It’s a hard topic to write about, but I feel like that’s exactly why I have to put this out here.
I’m at the age where my social media is flooded with pictures and videos of engagement day, pre-weddings, weddings, babies, and MP-ASI recipes. There’s this natural impulse in me that was formed by our social construct to question myself, “why didn’t I do that too?“
But I always answered that with, “you want the happiness they portrayed. Not the occasion.“
Since I was a child, I always knew I want a laid-back wedding. Laid back as in my groom and I could walk around the party greeting the guests ourselves. I don’t want a duduk bersanding di pelaminan type of wedding. I want to wear a satin, slender white gown with simple tiara on my head and my groom looking sharp with fitting black tuxedo, smiling and laughing throughout the day. I want our photos to be very candid, capturing the happiness we are feeling that it really is the beginning of our lives as husband and wife.
But I don’t think I ever imagined myself to be a birth mother.
I will clarify this: I don’t want the ‘being pregnant, giving birth, and caring for toddlers’ phase of motherhood, but I am open to being a mother figure to kids age 7+. That would put me just outside the spectrum of a childfree person.
You could google other people’s reasons on being childfree, most which I would agreed with, but I’m going to describe my very personal reasons here.
1. People here are very nosy and lecturing.
For the love of God, I cannot stand when people giving unsought lectures about how other people should live their lives. It is especially rampant with new mothers. Topics from birthing method, breastfeeding, naming them, holding them, dressing them, and everything else that seems endless. I don’t want to be the stressed-out mother fighting post-partum depression, responding to those unnecessary, annoying question. And I know I’m very prone to becoming that.
2. It seems evident from the last sentence, that I don’t have the mental toughness to handle criticisms.
And it puts babies and toddlers to be in a very vulnerable place. They can’t really talk, and they can’t fight back. It gets even harder if they need special care. If you are a baby caretaker, you essentially have one job: to keep them alive. I don’t want to be in the position where I am failing at that job because of my unhealthy state.
3. I am scared and I don’t want the physical pain, as I don’t find it glorious either.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on a woman’s body. I’ve read enough stories about how awful pregnancy and being in 20+ hours of labor could be, but also how those two are the most endurable when you compare it to actually taking care of the baby outside of your body. Many saw it as beautiful, some are addicted even, as it is miraculous to be able to grow an actual human being inside you, which I agreed wholeheartedly. But I am scared, so I decide that I don’t want it, ever.
4. I don’t mind being with someone who had children.
As I think it should make them more understanding to my stance of not wanting a baby. And also, if it means that I get to marry someone at least 10+ my senior, I’m practically winning. I’d take a daddy over a dude any day.
5. You can already reason with kids age 7+.
The thing about toddlers and babies is that they can hear (if they aren’t deaf) but they don’t listen. Kids 7+, on the other hand, choose whether they want to listen or not. I like that dynamic because it makes it a two-way thing. We will be having conversations rather than “me-talking-to-you” situations.
6. There are enough people in the world.
And my gene is not that superior/ important anyway.
I am a believer in the balance of nature (ecological balance) theory. So, I guess for every childless individual, there must be the balancer: those who create and nurture new human beings. It’s evident with how widely-accessible and subjectively more affordable in-vitro fertilizations (IVF) are these days.
Or perhaps it’s the other way round: the childfree people are the real balancer of this already crowded Earth.
And for the “what if“-ers out there, I’ll say this: I would rather be old regretting of not having children rather than ever regretting of having one.