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5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids

'All that matters is what you and your partner want.'
5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) COURTESY OF CRISTINA AND CLARE, COURTESY OF MONIQUE AND ROCCO
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Fall in love. Get married. Have kids. It may be hard to believe, but not all people want to follow this formula for life! Some people are happy being single, while others are polyamorous. Some people are okay with cohabiting, while others want a big wedding and reception. Some couples want five kids, and others want none!

Below are five couples who are very sure they don't want to have kids.

Cristina and Clare, married

Cristina: Clare kind of assumed she would have kids one day, because—isn't that just what people do? It seemed like the normal next step after you get married and buy a house. She never questioned it. But me, I never pictured myself with kids. I couldn't imagine a life with such enormous financial, mental, and emotional stress. I felt that we would not do well under the stress of parenting.

Two months into our relationship, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. So we talked about the future of our family. Overtime, Clare thought about whether or not she really wanted kids, and she felt more and more that it wasn’t for her either.

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People have said hurtful things. "You'll change your mind," or "You just don't know what you want." It upsets us so much because we have spent years trying to understand ourselvesand each otherto know exactly what we want. 

When other people ask why we don't want children, we just tell them it's not for us. They usually just accept that it's not something we want for ourselves. But people have said hurtful things. "You'll change your mind," or "You just don't know what you want." It upsets us so much because we have spent years trying to understand ourselvesand each otherto know exactly what we want. Comments like that are dismissive of the years of discussion and compromise and love and understanding and work we put into deciding to be child-free.

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5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids: Cristina and Clare
COURTESY OF Cristina and Clare
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It's also so strange when people say, "You just have to do it. Don't think about it too much." Sorry, are you the one who's going to pay for and care for our child for the rest of their life? Having a child is a very serious and life-changing decision that you can't take back. You absolutely have to think long and hard about it.

Our advice to other couples dealing with the criticism about their choice: All that matters is what you and your partner want. Only you know the effort you put into making that decision for your familybecause yes, two people are still a family!

Sue and RK, together for 10 years, cohabiting for four years

RK: I'm the eldest, and none of my siblings have kids, so my parents used to bug me about it. My father brings up his grandson (or lack thereof) whenever he has the chance. I tell him that we have many plans and that a kid isn't a priority. He has mostly stopped asking, though I can sense his disappointment.

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What really annoys me is that people don't believe me when I tell them that Sue doesn't want children either. They tell me not to believe it, because all women want children. They say it as if I'm forcing what I want on her, and that they know her better than I do.

Stay away from people pressuring you to have kids! Unless they will help raise the kid with you, they don't get a say. Having kids is a commitment.

Sue: I have huge respect for people who commit themselves to parenthood. I'm a teacher by profession, and sometimes I find myself preferring to talk to children rather than adults. I dote on my niece and nephews, too.

My answer has stayed consistent through the years, and my parents no longer bring it up. 

My mom talked to me about biological clocks and all that when I was in my 20s. I told her that I had given it a lot of thought, and it just isn't something I'm willing to commit to. There are no vacations or sick leaves from being a parent. My answer has stayed consistent through the years, and my parents no longer bring it up. Maybe it helps that my siblings have children, and they have enough grandchildren to spoil.

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5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids: Sue and RK
COURTESY OF Sue and RK

RK didn't particularly have strong opinions about having children, so we decided not to have them. We did agree to re-evaluate the decision in maybe five years. So we sat down to talk about it again when I turned 30. We have another check-in scheduled when I turn 35. We recognize that we can always change our minds. We want to make sure it's something we both really want or believe in, and not just us responding to social pressure or expectations.

I get comments, like "Oh, you're still young and don't know any better. You'll change your mind when you get older." Most of my friends think the same way or are pretty understanding about it. But really, it's okay not to want kids.

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Risnie and Benjie, married

Risnie: My husband and I decided to hold off on having children until after marriage. Our priority was to buy a house and a car first. Then COVID-19 happened. We thought to ourselves, it will pass, but hate, discrimination, modern slavery, racism and other issues abound. We decided we will definitely not have children, because it's not safe to bring another innocent baby to this world.

They talk to us as if we are children who don't know what we are doing. They say we might regret it. And who would take care of us when we're old? 

Still, people say mean things. One person implied that even if we bought two houses—one for us and another for my parents—and a car, it amounts to nothing because we don't have children. They talk to us as if we are children who don't know what we are doing. They say we might regret it. And who would take care of us when we're old? But we think it's better to regret not having them than regret having them. We can always adopt if we change our minds. And we always say: Children are not caregivers and retirement plans!

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5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids: Risnie and Benjie
COURTESY OF Risnie and Benjie

We also tell other people we still financially support our respective families. We both grew up poor, so it's only now that we are able to buy the things we want. I also have PCOS, so it would be difficult to get pregnant.

To other couples who make the same choice: Stand firm. You know yourselves better, and you have your reasons to be child-free. Don't let society pressure you into having children. It's a personal choice you and your partner have to make. It's your life. They won't carry the pregnancy to term and won't help take care of the baby and pay the bills, so what they say doesn't really matter.

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Ina and Kevin, engaged

Ina: From close relatives to complete strangers, people have said a lot of hurtful things. They call us selfish for refusing to give up our freedom and lifestyle. Some express pity, as our life isn't complete or happy without kids. The most hurtful question was directed at me, "If you're not having kids, then what on earth are you here for?" This made us realize that in this society, a woman's achievements or passions are not as important as her ability to give birth. Women are still mainly viewed as incubators.

But honestly, I have always disliked the idea of having kids. When I was younger, I found children to be overly rowdy and viewed them as stressors. I missed out on a lot of extracurricular activities and social trips when I was young because I had to take care of my younger siblings while my parents were at work. This cemented my desire to be child-free, and I made it my goal in life to explore more of what the world has to offer. For both Kevin and me, money was tight when we were younger, and there was not much room for luxury.

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We have a lot of friends who have kids, and we love them. However, we know that being parents is not our purpose in life. We're very passionate about our advocacies and hobbies.

Now we're both earning, and we are able to splurge on both experiences and material things. Kevin wants to remain child-free because he wants to spoil his inner child.

We have a lot of friends who have kids, and we love them. However, we know that being parents is not our purpose in life. We're very passionate about our advocacies and hobbies. When we envision our lives five years from now, we see ourselves volunteering for sustainability causes and traveling the world. We just can't imagine ourselves waking up early to prepare lunch or attending PTA meetings. There is simply no room for children in our busy and fast-paced lives.

5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids: Ina and Kevin
COURTESY OF Ina and Kevin
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To other couples, our advice is: Stand your ground. A lot of people get agitated whenever we tell them that we're child-free, and make it their mission to convince us to have kids. We don't understand why, because our decision has absolutely zero effect on their lives. But if you stay true to your reasons for being child-free, nothing could sway you. Always remember that the only input that matters is yours and your partner's.

Lastly, never let yourselves or other people undermine and invalidate your reason for being child-free. Parenting is a huge responsibility, and many plunge in without being ready. One reason why we're child-free is because we don't want to sacrifice sleep. Other people have regarded it as an incredibly shallow reason, but we wouldn't give up a good night's sleep for the world! If all else fails and people continue to criticize, we just tell them we already have kids: our three annoying cats.

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Monique and Rocco, engaged

Rocco: To be honest, neither of us were interested in having kids even before we met each other. Personally, I made that decision for myself as early as high school, and I even asked my parents about getting a vasectomy. Then, when Monique and I started dating, everything just kind of clicked. The more serious our relationship got, the more everyone seemed to expect children from us. But we just always felt that having kids wasn't part of where we wanted our lives to go. We both had so many things we wanted to do, places we wanted to see, and skills we wanted to learn. It didn't help that we also thought the planet was a huge mess and it just didn't make sense for us to bring a whole new human being into it.

Then, in November 2020, we came across a post on Facebook about a government program that offered free non-scalpel vasectomies. Monique asked me if it was something I wanted to do, and without skipping a beat, I said "YES!" I got scheduled for the procedure that same week. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

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We decided our family was perfect the way it was: us, our animal companions, and our plants. We decided that someday, if we ever had the resources to care for more beings on this planet, we would rescue more animals instead.

Monique: What really, really, really sealed the deal for us was when we learned that having children is one of the most destructive things anyone can do to the environment. Creating more humans adds 58.6 metric tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions to the planet per child, per year. It's the largest driver of the climate crisis. We decided our family was perfect the way it was: us, our animal companions, and our plants. We decided that someday, if we ever had the resources to care for more beings on this planet, we would rescue more animals instead.

We had a #childfreebychoice Facebook post go viral last year. We got hate mail from strangers from all over the world for that. People were literally telling me I should rip my uterus out. Some people have said the most appalling things. I once attended brunch with a handful of female friends, some of whom had just had their first children. A friend turned to me and asked, "Aren't you guys planning to have children yet?" I said we had no such plans, and I explained the climate crisis, that things will get worse over the next 30 years. She said, "You guys are so doom and gloom. Children will adapt." My jaw dropped in disbelief.

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5 Couples Talk About Their Decision To Not Have Any Kids: Monique and Rocco
COURTESY OF Monique and Rocco

Another time, Rocco and I were manning a booth at a bazaar. We started chatting with the staff of the booth next to us. They were shocked to find that we were both in our 30s and that had no plans of having children. One of the women told us, "Sayang ang lahi!" She proceeded to explain how our baby could be in a commercial and earn us money. We laughed politely and told her it just wasn't for us. She looked at Rocco from head to toe, then looked me in the eye and said, "Ay nako, kung ayaw mo, ako na lang." She just flat out propositioned my fiance to impregnate her since "I didn't want his babies?"

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If people offer a discussion, answer their questions. Choosing to be child-free will always be taboo if we avoid talking about it. It's possible that the people asking us questions are genuinely curious about our choices and just want to better understand them. You'll be surprised how many people respond to logic, and how many people out there share the same views. Ignore the criticism, because most of it just comes from either ignorance or envy.

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Cosmopolitan Philippines is now on Quento! Click here to download the app and enjoy more articles and videos from Cosmo and your favorite websites!