacy” and “tact” that exist. I am hounded, cross-examined with passion, judged and made feel guilty (pointing finger: oh you heretic selfish woman!) by people who think they know better what the purpose of every woman’s life is in this world. In their old school purist way, it is, in this order, (a) get married (b) have kids = voila, purpose of living achieved. Bliss!

Since when is happiness just about getting hooked and raising a child? Happiness can mean many things to many people. I see a lot of morally stuck up bitter people after 20 years of marriage and 3 kids. Divorce proceedings left and right (divorce lawyers even advertise their services on TV) leaving children helplessly on the gutter, and in turn these same children carry the emotional bruises and deep-seated misgivings of a crumbled family life to their adult lives, and in most cases repeating the same sad cycle.


Here in the Netherlands, the Dutch, and Europeans in general, tread on this topic during social gatherings a bit carefully and lightly. They, at least respect your privacy, although I have my own doubts, they may be the opposite within and towards their own family circles. Typical discussions for the middle-aged group always lead to kids, so they ask me if I have, and when I say no, they stop right there. Some, for the sake of conversation would probe a bit, if I would want to have kids - I say NO again, and they would just stop right there, unless of course I encourage the discussion.

I won’t deny the fact that when you get older the more you are set with your ways. I think I am... very set with my ways. I cannot imagine myself pushing a prom on the street, waking up after midnight because the baby is crying for milk, not working or working part-time because I need to attend to the baby first, think all day and the future for and all about the baby, re-arrange my life explicitly for the baby, not be able to travel whenever I want to, give up my space and privacy, give up my freedom, just for the baby. No, no way.

Am I selfish? Hell YES, I am.

But, women who indisputably want to have a child are selfish too. They want a baby for themselves, for their own fulfillment.


So there... everyone’s equal then, ha-ha.

I am sure many would say it’s different when it’s your own kid - from your very own flesh and blood. I do completely agree. I am pretty sure it would be. But I am glad I have a choice. Had it been so easy to donate my gonads to another woman who desperately wants to bear a child but can’t, I would have done it – for a price, lol.

Seriously, what am I trying to say?


People need to truly understand that having a child is a CHOICE. It is not an autopilot function after achieving an official coupling status.

It’s quite startling that many underestimate the enormous responsibility that goes with bringing a child into this (sometimes ruthless) world. Having a child means lifetime responsibility - eternal parenthood, with the first 20 years as the most arduous stage.

Yet, in this 21st century times, the idea of a CHILDFREE LIFE - many would perhaps argue and use the term childless instead, is still a sort of taboo, even in developed forward thinking countries. Many people just find it hard to believe that there are real women out there who do not have mother’s instinct; women who shrink at the idea of motherhood. Women who independently knew -against the pressures of soceity’s mainstream norms and values- what they truly want.

Hopefully, one day, there will come a time when everyone wakes up and come to terms with this human sociology development. That being childfree is just one of the normal lifestyles couples and individuals opt for.

The gospel truth remains though that many women subconsciously have children to complete themselves. The conscious part is of course sustaining the human race’s ecosystem on planet earth. Go forth and multiply.


Well, I am happy and content to say - I don’t need a child to complete myself; I just need me.

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