“I deeply believe that we need to live authentically, whatever that means individually.”

Vel, 35, UK

Hi, I would like to share my story. I’m Chinese Indonesian by heritage with US and UK dual citizenships. I’m currently 35 and was ambivalent about the child decision for many years.

My main reasons for the ambivalence are the “what ifs” and navigating through the feeling of guilt towards my amazing and supportive husband who wanted to have children with me. However, he’s only keen to have them if I’m excited by the idea because he acknowledges the impact on women in general.

A bit of background. I’m the last child of four, we grew up with difficult parents as they both came from a family with heavy intergenerational trauma. Growing up, it was chaotic and turbulent, but I found a refuge in art, dance and music since I was very young. They are my north star when the world is shaky around me. I also loved playing with dolls, not in a mothering sort of way but from a perspective of friendships, narrative, and discovering identity through fashion and self-expression sort of way.

Since I was young, I always questioned things in general: the psychology of human behaviour, the state of the world and the idea of “normal”. I find that the world is full of joy but also pain and suffering, I had a brother who committed suicide, it’s tough… Some life events like this made me think about life in a fickle sort of way; we exist in the universe for a bit, then we end up back as stardust.

Even though life is brief, it’s still a huge responsibility to bring a human being into this world. So as I get older, I want to make sure that I don’t take this decision lightly. I journal often, have deep chats with my husband, have therapy sessions and couple coaching sessions. I had to ask myself, ”Is being a mother really for me? Is this something that I truly want?”

Fast forward to now and I can say that this is the happiest time of my life. I feel quite content living childfree with my loving husband and our sweet whippet in our small flat in London. We love traveling, immersing ourselves in our hobbies and trying out new experiences. I also find fulfilment in my career path, I now manage a doll business and create artworks for collectors around the world. It took me a while to feel more confident to own my story, but I deeply believe that we need to live authentically, whatever that means individually.