A farewell to motherhood

My point is that as gay people, parenthood is never an accident. It is a carefully thought out and complicated process that makes it impossible to be a mom or dad on a whim, and guarantees that our children are always wanted and prepared for.

But I still cannot take that step. My wife and I have decided that given our lives, location, and financial status, we simply are not built for parenthood right now. We are not in a state of life and mind to be able to fairly say that we can give a child the love, attention, and financial benefits he or she deserves. At our age, it's safe to say that biological motherhood is something that will likely pass us by.

I say it with genuine sadness and a lot of hesitation as it never feels right to choose yourself over your children. But if the children are not yet born, inevitably this choice protects them. If there is a choice, I still believe that parenthood is a huge decision that simply cannot be made without the most elaborate deliberation. Most babies are already born without thought. 

'Just do it! You'll love it!'

I will not have a child without absolute certainty of my commitment to it. Too many people are doing that already, and we see it all around us.

"Just do it! You'll love it!" I've been told. I've also been told that so many people do it for the wrong reasons and they turn out okay.

Is it really fair to children to have them just because it could be okay? And why must parenthood be the default setting?

Even if many things have changed for the modern woman, it is still the expectation that all women must want motherhood. It is the general idea that the end purpose of a woman is to raise a family. 

I'm not fighting that. Motherhood is definitely a woman's most important role – but only if she chooses to be one.  A woman may have a just as fulfilling life without children, and a child-free home may be just as happy (or even happier) as one full of children.

It doesn't make much sense but my non-motherhood has been called selfish. I've also been told that I'm not fulfilling my purpose as a woman. The reality is that having a child for self-satisfaction when one is not ready is the more selfish act. The true purpose of a woman is to honor the creation of life by not doing it haphazardly. 

I've also been told that when I am older, I will be filled with regret. I wonder why mothers are not allowed to openly regret having children but child-free women are expected to regret not having them. Can't they both have no regrets? Given a choice, I would much rather bear my own regret of not creating a life, than create a person who will bear my unspoken regret.

Who will take care of you when you get old?

"What will you do when you grow old? Who will take care of you?" are questions we're always asked. The last time this happened, we asked that person if she thought her children would be around when they grew up. Unequivocally she said yes. The next day her son announced he was going to leave the country when his schooling was done. Case closed.

We shouldn't have children as a safety net. That's both unfair to them and quite irresponsible of us. Thoughtful parents leave no debts to their kids, nor do they oblige them to care for them to return the favor of being parented.  They did not request that favor, nor did they ask to be under your care. 

Raising children should never be a retirement plan. Plan for your own future and do not put that burden on your kids. 

We are all mothers

I have mothered nieces and nephews, and even friends' children. Every day and in my own way I mother lost teens, LGBT youth, and take over the parental duties of providing unconditional love on behalf of their moms and dads.

We all have mothers not related to us by blood. And sometimes the more meaningful relationships we have are with those with whom we do not share genes.

I'm not closing my doors to motherhood – maybe just the biological kind. Because I know that while there are many mothers out there who want children, there are far more children who will need mothers who actually want them. These numbers will only increase as I age, and if it's meant to be, motherhood (in any of its forms) will come for me in time. – Rappler.com 

Shakira Sison

Shakira Andrea Sison is a two-time Palanca-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours writing stories in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002....

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