Are there childfree people who grow to regret their decision? Probably, although I have yet to meet any. Are there parents who regret having kids? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is yes and because of the anonymity afforded by the internet, they are now coming out in droves to admit it and provide a support system for each other.
If you do a blog search for "I hate being a mom", you may pull up this blog in your search (thanks Evgenia for the link). This blogger posted an honest article lamenting the loss of freedom, the loss of sleep, the never-ending aggravation and fighting...the list goes on. What's more interesting than her post are the comments posted by other moms, thanking her for her honesty and adding a big "me too!" Some of these moms go as far as to state they regret having kids and wish they never gave up their childfree life. Here is a sample of some of the comments.
"I also used to be organized, focused, driven, and put together. Now, I'm on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I can hardly find time to brush my teeth. I'm disgusting and disgusted at what I have become. This isn't at all what I expected. I'm not enjoying it as much as everyone told me I would. Maybe it changes, but for now I feel really miserable and riddled with guilt for feeling this way because I do love my baby. Each day I find myself saying "God , I'm terrible at this. Why can't I get anything right with this child? Why can't I satisfy this child?" Maybe I just wasn't meant to be a mother. Maybe my previous two miscarriages were messages that I shouldn't have children."
"It's not everyday that I hate being a mother. Just most days. I realize that I did this to myself and I have to "do my time". But this is overwhelming sometimes. I feel so held back, stressed out, irritated and depressed by this whole thing. I am literally counting down the days until she leaves to go to college. 2,800 days. I feel like a person in prison. But I just want my life back. I feel wrong in a way but I really just want to be free."
"I'm a 27 year old mother of two, ages 10 months and 23 months. Most of the time I walk around in a daze, hoping people don't notice the snot wiped on my coat or the bags under my eyes. I feel ancient, decrepit, what's worse is that my husband is successful and interesting. I had ambition once to write and be taken seriously, but now I'm just useless. I have a college degree, but can't even imagine now how I would go about writing an essay, how to engage in a conversation about anything other than poop and teething.
I hate my body and I hate what I've become. I too live far from family and friends as we've relocated for my husband's career. I've no babysitter, no relatives, no one to talk to but my children who can't speak yet. I don't see any way out of this gilded cage of a life. Today, and most days, I hate being a mother... we're treated worse than animals. What will become of us?"
"I am almost always grumpy. Sometimes I close my eyes and wish that this were not my life. Often I feel like I want to run away. I get the feeling that some of my child free friends pity me. Some envy me... but I feel like taking them aside and telling them 'Don't have kids! Your life will be over!"
" Wow. Like several others who posted I googled, "I hate being a mother" and stumbled upon your blog. I feel soooo much comfort and relief hearing you all's stories. I'm a 24 year old single mother to a 2-month old and so far I hate every minute of it. I am sooo beyond depressed and feel like I am going to have a break down at any minute.
I cry everyday and my stomach is always knotted from worrying. I never in a million years imagined my life would be like this. I am a college graduate. Words can't express how much I miss my old life and wish I could go back in time. I feel like a failure and am embarassed of what I have become...a stereotype. I pray everyday for it to get better because it just seems to be getting worse. Thank you so much for this blog."
"I am relieved to have found this.I have a 10 month old daughter I have a hard time even looking at these days.I love her but I have to say I wish I had never had a baby.I am severely depressed my doctor has me on 6 different medications and I don't think they are working.I am also pregnant again with a boy that is due in 4 months and I am just sad about it.My husband works out of town 2 weeks out of the month and does not understand what I am going through.I didn't know motherhood would be like this.I miss my old life and am not adjusting to this new one.I love her I want to be a good mom but I am crying all the time and have anxiety through the roof all day about taking care of her.It's only going to get worse when the new baby comes.We did 5 years fertility treaments to have my daughter and then wham got pregnant on our own with this one so I should love her right?I don't think motherhood is for me but what else is there? I hate that I feel this way I wish I was the mom who gets up in the mornings makes breakfast with a smile and takes care of everything but I'm not.I am just lost these days."
"if i ever were to even get preg again i dont care about what i beleive in but i wouldnt go through with it becuz im sure ill end up dead. sometimes i wonder why i even thought i could do this in the first place... damn mother made it seem as if it could be done! "if i could raise 4 kids 1 is nothing" what a bunch of lies! she just wanted a grandchild."
"I never wanted children in the first place, and now because I decided to have a child instead of the alternative, I feel as if I'm being punished more and more each day.
I want to get as far away from this house, the child and my husband as I can.
I want to scream and cry and stomp and turn over the couch.
Instead, I'll just be thankful I am not alone."
"For the past 2 years since the birth of my first and only child I have been in a constant state of depression. I do believe that I was never meant to have children and that it's a great tragedy that I realized it too late. I love my son. I do. Unfortunately that doesnt stop me from wishing on a daily basis that I could go back and undo the last 2 years or so of my life. I hate being a mom. I loathe being a mom. I hate that i can't take a shower when I want. That i can't go out with my friends when I want. That going shopping is a mission that sucks the life right out of me. I hate that he screams about everything. I hate that he destroys everything I try to achieve. I had almost found an outlet of sorts for myself by going to the gym 5 days a week and leaving him in the kids club there. He managed to take that from me as well because he can't be civil around other children evidently. I have nothing now except for the endless days of screaming and crying while I watch my life waste away. I know it was my choice to have a kid but despite everything I have tried to make him happy I have failed at every turn. Motherhood has been the worst experience of my life and I can't do anything about it. There has not been one day since he was born that i thought "wow this is awesome. I am so happy your my son.". Everyday is misserable and I can't wait until its over. I was beautiful and skinny once and no matter how hard I try I will never have that back either. The worst part is that i love him enough to feel guilty for feeling this way so that overlaps everything else and it's a viscious cyle of regret. My husband wants another one and I can't bring myself to tell him 'no'. The thought of having this feeling doubled is enough to make me want to pitch myself off of the balcony. I feel genuine sorrow for other people about to have baby's because there is nothing enjoyable about it. It will take everything from you. Everything you loved about life and enjoyed will be gone. Thats what I think when I look at expecting mothers."
"I feel the way most of you have expressed....I'm just so incredibly depressed...I can't stand my life..I'm a single mother of a 2 12 year old..I am on benefits and I live with my parents.My life's a mess,my clothes are in a pile,I'm over weight,spend excessively to compensate for my misery which in turn leaves us broke the following week.Ive just started Uni doing a bachelors degree-but Do you think I can get any work done..NO I can't Im so consumed with self hate and worthlessness.I never thought I would end up like this..fat ugly alone with a child.She constantly shouts-and tells the whole family to SHUT UP -I never say this to her EVER...she doesn't listen to a thing I say,doesn't respond to any punishment at all....I just want to run away and leaver this fkn life behind,,but My conscience won't let me..No one gets it Except for you guys) My mother doesn't understand the feeling I have-I'm so afraid to be alone and NOW she has decided they might move so Ill be left alone ,,,I'm so intelligent when it comes to being positive,reading,self help..YES i know all that but it doesn't fucking help...I used to be so different..I feel I have lost all Love -Im just numb to everything-I don't have any passion at all left in my body...And yet I feel so guilty as there are people going through way worse...If I knew it was going to be this hard I wouldn't have gone there..He begged me to have an abortion,Men have it so easy,,no attachment at all..OH the joys of being a MAN..fuck this."
"I'm going to talk to my doctor today and see if there's anything wrong with me. Because I'm sad every day, stressed every day, anxious everyday and dare I say scared. When I hit my breaking point I have had thoughts of harm, and I never used to be like this!! I hate it, hate it so much. I love my son to death, and get cuteness overload from him on good days, but it's just not enough to make me love this "job"
I want to feel normal, happy and healthy, and I want to like who I am inside and out. Maybe I never should have gotten into this, sometimes I think maybe this life of a mother wasn't meant for me?"
Having read all these comments, I decided to do a little more searching on the internet and within seconds found many, many more regretful parents complaining bitterly about their lives and wishing they never had kids.
"I wish I had never had children, it ruined my health immediately and my sanity eventually, and my finances continuously. My child tore up and destroyed my belongings and ruined my relationships. My mother was ever-present and if I had never had children I could have escaped her grasping possessive control many many years ago. My son now lives over three hours away and has recently married, much to my great relief because now he has someone else with which to converse besides me, as I am not particularly interested in anything he has to say. My new daughter-in-law is a sweet girl and I pray they stay together forever, because if he is busy doing things with HER, he won't bother ME. I was trapped in suburbia for many years, while I yearned to live in the city, close to my job, because it was deemed 'safer' to raise children in the suburbs, than in the city. I regret so many, many years and opportunities taken from me, all because I "wanted" a child. Well - be careful what you wish for, because when you get it, it will never, ever, ever, ever go away and leave you alone to sip wine and read a good book uninterrupted, in fact you will not even be able to have good sex whenever you want, because "the children might hear". It's absolutely ridiculous, the way they suck the life right out of you. I am more fortunate than some, however. I only had one, and I had him early in life, so that when I was (legally) able to throw him out of the house and reclaim my life, there was still enough "life" left in me to actually enjoy myself for awhile, before old age and ill health and fixed income becomes problematic. The ones with two, three, even FOUR children? They will never again see the light of day. Their sentence is long and their life is over. At least, that's the way it looks to ME." ______________________________________________
" I never tell [my 3 kids] that everyday I feel like a light is going out and I miss me. I am soooo tired and depressed all the time. Oh yes but I smile and bid my jail sentence. Take my kids to all their activities tell them that they are precious, beautiful, and they are my little miracles. So at least they are happy right. I never tell anyone and I lie about the joys of motherhood just like I'm supposed. I cry everyday alone in silence. They do ballet,swim classes, I teach them they go to school and etc. Everybody points out how beautiful and wonderful they are and blah, blah, blah. If I could caution any young women who is not sure I would. I wouldn't want to give my sorry existence to my worst enemy."
"I have 2 kids. I am so sick of everyone saying how precious this time is and how they grow up so fast. I feel that they can't grow up fast enough. I also have thought that other moms must be lying or fooling themselves when they say that parenthood is the best thing. I am uncomfortable talking with other parents because I am not good at lying or being fake and feel that it is obvious how much I hate being a mom. I also love my husband and long for the good old days when it was just the two of us, independent, free, and enjoying eachother. Now we have such a practical/functional relationship...just getting this one fed, this diaper changed, this one to the doctor..... What were we thinking? Why did we believe all the crap about babies being a "bundle of joy"? I agree with the above post on motherhood being a chore, no real joy in it. I keep them fed, cared for, and even try to do fun things with them, like go to the park or library. But, all the while I am out with them, I am wishing I could be doing one friggin thing that I want to do. I am so sick of the stupid kids section of the library..I want to take a nice walk through the park, not push a stupid swing 50 times. I have never felt so trapped, hopeless, unhappy (even when I was in a horrible work situation and got laid off). I feel hopeless because this situation is not going to change for a long time...I am not going to wake up tomorrow and my kids will be 18 years old no longer my responsibility. I wish I had heard from people like those on this site, or anyone else regretting children, before having them. Now, all I can do is be brutally honest about how much having kids really sucks, if anyone wants to hear my perspective...perhaps someone else will make a better choice for themselves."
"I have totally ruined my life. I love my daughter so much, but can't handle her illness any more. I have given up my life to look after her - she is 24, and has been sick now for eighteen years. Doctors have given me no answers, and no one knows what to do for her. She continues to be sick or get worse, no matter what we do. It is wearing me down, and I am depressed and crying all the time. My life is gone. I have no life. I have to watch her suffer each and every day, with no hope of a normal life. If only I had never had her, I could have a normal life and really enjoy each and every day, not endure total despair. I don't even want to wake up in the morning, as there is nothing to look forward to. This is not her fault - she did not ask for this illness. But I still wish I never considered having kids - my life is totally ruined."
"I spent my youth raising my 3 children. I have driven so many miles to soccer and basketball and football and cheerleading and plays and on and on. I volunteered at the school. I was a brownie troop leader. I read to my kids and made sure they got their shots and visits to the dentist. I took them to church and participated in their lives. They are all in their 40's. I live alone. I have not seen my kids in over 3 years. Two of them live on the opposite side of the country. My daughter has not visited me in over 10 years. If I call her I get voice mail and she may call back and she may not. My youngest got drunk and screamed at me (he's 41) and now does not speak to me. My oldest is the only one with children. He can take them to Germany and Spain and France and Chili and Disneyworld but he has not brought them to see me in 5 years. I have spent the last 15 Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays alone. The only time I have felt welcome at his home was when my first grandchild was born. My grandchildren are young teens and I have seen them 6 times. I am older and alone. I live on a fixed income and am not in good health and no one has my back. If I had not had children, I would have had a life and made provisions for being alone in my old age. Now, all I have to look forward to is death. And I will probably be dead days before anyone notices. Maybe if I don't show up for church two Sundays in a row someone might question."
"I unfortunately love my children but absolutely regret ever having them! Like my headline says, How Can I Feel This Way??? Now not only do I regret it, I have come to the point I don't like kids at all! I know I shouldn't feel this way and just don't know how to get over feeling this way when I mourn over my very broken family all of the time and breaks my heart to be in such a lonely and and difficult situation."
" I got pregnant and had the baby against my better judgement. I was depressed and continued to be depressed (fell deeper into it) and thought I'd make a terrible mom. Sure I'm responsible enough to take good care of my kids (2) but there is no joy in it. I really don't enjoy spending time with them. I feed and clothe them, teach them and keep them safe, and try to make them happy but I'm not happy. I wish so badly I hadn't had kids. I think my kids could do much worse, but they could do much better too. I wish I could be single again and not have kids so I could just get a divorce once and for all and be free. I hate this feeling, I feel guilty all the time. I wish I felt like a mother should but even though I love them, I think they would be better off not having me as a mother.
I am only posting this story because it is SO taboo and I hope someone reading it and can relate to it might not feel so alone. "
"I wish I had reconsidered having kids. I love my kids dearly but miss being me. My husband has happily lumped me into the identity of "wifenkids". Romance is gone. I HATE it. HATE IT HATE IT. There's my childhood tantrum. My entire 20s have been occupied as someone's "mom" and "wife". I don't feel fun and sexy and free and I miss those things. Love my kids but they deserved better as a mom and I deserved to be happy. It just is a bummer for everyone. I resent my husband a lot since he has the sexist idea that all women LIVE for motherhood. "
"I regret my decision to have a child as well. My daughter is beautiful and lovable. It is not her at all. I just hate my life. I hate the loss of freedom. I am completely bored by the kiddie playgroups, parties and just the repetitiveness of it all. I miss my job and I feel like a prisoner of my house. I resent my husband even though I agreed to have a child, I was only about 50% for the idea. I guess I was afraid I was missing out on an important part of life. I wish there was something I could do to create some enthusiasm because motherhood is going to be my main role for a very long time."
"Hmm...I don't know if having kids was the right thing to do. I love my kids and am proud of each of them. However, since I raised all 4 of them on my own...without family, friends, or any help from my ex-husband...I am the one that is LEFT ALL ALONE. I deliberately centered all of my work and activities around the kids...and wanted to be the best mom that i could be...in spite of our circumstances. I bought a house, went to work, cleaned the house and spent every night at home with my kids...cooking and doing homework with them. I rarely went out with friends, with the exception of outings with other mothers with their own brood.
Each child has grown into a well adjusted and accomplished person. However, what do I get in return? NOTHING! My daughters rarely call, my sons keep advising me to move to a warmer climate nearer my brothers...and hardly ever make time for even a 10 minute phone call to me. Sometimes, I lay in bed at night...alone, without a lover/husband/boyfriend...and am glad that the kids are doing well...but it was all at a great price. What price? For me its, financial struggles, low pension benefits, and a broken down body to match. If only my KIDS would take a bit of time out to visit with me...it might have been worth it. Unfortunately, they take me for granted and always assume that since I was so independent while raising them...that they don't need to take time out to be with me. I don't want that much time...just a bit of consideration!
I have friends, and a job. This is the reality of having kids sometimes. Its worthwhile for your kids...but not so much for the mother!"
"I sympathize with everyone here. It is a terrible terrible realization to have that while you love you kids you hate, hate, hate, HATE, the role of being a parent. I wish I had never had kids. The loss of freedom is tough, but many here have said it really well: it is the loss of yourself that burns your soul to ashes."
"All you childfree ladies if your man wants a kid run a mile as they are definetly not worth it!!!"
"Not all of us were aware of the negatives as society as a whole makes motherhood seem like the only valuable rewarding job on earth!!!! If all the crap was actually shown how it is people would be more aware of how it actually changes your life!!!! It's the dirtiest least rewarding job of all. I love my daughter but I certainly don't find my role rewarding like it is meant to be according to society. Now she is 7 I just can't wait till she is in her 20's and old enough to look after herself, and she herself doesn't like babies and she hates playing with baby dolls so I hope she grows up not having children as I do not want to be a grandma ever!!!! "
"I too, wish I did not have a child. My infant daughter sucks the life out of me. Every day, I long to go back to the way my life was pre-baby. I traveled around the world, dined out in peace several times a week with my husband, and was all-around happy with my life. Now, my day consists of changing poopy diapers, washing bottles, feedings, getting throwed up on and screaming sessions. Then, this same routine just repeats, day after day. I don't travel anymore. When my husband and I go out to eat, it ends up being a nightmare and not worth the effort. I miss being able to hop in the car and see a movie with the hubby and staying out late enjoying ourselves. I am now a shell of the person I once was. I am not happy at all. I don't have any love for my daughter and I don't enjoy spending time with her AT ALL. And actually, I don't think she enjoys being with me the slightest, either. She completely annoys me, and I count down the moments until my husband gets home so I can pawn her off on him and get a break. I am lucky to have 20 minutes to myself to sit down and eat something, and relax. Some days I wish I could just adopt her out to someone who would love her, but I have too much pressure on me from family to keep her. My marriage is declining and the relationship with my husband has gotten much worse since the baby was born. I truly just despise the kid. She has ruined my happy life. If I would have known what my life would turn into after having her, I would have NEVER, EVER, EVER had children. Believe me, I will NOT have another one! I just wish I could turn back the hands of time and never had a child to begin with...."
"I wish I had never had kids. I was always getting "pressured" about when I was going to have a kid. Oh they are so much fun they say, and you will be so excited when the baby comes along. Bull. All I can tell people is mind your own freaking business. I envy my friends who are still single at 25 and have no kids or for that matter are not even married. My daughter is 9 months old and the biggest headache I have ever had. I got married at 19, big mistake, and now I have a child. There is nothing romantic about the notion of being a mom. You basically do everything for that child and have no freaking time for yourself. My sister who is 18 wants to get married to her boyfriend and I am trying to deter her from getting married so young and wait until she is the minimum age of 30. Why didn't anyone warn me?Why couldn't the older women stop with the illusion that being married and being a mom is the greatest thing on earth? If you do not have kids and you are reading this then I urge you to really think about the decision because it is a lifelong commitment and it is a lot of hard work. Most moms would say oh it is wonderful because you get such joy out of it. I don't!! It is a lie, lie, lie . .don't ever let anyone put pressure on you to have a child . .if they do tell them to shove it where the sun don't shine . .it is your life and you live it the way you want to. I am being honest and I am not going to lie about it . .I know now that I will never ever have another kid."
"I agree with a previous poster that society leads you to believe that having children is the most wonderful thing in the world. I love my kids (most of the time), but if I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten a puppy!"
i'll try to be more logical, so others get something out of this rather than my raving. since i was 14 i said i didn't want children. my husband accepted that, but i still knew he would like them if possible. then my brother died when i was in my late thirties. he'd had 4 kids (mad). it made me wonder what i'd regret if i died early.
I soul-searched a lot and decided that, later in life, i might regret not having children . what a ridiculous thing. i asked myself 'might i regret not having children' and answered 'yes'. i didn't ask myself if i wanted them!! I ASKED THE WRONG QUESTION. my stupidity now seems unfathomable. if only i'd read this website, or susan jeffer's book 'freeing ourselves from the mad myths of parenthood' (sometimes called 'i'm ok ...you're a brat'). for nearly 25 years i knew i didn't want to have kids then i changed my mind because of a possible worry about a possible future feeling. WHAT AN IDIOT!! ...
anyway, now i am a full-time parent and i hate it. my problems with depression and stress made it difficult for me to hold a job before i had kids,and it is harder now - it would just increase the stress i have to cope with. the drudgery of everyday life is debilitating, the boredom of school and kinder drop-offs is numbing, and the noise the kids make is drowning my brain. i am so at the end of my tether that i tell them i hate them, and it's a horrible thing to do. they also know i love them and i do often feel flooding feelings of love for them, especially when they are quiet and ready for bed!! but the overall feeling is regret and hatred, of myself and them.
typing this made me realise how much i hate and blame myself for my stupid decision. but, come on, it it the biggest stupid decision you can ever make!! it's pretty much the only decision in life that you can't get out of somehow. that's what i find hardest - that there is no way out. and as time goes on it gets harder, not easier.
anyhow, thanks for listening, and allowing me to not feel so alone. now all we need is a magic 'turn-back-time' potion and i'd be banging on the door to be first in line! "
"I absolutely regret having my son. I love him, and want him to fare well in life, but if I had to do it over again I wouldn't. At least not as a single parent with a non-supportive 'baby daddy'. That has no doubt added to the bitterness. I know such feelings are not healthy but they are what they are and I can't help how I feel. I'm glad there is a forum for us 'regretters' to vent...lord knows you can't speak about such things among friends or family (though I wonder how many of them secretly regret their kids?). Anyway...my son has been a struggle from say age 2 to the present (he's currently 18, lazy, unmotivated, jobless, drama king, general pain in the (__)__) He can be sweet and sensitive too, but mostly he's a burden. He even says from time-to-time "I wish I was still 8" or "I don't want to grow up". Damned if I'll have him living with me til he's 30! (which seems to be the trend these days). For any ladies who are childless out there, stay that way! The world is in such turmoil now anyway it's not a good idea to bring children into it especially if you really love them. "
"We tried to stay together but having kids ruined our relationship. Id on't blame the kids, they are just kids. But our relationship went from romance and long walks and breakfast in bed to screaming and yelling at each other. I was so exhausted I didn't feel human for years. Oh and all those people who told me motherhood was so wonderful turned right around after they were born and said 'Oh yeah, that part is horrible, that part is also horrible' and no one tells you the truth until you are in the Mothers Club. And no one wants to babysit your kids, let's just put that out there. Thank God for my parents for being there because my so called friends were all too busy to help out."
"I HATE how your own preferences have to be subordinate to those of a selfish, irrational person ALL THE TIME. And now I feel worse reading these posts because it's not just because my kids are young. I have no reason to think that it will get better. I fantasise about suicide, but never would because I love my husband and would never do that to him. But there is no way to escape. There is no way to make myself happy again. I wish I had never had kids. I love them (it would be easier if I didn't care). I love them so much. I wish I could be a better mother for them. I can't imagine how I am fucking them up."
"Do I "love my kids"?, yes....do like being a mom?...absolutely not!! If you have ANY reservations or questions about whether you should have kids or not...that is a clear sign that you should NOT. Unless you want your whole life to be about nothing but your kids...and don't care at all about your independence, identity, freedom, and your body (flabby belly and boobs, loss of urinary continence)...then go ahead...loose your life to the "bundle of joy"". I have found it to be a bundle of hell, pain, monotony...nothing joyful about it. I wish I never had children!"
"I am a smart woman and could have done anything I set my mind to, but my sole focus was to have children and a husband. Now that I have everything I always hoped for I regret my narrow-minded goals. I love my kids, of course, but it feels like I'm living through this torture chamber called parenthood...
If I had a crystal ball and could have seen how our life would have been, I truly think I would have taken a different path than parenthood. None of the good times balances out with the crap that goes on daily in my house. There are only so many memories that can buoy you up." ________________________________________
This has been a long blog post and I could have posted even more comments, but I don't want to strain my readers' eyes further. The point of cutting and pasting all of these comments here is to put an end to the myth that a childfree life is rife with regret, yet parents never regret having kids. I also want to convey a message that rarely (if ever) gets conveyed to those contemplating a life free of children: don't avoid the childfree life out of fear of regret. Every life choice involves the sacrifice of other potential life choices, and all choices can result in regret, including the choice to become a parent (as illustrated by these numerous posts from regretful parents). The difference is, the choice to become a parent is irreversible and it is far worse to regret having kids than not having them.
If you are still worried about eventual childfree regret, I challenge you to search the internet to see how many posts you can find from people who regret being childfree. If you find any at all, see if you can find posts that are as bitter, angry and filled with intense regret for a life lost, as we see here with the posts from our regretful parents. I doubt you will find many at all. But go ahead...try to prove me wrong.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.
I am 30 and am childfree. About a year ago I started seriously wondering if I should go ahead and have children. Mostly because I wondered if someday I would regret not doing it. After a year of soul searching, I decided to stick with my gut. No children for my husband and I.
"Don't avoid the childfree life out of fear of regret. Every life choice involves the sacrifice of other potential life choices, and all choices can result in regret."
You could not be more right. I already regret so many of my choices. My choice to go back to school for Interior Design (when what I really want to do is cook), my choice to buy a house (I could have saved so much money by renting!), my choice to immediately renovate my kitchen, etc., etc.
You can't say which decision you will regret and which decision you won't regret. Having children is way too big of a deal to do it just because you fear you MIGHT regret it someday.
The common thread I see in all these is the fact that women are raised to and expected to sacrifice themselves, mind, body, and soul, for everyone else’s sake. To the point where they're nothing but empty husks of their former selves with no identity except that of wife and mother.
I'd rather be a selfish abomination of a woman then end up like that.
I'm 33 and I also have made the descision to remain childfree. I've always known that motherhood wasn't for me - I love kids and I want them in my life - but I'm happy being the cool aunt who will introduce my nephew to art, music, travel, etc.
I don't have any desire to take care of him day in and day out. The loss of freedom is what I'm afraid of most.
Naturally I also hovered on the fence for awhile because people kept telling me I might regret my decision.
So I decided to do an investigation of my own by asking every parent and childfree person I knew over the age of 50 to see what regrets they had, if any.
I spoke with 2 childfree women and 2 childfree couples - not one of them were regretting their decision.
And I asked 3 single moms and 6 couples with children - only 2 of dads did not regret having children. Every single one of the moms and 4 of the dads said that if they had the chance to do it all over again, they wouldn't have had kids. The most common reason given was "loss of freedom".
This may not be a very scientific study...but it seems to support all of the preofessional studies being conducted in recent years.
I'm sticking to my guns...
"Trapped and hopeless." That about sums it up. Even an openly heartless bitch like me, who usually revels in givng a classic Simpsons, Nelson-esque laugh in such situations (schadenfreude), was heartbroken and on the verge of tears reading these comments.
The only thing is, the horrors of parenthood are no closely guarded secret. They are clearly dissected in the light of day, for anyone with half a brain to plainly see, even before the internet existed. I've cautioned countless women, in all kinds of pleasant as well as harsh terms, about the shell of a life that was awaiting them if they spawned, or spawned again, and the answer was always the same: "Oh, but that won't happen to me!"
"There is nothing so commonplace as the wish to be remarkable."---William Shakespeare
I too wanted to cry in reading some of these posts because these women are clearly in the depths of despair and there is no way out of their situations.
I too have often wondered WHY people buy into the myth that parenthood is BLISS when all one has to do is look around them to see that it's a flat out LIE. I know plenty of parents and I can think of only ONE that seems truly happy most of the time. The rest of them are run down, broke, depressed, tired, stressed out 90% of the time. Does the other 10% of the time (when things are pleasant) really make up for being miserable 90% of the time? I don't think so.
So why do most people buy into the myth? Because the myth is all they hear. How many parents are truly honest? How many will admit in public that they hate being parents or that they wish they never had kids? NONE, because to do so would instantly make them horrible people and the worst label of all "BAD MOM". So they stay mum and even worse, perpetuate the false illusion of parenthood as BLISS and the path to ultimate fulfilment, which is a huge disservice to others.
Those comments are absolutely terrifying. The thing that stood out is the comment that you should never have children out of fear of regret of not having them. Fear of a future feelig that you don't even know will occur. I KNOW there has to be women who love motherhood and all of it's sacrifice. The problem is that you don't know for sure that you will be one of them.
As someone who wants to have kids, but is waiting until she's financially stable, I applaud your blog!! If more people who were not certain about wanting kids didn't have kids, our society would be SO MUCH BETTER OFF! If women who didn't want children, but got pregnant were not scorned for adoption or abortion, again, we would be SO much better off.
Thanks for being a mythbuster!
I actually know a lot of women in my life that wish they hadn't had kids. My mother is one of them--I don't think she hates us per se, but she got pregnant before she got married and she and my dad did the shotgun thing and then had two more because they didn't believe in birth control. My mom was impatient, barely ever interacted with us, and really REALLY disliked being a mom. Once we were a little older, she got purebred dogs that she fell in love with and basically started caring for them more than she cared about spending any time with us kids.
A lot of people say that you should have kids so you have someone to take care of you when you are older, but some of those comments really tell you otherwise--your adult kids can write you out of their lives entirely and choose to never see you again once they turn 18. And what about all the people I know who have adult kids that mooch off of them, steal from them, wreck their cars, etc.? Sorry, not worth it to me.
OMG. These anonymous posts are completely and utterly heartbreaking. I can't imagine the children of these women, growing up with a mother who hates her role as their parent.
I was surprised at the broad age range of the posters - those with infants through those with adult children and even grandchildren. I also noticed how many of the women referenced being single (for whatever reason). I wonder if their marriage felt apart because of the stress and time involved in parenting. Many of those who are currently married referenced a failing and unsatisfying relationship. Reading between the lines in some of the posts, it appeared as if they covered a range of financial situations, too -- some who were just scraping by and working long hours and others who were stay at home moms. I wonder how big a role the husband / father plays in the childrearing (as well as the normal household chores) and if these women would be any happier if there was an equal division of labor when it comes to parenting.
Overall, it seems as if there is no correlation between marital status, age, and / or income to parental satisfaction (which might make a good thesis).
I only wish that these women would speak up more publicly (even if it is anonymously via the web) to TELL THE TRUTH!
I've often wondered what my life will be like when I'm older. I'm 100% certain that I will never regret not having kids. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to return to my peaceful evening of finishing off that glass of merlot, reading a few chapters of a new book, watching a movie (while I fold the laundry), and watching some snowflakes blow around outside.
Wow. This was a great post. I've bookmarked the blog you linked to for reading on a rainy day.
I teared up a bit reading those comments. They were just so brutally honest. I could feel the despair, the hopelessness, the frustration and bitterness.
I feel kind of weighed down right now, in fact. Time to take a bubble bath, sip a glass of wine, and remind myself that I don't have kids and never will.
I agree with you that if people really, rationally thought about parenthood, they'd realize the happysunshinerainbows bit of it is a myth. I mean, just go to your average grocery store and look around you. Look at the tired parents in sweatpants, with circles under their eyes and spit-up in their hair. Look at the screaming, ungrateful children. Sometimes you even overhear parents threatening their kids, bribing their kids, reprimanding their kids... not a life for me, thankyouverymuch.
I was once told that, as a CF person, I would never appreciate "the little things in life." I believe this starry-eyed parent mentioned things like "seeing the beauty in a hand-picked bunch of dandelions" or "marveling at a seashell on the beach." And you know, I've really been thinking about, and I beg to differ. I think I appreciate the little things, and not in any small part because I have *time* to.
I appreciate my sweet, quiet pets: the gentle chirp of my sugar gliders as they snuggle into my shirt, or the soft fur of my chinchilla as she shoves her head into my hand for petpets.
I appreciate my husband, both physically (disposable income, plenty of time for working out + lots of rest = sexy boy!) and mentally (long, uninterrupted conversations about whatever we want).
I appreciate myself enough to shower daily, work out, tan, dress nicely, etc.
I just appreciate LIFE. Sleeping in. A morning newspaper. A good glass of wine. My capable muscles when I'm working aboard the lobster boat. Nature when I'm out walking my dogs.
I don't think you have to have a kid to appreciate life. And all these comments more than reinforce that.
(sorry for the novel! I got a bit carried away!)
"I am a smart woman and could have done anything I set my mind to, but my sole focus was to have children and a husband. Now that I have everything I always hoped for I regret my narrow-minded goals. "
I'm with Marta. I have alway swanted to be the cool aunt and NEVER wanted children. Yes, it is out of fear. As is my posting to this blog. Now that I cannot have them (loss of ovaries due to cysts) I feel so safe and so blessed.
I feel that I must do somthing for my friends and family that bought into this myth. The last friend that I had that had children is having SEVERE health problems at age 36 since she had children.
What if there was something we could do to help them AND encourage them to speak up? A "mommy and me" massage day, additional fee for extra kids, and they had to start speaking out against the machine? Say to them "mani and pedi and day care for you, but you have to tell your story"? Do you think they would buy in?
There are a few women on the link below that express regret in not having children:
However, here is my observation:
1)One woman regretted it because of the fear she will be alone (not lonely) when/if her husband dies. Well, we saw from the regretful moms, that having children doesn't guarantee they will spend time with you or even like you in your old age.
2) One woman regretted and blamed her mother for "brainwashing" her into not wanting children. She says she has been on anti-depression for 15 years and is being eaten up by the regret. She sounds like she would have been unhappy not matter what would have happened in her life.
3)My own personal child-free experience (now 47) is that now and then I have twinges of wistfulness and I wonder what it might have been like. For instance, I am planning my Mom's 90th. She has 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren. (Well none from me obviously). She is a very happy active full of life 90 yr old. She still drives and every night still uses anti-wrinkle cream. : ) Anyways, she has quite a legacy and I realize that will never be me. So it's an occasional twinge, but I can live with that, because then I think of all the things I couldn't have done had I had children. It all evens out. And overall, I am still happy with my choice. Does that make sense?
Thanks for yet another thought provoking blog! I really enjoy your writing and think you do a marvellous job.
I couldn't find a link to email you, but here's a link you might find interesting (from the NY Times) regarding the childfree and diet.
This is my philosophy re: being old. If I live my life correctly, there will be no shortage of people to share my life with when I grow old. I may not be a mother, but I am a devoted friend (moreso because I am not tied down with kids or grandkids), a wife, a sister, an aunt (to my own nieces and nephews as well as my friends' kids) - you get the picture. Children and grandchildren aren't the only people that one can spend time with in old age. I don't anticipate a shortage of attendees at my 90th birthday party.
Awesome post and equal comments as usual. And from what I've read on people reacting to parents who do come out like this, is the criticism that it is SO cruel and mean to the kids. Meaning that the parents should shut up, mainly for their kid´s wellbeings sake of not finding out how their parents feel, to keep the kids from feeling miserable, taking all the blame. But... doesn't honesty account for anything?
And another thing: Does anyone know if it's possible in some way putting kids up for adoption if you're totally unfit to be a parent (apart from obvious cases of severe child abuse, alcoholism, mental disorders and such)? Namely in cases such as the ones in this post! Can you legally/voluntarily "resign" from parenthood that way?
I am not sure about the adoption thing, but some states allow people to "dump" their unwanted kids at hospitals, no questions asked. Most states have age limits on this, however, I once wrote about a situation in Nebraska where people were dumping their older kids at hospitals and it was causing a real problem.
You can read my post here.
Boy that list of quotes should be shown to people who are trying to decide to have kids! ~Laura la vie childfree http://lauracarroll.com
I really do feel bad for these women (I'm assuming they are women). They made a choice that has completely rewritten the trajectory of their lives. Unfortunately the change is not always for the better as they now can see.
So often when someone announces that she is pregnant, it is all I can do not to say, "I'm so sorry."
I shall be watching this blog with interest. At the age of 24 I have decided that I don't want children. Interestingly, it isn't because I want freedom, a career, to reduce my carbon footprint etc. My simple, honest reason is that the desire simply isn't there. My idea of feeling "broody" is wanting a tuxedo cat.
Some people just KNOW that they want kids. Well, good for them. Just like some people KNOW that they're gay, or KNOW that they're religious etc. Its in-built, natural. I KNOW I don't want kids.
Quite how this will affect my life I have yet to find out...
I wonder how much of this is caused not by motherhood, but by society's expectations of motherhood.
Are there as many men who feel strongly about hating fatherhood?
Would we hear the same complaints if we went back in time 200 years -back when kids were "seen and not heard" instead of "joyfull miracles?".
Will we hear the same complaints in 200 years time, when women have finally said "Actually, I am not going to sacrifice my entire life for my kids".
For example: I learned a couple of years ago that the reason my siblings and I all played hockey at school was because our mother refused to take us to 3 different sports. So she picked one we could all enjoy and that was it - one sport, one day a week only. Not 6 different hobbies and hundreds of expectations of a child prodigy.
I think society and mothers combine to make motherhood impossible to enjoy. I would like to know how many mothers out there are just having a good time, having fun with their kids, feeling relaxed and not posting on the internet because they're too busy have sexytimes with their husband...
I also think that mothers in rural areas have an easier time of it. City mothers are expected to do so much, to compete in so many ways, to look perfect all the time, whereas country mothers can just kick their kids out of the house for the day and not worry about anything bad happening to them. (My mum used to lock us out of the house on nice days and then bring us picnics at lunchtime in the garden. Great memories.)
To be honest, if I didn't feel there were so many expectations to meet as a mother, I would want kids. I have nothing against being a mother, but I sure as hell don't want to be a martyr - and these days there doesn't seem to be much scope for separating the two.
"The only thing is, the horrors of parenthood are no closely guarded secret. They are clearly dissected in the light of day, for anyone with half a brain to plainly see, even before the internet existed. "
I couldn't agree more. My feelings about these posts are "That's really, really awful" and "BED.MADE.LIE." I don't doubt these women when they say that nobody explicitly told them about the aspects of parenting that can engender frustration, resentment, repulsion, unhappiness (or full-on clinical depression), etc. without sugarcoating or trying to qualify it (e.g. "I hate that I can't even go to the bathroom without some little person trying to pull me off the commode so I can get them something, but it's soooooo worth it when they give me crappy macaroni 'art' on Mother's Day!").
But I think it comes down to what you choose to believe - things you know/learn experientially through your own faculties and your own thought processes or what other people try to impress upon you. It seems to me that most of these women probably had the rainbows and unicorns version impressed upon them, believed it, and acted on it... only to later realized that they'd been sold a bill of goods.
I'm glad that there's a safe space where they can commiserate with others but I wonder how many of these women turn mute when women they know receive obvious pressure to procreate. I also wonder how many of these women may be the ones applying the pressure. It's one thing to come to the realization that you shouldn't have been a mother, but it's something else entirely to speak out and brave running afoul of the Momfia...
Wow, my heart breaks for some of these people, as I believe they thought there was "no other choice", they were supposed to procreate, and they are now supposed to just get on with the job of motherhood. Essentially, the should grin and bear it. What kind of a life is that?? A horribly sad one, certainly.
My therapist told me about a friend of hers, who is now in her 70s. She was a professional dancer many years ago, but gave it up to raise 4 children. She eventually divorced, came out a as a lesbian, and freely admitted she regretted ever having children. She truly felt that that choice ruined her life and her career--she lost her identity in her younger years because she became a parent.
I feel so much for these women. Regretting bringing a dependent human being into the world that is your own flesh and blood must be the worst regret possible. I wonder how many still spread the lie that "it's the hardest job in the world, but also the most rewarding."
I believe some who help spread the myth of motherhood as being a blessing truly believe it. There is a phenomenon called "choice blindness" where human beings can convince themselves they have made an excellent choice when there is evidence to the contrary. Parents are the worst at this. For others I am sure it is too painful to voice.
It really upsets me that mothers insist you do not know true love until you have a child. I would have to completely disagree. I think childfree people can experience the same depth of loe as a parent. I doubt we could ever feel the same level of despair as parents do. I will never have children. I want to have a life of little stress and worry. I want to clean up after and cook for just myself and my husband. I can do worthwhile things like funding cleft palate operations for children who already exist and truly change their lives. Most of all I will never go through the greatest despair of all. I saw my dad lose his child, my sister. He is ruined. these last 6 years have not healed him. He will never be happy again. I will never know the pain of attending my child's funeral.
Absolutely heartbreaking stories. I noticed a common thread about "love vs. enjoyment": loving your children does not automatically translate into enjoying being a parent. This goes against the stupid myth that when you love your kids that's all you need to make everything all right. Bovine scatology.
I totally agree you shouldn't have a kid just to avoid possible future regret. Even IF you would regret being childfree, why is regret the end of the world? Regret is a common part of life. If you live a life where you never have any regrets at all, or never risk any, you've learned nothing or have never explored anything or have never apologized for anything.
At least childfree regret only hurts you, while childed regret brings someone else into your misery. Isn't it better to regret that someone does not exist than regret that someone does?
My God, I was amazed to stumble across this blog and this post. I don't even know how I did. It is heartbreaking to read. The comments were painfully honest and the people who made them were courageous coming out and saying what they thought.
I am female, will be 53 this summer (2011) and am child-free. It was by design.
Now that I have hit menopause, I occasionally wonder what it would have been like to have had a child. I think my concern is more with leaving a positive mark on the world. I just hope that some people remember me fondly after I am dead. Or that I will leave some body of work that people will be able to read or use after I am gone. Would having a child have accomplished that?
My older sister has also remained childfree, and I don't think that is a coincidence. Our circumstances growing up were not exactly blissful, and I realize now our mother was not particularly happy with her lot. She was brought up by a woman who was rough as a mother, and she in turn was brought up in terrible circumstances. I am glad my sister and I at least have not allowed that generational unhappiness to progress to further generations. Neither of us have a close relationship with our father. There our reasons for that.
I feel badly for the parents out there who hate being parents. That probably applied to my parents. My God, it is SO important that you parents take of YOURSELVES, and YOUR OWN NEEDS. Your happiness matters, from my own experience I believe that 100%. Kids need parents who know how to take care of themselves and know how to be happy, infinitely more than they need $150 sports shoes.
Having children for fear of not having your own built-in "social security" is a horrible reason to have them. It takes a special person to be a special parent - a very loving, generous, happy person with so much love to share that they can lavish it on a child with no expectation of what function that child should serve to that parent. A child should be allowed to be.
Someone said no matter what path you take in life, there will always be a haunting "what if...?" That's life. Each life choice comes with its own problems, stresses, and pressures.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how those women did not know that they had a choice! As human beings, we have free will. The social and biological drives to reproduce do not have the same influence as the law of gravity. These moms ultimately had a choice, but their children did not. Their children did not ask to be brought into a war-torn, natural disaster-prone world.
From a mom in the trenches here, oh yeah, having kids can really suck and be incredibly challenging at times. Those early years when my two were under 5-6 ish were often just plain hellish. The never-ending work, the tantrums, the sleeplessness, the messes, the chaos, the lack of personal down time, the endless boring kiddie outings, the marital stress, the constant worry and anxiety one would get hurt, etc etc not to mention all the regular stresses of life such as working, bills, house upkeep, etc.
I read the link on this post to the original blog and read all the original comments from the moms. I noticed that probably 80-90% of the moms had kids under five.
Those years are the hardest and most brutal. My kids are 8 and 10 now and it is nowhere near the hellish nightmare it once was when they were much younger. They entertain themselves, do chores, can make their own basic meals/snacks, and are often tucked away somewhere in the house quietly just doing their own thing. Both kids play and excel at sports and it's fun to watch their games and they disappear outside often practicing or playing. So we can all breathe now....everyone gets some space and relief from each other.
They can still get on my nerves and I do very much enjoy the breaks when they go to their dad's every other weekend and to the grandparent's house but not in a
desperate suffocating way like when they were under five.
So just keep in mind that a lot of the posts are coming from moms during that often hellish exhausting work-camp like existence of raising very young children. Hellish at times no doubt.
But it often does get a lot easier as they get older. Unless you are just cursed with awful spawn children which definitely happens.
But yeah, those early years are basically brutal, and those moms posts give a realistic description of the whole experience.
you wouldnt be alive if your parents were child free!!!
Thank you, nameless reader, for your intelligent and insightful comment. Your sentiment has been expressed many times to childfree people and I've posted about this before.
In response to " .":
I can't argue with your logic. It's flawless, irrefutable logic as far as it goes. Unfortunately, I don't think that kind of argument gets anyone very far.
Yes, if my parents were childfree I would not exist. By the same token, if my parents were childfree I would never die, either. They're also responsible for my death and for any and all suffering I experience, according to your logic.
On a more positive note, my parents also contributed to my sense of responsibility and accountability and intelligence. I owe it (OWE IT!) to them to make the most responsible, most thoughtful decision I can about my reproductive life. To have children for silly reasons would be a slap in their face. It would betray everything they've given me.
Reading these has made me even more certain (if that's possible) that I don't want children. When I was 18 or 19, my mother told me she never wanted kids. She said she had my 2 brothers and I because my dad wanted kids and she had health problems so having kids was now or never. I've definitely learned from her mistake.
I'm a 21 year old who doesn't want kids and I'd just like to say thanks for your honesty. I wish more so-called adults were honest like yourselves instead of flipping out in personal offense because I say I don't want kids. Or trying to talk me into having them despite the disorders they might be born with.
I am a mother of a nearly 10 month old daughter and came across this blog when typing in google search for "regret child loss of freedom". It's heartbreaking yet comforting to know that I'm not alone. I don't want to go as far as saying that I regret having my daughter. But yeah, sometimes I do. I love her, but today, I wanted to book a cheap flight to London for my birthday, and I couldn't, because I'm unsure whether or not my mother-in-law can take her for a few days and we haven't sorted out her passport either (not that I'd really like to bring her, I'd like the time away with my husband, but if it was the only way we could go away...)
I hate myself sometimes for thinking like this. My husband didn't really want children, but went along with it because I was one of those unfortunate "I'm nearing mid-thirties, I'm getting old, I don't want to regret not having kids" women. So many girlfriends were getting pregnant and updating their statuses on facebook, that I guess I got hit with the broody bug, or was it the envy one? Envious of a life that didn't pan out the way society paints it out to be.
I am glad to have found this blog, just because I now know I'm not alone. If I had known that I would feel this way after having a child, I don't think I would have gone through with it. I'm hoping that it will improve. I think it will (I pray it will!).
To those who are childless, enjoy it. Think long and hard if you do end up thinking of having children. I bet there are women who really enjoy motherhood. Shame, I'm not one of them. My daughter's smile and laughter melt my heart, but some days it's not enough.
Dear me... I am 36 years old and all i ever wated for the past 7 years was a BABY. this blog makes me confused and sad because my beleif system is very different. i think at the end the society we live in , our childhood beleifs, community attitudes and feelings as well as finally our needs and wants determine the answer to this question of wanting or not wanting kids.
i applude all the lovely ladies here but i pray and pray i'll be a mum soon.
Agree that part of the influence is the society you live in. If everyone was more honest about this issue there would probably be less women having kids because it's 'what you do'...
Wow, good God! I feel for these poor women! It sounds awful...
Even though I could never be a "mom" ;-) I did make the decision not to have kids about 20 years ago. And it's for many of the reasons these moms now feel trapped: loss of freedom, never ending responsibility, loss of identity, etc.
But mostly it was because I knew I'd be a shitty parent.
And if you know you won't be a good parent, you have a responsibility NOT to have kids.
Those kids I never had have no idea how lucky they'd be if they actually existed to not have me as a parent.
I just had my little boy 4wks and 3days ago, somehow I don't feel like a mother. It doesn't feel like it kicked in yet. I'm twenty-one I feel like I should be out. I breast feed him but some days seems worse then others. I live at home and his father lives with his mother. When he was born he came over everyday, he'd stay after work for 4 hours after work and sleepover on the weekends. For the past couple of weeks he has been slowly weaning away from coming over. Saying he is tired. Today he didn't answer until it was too late for him to come over. I feel bad for saying this but after hours of crying I sometimes wish I wasn't a mom or that I had met someone who was there more often emotionally and support.
I had a couple of abortions when I was a teenager and got pregnant again when I was 28. I was and am very pleased to be a mother because this was the one person who loved me unconditionally (my daughter was a moma's girl). Recently she (now 14 years old) told me that she does not want to have kids when she gets grown so I decided to see would she regret it in the future. Thank you all for being so honest and when she wakes up I am going to let her know that she can be happy without children. Thank you again for sharing.
I will be 28 this year and still stand by my decision not to have children. I love sleeping in, being free, and independent. Me & my fiance vacation out of the country once a year and spend our weekends at the beach, cooking out, hanging out with friends, and just enjoying each other. I see other girls my age and they look so much older and their bodies are ruined. They try to make me feel guilty for not having kids and tell me I'm selfish. I truly believe that misery loves company and they're only saying those things because they are jealous. They are tired all of the time and don't have any time for themselves. I love my life and each day is a new adventure...having kids is no different than spending a life sentence in jail. Thank you to all of you moms who are able to be honest about this.
I notice a consistent theme that so many of these unhappy parents seem to be unable to say "no" and make sure they are taking the time they need for themselves. Yes, parenting is extremely demanding and it is not for everyone. But, if you do have a child and you are very unhappy, it is time to start forcing your husband/in laws/parents to help out and not just criticize. You need to take enough time for yourself, when you can. If you are going to soccer & cheerleading and every other thing, well, STOP. No one is making you do those things except yourself. Your kids don't need every little whim met. Just say NO.
I would like to ask every one of these women how they would feel if they woke up one morning and their children were dead in their beds, having simply expired during the night, leaving your life once and for all. If that thought is devastating to them, then it's not motherhood, but the lack of support that they loathe, and that is fixable. We have a right to be people as well as mothers, and to demand support from our family and community when we need to take carer of ourselves for a little while. If that thought doesn't move them emotionally, or if it makes them happy, then I would suggest walking away now, giving your child to relatives or the state, because you can't hide that kind of contempt no matter how hard you try, and eventually, the children will pick up on it, and it will be devastating. Foster homes and the like can be devastating too, but it is nothing compared to living with a parent that despises you, believe me, I know firsthand.
I always knew I didn't want children, from when I was a child myslef. I just know it isn't the life for me...except that seemingly everyone else in the world is trying to tell me that it is! Eventually you start second guessing yourelf, or think your cold, or crazy...
so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for publishing another perspective out there, and a big thanks to all those moms who are brave enough to post their stories as a warning to others. So refreshing.
Thanks to everyone here who openly shared their opinion! I've been thinking about the way I feel about parenthood a lot lately. When I look into myself, I don't see a spec of desire to have children. The reasons are countless and I won't bore anybody with them. The main thing for me is that I don't think I'd be a loving parent. I'm sure I can be a good parent but not a loving one. Secondly, I don't buy into the fallacy that being a parent is the best thing in life. Maybe for some but not for me. I regard myself as a human being first and then as a woman. I don't like to be taken as a vagina whose purpose in life is to procreate. This world does not need more people, it needs better people. And no, I don't think everybody's here for a reason. Tell that to all the kids that die every day of hunger, with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes. What that tells me is that being a parent is a fundamental choice and that everybody should think hard and be honest with themselves before prequalifying themselves as good parents-to-be. It's too late to figure one is not fit for that "profession" after the fact. I've met a lot of messed up individuals, whose parents did not do their homework before they made them.
Nobody made their decision to be born, it's our parents that did it for us and many parents out there did it under the pressure of stupid and illogical social paradigms and cliches. Nobody should decide how we should live the lives we got and end them. My choice is to be free, try to better myself, learn about the world and do things that bring me fulfillment. It's my life and my body and I decide what happens to them, not society or peers.
I'm sorry to say this but I dont feel pity for those women who had more than 1 child. Because before you have had 1, you can have all kinds of ideas and dreams about parenthood which then fail to come true. BUT if you really hated parenting that much but still went ahead and had a 2nd, 3rd or 4th, it's totally their own fault and instead I feel bad for the kids for having a mother who didnt know how to use birth control properly!
I love my life now and I love kids... But I also love my freedom... My husband doesn't want to have kids but for the past year I have been having baby fever...I know I would be an excellent mother but I am just afraid that I would do the right things as a parent and brought up my child as a useful component of society. I am so afraid of not doing the right :( thank you ladies for your insight. I will think about it long and hard
After 5 unsuccessful cycles of IVF I've just found out that I'm unlikely to ever have kids and have fallen into a real depression. I've failed at the most fundemental aspect of womanhood: being a mother. Thank you all for this blog. You've made me feel so much better, and I've smiled for the first time in days. In fact, I even laughed! I'm going on holiday abroad in a few weeks, and have great nights out with friends planned soon. A big thank you for helping me appreciate what I do have, and not pining for what I cannot have.
My husband and I decided to have a child in our mid-40s. I was the one who really pushed for it, fearing I would regret not having children and thinking, "well, this is my last chance ...." We did IVF and, no joke, up until the day before beginning the cycle I was unsure about the decision and thought we might be better off enjoying our later years together, without the burden of raising a young child. I should have listened to my inner voice. We are fortunate to have had a healthy child, and we love him, but we are exhausted all the time, have no freedom, and depend on my controlling mother for babysitting. Not only that, but we are financially strained. The most wonderful part of our relationship -- the fact that we have so much in common and enjoy spending time together, dining out, travelling, attending jazz concerts -- is ruined. We are stuck at home with a very demanding child who whines and cries constantly, and we will be well into our 60s before we can have our freedom back. To say I regret the decision is an understatement. I have sabotaged our marriage, which is strained beyond belief, and virtually ensured that any further career growth I hoped to attain is now impossible.
I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I am 38 happily married for 5 years (we have been together for 16 years). We always felt that we weren't up for the job of parenting and have been happy without children so far. However, over the past month, I have been in turmoil over whether or not I should take the plunge just in case I regret not having children when I am too old to do so and of course in my golden years. It is like my biological clock is warning me that the tap is about to be turned off for good and to get a move on! However, I do not feel excited at the prospect of being a mum and still feel negative about the whole thing. I can't understand if I am so cognitively aware and in tune with my inner voice, why there is still a niggling doubt and ambivalence about being a mum. It is exhausting and I wish it would away. After reading your comments, they truly reflect how I think my life would turn out if I had a baby through my own internal pressure and the external pressure from people and family who tell me I will regret my decision when I am older. I thought having a choice was a good thing, but it really is a curse! I don't know what path to take... I do hope that motherhood gets better for you Donna.
What all these mothers have in common is that they are blaming external circumstances over which they feel they have absolutely no power(in this case: their kids' existence and the high expectations they have of themselves as mothers) for their misery and suffering. The child-free commenters claim their conscious choice has provided them with an easy path to happiness and bliss (or just comfort and an easier ride). I believe both are wrong. When I look around me (I ama GP and hear A LOT of stories) happiness seems to have very little do to with external circumstances, and a lot with the attitude you adopt towards those circumstances (which seems to be an attitude that is part nature, part nurture and part something you can adopt at a later stage in life). We have to make certain decisions as we walk through life and the consequences of some of those decisions may come as a shock. We can not change our past, but in this moment, with the hand we have been dealt, there are still options for us, if we are willing to see them. Having been through a depression myself, I do not judge people who are stuck like this, but would like to urge them to look for help and a way out of feeling trapped and hopeless. It may sound like a cliché, but after the rain comes sunshine,which feels all the warmer and looks all the brighter for having experienced the cold and damp misery of a storm in life. I leave it up to you to guess if I have kids or not ... I feel that while my life would have been different if I had ended up in 'the other camp', it would not have fundamentally changed my attitude, or happiness...
Sara, I agree with you that attitude is everything. I am an optimistic, positive person by nature, and I have never viewed myself as a victim, even when my circumstances were not good. I have often thought that I would be upbeat and positive even if I had kids, because it's just the way I am. I would make the best of life and focus on the positive and not the negative.
Having said this, it's a heck of a lot easier to be upbeat and positive when my life is calm, I have a full night's sleep every night, my marriage is not strained with the stress of juggling the multiple demands that kids brings into a household, our finances are comfortable because of not having to spend most of our income supporting kids, I can pursue all of my interests and hobbies fully and whenever I please, and the list goes on and on.
Yes, if I had kids I would take a positive attitude toward it because - frankly - that's a better approach than spewing bitterness into the world. After all, once you have kids, you can't reverse the decision, so you best learn to deal with it.
But my original point still stands. It is far easier to find mothers who regret having children than it is to find childfree-by-choice women who regret having kids.
to be quite honest, i have yet to meet any childfree person who doesn't seem happy and fulfilled. my cousin, for one, is travelling all over europe without having to drag a snotty kid or having to worry about schedules. because we hail from a third world country, we, her cousins, can not help but wonder at her freedom, travel experiences and her successes in life. recently she quit her job because she and her hubby have to move to london. but her lifestyle is as affluent as ever because the hubby's earnings can very well cover the both of them. had there been a kid between them, i wouldn't be so sure if things for them would still be the same.
on the other hand, i have cousins who have also moved into other first world countries (US, Australia, Saudi) and are earning big time, and yet they cannot afford to move around and splurge on holidays because of the kids. one of them, one who has a good position as a nurse in a reputable hospital in cali, only managed to book out-of-the-country flights for a holiday (here in southeast asia) with the whole family this year, (first time in seven years!). she said it was because she had to synchronize all of her kids' (3 in all) schedules and save a total of $8,000 for the entire family's airfare expenses. and that's not counting allowance money for the little ones. i did notice my cousin has a habit of buying almost anything her little girls ask for if only to save her the trouble/stress of reasoning with them. well, she's obviously very accomplished in terms of career and motherhood, but sometimes i wonder if it's really that easy to give up past passions (reading books, video games, dining out, vacationing, writing fanfiction, driving to lord knows where, coffee with pals, tv shows, drawing, sports etc.) in exchange for tending after little uns who just suddenly popped out in your life.
This makes me feel as if I made the right decision. I remember being told that I had PCOS when I was about seventeen. The strange thing was, I was so relieved that I probably wouldn't have children. The strange thing is that I like kids and even teenagers in general, I just don't want to live with them.
My husband knew the likelyhood of having children was pretty low, so we spend our time having adventures and looking incredibly young for our age (I'm turning 40 in a month). In my late 20's and 30's, so-called friends would tell me I'd regret being child-free and that I was selfish, but I can tell you right now, I don't regret this decision. My parents were so good about telling me not to think about the wanting grandkids myth. They spoil the cousins in our family and our cats.
We have three katkids, we co-author a book series and both work fulltime.
I'm happy with me, my family and I don't think I could be this way with children. I would also feel awful if I had kids and spent my life feeling depressed because of regrets.
Please take your sweeping generalizations elsewhere.
I truly applaud the mothers out there who honestly express their regret about having children. I am one of those mothers. I love both my children dearly, but they were difficult to raise. I spend my entire paycheck for tutors, clothing, children outings, etc. I had to hold down dead end, low paying jobs that I normally would not do if I were child-free.
I married very young and was pressured by my hubby to have kids. Now that I have them, I resent and hate my hubby - who hardly does anything for the children - and I plan on divorcing him when the children become independent adults (whenever that will be).
I really hate myself for choosing to be a mother when I had so much ambition. I still have ambition but now have added frustration from the inability to fulfill those ambitions.
Both children have learning issues so I spend a great deal of time meeting with school/therapists/psychiatrists. Lots of time and money are spent.
I truly hate my husband for pressuring me to have children and not be supportive in rearing them. If he were to die tomorrow, the only thing I would regret would be the loss of his paycheck, since I don't make much money.
I understand where these regretful moms are coming from. I am glad we live in an age where thoughts can be shared freely over the internet. Such was not the case when I was younger. The opinions on the internet would have made a big difference in how I would have chosen to live my life.
I was fortunate at an early age to able to 'step back' and observe people with children. Those I knew, those I saw in malls, grocery stores, theatres, etc. and each time it was constant strife, constant bickering, nagging, near disasters as the little buggers would try and run, etc etc etc.
I was fortunate in I have (and had) little desire to breed. It also was not drummed into my head by my mother. Oh the media out there wants you to breed, the corporations and business's want you to breed. Even the social agencies that are supposed to help the indigent portion of 'parent' (yes, it is mostly single females) encourage it as the pathologies engendered by these fatherless children keep them in their bread and butter.
I also read a book by Ellen Peck 'The Baby Trap' which details the myopic selling of children by these various entities just to make a buck off of trapped parents.
No one, no one thinks outside the baby box. Even if they see the truth for themselves, they delude themselves into thinking they will be 'different', they will be so much better mommies and daddies then the rest of the sad sacks. By the time they find out, it is too late, the trap is cojplete.
Of course, the vast majority of them despise the freedom of those without, which accounts for the crab in bucket comments called 'bingoes', attempting to get childfree and fence sitters down into the mudpit with them.
I am so glad I did not fall for this trap.
Lot's of these mothers have young children. They think it's hard now, oh wait, just wait until their kids are teenagers. No one prepares you for that either. If you think that your teenagers will just go to do their room and you won't have to deal with them as much anymore, I couldn't even being to tell you how wrong you are. Just like you were naive about children before having children, you are naive about what it's truly like raising a teenager. No one tells you about that either and let me warn all of you, when your kids shifts into a teenager, (and you will see the moment of no return when it happens before your very eyes), you will be propelled into a new dimension of hell. I love my daughter to PIECES, God I love her so much, but just like you all, I was not good at motherhood. I have one year and a half left until she is 18 but my God it's going to be the longer. My health went straight to hell. I don't know if I will be able to recover once she turns 18 anyway. Be afraid of the teenage years..... be very afraid.
and sometimes it's not over after they turn 18. some parents have to deal with college expenses, and when they graduate from college they may need to come back home until they get on there feet. so you never know, for many parents it's never over not even when the child turns 45. trust me I know parents right now that are taking care of there grown adult children ( which who are not sick or disabled). my husband & I has been married for almost a year & we have decided not to have children. a friend told me that I we would regret having children when we get old because we will not have them to take care of us. I told her that there are people who have adult children put them in nursing homes & don't come & see them but once a year if that. I'd rather just be childfree, spoil family & friends kids and give them back at the end of the day.
I would like to reply to Nicola's post :
"After 5 unsuccessful cycles of IVF I've just found out that I'm unlikely to ever have kids and have fallen into a real depression. I've failed at the most fundemental aspect of womanhood: being a mother. Thank you all for this blog."
Having kids is NOT the most fundamental aspect of womanhood- We are NOT breeding machines.
Nicola you completely misunderstood the whole point of this blog-people are not here to hold your hand and say "there,there, don't worry you can't have kids, we don't have kids either"! We simply DON'T WANT to have kids. So no need to thank anyone.
I wish I didn't have a child. Yes i love my daughter, but I am miserable.I refuse to go on any medication. My plan is just to leave her with her father and get my life back, then come back when I am happy again. This life is crap. I will make sure I tell everyone I meet to NOT HAVE ANY KIDS.
so happy to have found your blog! im 35 and been married for 14 years. i knew i didnt want kids the day i got married. both my mom and grandma had kids at 17, shotgun, and relatives were speculating that i must have followed their footsteps when i got married at 21 but im so glad to have proven them wrong. now my mom and grandma look up to me because i knew what i wanted and now they wished they were like me.
well, my opinion is, only stupid and simple minded people have kids. those who dont are the really smart ones. which is why many tend to regret later on simply because they didnt put much thought into such a big decision (thats why i say they're simple minded). i've always needed an escape route or a plan B to fall back on should things dont go my way. when i work, i like to think that if i hate the job i want to be able to quit. when i come across toxic friends, i want to be able break up with them. but with kids, thats it. you'll never be able to escape and that thought horrifies me.
i love the freedom and the freedom is not about going on long trips. the choice to not have kids is a freedom in itself and it feels amazing.
I am a mother of a three year old son. Adjusting to motherhood was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. At first I was filled with a sense of panic at the weight of the responsibility now resting on my shoulders. I had no idea it was going to be this hard, this restricting, this suffocating. I probably would have been diagnosed with PND except that I was positive that it was not just hormonal - this parenting thing really sucked and none told me it would and it is really hard to admit that you don't like being a mum when you are holding your baby and all your expecting friends are around to see how things are going!
Plus, I'm starting to think that child-rearing is meant to be a communal thing with extended family all chipping in to help (even with breast-feeding!). Our more isolated lifestyles, living further away from family, do not lend themselves well to adjusting to parenthood. We're left alone to do something which is extremely demanding. Of course it's stupidly hard given these circumstances.
Things have got so much easier now and I absolutely adore my son. I've never loved anything or anyone as much as I love him.
That said, I do sometimes feel that I'm not fulfilling my potential. I have a Cambridge University bachelors degree (we're not all 'stupid and simple-minded' just as I'm sure neither are yourselves all smart and intelligent). I certainly do miss my freedom, especially to go out at night (we don't live near family). But I want to commend you all for thinking carefully about having children. I think within our society there is a common misconception that having kids is:
1. The next logical step after marriage
2. Nothing but blissful and rewarding (referenced by all those photo-shopped Facebook snaps)
3. Something that doesn't necessarily have to change your life forever.
Best wishes to you all in your child free lives! Enjoy your freedom. I'm sure I'll regain some of mine sooner or later.
Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks..
i am childless and grieving intensely the opportunites i missed. i appreciate these posts sharing a positive perspective of not having children. However, in my experience many of my friends have children and although it's not easy, it's a beautiful thing and they are very happy. They have a family of their own. And it connects them with their extended families and other friends with children. Sure, for some people there are challenges and regrets, but for many others it's the best thing they've ever done.
I'm currently in deep grief about not having a child, and regret the opportunities i missed. I was wanting the perfect situation, thinking that was being responsible and loving, But i now think it was spoiled and ungrateful. These heartbreaking stories and posts of those regretting having children, are helpful in giving another perspective. However, in my experience, having children has greatly enriched the lives of my friends and relatives who have had them. To me, the challenges would be wholly worthwhile.
I sympathize with your regrets. All I would ask from you is to consider how bad human beings can be at predicting how they would feel in a different situation. (People are surprisingly really poor at predicting how they will feel in the future. Think about how many people who win the lottery say "I thought I would be happier, but now sometimes I wish I hadn't won.")
No one can ever truly know 100% how they would feel if they had more kids or fewer kids. The best you can do is take an educated guess. I say the same thing to childfree people, too, by the way.
Agreed. Nicole, my heart goes out to you for this. But you have not "failed"! I will give you a big hug and we can "fail" together -- and Nicole, you are going to love it. You can stand in as a mother in heart to others' children. And meantime enjoy your own life more than you thought possible.
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