I recently met up with an old friend and was left fuming by the end of our conversation. Til date, I still can’t get over it, thus the need for this post. You see, the main topic he kept harping on the entire time was “When are you getting pregnant? Why don’t you want kids?”. It was exasperating having to constantly defend my decision only to have it frowned upon by this judgmental prick. In fact, what pissed me off even more was that he consider this issue his moral responsibility to rush me into having a kid less than a year into my marriage, when he was already married for 3 years – which he felt was ok as he was in no rush. TMD, if you’re not rushing then I must rush for what fuck?!
I still vividly remember a conversation I had with my cousin as a kid, asking each other on our ambitions when we grow up…
“I want to be a lawyer,” she said.
“I want to be an independent woman” was mine.
I’ve always envisioned myself to work towards my university goals so as to be financially independent before settling down. But kids were never really in the picture. If I have it, I’ll have it; if I don’t, I don’t. I don’t see a need to deliberately plan and have a baby because everyone is having one, I never actually dreamed of having a family like other people seem to. Yet here I have people looking at me like a monster for not wanting children, or they think I’m a failure as a woman. What the fuck is wrong with you?
1. I married for love, not children
“What’s the point of marrying if you don’t procreate?” is a common question I get from my peers. Alongside with, “Aren’t you afraid he will cheat on you and have a bastard child outside?”… Are you telling me that having kids is a pre-requisite to having a perfect married life, otherwise your marriage is bound to fail? And if you marry with the intention of having kids legally, your husband will confirm guarantee chop 100% never ever cheat on you?
Must be a pretty backward fantasy world you’re living in.
All I can say is, if you’re having kids for the sake of pleasing and ensuring your husband to be by your side forever… good luck. Should the day come when your marriage falls apart, will you be staying with him for the sake of your children, or will you leave and fight over your kid(s)? You may claim that it was worth rushing into having kids cuz they are your everything now – which may be true, can’t argue that, but I bet there’ll always be that tiny nudge at the back of your mind going “what if”… So why not do it for yourself? If you’re ready to have kids together, go for it; if not, just enjoy the company of each other. There’s no law saying marriage = kids, else divorce. More like marriage with kids, but still can divorce.
2. Kids ain’t cheap
Have you actually calculate the cost of having one? After the huge medical bills that chalked up during one’s pregnancy, comes a lifetime of financial commitment that having a child entails (or 21 years at least). We are not guaranteed happy, healthy children; so who’s going to bear the physical, emotional and financial impact should there be any complication/disability… you? If not, shut up.
I’ve always have people telling me it’s important having a kid mainly because they’re betting on the fact that he/she will take care of them when they’re old… why not just save the amount you’re intending to spend on them for yourselves instead. At the rate at how companies are cutting costs, the journey up the corporate ladder is much harder than the previous generation; what if you have to be financially responsibility for your kid ’til your death bed. They better be jolly well worth the moolahs.
3. Pregnancy can take a serious physical toll
On top of the hefty financial toll of raising a kid, comes the physical toll of having one. Having a child is already a medical gamble with a mother’s life, not to mention the after-effects of giving birth a woman have to bear with. It’s not just the superficial fear of losing their body shape and saggy boobs, have you heard about postpartum depression, hormonal changes and urinary incontinence? Not all women are pre-programmed with maternal instincts either, so who are you to make the decision for her… will you be bearing the after-effects of childbirth? In fact, will you even be there to help raise that child 24/7?
4. I’m just not ready.
Children don’t fit into every lifestyle, and it certainly doesn’t fit into mine right now. I have worked hard to get to my current goals, and now I finally get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, why should I be rushing into another big investment? Having one won’t make me change my mind or suddenly make me any happier, I’ll just be made to begrudgingly accept it as fate while transferring my personal development plans to another human being. It’s just not what I want at this point of time. In fact, the idea that I would have to sacrifice my job that I’ve studied so hard for only to invest in diapers instead of myself just doesn’t appeal to me right now.
Once you’re a parent, there’s just no going back. I’m just not ready for the next level of commitment and responsibility. Respect that.
5. My body, my prerogative
None of the reasons above overrides this. Ultimately my body is my temple and I’m the gatekeeper; I get to decide whether I want a kid or not, whether I’m prepared to go through this life-changing decision. I shouldn’t have to explain my reasoning, or even have a reason at all. Period.
When it comes to pregnancy related questions, I find that men are more guilty of asking these than women. Surprising eh? And if you think you do have a say in this, what makes you any different from rapists? People like you don’t understand that “NO simply means NO” – there’s no maybe, definitely not a yes, it’s just NO FUCKING WAY. It opens up a worrying debate about who really has control over women’s bodies, because it’s certainly not the woman herself. FYI, having a uterus doesn’t mean that I have to house somebody in it just like how having sperms doesn’t mean you have to spread your seeds far and wide.
None of this is to say that women shouldn’t be mothers. I just want to remind all the women out there to never allow your family, “friends” and/or internet to scare you into doing something you’re not ready to do. Having a kid is a long term commitment between your husband and you, it doesn’t and shouldn’t involve the rest of the world, so why let them force you into having one? Every woman has the right to decide whether and when to have children, irrespective of age, lifestyle or circumstance; no one else have the right to make the choice and bully you into having babies – not even your husband.
IF, however, you’re guilty of constantly asking people around you to have kids, why don’t you do everyone a favor and shut your fucking mouth up? You have absolutely zero right to instill your wants into others – especially when you’ll not be contributing in any way other than your useless opinions; talk is cheap and you’re just being downright rude.
So let me make this clear, the next person who think it is OK to push me into having kids, please just see yourself out the door and close the chapter of our friendship. I don’t see the need to be forced into a corner and explain for myself, only to have you wishing me a “happy accident”. Fuck you, fuck off.