“I live for myself, not to please others.”

Lidya, 29, Indonesia

I am in a committed relationship of almost six years, we have been living together in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, for more than 1.5 years.

In Indonesia, the term “childfree” is still something new and frowned upon, even kinda taboo, though I knew some people from the older generation who have been childfree. This year marks the beginning of childfree as a trending issue, especially in Jakarta, since two famous public figures exposed themselves childfree.

Indonesia consists mostly of patriarchal and religious people, where having children in marriage is a must, being mother is a fate. This is including my parents and thus they taught me those values. I, as a teenager, saw clearly how my parents always fought regarding their four children, bringing up the topic of finances and regrets of having “disobedient” kids, according to their standard. At that time, I still didn’t know that I didn’t want to have children, but I knew I didn’t want to be always sad like my mother.

I’d say I knew I didn’t want kids when I was in college. It started with my realization how it is optional for women/men to get married, moreover to have children. Thankfully I could earn money pretty soon after college, therefore I could be financially free and leave my parents’ house.

The idea of not having kids shocked my partner as I told him, by the time he started proposing me. But it was not hard to make him see how my decision is reasonable for us, because he is himself not patriarchal and he only thought he wanted children not because he actually wanted them but, well, that’s what the society demands. My partner and I finally fixedly decided to be childfree in our second year of relationship.

My main reason of choosing childfree is simply because I don’t and can’t see myself being a mother at all, even the thought of being pregnant freaks me out. Second reason is financial matter, I believe I cannot give my kid the life I want them to have, that’s why adoption is also not an option, it is unrealistic, at least not now. Thirdly is how I want to be a selfless parent, as how I believe that’s how parents should be, and I know I can’t.

To live together with unmarried partner is already a “sin” in my society, plus telling people that I am childfree, you can imagine challenges I face almost daily. But again, I live for myself, not to please others. People will always find something to complain, no matter what I do. So why not living my life they way I’m happiest.