Why don’t you want children?

I was at a dinner party the other night with 6 lovely women, most of whom are either married, divorce or have kids. the dinner conversation invariably turned to their respective children as they updated one another about their children’s progress and their interactions with the little ones. I’m used to children talk so I just listened without prejudice. Everyone had their own child rearing styles and it was interesting to listen to it. in between all that, there were the usual male jibbing comments they made at their own husbands, and then at everyone else’s husbands as a joke.

one of the girls, whom I’ve only met briefly on 2 other occasions, politely asked if I were married or seeing anyone. then she asked if I were planning to have children. I said no, don’t think anytime soon. Then she said, “oh.. you’re one of those.” it was said like a passing remark, a faint fart that if you didn’t pay attention, you wouldn’t have heard it. but I did. I was more curious than anything else to know, what one of those might you be referring to?

I know in the single girls community, some of us mock mothers whose whole universe surround their children. Personally I don’t think there’s anything crucially wrong with that, to be absorbed by the very beings you brought to life, but you have to admit that mothers who sit at their office desks and watch video captures of their wee ones doing some cutesy thing and giggling to oneself, is a tad bit psychotic. when their every word is only about what Mary Jane of Lil’ Tom did yesterday isn’t it cute that he threw EVERYTHING on the floor? aww! positively drives me insane. so it now occurs to me that in the mommy world, they have a description of girls who are the anthesis of everything that they are; women who do not want children. I guess that could be what one of “those” are.

since it’s not my personality type to jump up in the middle of polite conversation and point an accusing finger at a person i barely know, demanding to know what she meant by “one of those”, I let the comment pass. It could also be a feeling of resignation where I’d spend the rest of my 30s having to defend my current choices in life. I say current coz God knows how i’d feel in a few years time. perhaps the biological clock will strike with a resounding BONG! and i’d have to rape my boyfriend to get the baby I want, I admit that people do change their minds yes. but until then it’s a constant battle of having to explain to people why I’m not leading the life they chose. or at least until I reach the age where doctors and society deem that it’s unsafe to have a child.

Yesterday at the salon, my hairdresser asked the when are you going to have children question. funny thing is that we had this conversation the last time I was there, but I guess he doesn’t remember every conversation we have the few times I visit his salon. He is what I call one of those reformed men, who married his long-time girlfriend because he got her pregnant. At the start, he was very apprehensive about having a child, considering that he just started his own salon, and was still living in a boy’s world; drinking, smoking and playing computer games every night. He knew he had to get his act together but he was reluctant to as he hadn’t planned it. when the child arrived, he miraculously turned into a devoted father who was amazed at what joy a child could bring into his life. Suddenly his goals changed to providing for his family and ensuring his daughter got the best he could offer. When I offered the truth that I didn’t like children that much, he felt that he had the right to assure me that all that would change once I had a baby crawl out of my womb. He described all the feelings of love of his child, where she would crawl into their bed in the morning and call out to them sleepily or run to him and hugged his legs. it was an endearing story to hear, but I couldn’t help feeling annoyed that he was trying to press all that onto me. In fact, I get really annoyed when everyone does that to me. When people start lecturing me on these things, I feel like shouting at them, what makes you think I will feel the same way? What if you’re wrong? is it too late to return the baby?

I’m not saying that I won’t, i’m not an unfeeling person. In fact, when it comes to the crunch, I do think I can handle bringing up a child to the best of my abilities. What I don’t like is the constant barrage from people to do “what should come naturally” so that they feel as if they’ve done their duty to ensure the world is right again. that being a woman should do her duty and create a family.

Reading someone’s comment on the backlash the movie/book Eat Pray Love received made me emphatise with people who make different life choices but are criticised for it. in Eat Pray Love, it’s a story of the author’s journey to re-discovering herself after walking out on a failed marriage. she went on to travel around the world, met people, had lovers and finally found joy within herself. there’s nothing wrong with that. but to some people, taking a different path in life was the biggest sin you could ever commit. to them, it was like “how dare you not settle down and have babies the way women should.” to me, it was, “how dare you try to tell me what to do?” it seemed like the great feminist movement is still stuck in a rut if women are still cast in typical childbearing roles and aren’t allowed to live out of such roles. It’s always been a question of how women balance work-home roles by being both career-minded yet still able to bring up their children, because here at least the feminists are pacified that women are allowed to hold careers matching men (despite the income disparity that still exists in some countries), but conservative society is still happy that women are still baby-churning machines. it’s what we call a compromise between 2 schools of thought. so my question here is, if society is allowed to accept women of one extreme who want to have babies and naught else, how about the other extreme where there are women who don’t?

I’m slowly running out of ammunition to fend myself with this constant barrage of “are you going to have kids? why not?”. so far those i have in my arsenal are:

1. I don’t like children

2. I don’t want to bear the responsibility of having to bring a child up coz if the child fucks up, it’s a huge thing.

3. I’m too selfish. I’d rather spend my time, effort and money on myself.

4. Children are expensive, i’d rather buy a house with a swimming pool and a gaming room.

5. I’d rather have 3 dogs, a cat, a rabbit and a pony.

all of which are true, but apparently it’s unacceptable. I’m trying to think of more outlandish replies to shock people into not asking me anymore. either that or bow down and say the acceptable thing that isn’t true but will at least get these people off my back. things like, “yes it’s in the plans but not yet.” NOTHING IS IN THE PLANS! my plans consist of where I’m going partying next weekend. it doesn’t say anything about bringing another life into this world. just because they’ve been there done that, doesn’t mean I would survive the experience. I don’t go round telling people I survived 2 tattoos and the pain is nothing, so WHY DON’T YOU GO FOR A TATTOO TOO??? perhaps the yellow ribboners could give ac speech on, it’s okay to commit  crime and spend some time in jail coz i’ve survived it and now even the government has a program to give us a 2nd chance! i just wish people would understand, your life choices doesn’t make mine.

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19 comments

  1. marajaded · · Reply

    at least if you’re not married, they don’t ask the kid qn that often (i hope!). i just got asked the kid question recently and basically the person implied that that was the point of getting married. she finally conceded that she guessed i married for companionship.

    w.t.f.?!

    1. that’s another angle on things. people seem to need one to fall into a certain structure in life. if a+b doesn’t equal to c, then it HAS to mean something else.
      so what did you end up telling her? “i married him so i can have access to his money!”

      i’ve a friend who keeps pestering me to get married to “this one” already. if i tell her that i don’t know if we will ever get married, he’s not ready, etc. then she will launch into this “what are you still doing with him?!” lecture. things aren’t as clear cut! i mean i don’t tell her “why don’t you divorce your husband??” when she tells me of her marital woes. ridiculous right????

      1. marajaded · ·

        hahaha.. i decided that since this was my HR manager, not a good idea to give her my honest opinion, on what she thought. I said something more PC like ‘I’m really not at the life stage where I can see myself wanting to have kids’. This was when she said, ‘yeah i guess marry for companionship’. I took great control not to show my wtf face. So you don’t see your husband as a companion?! marriage is not for baby making. hubs plus me is a family unit too. I don’t feel that i need a kid to complete my life (i do feel that i need two cats to complete it though!)

        i don’t get it, you do not fail at life if you
        a) are single
        b) have significant other but not getting married
        c) don’t have (or want) kids

        i don’t understand why there seems to be this checklist we must fulfil otherwise our lives seem unfulfilled / empty. I am really quite happy to live with two cats.

      2. you have two cats??? i didn’t know!

        i seriously wish people will stop being so narrow-minded. or if they wish to live in their little nutshell, they don’t have to expect people to live in their nutshell. or think they have the right to tell people how they should lead their lives. i think i need a ink stamp that says, how the fuck is it your business?

      3. marajaded · ·

        no no.. i want two cats. if i had cats, the world would know.

      4. are you getting your own place? will you have cats then?

      5. marajaded · ·

        are you getting your own place? will you have cats then?

        YES AND YES!!! (the hubs thinks we’re only getting one.. hoo hoo hoo)

      6. one is too lonely! you must always get 2 😛 at least 😛

  2. yeah at least u’re not married so i dont think they attack you with this question so often. i’m married for about 3 years now and i get asked this question ALL the time. i dont hate kids but i think we have a nice life now just the two of us, ARGH……

    miss u on LJ

    1. about how do you stand it? haven’t they ever thought *MAYBE* for some couples it’s probably a medical reason? maybe next time i shall blush and say, “i cannot have my husband’s… *giggle* inside me” or something ludicrous like that. i thought of one just now when i was showering. “to me, the vagina is meant for putting stuff in, not getting stuff out.”

      i kinda miss LJ too but i kinda like wordpress. gives me this impression that i’m publishing something 🙂

  3. Lolitapopz · · Reply

    Bur, we did this on lj before! You were supposed to give the ‘black nipples’ line! Sometimes I tell people I don’t have a womb and watch them squirm.

    1. omg i KNOW! i hate to sound like a broken recorder but THAT IS HOW OFTEN I GET ASKED ABOUT CHILDREN!
      but i bet you get it worse since you’re married!

  4. sigh. have you blogged abt this before? sounds familiar.

    my “grown up” friends like to say that i will change my mind in the future. why won’t they believe me when i say i don’t?!

    look,
    1. i don’t even see anybody i want to have kids with
    2. i don’t even like kids
    3. it’s MY life and i’ve bloody thought abt the issue for a long time and i’ve concluded i DO NOT WANT kids. on the off chance i may want a kid, i’ve also decided i would adopt.

    BUT NOBODY BELIEVES ME AND LIKES TO POINT OUT THAT THINGS WILL HAPPEN DIFFERENTLY!

    :\

    1. you can ask them, can you guarantee my mind will change? if it doesn’t how? can i come back and sue you?

      ya i blogged about this before. i really resisted talking about it again so i held it in but after like 3-4 “why aren’t you having kids” conversations, i just exploded and BWWEEEEHHH over here.

  5. I always tell people that they should do what comes naturally to them, when they are ready. It doesn’t matter what life choices they make as long as they are happy and are at peace with it. Believe you me, I also get a lot of slack for not walking the straight and narrow. Sometimes, I wonder why I can’t be like the so-called ‘normal’ people and be content with what I have, that way, it won’t feel like I’m fighting a losing battle to be who I am. But I know that I can’t spend my lifetime living a lie either.

    1. it’s always a big leap when you make decisions that changes the direction of your life. to make that decision, however difficult, takes a lot of courage. some people have no courage so they’d rather live that lie. you decide to be true to yourself.
      me? i’d rather live in my current world and not change anything so i don’t have to make any big decisions in life 😛

      maybe we should start a practice of telling people how they should lead their lives and turn the tables around.

  6. here’s numero 6: i don’t want a torn and stitched up vajaya

    it’s gross and real enough to turn anyone off.

    although i don’t get the “why don’t you want to have children?”, i get the “why aren’t you getting married?”.
    when i told friends i have no intent to get married or whatsoever, the next question instantaneously was “what the hell are you doing with him?” or “why are you wasting his time?”. i would give the WTF look and move onto frivolous topics like weather.

    1. *bats eyelashes* “for the sex??”
      if it’s long distance, “for the phone sex??”

  7. Not sure how one of your readers linked their way to my page, which I think is pretty funny due to the fact my blog and this post are on opposite sides of the spectrum, lol.

    But I agree with you, everyone has their own schedule…or rather, their own agenda on how they want to spend their limited time on earth. Marriage isn’t for everyone, and neither are children. Even the ones who go through the motions of marriage or children may deeply regret their decisions later on in life.

    But because I’m a closet-prick, I would’ve engaged with the person who made that passing comment. That would also probably explain why I haven’t been to a dinner party in a very long time.

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