Deciding whether or not to have a child is one of the hugest decisions you’ll make in your life, and yes, whatever path you choose is valid. If you want to become a mother at some point, that’s great. If you choose not to have a kid, that’s awesome, too. No one should impose parenthood on you. Listen to what your mind, heart, and body are telling you, and make sure to keep the discussion between you and your partner.

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“Society still judges people, especially women, who choose to remain childless,” says The Atlantic writer Olga Khazan. “Even recent studies show that childfree people are viewed more negatively than those who have children—or are at least planning to have them.”

Many women bloom into wonderful moms who find something bigger beyond themselves manifested in their children. Many women also find joy in remaining childless and in constantly reinventing and rediscovering themselves in new horizons. Still, there are many women who are pressured to have children even if they don’t want to, and there are those who end up with many unresolved issues and regrets. While every person’s story is different, it’s best to decide on what path you’ll take with a clear mind. What’s listed below should not be your reasons for deciding to enter parenthood:

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1. "I want a child so someone will financially support me/take care of me when I'm old."

This is an outdated way of thinking that puts too much pressure on the next generation to excel so that they can carry their entire family (plus their relatives) on their shoulders. Children are then torn between saving for themselves and supporting the entire unit, sometimes sadly, under the guise of having utang na loob.  

Of course, one cannot blame the older generation. Opportunities were different. Cost of living was lower. Retirement schemes may not even be what most people thought about back then.

That being said, a lot of things have changed through the years, and going into parenthood shouldn’t be as if you’re investing in funds that you’re waiting to mature. Your child need not be a part of the "sandwhich generation," or those who are stuck between providing for their parents and extended relatives as well as providing for themselves and their own families.

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Now, more than ever, saving for your own retirement is your responsibility. Trust that your children will still support you, but it’s far better to know that you’ve secured enough for yourself so that they will also be able to save for their own future.

2. “My parents are waiting for an apo.

You should be the one deciding this, not your parents, not your partner’s parents, not that tita who always seems so invested in you having a baby. It is unfair to you to give in to the wishes of others about matters like this, especially if you know that it’ll cause bitterness and resentment in the long run. Moreover, it is also unfair to the child when you forcibly get into parenthood, as this can possibly put a strain in your relationship later on. As an article on The New York Times notes, “Love for one’s parents should not have to be shown by bestowing on them the role of grandparents.”

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3. “Having a baby will make my partner stay.”

A child should never be used to salvage a relationship that’s already falling apart, or to emotionally hostage another person. The arrival of a child may offer a few moments of respite, but it can’t restablish what has already been broken.

4. “Becoming a mom will complete me as a woman.”

Becoming a mom is a beautiful, wondrous experience, but it isn’t the only thing that makes you a woman. You are more than your uterus, and you are full of potential waiting to happen. Moreover, as with beginning any sort of relationship, you should first be complete on your own so that you can share yourself with others. Your glass should be full—even overflowing—so that you can sustain loving yourself and loving your child for the years to come.

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5. “Having a baby will give me value.”

You are already valuable on your own. Whether or not you decide your child, that will not change.

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