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The rise of DINK couples: Living without kids

by Gaby Agbulos

LAST April 10th, a YouTube video posted by TV host Joyce Pring sparked a discussion on having kids after the creator said that having kids isn’t a burden. 

In the video, she and her husband Juancho Trivino talked about a question asked by a viewer, asking them what they thought about the statement, “Today, plants are the new pets, pets are the new kids, and kids are like exotic animals: you need to be crazy or rich to have them.” 

They discussed the rise of Dual Income, No Kids couples – DINKs – in society, such as those you’d see on TikTok talking about how they’re living their best lives without kids. 

DINKs, essentially, are couples with no kids who live together and have plenty of disposable income because they don’t have to deal with child-related expenses. 

Joyce would go on to talk about how initially, she wanted to prioritize a career over kids. Eventually, however, they would go on to have kids. 

She said being this vessel to bring life into the world – a life which you’d be able to love, guide, and mold growing up – was even more important than any kind of money, fame, or success she would’ve gotten out of a career.

Screencap from Joyce Pring’s video, “Rise of the DINKS”

Despite this, she also stated that she understood why others wouldn’t want to have kids, and that having kids required going through an extremely sacrificial, selfless, and exhausting journey, one which she noted was not for the faint of heart.

The couple urged those who were thinking about having kids to make a pros and cons list, do their research, and not just listen to TikTokers who say that having kids is expensive or hard. 

Pero yung pro, diba, “Bringing a new life,” [tapos yung] con, “‘Di na ako makakapag-Starbucks everyday,” parang malayo naman ata yun,” Joyce said while laughing.

Some statements made in the video, however, didn’t seem to sit right with some viewers, such as Joyce saying about the situation, “Kung gusto, may paraan, kung ayaw, laging may dahilan.”

Kung gusto niyo talaga magka-baby, kahit gaano kahirap yan, makaka-survive talaga kayo,” she said, though she clarified that this was for those who weren’t struggling financially. 

She also said: “If you don’t want to have kids because you’re selfish, maybe that’s a good thing that you don’t have children – maybe it’s not something that’s for you, it’s not for everybody.”

Under the video, one person commented that it was easy for the couple to say that because they were financially blessed.

Another explained that there were many factors toward people not wanting kids, such as the current state of the economy and possible problems that would affect the child’s upbringing, such as the lack of a proper support system growing up. 

Joyce’s statement

In the video, Joyce stated: “I think we live now in a society that looks at children as burdens, but they’re not. Children are not burdens.” 

She would later mention this in her statement about the video on her social media platforms, wherein she wrote that apparently, saying children are not a burden is controversial now.

She emphasized that the message she gave at the end of her video was for those who wanted to have children, but were worried that doing so would ruin their careers. 

“By no means am I saying that motherhood will fulfill you, only God can do that,” she further stated.

“I also never said that ALL women should be mothers. If you don’t want kids, God bless you on your journey as well.”

In her post on TikTok, one user talked about how growing up, she saw how her mother lost so much once her kids came into her life, such as her time, opportunities, and money. 

“Nahirapan siya, nakita kong umiyak – ayun ang reality ng buhay,” they wrote.

Another explained that while some find joy in being a mother, they reiterate that it isn’t for everyone, not because they fear losing their career, but because they want to choose their happiness while they’re alive.

Others don’t want to become mothers because of their trauma and lack of capability to do so. 

There were those, however, who did agree with her statements, saying that the best choice they made was having a child. They supported her by saying that they understood her original message and that she was merely sharing her own experiences, not speaking for every woman in the Philippines.

The DINK sitch

As Joyce noted in her video, DINKs are on the rise, especially in the Philippines. This can also be seen in the sudden decline in the country’s birth rates, as well as the Total Fertility Rate and teenage pregnancy rates.

So why exactly has this become a trend? And why now?

The Philippines has always been known to be a rather conservative, religiously oriented country. Many kids grow up thinking that the perfect future is having a spouse, kids, and a house of your own. 

You’re taught that you should dedicate your life to your kids, even if that may not be something you actually want to do. 

Some decide not to have kids years into their relationship or years into getting married, and some have known this practically their entire lives. Just as Joyce said, it’s ultimately your decision, but I don’t think that not wanting to have kids necessarily means that you’re selfish. 

It’s simply something you don’t want to do, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And it’s not like this is a completely new concept. The Guardian writes that the term has been around since the 1980s, and even then, DINKs were looked at as self-centered and materialistic, just as many see them now.

Personally, I’ve never wanted kids. Ever since I understood the concepts of love and family and children and sex, I was adamant that I would grow up childless. 

There were several reasons behind this: financial stability, emotional maturity, and the fact that I couldn’t even take care of myself most of the time, so what more if I had a child?

Whenever I would voice my thoughts out to my parents, they would often say the same thing: that my mind would change as I grew older. It’s been years, and I’m 22 now, and my decision has stayed the same. 

While I have my reasons, I also believe that you don’t need to have a whole speech prepared any time someone asks why you don’t want to have kids. I feel like you shouldn’t have to have a pros and cons list for someone to understand your decision because I don’t think it’s something you should have to explain in the first place. 

My idea of a perfect world, essentially, is when Person A asks if Person B wants to have kids, and Person B replies, “I just don’t,” Person A will just say, “Oh, okay,” and leave it at that.

I agree with Joyce that there are people who find fulfillment – who find their purpose – in motherhood. But that isn’t the same for everyone. Some find fulfillment in pursuing their careers and passions, others in forming a family, to each their own. 

What’s important is we give people the freedom and space to figure out what they want on their own, without any external pressures from society that this is what you’re supposed to do, or this is what you’re meant to be. 

This means not shaming those who do want to have children, and not shaming those who don’t. Respect isn’t a one-way street, and with how easy it is to be mean to others on social media, we sometimes lose sight of that. 

Only you can decide on your path in life. Nobody should be allowed to make that decision for you. 



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