Let’s Normalize Women Not Wanting To Have Kids
No, it does not make you “selfish” or “unhappy.”
You know you’ve reached peak adulting when everyone in your age group is either getting married or giving birth. On your 30th birthday, your parents start asking you for grandkids, and conversations with your friends start turning into a parenting seminar. You may not notice it, but the expectation that a woman should be married and starting a family before reaching a certain age pressures them into making decisions they do not want. If you don’t see kids in your future, here’s your reminder that it’s completely normal and you are not alone.
According to the Cassandra Report: Ages and Stages, one-third of millennials do not want to have kids. A 2017 study shows that these people are being harshly judged for choosing not to have children, as they are considered to be “psychologically unfulfilled” in comparison to those with kids.
We have always been taught that we have a one-size-fits-all path when it comes to life: study, work, get married, then raise a family. That not following this timeline means that you are “selfish” and “missing something essential to the human experience.” Well, 37-year-old Lauren disagrees.
“I’m 37, unmarried, childless, and happy,” she shares. “You know, I’ve heard a lot of comments about my decision to not get married or have kids, I think I’ve heard them all already.”
When Lauren was in her early thirties, her friends and family started throwing questions at her about marriage and kids. “Lahat ng mga barkada ko ‘kinasal na, ‘yung iba nanganak na, ako na lang ang wala,” she says. “Dahil panganay ako sa magkakapatid, ako ‘yung na-bombard nila Nanay at Tatay kung kelan daw sila magkaka-apo.”
Lauren admitted that she felt pressured to comply to her family’s requests, but constantly reminded herself that she makes all the decisions concerning her body and her life. “If you get lost in the comments of other people, if you care too much about what they’re saying, you can lose yourself,” she says.
Madel, 34, is among the millennials who choose to be child-free. When asked why, she answered: “Aside from the fact that I think my body will not be able to take the physical effects of pregnancy, I think children are too pure to be born in a world this cruel.”
She believes that there are so many problems in the world that we couldn’t even control, and by continuing to grow the population, we are only passing down these dilemmas to future generations.
“’Tsaka some women don’t have maternal instincts, including me,” shares Madel. “I don’t think I’d be a good mother, honestly speaking. But that doesn’t make me any less of a person.”
When Madel was younger, her mother gave her a “parenting advice” that she found disturbing. “I remember talking to my mother when I was a teenager, ang sabi niya, dapat daw magka-anak na ako bago mag-trenta, para pagtanda ko, sila na daw ang bubuhay sa akin.”
Madel didn’t understand the weight of her mother’s words back then, but when she got older, she understood what her mom truly meant. “If you’re going to have kids para lang may mag-alaga sa ’yo pagtanda mo, you shouldn’t have kids at all,” she says.
Through the years, we have seen numerous comments like her mom’s concealed as “advice.” However, the truth remains the same: that kids shouldn’t be treated as a safety net.
Children are real, living beings. They deserve to be loved, taken care of, and treated with respect. Choosing to have kids is a lifetime commitment, a responsibility, which means that you should have a sense of willingness to raise and love a child. Children do not deserve to carry the burden of their parents’ ulterior motives.
It’s your life, not theirs
“Of course, if you do want to have kids, nothing’s wrong with that! Some of women’s lifelong dreams is motherhood,” says Lauren. “As long as your heart is in the right place, and you take care of your children, nobody has the right to tear you down.”
The same thing goes with those who choose to be childless. “As long as you are not hurting anybody, basta wala kang tinatapakang ibang tao, you should not be ashamed of not wanting to be a mom.”
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to conform to society’s impossible expectations to be genuinely happy. The “study, work, get married, raise a family” approach may have worked for the generations before us, but things change, and so do we.
At the end of the day, it’s your life, your body, and your decision. You do you.
This article originally appeared on OneLife.PH