I was probably 19 or 20 when I decided that marriage wasn’t a priority and I didn’t want children. I remember telling my late mother about it, and she said; “you’ll change your mind when you get older”.

Nope, I didn’t.

In retrospect, it was only once that my decision not to have children sort of changed ever-so-slightly. It was when my brother and his then-wife had their first-born daughter. She was ugly (as a newborn) but turned out to be so adorable a few months later. Then, she started pooing and vomitting too much. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

As for marriage, I’ve been slightly more indecisive in my thoughts.

When I was 24, I was madly in love with my boyfriend. We didn’t talk about marriage until after he left the country to further his studies. When he came back to propose, I realised it would have been a huge mistake marrying him and into his family (just too long of a story to get into). So I came to my senses and said no.

The next brush with marriage eventuated in my early 30s with my South African boyfriend. We met online and long story short, I moved to South Africa and after long 4 years, he proposed and I said yes. I knew back then he wasn’t THE ONE (who is, anyway!?) but I felt as if I couldn’t do better, so I stayed. The 5th year of our relationship, he cheated on me (one that I know of – apparently, he was / is a serial cheater) and I ended it. So it’s safe to say, I never wanted to get married ever again.

In the last few years (including the ex above), I’ve dated men that either have children of their own (and not looking at having another) or don’t want children. So, I never felt pressured.

My childbearing days are fast diminishing and I haven’t heard one peep out of my biological clock (but I still have people telling me I should have children).

My life is filled with nieces and nephews, and of course, friends’ children. I don’t dislike them – a very cute baby or toddler always makes me grin or smile, but as an adult, I have spent less time with them (friends and their children), partly because of their constant need to be the centre of attention (I know it’s normal for children, but it’s still mentally wearing); their steady stream of (non-stop) chatter and raised voices feels like an auditory assault to me.

I don’t think having children at this time (or ever) is a good idea for me. Mainly because I’m processing a lot of things, and also, because I like my lifestyle and freedom. I also know children isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot for one to be a parent (I don’t even know how to take care of myself emotionally, so why would I want to have children!?).

Now on marriage, I’ve always felt that it’s silly to promise forever when it’s just not realistic to do so. Nothing in life lasts forever. That’s not bitterness, mind you; that’s merely sheer pragmatism. I’ve seen far too many messy divorces in my lifetime.  There is nothing wrong with serial monogamy without the legalities.

Nevertheless, marriage isn’t something I rule out completely. In retrospect, I’ve never felt lonely not being married. I’ve always had the companionship of family and friends, and I usually have a boyfriend or a girlfriend in my life as well.

I often think; isn’t it better to give or not give what one chooses to in a relationship, both during and after it’s over, than to have the law tell you what you owe each other? I think so.

In the past, men and women have accused me all sorts of things:

“You’re afraid of commitment!”

“It isn’t natural of you not wanting to have kids – what’s wrong with you?”

“You aren’t a real woman until you give birth to a human being”

If I’m so afraid of commitment, why was my last relationship lasted longer than most marriages (that I know of)? At least, I haven’t irrevocably scarred a child’s life by not being up to the task of loving and caring for him or her.

It annoys and pisses me of when people ask who’s going to care for me when I’m old. Statistically, it has shown that women outlive men, and I don’t think it’s fair to have children just so they can look after me in my dotage.

 

I have regrets, but I don’t regret remaining childless. In addition to all the above, I’d rather not bring a child to this current state of the world. It would just be bloody selfish of me.

While I’m dead certain I can’t promise forever to an individual in terms of marriage, perhaps when I’m 60 or 80, forever won’t be so horrifying, and I’ll walk down the aisle for the first and only time.

 

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