“Why Did You Decide to Have Children?”

It’s crazy that we have come to a time when people having kids are getting questioned “why”. It used to be simpler. It’s a primordial call, something seen as normal to do, even something expected of you once you got married.

Lately though, the childfree culture has gotten more and more prevalent, probably seen as more modern, more hip, more fun choice of lifestyle. The advantages of being childfree are advertised widely, as well as the cons of having children. People are beginning to realize that having or not having children is now a choice. In this free world, choosing to remain childfree is the newest whatsup.

Which is fine. I’m all for choosing however you want to live your life. After all you only have one life and limited resources, if you choose to enjoy the resources by yourself then that’s great, I wish you an enjoyable life.

Sadly though, some of the people who choose to remain childfree also choose to mock, make fun of, and belittle people who choose to have children. “Having children” now has a bad rep. Some childfree people are now convinced that people who have children are only overpopulating the earth with more fucked up humans. That having children is a less-educated choice of life. Or that because “having children” is a less fun way to live a life, why would a fun, hip, modern humans want to have kids at all? And if you’re not fun, not hip, not modern—then how dare you want to have children when you’re all messed up already??

I must have fallen into the category of people who’s not expected to have children, because I got asked surprisingly a lot by strangers and friends, “Why did you choose to have children?”

One acquantance even very kindly put it as, “How could a person like you dare to have a kid? I hope you won’t fuck him up.” I hope so too, dear, I hope so too. Though I’m sure I will, one way or another.

It’s a rather tough question, though. Something not very simple to answer. I won’t even touch the aspects of “people who want kids but can’t” and “why don’t you just adopt, there are plenty of kids already without parents”, to make my writing stay at a more bearable length and flow. And with that in mind, to satisfy the curious ones, here’s my justification to having a child.

The “Maybe Not” Phase

If I’m being honest, I was not always sure I wanted children. I have very limited experience with children, I don’t know how to communicate with them, or what to do with them. I remember I once asked a kid his age, and it was so awkward because I didn’t know what to reply when he answered. “You’re five?? I’m 28! Nice to meet you!”

In addition to that, I’m also exposed to the childfree culture; I know people who choose to remain childfree and quite vocal about it.

Also let’s not forget I have a close friend who actively advertise that your happiness level as a couple will decrease when you have a kid, and stay almost unbearably low until the kid gets out of the house.

And also, eventhough I’m sure life isn’t all bleak, I myself was having so much fun, I heard this everywhere across the childfree community: The world seems to get more crowded, global warming makes the earth a terrible place to live in with every passing year, and people get more apathethic to each other, what kind of person, in their right mind, would wish their offsprings to live in such a world?

There are enough people already who’s popping out babies without being able to properly care and raise them financially or morally. There are enough kids already who, due to irresponsible parents, will inevitably grow into some entitled, self-absorbed brats that their parents were…

So for quite some time I entertained the idea of living childfree. I didn’t really tell anyone, though, because it’s morbid in the eyes of the normal people, and for me it’s not set on a stone. It’s just something I was thinking about.

But then… I started working at a daycare and got exposed to a lot of kids age 7 to 9, and I see how it really is. The kids are monsters, but in a good way. They are a mess and alien to human rules, they need to be told not to lick the fan, but… In a good way. It was a nice surprise that even though I was drained everytime I taught a class, in general I grew to love them and care for them and think of them as precious, precious little monsters.

The reality of it just hit me: If they are raised RIGHT, how much good can they spread? Their hands are going to build the future society, they are going to correct what they think is wrong, all while adapting to the challenges and having fun in the process. Like they are having fun now, they are going to enjoy all the happiness their life will bring. They are going to see beautiful places or even create a beautiful place. They are going to eat delicious food or even make them. And they are going to touch lifes. They are going to be amazing.

IF they are raised RIGHT. In the right environment. By the right people.

Now I’m not saying I’m THE right person to raise the next generation of non-parasitic, well-mannered citizens… But compared to other people, am I not, even if the possibility is slight, more woke? Probably more mentally prepared? Did other people around me think it through and knew the risks and knew how bleak the world is and how harsh the society can be and yet still carefully choose to have a kid? Did they contemplate and wholeheartedly decide they are up for it?

I’ll bet not all of them were prepared for the whole parenthood thing, and yet look at how kind the kids are, how sweet they are, how much fun they are having, and how bright their future can be. So, if with minimal contemplation they can do such a good job and raise such amazing kids, what can I do if I prepare myself and then have kids?

And if, all those irresponsible parents who actually fuck up, if THEYYYYYYY will never stop having children, why not the well-informed, educated, mentally prepared ones have children?

The “Okay, Yes” Phase

It might be a form of conceit, but I feel that my children, together with the other children in his generation, will somehow make a contribution to better the world, or at least better the society around them. I feel that I have enough information to pass on to him, enough legacy to make him at least a decent human. My partner also is a big part of the decision making process: Simply put, he is the right person to do parenting with. So if only we’re up for it, we can do it. It’s possible.

So I started to rethink, really rethink, about the pros and the cons of having a kid. I loved my life and I would lose it in the process. I loved my body and it would never be the same after the kid. I loved the silence around me, the songs I sing when I’m alone, the comfort of pooping without distractions… All those would be gone. Was I up for it?

Not to mention my relationship with my husband. It would be different. I would transform from becoming a wife, all cute and pretty, into a mom of our kids, all tired and messed up. Was I up for it?

Also what if the kid can’t contribute to society as much as I hope he would? What if he was born deformed or with disabilities, was I up for taking care of him for the rest of my life?

What if after the kid comes into the picture, my relationship with my husband takes a turn for the worse? What can I do, what will I do?

What if the kid I brought to this world can’t enjoy life as much as I did? What if bullying dims his light? What can I do, what will I do?

And then there’s also the financial aspect, which to be honest I was not very worried because, simply put, at that moment it’s possible to have one kid and still living quite comfortably. Also with the government support, there’s free education and free healthcare for the kid until he reaches junior high school, so that’s just one less thing to worry about.

After really thinking about it all, my husband and I then decided to start trying. And there was no looking back since then.

The only time I regret my decision was when contractions started kicking in and I was in pain. Lol. Other than that, I’m generally happy with my decision, and can’t wait to show my little squish how to have fun in this world. Can’t wait to have discussions about the bad and the good of being alive. I’m excited for him.

Oh of course it’s not all fun and games, there are some unhappy moments too. Most of the unhappy ones are only when I felt alone in it. But that doesn’t happen often, there are a thousand more moments when hubby stepped in and helped, and we grew closer as a family because of it.

If we can keep up the good teamwork, I’m sure we can handle this and become happier than most couples with kids. After all I believe because of this he loves me more, I love him more, and we both love our little squish.

The Afterthought

However, mind you, I’m not advocating having a kid to save a marriage. The graphics don’t lie, your happiness levels as individuals and as a couple will generally become lower as the kid comes along. If you don’t have enough buffer before you start the journey, you’re just building a house on a broken foundation. Everything will come crushing and crumbling down. It will be very hard, very draining, intimidating, and you’ll feel imprisoned.

But if you have the right foundation for it, feed yourself with information, talk to professionals if you need. Prepare yourself well, mentally as much as financially.

Because really, it’s not for everyone. In fact, I recommend you to NOT have a kid unless you and your partner are sure about it. I recommend to wait after marriage, at least until your communication as husband and wife is established well, your problem solving skill as a couple is well developed, your differences only invoke discussion and you no longer fight over petty things… only THEN, I recommend you to start thinking about having kids.

Having a kid is a gruesome and neverending task. If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s an informed decision rather than a candid one.

And whichever decision you make, be it having a kid or remain childfree or have 10 cats and live happily alone, I wish you a lovely life full of achievements and happy news.

Perjuangan Satu Garis Biru

Mendekati usia 30 tahun, tanpa sadar social media mulai dipenuhin sama foto-foto anak-anak temen, foto-foto temen-temen lagi pada hamil, dan atau foto hasil ultrasound jabang bayi yang baru muncul di perut mereka. For the most part, I’m happy for them, terutama kalo mereka temen baik gue, atau orang-orang yang gue tau sudah berusaha lama untuk dapet anak. Gue pasti selalu senyam senyum ikut hepi, selalu ikut excited, selalu ikut merasa hangat di hati. And then I’ll mute their story and posts. 😀

Not that I’m not happy for them. Or that I’m annoyed. I was just sad for me.

The thing is, sejak musim panas tahun lalu gue dan suami sudah mulai berusaha untuk punya anak. Cuman belum berhasil. Kalau belum berhasilnya sebulan dua bulan ya masih bisa senyam senyum, dinikmati aja prosesnya yekan. Tapi kalau belum berhasilnya mulai lewat 6 bulan.. Mulai lewat 8 bulan.. Apa nggak mulai keringet dingin? 😀 Sementara di kanan kiri teman-teman dan sodara-sodara yang baru menikah eh langsung posting foto ultrasound 5 weeks nya. Heyyyyyya.

I know getting married or getting pregnant is not a race. Semua orang punya waktunya masing-masing, ada yang lebih cepat ada yang lebih lambat. Ada yang bisa dapet ada yang nggak bisa. It’s not a competition, I get it. But even so, I was still envious.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for you. If you just got pregnant or just gave birth or your toddlers do cute things, I’m happy for you. But sometimes I just prefer not to hear about it too much, you know? It was for my own sanity. My own peace of mind. Supaya gue bisa lebih fokus sama langkah gue sendiri yang lebih pelan daripada klean.

Tho I know it’s not exactly healthy to feel like that. Kalo ada sesuatu yang salah kan harusnya bisa melakukan sesuatu untuk dibenerin. Kalo nggak bisa dibenerin kan bisa cari jalan keluar lain. Makanya setelah gue ngobrol dari hati ke hati sama suami, gue dan suami akhirnya memutuskan untuk take matters more seriously. Kita mutusin untuk konsultasi ke dokter.

Konsultasi ke dokter is a privilege, karena mahal binggo. Sekali dateng aja bayarnya bisa 2500 yen minimal. Pernah gue sekali dateng bayarnya 8000 yen lebih, gimana gak shock. 😀 Tapi gue pikir ya udah lalui aja apa yang harus dilalui, namanya juga berproses. Duit bisa dicari, anak bisa diusahakan. Yekan.

Nah dari dokter itu gue selain diperiksa muacem-muacem, gue juga dibimbing disuruh ini itu dan dikasih saran. Berikut ini gue sharing beberapa poin yang gue dapetin dari dokter (dan teman-teman lainnya), yak. Buat you guys yang mungkin juga lagi mencoba hamil, mana tau jadi info menarik dan berguna.

 

Folic Acid

First and foremost, ini salah satu yang direkomendasiin. Suplemen asam folat, atau folic acid, atau 葉酸 (Yousan) ini gunanya untuk…? Nggak tau. Yang gue tau kalo udah hamil, folic acid ini memperkuat janin dan membantu perkembangan otak janin. Jadi sama dokter disarankan untuk dikonsumsi semenjak mencoba hamil hingga kehamilan dan bahkan menyusui, dan dosisnya mulai dari 400 microgram per hari.

 

Checking Basal Body Temperature

Dokter gue juga nyuruh untuk ngukur Basal Body Temperature. Apa itu? Suhu tubuh di titik paling rendah, yaitu ketika tidur. Gunanya ngukur BBT ini adalah untuk melihat lamanya siklus ovulasi, atau bahkan untuk lihat apakah ada ovulasi yang terjadi.

Ngukurnya pake temperatur khusus yang gue dapetin di drug store seharga 2000an yen. Karena temperatur khusus itu lebih sensitif terhadap suhu tubuh, jadi lebih akurat sampe ke koma-komanya gitu. Nah cara ukurnya, setiap baru bangun tidur SEBELUM NGAPA-NGAPAIN, masukin temperaturnya ke mulut di bawah lidah. Sebelum ngapa-ngapain ya, berarti sebelum bangun duduk, sebelum minum, sebelum ke WC. Pokoknya begitu buka mata langsung hap.

basal_body_temperature-e1563780867192.png

Abis itu dicatet tiap hari sampe jadi kayak gambar di atas ini. Jadi ceritanya nih kalo dalam bahasa paling anak kecilnya ya, ketika suhu tubuh di bawah 36,7 derajat celcius itu masa-masa menstruasi dan masa ovulasi. Hari terakhir suhu tubuh rendah sebelum suhu tubuh naik ke atas 36,7 derajat celcius, itu adalah hari di mana telur dikeluarkan. Hari ovulasi. Nah setelah telur dikeluarkan, tubuh akan naikin temperatur sendiri, karena untuk ngeremin telur yang dikeluarkan. Kalo terjadi pembuahan, temperatur tubuh akan stay di atas 36,7 celcius sampe lamaaaaa. Kalo nggak terjadi pembuahan, setelah sekian hari (misalnya 14 hari) maka suhu tubuh akan kembali ke bawah 36,7 celcius dan menstruasi datang.

Siklus ngeremin telur dengan suhu tubuh di atas 36,7 derajat celcius itu (namanya Luteal Phase btw) biasanya pakem nggak berubah-ubah. Jadi misalnya siklus tingginya 14 hari, pasti selalu 14 hari kemudian mens. Kalau lewat sampe berhari-hari, misalnya sampe 17 hari, 18 hari, itu ada kemungkinan terjadi pembuahan alias hamidun.

Sementara kalau Luteal Phase lebih pendek dari 10 hari, itu artinya tubuh kita nggak ngasih cukup waktu untuk support a growth of a baby in the belly. Kayak nggak cukup waktu lama untuk ngeremin telurnya, gitu. Jadi kalau Luteal Phase pendek itu lebih susah untuk hamil.

Pas gue mulai konsultasi itu kebetulan gue lagi demam, dan gue minum penurun panas. Jadi siklus pertama yang tercatat, Luteal Phase gue keliatannya sangat pendek. Khawatir sih, tapi dokter suruh gue lanjutin dulu catet BBT nya sampe siklusnya lebih jelas keliatan lebih konstan.

 

Thyroid Hormone

Aaaah Hashimoto my old friend. Gue ke dokter endokrin khusus untuk ngurusin thyroid ini. Kata endo gue, untuk mencapai kehamilan itu hormon tiroid (TSH) harus berada di spektrum yang spesifik. Dia sebut, tapi gue lupa. Maap ya. Begitu juga ketika terjadi konsepsi, atau sudah hamil, hormon tiroid juga harus ditambah dan harus dijaga di spektrum tertentu selama trimester pertama, kemudian mungkin harus ditambah lagi di trimester kedua dan ketiga.

Tiroid itu jaringan yang ukurannya termasuk kecil. Tapi fungsinya banyak dan merembet ke mana-mana, karena ngatur hormon sih. Makanya dokter obgyn gue dan dokter endo dua-duanya encourage untuk tes darah sebulan sekali selama proses mencoba hamil dan kalau sudah hamil. すごく大事です, kata dokter gue.

 

Ovarian Follicle

Nah, salah satu pemeriksaan yang gue jalanin di obgyn gue adalah trans-vaginal ultrasound. Jadi dimasukin alat kamera ke kelamin untuk melihat keadaan dalemnya gimana. Misalnya apakah ada cyst dan lain-lain. Tapi kegunaannya bukan cuma nyari penyakit. Dokter gue juga nyari buletan-buletan hitam dalam ovary gue. Selama beberapa kali pemeriksaan awal gue gak pernah tau buletan itu apaan, iya-iya aja gue mah yekan.

Si dokter suruh gue dateng lagi within 5 hari setelah mens dimulai, untuk cek buletan yang sama. Dan ternyata ceritanya dokter gue agak concern karena buletan-buletan gue ini ukurannya kecil. Tiny. Dia bilang, perempuan biasanya punya beberapa buletan tersebut dalam ovary, dan ukurannya bervariasi. Tapi pada umumnya ukuran buletan itu paling kecil 2mm, paling besar bisa sampe 1cm. Sementara dari semua buletan gue, yang paling gede ukurannya cuma 1,8mm.

Gue juga jadi ikutan concern. Karena gue kan nggak tau itu buletan apaan, dan is there anything I can do to help it, you know. Tapi si dokter bilang gak usah khawatir, karena dia juga sudah cek darah gue dan dari darah nggak ada masalah. Dia masih monitor terus aja sambil jalanin cek darah lainnya, misalnya level progesteron dan lain sebagainya.

Akhirnya gue research di Google. Ternyata, nama buletannya itu ovarian follicle, atau antral follicle, yaitu kantong-kantong yang mengandung telur yg belum mateng. Meski ada banyak follicle dalam ovary, biasanya hanya satu yang akan melepaskan telur yang matang untuk dibuahi. Theoretically, kalau banyak ya berarti persediaan sel telur aman. Kalau sedikit atau kecil ya berarti persediaan terbatas.

Dokter gue tetep monitor ukuran follicle gue setiap gue dateng konsultasi, sambil ngeliatin Basal Body Temperature gue. Dia hitung-hitung kira-kira kapan ovulasi, kemudian suatu hari dia berpesan ke gue untuk berhubungan seksual hari Sabtu pagi. Atau Jumat malam. Intinya 20 jam sebelum next visit, karena dia mau periksa sesuatu.

Akhirnya ya gue turuti, berhubungan di Sabtu pagi, kemudian Sabtu sorenya dateng konsultasi. Dan dokter lihat lagi ukuran follicle gue, eh masih kecil-kecil aja ternyata. Padahal seharusnya itu pas satu hari setelah ovulasi (setelah telur dikeluarkan), which kalo telur dikeluarkan dari follicle, ukurannya harus cukup besar supaya telur yang mature bisa keluar.

Setelah denger kabar ternyata follicle gue masih tiny, gue jadi agak panik dan sedih dan down. Gue tanya sama dokternya apakah ada yang bisa gue lakukan supaya ukuran follicle bisa membesar? Dokter bilang gak ada dari guenya, tapi dia bilang juga jangan berkecil hati. Karena ada kemungkinan bahwa telur sudah keluar kemaren, kemudian ukuran follicle nya mengecil karena sudah ngeluarin telur. Jadi ketika pemeriksaan itu istilahnya terlambat lihat ukuran terbesar follicle nya.

 

Dokternya baik sih. Ramah dan ngejelasinnya juga jelas. Jadi gue lebih tenang deh, meskipun masih sedih dan mellow gegara kok mau hamil aja susah amat. Padahal di luar sana banyak yang hamil di luar rencana. :”)

Kalo kata temen gue, mungkin baby gue masih jalan-jalan di dunia lain, belum mau lahir, masih pengen main-main. Jadi makanya gue belum hamil.

Kalo kata gue, mungkin Tuhan belom ACC gue jadi mamak karena gue belom siap. Mungkin. Secara mental ataupun finansial ataupun sekedar keadaan lingkungan yang belom memungkinkan, makanya gue belom dikasih hamil.

Apapun alasannya itu, perjuangan satu garis biru ini bikin gue mikir kalo gue nggak akan ngumumin kehamilan gue secara publik, kalo udah hamil nanti. Mungkin gue akan cerita ke temen-temen deket, atau yang emang melihat proses fisik gue berubah. Tapi nggak akan gue post foto ultrasound, foto baby bump, dan pengumuman lainnya.

Karena gue tau rasanya gigit jari liatin kebahagiaan orang lain, gue gak mau kebahagiaan gue jadi sumber gigit jari orang lain yang mungkin masih berusaha. Yang mungkin (kayak gue) udah ngabisin duit untuk ke dokter. Yang mungkin bahkan udah coba IVF dan masih belum berhasil. Yang masih natap test pack nungguin satu garis biru berubah jadi dua. 🙂

Salam cemungudh.