This blog seems to have nothing to do with the Philippines, in a way it does and in a way it doesnt. To me this topic is very personal, which I learned to be, more personal, more me, in the Philippines. On the other side, I also felt very much at home in the Philippines, since the relationships were about people and not necessarily about sharing your opinion. Most filipinos told me, they thought I am strange and in a way I am. I am different than a stereotype filipino, and even a stereotype dutch person. I think to be voluntary childless is something people have asked me over the years or wondered. In the Philippines, to be voluntary childless is still a taboo, and considered strange. To be alone and not have anyone taking care of me, when I am old. This is all for you, me blogging out in the open about this topic.
What is your background? (name, family set up, youth, values)
My name is Juliette and currently (while answering these questions) 47 years old. I was born as the eldest of three children. My father is Chinese, and my mother is Dutch. I was raised in a way to use all my potentials and to do my best, that is enough to succeed.
What do you think is still taboo in the Netherlands?
When I investigate my own situation, I think it is generally taboo and perhaps a little different, strange, or not widely accepted, to be voluntary childless out in the open. Women are made to make babies, that is what the biology classes are teaching us. Men like attractive women with wide hips for reproducing purposes.
What is the reason you came to the decision to not have (considering it would be possible) any children?
It is funny since my younger sister was born with one dream. Her dream was to have many children and to bake apple pies. Nothing could make her happier, as a child, she would already tell this to me. I personally never had this dream, not at all, far from that. Besides that, I never had the wish to multiply or even felt the inner clock ticking to get children. Personally, I have been very busy with my own projects, which are sort of my lifework or children. Of course, it is a different way of life and having an organisation is maybe also a substitute.
Regularly in the past years, I have been checking within myself, if I felt the clock ticking. And to imagine my life with a baby or a child. Someone told me once: “Juliette, When you would be able to have children, you will not be alone, you will do that together, with a partner”. At that moment I was amazed and astonished in a way. My personal example, with my mother as a single mom doing most things by herself, was a little different than other people had. But still my sister, born and raised from the same family, felt that she wished to have children. In me, as the eldest child, with responsibilities, this vision of a single parent might had been deeper than I thought. That is still guessing at this moment.
What does your partner think (if you have any)?
My partner and I got together when I passed the “average” time of being fertile. Or the general “normal” age to have a child. He is childless too. We never had any discussion about having children, since the time seemed to have passed. It is also not an issue.
How are the responses from your friends and family?
When I was still living in the Philippines, people would make jokes or tell me it would be still possible to have a baby. It was a general “Hey, how are you doing?” -question in an escalator, difficult for people with a wish to have children and are not able to. In a way it felt uncomfortable for me, since it felt like the question needed an explanation from me. In a way it was strange to not have the wish to get any children, who will take care of you when you are old. No idea, sometimes I wonder too. As sort of a substitute I have two cats. Having two cats already felt like a huge responsibility. In a way, my freedom is dear to me. Since I left the Philippines, already a couple of years ago, I have found another person to take care of them. In a way I think I could put my motherly feelings and my care in them. I miss them terribly.
What do you wish for regarding this taboo?
I think I wish, same as with other taboos, that people respect each other, the way they are. And even though not having any children, goes against biology, it can still be normal and natural to decide what fits in your life. Life is a journey, and everyone has their own rides. In a way, I know I am fortunate that I have a choice.