I am currently 26 years old with a stable job and a partner whom I am planning to marry. At this stage in one’s life, it is inevitable that during meetings and gatherings, the subject of marriage and family building is often discussed. I’m always enthusiastic when talking about possible wedding plans, but I’ve always dreaded the topic of how many kids I plan to have because whenever I tell people I don’t want to have kids, they look at me with a shocked expression like I said something so bizarre and out of this world.
I’ve lost track of how many times I was called selfish and unreasonable because I don’t want to reconsider. Some would try to console me by saying that I should not be worried about the pain because I can always ask for an epidural. (People tend to oversimplify things, don’t they?)
The decision to remain childless is often confused with the fear of giving birth. But it’s not always the case. I am not afraid of the pain. I am more afraid that I will not be able to become the parent I aspire to be because I know deep down that I am not fit to be a parent.
I’ve always valued peace of mind over anything else. When things get too unstable for me, I always isolate myself to be able to take care of my sanity. I do this until I recuperate from the stress I experienced. Being alone in silence and having no distractions is how I maintain stability in my life. I don’t think I will be able to find tranquility if a child is crying and begging for my attention.
What would happen to my kid during my depressive episodes? How would I be able to prepare food for them during those times when I can’t even muster the strength to pull myself out of bed because of lethargy and anhedonia?
Depressive episodes are not an acceptable reason to neglect your child’s needs. You should be present even if you have no physical energy and enough mental space to be there for them. This responsibility and commitment that comes with raising a child are too much for me.
I don’t want my mental health to be an excuse for me to hurt my child, either intentionally or unintentionally.
So, before you judge someone who chose to remain childless, understand that the decision was made through careful consideration and a lot of self-reflection. Before finally deciding to have children, everyone should reflect on this question: Am I fit to raise a child?
We should be aware of our capacities and limitations; we should not rush into it headfirst and regret it later.
I am not trying to convince everyone to remain childless. I just want people to respect the individuals who prefer to remain childless. The world is evolving and thinking that the norm is that a complete family should be composed of two parents and at least one child should be obsolete. Nothing is missing in their lives if they are not parents.
For what’s it worth, I’d rather be called selfish and unreasonable than raise a child with resentment just because I was afraid of deviating from the norm.