Monday, December 12, 2011

More Regretful Moms Let Loose

Thanks to CFVixen for directing me to a thread that is currently running on a site called CafeMom in which moms are venting about how much they hate motherhood, regret having kids and are angry that they were duped into believing the myth that motherhood is the most wonderful and necessary path to happiness and fulfilment.

The thread starts with this post and takes off running from there.

"Why is it that we are conned into thinking that motherhood is a blissful, satisfying, and rewarding blessing? I attend a mothers group for young mothers and the other day one of the social workers asked..."Who hates being a mom?" Everyone looked at each other as if they were afraid of the question and that admitting to it is a mortal sin. My hand shot up. After a year of being a mother I can't hate it more. It just prevents me being truly happy. I know some women out there have invested time and money into having a child and think its the most glorious and officious thing in the world. But I think that from little girls we are brain washed into thinking that being a mother is what our duty is. Its evident by the toys marketed towards girls: baby dolls that poop and pee with their carriages, little tiny kitchens, even vaccum and broom sets. JESUS!


Needless to say my pregnancy was unplanned and unwanted. I was 21, unmarried, and still in college with hopes of attending medical school. I dreaded being pregnant and the permanent scars it would leave on my already flawed body. I thought that once I had the baby I would love being a mother and a wife. The truth is I hate it. I couldn't love my child anymore, his smile touches a part of my heart that no one else can, but I don't like being his mother.


It is just a burden I don't want to deal with at this point of my life. The feeding, the changing, the constant neediness, which I know will perpetuate until the day I die. I decided to breastfeed him and still do and regret every day I decided to do this. It has been 14mo since he was born and I still have no ownership of my body. I have tried to ween him, but he become unbearable.


Before having him I was a straight A student, active in school, and I held up to two jobs. Now its seems I can't get my shit straight. My grades would be more that satisfactory for other students, but they just don't cut it for me. I feel like I have to choose between my dreams, and being a good mother, which isn't fair.


I have all the love and support from my husband, but its not enough because I feel like a failure, like I've failed myself. All these emotions have just turned into anger, and its just boiling inside of me because its turned into hate. I can't control my anger anymore. I can't stand being alone all day with my son. He wants to be all over me and all I want is my space. I try to play with him, but I'd rather be elsewhere. I feel like I have to give and give and give, but in return nothing.


To make things worse, I'm totally isolated. My mother lives in an other state. All my friends graduated 2 years ago and moved on with their lives. I have no friends I can relate to, even when I'm at school. I just feel thrusted into a position where I had no say, and I was pushed into it "because it was the right thing to do".


Now I'm filled with regrets, morn the loss of the life and the person that I was (which I really liked) and feel all alone in life. I hate being a mother. I hate my life. Most of all I hate what I've become. "
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Some replies:

"The easy part is under 4 years old. Parenting is a whole new ball game as they get into school age. Frankly, it's harder.


I was married young, had a child, finished college, had more children and now I'm working on my graduate degree to requalify in my choosen career field. At my age, I should have 10 years of working experience and make enough to cover daycare. I have no real experience, every job I had was quit due to pregnancy!


I just told my screaming kids in the van I was going to work, hiring someone to take care of them, because I quit! Seriously, I want to quit being a mother, a parent and a wife.


I think you feelings are normal. I don't have any other answer than that for you."
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"so many truths spoken here.



Yes, the first four years are easier. The exhaustion that begins to set in at 18 months - 2 years is complete by the 4th birthday. I was hospitalized for 2 days when son was 18 months, then at 4 years, I needed it again, but refused because western medicine had nothing to offer me except prozac.


I discovered that I was pregnant at 35 when I went in for my blood work before my tubal ligation. I wanted the surgery when I was 22 but was told I would have to wait until 35. I accepted my responsibility and hoped "god would provide". I hoped he/she would provide the Money, the Physical Stamina, the Emotional Stamina, the Personal Discipline, and the Social Network necessary to raise a child alone. (father chose not to participate) After 6 years of selfless service, I feel "done". At 41 the career and relationship oportunities that I had always wanted in my life have come to my door, and because I am a mom I cannot accept. I am just too tired.


I do realize that I have "made this bed" so I get to lay in it, but I still hate motherhood. And like all other mothers, "I love my son", because we are biologically and genetically programed to. If not we would have abondoned our children eons ago and the human race would never have reached 6 BILLION. So I struggle with the gaping disparity between my ancient genetic programming and my modern evolved mental self.


The sadest (to me) part of this whole paradigm is that this pattern of suffering mothers is probably only going to increase in numbers and intensity as our culture moves farther and farther from the need of human animals to live in extended family groups/villages in which the young, strong and healthy bear the children, while the elder aunts, uncles and grandparents raise them.


So where does that leave all and each of us today?


I don't know.


I have working with a Homeopathist and her remedies seem to be helping.


I wish you all love and a good night's sleep.


With Gratitude for your honest sharing,"
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"Thank you for posting this, I have felt so hopeless recently I have a 4yr old whome I do love but sometimes I get so depressed but feel obligated to stay. I love my husband but I feel so disconnected from him too. I just feel overwhelmingly unhappy. I have tried to cheer myself up but nothing seems to work. I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way."
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"I'm so happy to find that others feel this way. I never wanted to have children - it's not that i didn't like them - it's just that i loved my free time and was happy with my life. My husband and I had been together for 14 years and he always wanted children but said he was OK with whatever I wanted to do. At 35 I decided to take a chance because I was on the fence with the whole idea and i thought it was now or never - to my surprise i was pregnant within a month. I love my daughter with all of my heart - but I hate it when people say "I bet you forget what life was like before her!" - no, I don't. maybe it was because my husband and I had been together for years before - but i think of my life before her quite fondly - and i think of it quite often. I also know how you feel about being isolated. We live a few states away from our family and we have few friends in this town. So, thank you for posting this. At least I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. "
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"I know exactly how you feel because I have been dealing with these emotions which have probably increased over the last two years. I truly thought I was alone in these feelings and it's not easy dealing with these feelings even today as I type this. There is not one aspect of motherhood I've enjoyed not even since pregnancy. and I have been doing it alone since day one which probably adds to the frustration and probably somewhat depression I feel on most days. Not really sure where to go, anyone I try to talk to doesn't understand and probably makes me feel even worse for feeling this way. They automatically think that I dislike my daughter and that's not what I'm saying. I love my daughter, I just don't want to be the one to raise her. I can't imagine her not being here and the fact that I gave her life is probably all I can give her. She's a good kid, very happy and energetic and I probably feel worse that she has a mother who doesn't enjoy what she is doing but I do love my daughter. I really don't want to feel this way but from the women who do enjoy motherhood, I feel emptiness, I feel disconnect, I feel lonliness and sadness, I truly can't imagine relating to this feeling of bliss. I don't want anymore kids and constantly consider having my tubes tied and while I am in my early 30's, I'm still considered young to have such a surgery . I realize the judgement of others is truly what causes this issue to be so "taboo" but it also perpetuates the negative feelings because we have no outlet to voice our frustrations, thoughts, feelings. I think it's unfair for others to judge and make statements that you should have never had sex or shouldn't decided to become a mom if you don't enjoy it, but while I never really looked forward to kids, I didn't think I would dislike it this much. Didn't think it would cause such a loss of desire, loss of myself and maybe it is selfishness but if I had to do it over again I wouldn't and vow not to repeat going down that road again.



Don't know if this post helps or is more intense that what most ladies had previously posted but knowing that I'm not alone adds a little peace to my day."
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"I am 42 years old with 3 children. Now aged 6, 3 and 21 months. The first 2 years my first child was born were really great. She was an amazing baby who slept through the night....but then 2 hit and so did the "monsters" from then on until she was 6, I was up with her 4 or 5 times a night because of "monsters". Put that together with having a second child who suffers from repeated night terrors almost on a nightly basis and a 21 month old who has never slept more than a couple of hours consequetively and you have one CRANKY MOMMY!!



I am miserable. I hate my life. I love my children to the ends of the earth and beyond. Would gladly be consumed by alive by a grizzly bear to protect them but if I had it all to do over again, would I? Not likely. I love being a mom but I hate the "job". Sibling rivarly drives me up the wall, the lack of sleep makes me a zombie. My house is disgusting, my laundry is in piles on the floor. My 21 month old clings to me like I am a life preserver he can't let go of. I feel like I am trapped under water and no one will let me up for a breath of air.


I resent the fairtytale that was fed to us about motherhood and how you dare not admit that it is far less than perfect. I have received flack for standing up and saying...this is NOT my ideal life!


I am hearing people say it gets worse not better. I'm saying it can't possibly get any worse than it already is. If it does they will have lock me up in a padded cell..........come to think of it, that sounds pretty nice....padded walls, silence, chance to be alone...where do I sign up?"
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"I am so glad I found this post. I have been feeling the same way since the birth of my son seven months ago and thought I must be the most terrible person in the world.



I used to the a student on the path to medical school and I had a job that I loved and dealt with everyday life while my husband was in Iraq. I thought I had it all figured out and was not worried about becoming a mom, thinking it would only enrich my life even more and provide that little puzzle that was missing - beign educated, having a loving husband, working and being a mom who adores her beautiful baby.


And then reality hit - I have not slept more than four hours straight for about a year and I am exhausted dealing with my son's constant crying, neediness, desire to play, cuddle, eat, poop, sleep. Of course, I love and adore him. He is all I could ask for, but I am so tired of living my life for him. I barely get enough time to take a shower because he constantly wants to be pampered. I work from home now, but I can only get things done when he takes a nap, so I do not even get a chance to take a break during the day. My husband barely helps around the house and has gotten used to me being the one taking care of all of the chores (at least I try to). I do talk to him about my frustration, but I don't think he understands the problem fully. I am simply drained and dissatisfied with who I have become.


I have plans to return to college when my child is a bit older and we have a little more stability in our lives. However, I still doubt whether this will happen. At this point, I feel that I am becoming more tired, exhausted and stupid every second. I have no stimulating interaction and the constant noise of toys and whining and baby sounds has driven me to the point where I can barely concentrate on anything. I am simply too tired.


I hope it gets better, but I hear people say it will only get worse. Although it sounds harsh, I feel that I have ruined my life and what I had going for me and am now doomed to stay locked up in the house with a kid all day until he becomes a teenager and does not need me around anymore - and by that time all of my chances of becoming something or someone I would want to be are done and I will feel utterly useless.


Whew, it feels good to let this out :)
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"I so understand you all. I love my kids... and it makes me really, really sad that they have me for a mother. I had a really good life going before I had the kids. I had finally finished my degree and had started my career. I played sports and had a lot of fun. But I hit my 30's and started panicking about the kid thing. I never really wanted them but like a prev commenter, I was scared I would miss the boat and then realize I wanted them.



If I could go back in time... I so wouldn't have them. I try... I really do... but the husband is barely ever home and it had been a really, really stupid mistake to marry him anyway. He rarely helps out but then criticizes if I need a minute to myself or a hand with the kids.


But my biggest problem is that my son drives me insane. My daughter is so laid back... her and I can hang out all day and I love being her mom... it's fun and I feel like a compitent mom with her. But as soon as my son gets home from preschool, it's bedlam again. He's so hyper (my daughter picks up on this and joins in). He is constantly moving and barely sleeps and annoying. That boy is so freakin' annoying! He's like Stewy, "Mom, mom, mom, mommy, momomom..." He's always got to be fighting with his sister or constantly asking 10,000 questions (most he just asked two seconds ago). And I feel incredibly guilty because I grew up with my mom showing way more love and affection for my brother than me... and I'm so scared I"m going to do that to my son because... I just don't want to be around him anymore. I don't have the energy or the patience. I truly believe he could be a great kid for a different type of mom. One who wants to be a mom.


I keep seeing job positions in my field that are over seas or have 70% travel and my fingers actually itch with the desire to email them my resume."
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"Hubby and I couldn't have kids for 10 years then I got pregnant and was 36. Have had 2 kids and now pushing 40. We are a practicing Catholic family. I quit an amazing job and we were living overseas having a great life when I became pregnant. I became a stay-at-home mom, had natural births (one at home), use cloth diapers, attachment parenting techniques, breastfeeding, looking at homeschooling, etc. Did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I had a terrible childhood and didn't want this for my children. Been at this for almost 3 years now. Guess what.....I HATE IT!! Tried praying till I am blue in the face, took anti-depressents, tried "mommy" groups, took up hobbies.... I am still miserable. I want the terrific life a i had back...now!! I worked my whole life so hard to earn that life and lost it overnight! God forgive me. I wish I loved mothering and building a home but I can't fake it! I am physically breaking down under the stress and so is my husband. We love our children but it has ruined our lives. I feel so incredibly guilty evening thinking this. I can't just "cut and run" however. Couldn't even stand the thought of turning the kids over to someone else.......but I can't seem to shake these feelings. Do they ever go away? My life is just passing me buy...there must be some joy soon......"
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"...The best thing we can do for each other as women and parents is to share our feelings. I'm quite honest these days with other moms and you know what? They are all stresed out, exhausted, pissed, resentful, etc...They all spill the beans eventually. Just some more than others. I'm in a multiples group and it's the best becasue we all bitch about what we have to deal with and laugh at the same time. When you can vent with out being judged it helps so much. Of course, we all have those deliriously happy perfecto moms we all hate. But guess what? Behind closed doors they are crying and stressed out too. And...thru the group and by friending them on FB, I found out that are the ones that drink the most. So, some people show their unhappiness, other wait until they get home to drown it. Don't compare yorself to other moms too much. It's just their brave face they've got on. I've got one too. I can't go around with a scowl on my face, although, it would be much easier. Nope, I have to try for my kids and some days I get through it ok. Mostly, I'm emotionally shut off in order to cope."
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"I'M SO HAPPY I'M NOT ALONE. I love my kids and my husband is great, but i had dreams, a life, a personality they came along. i feel like my life is over, i don't even know who i am anymore. I have three kids 8months, 2yrs and 7yrs. I'm a stay at home mom and its driving me crazy. I don't sleep, idon't get any time to myself, my husband works all day by the time he gets home the kids are either sleep or going to sleep, so he gets the fun part of parenting and i get the worst...... my life is not suppose to be like this..... i'm just so angry"
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49 comments:

Temujin said...

Mandy,

How dare you disparage parenthood by bringing up awful things like truth and reality. How dare you question choices that people regret later. Shame on you for quoting real people instead of putting your faith in conformity. How can you use a parenting site as a reliable source about parenting?

:-)

PensiveFashionista said...

What a timely post!
Just last night I had one of my horrible pregnancy dreams. During the whole dream I kept thinking how "this sh*t is horrible. How did this happen?!" [I'm a lesbian so my getting pregnant is a BIG deal!]

It would be nice if more of these women were honest in the real world so more women can avoid getting themselves into a life they hate.

I'm glad I realized my desire to not have kids early in life.
At the age of 8 or so I stated I wanted to be sterilized on my 18th birthday. Too bad I didn't know doctors won't do this.
I guess it all worked out because I'm a lesbian and that's the best birth control there is.

Crystal said...

These poor women. I feel bad that they didn't know themselves well enough or felt confident enough to resist the pressure to become parents. There have been times I have almost waivered, but I've always come back to what I know is true - I know for a fact that I would be miserable as a mother.

AuĂ° said...

Holy crap, I dodged a bullet! Thanks for the post, Mandy!

Lolagoth said...

Just an fyi...that first post was written in 2008 and according to the woman's profile, she decided to have another kid in 2010. Try to wrap your head around that one.

marie said...

I agree with PensiveFashionista, mothers should be more honest about what they feel.

But I have a question I never had the chance to ask before: in the US, abortion seems to never be an option. Why ?
Really I don't get it !
I'm French but we can't all be that different !
If some of you could give me an answer, it would be nice !

Zazzu said...

I read that entire thread. Chilling.

My absolute favorite line from one mom..."There is no longer a reason to have a child; we don't farm anymore." Brilliant!

What kept jumping out at me is how bone-crushingly exhausted these mothers seem to be. No one can be well-adjusted to anything when they get so little sleep for years on end.

Today's young girls really need to hear this stuff before they wreck their lives, too.

Childfreeeee said...

Marie,

I think I can answer your question.

Abortion IS an option in the US and many women avail themselves of it.

The women who are writing these "I hate being a mother" posts most likely did not get abortions because their pregnancies were WANTED and in many cases planned. Many of them believed all the things they were told about how wonderful motherhood is, how it's so "worth it" and how it is a requirement for women in order to live a fulfilling and happy life. Our culture smashes us over the head with this message and it is accepted as FACT by most people. In fact, the idea that all women should/will have children is so deeply engrained in the fabric of our culture, that I have actually seen looks of utter incomprehension and confusion wash over people's faces when I have told them we have CHOSEN not to have kids. The looks I have gotten have been akin to the kind of reaction you might get if you told someone that you emigrated here from Mars.

So because this pro-parenthood myth is so deeply engrained in our culture, many women are SHOCKED to discover after having kids (when it's too late to abort them) that the "motherhood is bliss" message is a flat out LIE.

PensiveFashionista said...

Marie, SOME in the United States believe that the life of a person begins at conception.
With that being said, these people believe that abortion is murder. [Some people in this crowd also believe that birth control is murder since it prevents conception. Don't get me started on these nutjobs.]

I think a lot more women would have abortions if there wasn't a stigma attached. I don't know of any women (personally) who have had an abortion and are forthright and non-apologetic about it. These women do exist and they are not given a lot of media attention. The anti-choice (as I like to call them since they are against a woman's right to CHOOSE to have a legal abortion) side gets a lot of the media attention.

Abortions are also hard to come by and there are all these restrictions in many states.
Most women live in an area where they do not have access to an abortion provider. Also many insurance companies will not pay for abortions, at least "elective" abortions anyway. Plus a lot of women who come to find themselves in a position to need an abortion don't have health insurance. Couple that with a relatively expensive procedure (I've heard it can be as expensive as 400-800, just depends).
A lot of women have abortions for financial reasons: they just can't afford a child or another child.
While one can easily say, "An abortion is much cheaper than another child" some women just don't have the money right then and there.

Some clinics that provide abortions have been bombed and doctors that perform abortions have been killed. I believed the most recent murder was in 2010.

I know if I ever found myself pregnant, my first trip would be to obtain an abortion. I say this to anyone who ever asks me if I will ever have kids or if I want kids.

I hope I have given you a bit on insight into why so many women don't choose abortion in the United States.
If any one else wants to add, feel free to.
I have read up a lot on abortion in America. A good read is "Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us" by Carol Jaffe.

Jerod Keevican said...

Mandy,
One of the things that you forgot to mention is that not all pregnancies are wanted, but because of a religious upbringing, they could not abort. Which I find hilarious, simply because they broke one commandment but they shy against another? Though to be fair, lots of teens and young adults are starting to be more comfortable with the thought of using birth control (both male and female). Maybe we'll see a slow down in the number of unwanted births.
Another thing I don't understand: If these parents are so unhappy, why didn't they give their children up for adoption? Wouldn't it be better to have your child raised in a home where they are wanted and loved instead of them having to deal with parents who don't want them? I guess I'm just having trouble wrapping my head around that one. I was adopted at the age of 10 and I seem to have turned out to be ok. My brother was five at the time we were adopted and he's a healthy, functional adult as well. Just my two cents as a happy, stay at home dad.

Childfreeeee said...

I imagine it is difficult for people to give their child up for adoption because they LOVE the child. In fact, most of the women who write the "I hate being a mom" posts all make a point to say they love their kids. They just hate being a mother because the job SUCKS.

Rhona said...

Sh*t! These posts just reinforce (not that I need any) my decision to never, ever, ever give birth.

burrito said...

the thing I don't get is that most of these people seem to have more than one kid. why didn't they stop after the first one, if the mother job felt so wrong? why double down? is it the psychology of previous investment? did they think it would be easier with more than one (!)? I don't get it. At least with one, it's manageable by 1 person, with 2, you're outnumbered - why do that to yourself?

Anyway - I feel bad for these ladies and wish more of them would speak up in mainstream media about this issue. think of all the mom's depressed at home, thinking their horrible people for feeling the way they do, thinking they're the only one.

Mels said...

Burrito -

You make an excellent point about "why have another one?" Perhaps they hope that having a second child, that's perfect and easy, will make up for the misery of first one?

I have a friend who has one child already. He's still in preschool, and is unruly, won't listen, talks back, attitude, brags about being in time out at daycare...he's a brat.

The other day, after lamenting about being a mom, she dropped this bomb - She and hubby were thinking of having another one, very soon. *shakes head* I just don't get it...

I love my friend, but am very concerned for her.

shell said...

I was lucky. When I was a teenager my mother told me that she loved my brother and me - of course we knew she did--but that I should think long and hard about having kids. She used the example of her sister - my aunt. She told me look at your Aunt Lulu - she has had a great and fulfilling life without kids. She's had a marvelous career, 2 wealthy husbands and she's been able to travel all over and live in beautiful homes and enjoy a lot of free time. My mother told me the truth- raising kids is a lot of drudgery & hard work and you have to sacrifice.

Freelance Feminist said...

My heart goes out to a lot of these women. I think almost ALL people who become parents have no idea what they're signing up for, and who could blame them? The dark side of parenting is, for the most part, kept extremely hush-hush. When I read some of these posts I think, "That could have been me!!!"

But some of them I don't have as much sympathy for. As soon as I saw "sibling rivalry drives me up the wall..." I found myself shaking my head slowly, back and forth. That is the ONE complaint that bothers me the most when I hear it from parents. Siblings fight. It's a fact of life. And it's not a secret, either. Almost all of us had siblings, and we all learned perfectly well while growing up that having a sibling meant lots of fights. My inner mantra is this: "If you don't want to deal with sibling squabbles, don't have more than one kid. It's that simple." Maybe it's just me being sensitive due to the fact that I am one of six siblings, and my dad immediately shut down each of our fights (and didn't help us solve whatever we were arguing about) simply because they annoyed him. Because of this experience, I want to tell both my dad and people like this woman who complain that their kids fight all the time:

"Well...what were you expecting?"

natasha said...

I think women choose to have more children when motherhood has been disappointing the first time around because the pregnancy and birth are the most hormonally and socially rewarding parts, and you can kid yourself that all those promises about motherhood might happen the second time around - New hope, new purpose, a fresh and huge hit of hormones, lots of attention, lots of congratulations, adulation, and being told you are special and valuable for having done very little - who wouldn't want that!

I know quite a few women who will (in private) say that if they could be pregnant all the time they would be, but they don't want the children. Many will admit that being pregnant was the happiest time of their lives. Pregnancy dopes you into a cosy, bovine, contented state so that you accept and bond with the baby, suppressing your ability to think and truly feel things through for yourself. The release of oxytocin is huge. I guess once it wears off, you just want it back!

Anna said...

I think that "on the fence" women who accidentally get pregnant, even though they may not be religiously or morally opposed to abortion, may keep the baby because it makes the "decision" to have children easier. If it was an "accident" you can complain more about it later than someone who planned for a child. I never really wanted kids but after I settled down and bought a house with my boyfriend a few years ago I thought that if I did get pregnant (even though we were taking precautions) I may as well keep the baby, that way I wouldn't have to face making the decision later in life as fate would have made the choice for me. It's a total cop out really, with disastrous consequences. Luckily no accidents happened, we have both become stronger in our convictions over the years and now my husband has a vasectomy. Looking back I don't know what I would have done if I was actually faced with the choice of a child or an abortion but I hope I would have made the right decision after reading the posts from the regretful mums! As far as having more than one child when you don't like being a mum already... again I can only speculate but some people feel it is cruel not to give a child a sibling. A friend had a baby about 2 weeks ago and she has always been adamant (and still is) that she will not stop at one. I would never say anything to upset a new mum but I wish I'd had the guts to say "maybe you'll change your mind" as I get that ALL the time as a childfree person and it might be fun to be on the other side of the conversation for once.

Anna said...

This from one commenter on the original post could answer your question as to why some mothers have more kids even after not enjoying motherhood with the first one "So,even having the problem son, I was feeling like I should pop out one more so he wasn't all alone. I rationalized that the stress of mulling it over in my mind costantly might as well be transferred to actually having one more and being able to remove the "lonely only" guilt. I'm sure I'd still be a stress ball if we hadn't gone forward. Doomed if you don't kind of thing...Anyways, after much discussion with friends that had two kids, I held my breath and jumped in. You know, started doing it for a baby. Well, I got twins...It took me how many years of sweating over the decision to have ONE more and this happens? Am I on Punked?"

Alicia said...

Wow, the one comment that said she never wanted kids but her husband did but she gave in and regrets it hits way close to home. I'm on the fence about it but my husband always thought about having at least one, but we have NO family nearby and no friends that would be probably help us out. Everyone says it takes a village to raise a child, and knowing we're going into it alone if we ever do is absolutely terrifying. Our motto at this point is right now, we don't want kids and don't see them in our future but if someday we decide otherwise (in the next 7 years at least) then we'll talk about it then. I sincerely hope neither of us ever changes our minds about it! This blog is a great reminder as to why.

Temujin said...

I think what Anna said about some women getting pregnant by accident is more common than many people want to admit. An "oopsie" in some ways allows someone to dodge having to own up to a choice. An accident makes parenthood seem more God-given somehow, like a gift and not something you've chosen. There's a relief in thinking that pregnancy is something that happens to you and not something you made happen.

Rolling the dice is a way to let something else make the decision for you. This is self-deception, of course, because you make thousands of choices that lead to a baby being born. It's make-believe to think that it just happens to you.

I think this is an unspoken part of the fear for people who are hostile to birth control access. If we were forced to treat parenthood as a full choice and take full responsibility of choosing, how could we ever hide behind accidents?

shell said...

Alicia--make sure your husband spends time around kids of all ages. NONE of the kids of our friends have turned out very well. Some have caused their parents horrible sadness and pain. Most women who get talked into having a kid to make the husband happy end up miserable & regretful.

Freelance Feminist said...

Temujin--you make a very, very good point.

It actually IS true that a lot of pregnancies are "accidents." I don't have recent statistics on this, but I DO remember reading somewhere that about FIFTY PERCENT of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Now, that could be an inflated number, because most of them were probably the "happy accidents" that you described--parents purposely deciding not to be extra careful with their birth control and thinking "if it happens,it was meant to happen."

I think a lot of people are not totally clueless about the realities of parenting. However, they're afraid to make a definite decision to NOT have kids.

Childfreeeee said...

And I will take it the next step and say that they are afraid to make the decision to NOT have kids because they are constantly being told (as all of us are) that having kids is REQUIRED in order to a full-developed, well-adjusted adult. Having kids is required to be truly happy and fulfilled. Having kids is the most important role in life. If they don't have kids they will regret it. And the list goes on and on and on. It is the list of myths that I write about repeatedly in this blog. And it is the list of myths that results in hoardes of people - who are not at all suited for having kids, or who would simply be much more happy and fulfilled living a childfree life, choosing a life that makes them miserable.

The morale of the story? There is a very high price to pay for believing everything you are told and not thinking for yourself.

Erin said...

What these women need to do -- instead of complaining in great detail on anonymous blogs and online forums -- is to talk openly and honestly to young men and women. Talk to the media, to Oprah, to friends & family. Tell them the truth! Tell them how hard it is, how it's impacted the relationship with your partner, how it's not very fulfilling or satisfying, and how it's affected your income, time, friendships, hobbies, and everything else that was once important to you.

Childfreeeee said...

That's what they SHOULD do, but they won't, because the reaction they would get would be akin the reaction to airing a public service announcement that there's no such thing as Santa Claus.

Freelance Feminist said...

Honestly, I think we need to all get out there and start proselytizing the childfree movement. Everybody, get your pamphlets ready, because we're going to a suburb near you and knocking on all those doors until we have converted EVERYBODY to our lifestyle. ;-)

In all seriousness, I think it is important that people know about the childfree lifestyle. The best way to convert people to it is to show them the cold, hard facts. People will pretty easily ignore feelings ("Lots of parents don't like being parents..."), but it's harder for them to ignore statistics like "70% of parents wish that they hadn't had kids." I would also show people studies that have been done on children not causing happiness. (Mandy has a few good ones.) Lastly, I would encourage them to do their own research. I think people are most convinced when they figure stuff out on their own :-).

The one thing that truly won me over was the fact that the research is OVERWHELMING that children DO NOT bring happiness to one's life. If more people researched that, the world would be a happier place.

Happily CF said...

I recently started a new job and supervise several people, but today I had the opportunity to talk to one of them at greater length. She's in a very very part-time hourly job, so I had just assumed certain (not-so-great) things about her. As it turns out, she is amazingly like me, and a wonderful example of an older childfree by choice woman. She's 65, but has a more youthful, vital look and manner, so I had assumed she was younger. She's well-educated, and extraordinarily well-travelled. One of the great things my husband and I can do, as a childfree couple, is travel extensively. I thought I was well-travelled, having travelled to Europe 10 times or so, and Australia, as well as other locations. But this woman has 30 years on me, and has done AMAZING trips... Trans-Siberian Railway, China, the whole Australian continent by rail, etc.. Now as a near-retiree, her husband and she have bought a 300-year old hobby farm with two other couples, to run as a business as well as to serve as a home. They envision cocktail hour on a huge veranda in the house. She opened up about the fact that she never had any interest in having kids, and has no regrets... this has enabled her to be exceptionally well-travelled, and be able to live a wonderful sort of retirement, too.

I wonder what parents would say to HER... they can't really say, "you'll change your mind," but do they insist to her that she has regrets?

Artemis said...

They should tell openly, like Childfreeeee said, but telling it is for them as hard - or maybe even harder - than us telling we do not want children.
I am quite thankful they say it over the internet, at least. Women, men, couples that are smart can find the truth if they search for it. That is what every smart person should do in most situations nowadays: traveling to another country, changing jobs, buying a computer/camera, etc. We research. We gather information. We read forums. We talk to people that have experience. Why it should be different with having kids?
It is more than making parents admitting openly how much they regret, is about inform young adults that they should do their homework. It is about start questioning everything.

roddma said...

Maybe I should visit this site when I get depressed about not being a parent. I am pro-life and like children anything but these comments really make you think about actually being their parent. Being pro-life I hate violence especially abuse of innocent children who never asked to come into the world. For every parent who abuses/kills kids there are ten more who would have gladly given that child a loving home. I think of Casey Anthony and how so many couple who want a child fit that description. If everyone took the time to make such important decisions the world would be a better place. Prevention and education is the best cure. Children aren't toys to be tossed around.

luvspugs said...

I work with children and I think the role of raising children has changed dramatically in the last 10-20 years.

Children used to respect their parents and mothers were given far more help. Now there are no effective methods of disciplining, children are running the show in many households and life has become fast, expensive and competitive.

Some of the best (end least stressed) parents that I deal with are the ones that set clear boundaries. They set the rules in the house and "no" means "no". They don't allow their children to indulge in all the brand name products and the children eat healthy food. They also limit or outright ban their access to electronic media. Where I work, the children spend half the day playing outside. The children are not allowed to be rude to each other or to us. If they are rude to staff, we make them apologise. The children also address us formally. I am Mrs.......... We not use first names.

These are simple ideas, but if you are consistent and persistent, parenting becomes pleasurable and the children become respectful.

ComaWhite said...

This is a great site! I've just stumbled upon it now. I've always loved kids but for the first time I'm opening my eyes as to what having children would actually mean.
It IS a choice and I'm glad I see it now. I want to live my own life, reach my own goals and make the most I have of the time I have on this wonderful planet of ours :)
I'm only 21, I may change my mind, but the thought of being attached to someone else for the rest of my life terrifies me. I shouldn't have to do it just because society says I should, just because my parents say I should.

I love kids! But I can settle for just being a kick ass aunt!

Unknown said...

The anger and bitterness of those mothers makes me sad. I feel really badly for the children. I don't understand not being able to find a way to make your life what you want it to be even with kids. My husband and I were on the fence about kids (had been together for 10 years at that point) and my birth control failed when I was 28. We figured fate decided for us and went for it. I sacrificed my awesome career, but I found other work that I could do part time and enjoy. I stay home all day and work 4 evenings a week. I get my sanity back in those 4 days.

Do I have days that I feel stressed out and just go to bed bawling? Hell yes. But I had those days without kids. Sometimes your boss or co workers or customers are complete asses and then you come home and your husband has made a huge mess and acts like an ass about it. We all have those days, kids or no kids.

I will agree that family support is paramount. I rely on my Dad and my IL's fairly often to help me out when I have work to finish or just want to clean the house in peace. Or when I am puking my guts out for days on end because pregnancy SUCKS. But I am so excited to have #3 in a couple months. I wasn't sure if I would be right for motherhood when we started this journey, but I can honestly say I enjoy being a mom and feel that solving kid problems is engaging and challenging. And I am not at all a closet drinker, or eater or partake in any other vices more serious than hot baths.
My best advise to anyone is to know your limits and if you think you can't handle motherhood, don't let society or family pressure you. Being childfree can be a wonderful lifestyle and so can being a parent if you are cut out for sacrificing to the selfishness of children.

twocents said...

One gets on the verge of feeling sorry for all these women, but then, these self same bitter, stressed, self-degraded mommies will turn around and 'bingo' some undecided woman or attack us childfree. They are a bunch of lemming who plummeted off the breeder cliff into the proverbial s*** pile; discovered they are in the s*** pile for the rest of their lives, and like crabs in buckets, will latch onto and drag anyone else down into the same pit.
That prevents any sympathy on my part. Go forth and do TMIJITW. You would not believe the reports, you would not believe your own eyes, period. Just don't try and inflict your self-made hell on unsuspecting women.

two cents ¢¢

caespitosa said...

You people are so lucky.I was on the fence about children and I wish I had been more certain. I decided to just do it since everyone was enthusuastic that I would just love it, and it would come naturally to me.

I think my new mission in life (besides raising my son to be a successful adult) is to dispel the LIE that motherhood is rewarding, that you'll love it when the kid gets here, that it will be blissful, that the hard work will "all be worth it" and you'll forget the life you had before. My best friend (whom I have really lost contact with since I had my baby) told me that she wasn't sure if she ever wanted children, but she didn't want to regret not having them. I told her emphatically that there's nothing magical about motherhood, and if she enjoys her childfree life then stick with it! She's not missing much at all.

Maybe I can contribute some small good to this world by being honest about my motherhood experience. The taboo is really isolating.

twocents said...

Oh, and furthermore, 'The Baby Trap', 'Mothers Day Is Over', and other similar tomes should be required reading.

As children are no longer financial benefits but financial drains, the lies and false images increase to try and bend womens brains that 'they have to breeeed'. I would not blame the religions that much anymore. If one pays very close attention to advertising, regular programming, how the images of breeding are pushed (refer back to The Baby Trap). There are so many industries that feed and thrive and multiply on these idiots who fall for the breeding line (especially the welfare) that it would almost pay to invest in them, if they actually did sell stock. But then, I'm convinced that the majority of breeding women are little better then brood sows; they just don't realize it, the trap is that subtle.

two cents ¢¢

schlockdoc said...

Goodness, what a lot of vitriol. I love being a mom but I don't need to convince anyone else they must have kids (they should make their own choices in life), nor would I bother collecting stories from women who regretted never having kids. (HuffPo women seems to have the market cornered on those sob stories anyway.)

Can't you guys find something more constructive to do with all your free time than greedily collecting vents from women who made choices different from your own?

Childfreeeee said...

schlockdoc

Read the "About Me" section on the main page of this blog for an answer to your question. You can also read this blog post:

http://childfreedom.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-i-dont-live-and-let-live.html

Finally...I could turn the question around and ask YOU...

Can't you find something more constructive to do (as a happy parent) than trolling around on Childfree websites and passing judgment on us?

schlockdoc said...

Heh. I actually followed a link from a parenting board. Where people constantly complain about how our society is so child-unfriendly and they are always getting judged and persecuted for having children.

Bottom line, if you want to feel persecuted you can always find a reason to feel so. Enjoy. Salut, I'm out to love on my babies. :)

Childfreeeee said...

Sounds like you can't get away from the vitriol, huh?

dezchevy said...

Man I wish I could help these poor women. Baby-sitting is seeming to be more of a charity than saving the world. I think I'll baby-sit for my friends more often.

Shihtzumom said...

My husband and I have had co untless conversations on whether or not parenthood is right for us. I enjoy being an auntie but can not imagine spending every minute of my day worrying about a child while they are off in daycare, then spending every evening after a long day at work catering to them and losing sleep. Don't get me wrong, I know there are many blissful moments that moms have with there kids and I understand it's not ALL negative. But from what I have seen so far in my adult life, and reading the posts on this website, I know I am definitely not ready and may never be. I love my freedom and feel very protective of it.

hey1982 said...

I couldn't agree more- That's a sure way to ruin a relationship you'll end up resenting your husband. Your child will feel they are not really wanted & the guilt will eat you up!
Women take ownership of your lives!

hey1982 said...

I love this blog!! It's been a while since I've visited but find myself returning whenever I feel like a slap in the fact reminder of why I do not want another child. ( I have one) women who are so cutesy cutesy and talk forever about their children irritate me like crazy & I am SO SICK of seeing pregnant bellies (makes me want to chuck) and babies all over Facebook! People love to paint the pretty picture but scratch the surface and there's nothing but lies, poo's, sleepless nights, a crappy sex life & a woman left yearning for her old self

Nokidding75 said...

Ahh...so glad i found this site. Every now and then i fall off the wagon and start swooning over the baby crap at the stores... Im getting close to 40 and i know its not right for me...i love my life and my freedom and our dogs... but then i keep thinking "what if I regret it if i dont crap" Ya, its cemented I dont want to change my life...save it for the ladies that swoon for babies...i dont. I loved being an aunt when they were young...now there all out of college. I just feel happy knowing there are places like this that i can go to and not feel so alone about my choice. I feel like either woman resent me because secretly they wish they would have not had children or the others that literally think I am mentally unstable because i dont want to be a mother. Whats odd is both paths are choices and should be respected equally. My life with my husband of 7 years is so full of love and excitemnet and travel and hobbies why change it...because i get weird looks at work? Its actually uncomfortable.

Frankly, I am sooo sick of hearing about other peoples kids all damn day i could puke. I deleted my facebook because people are obsessed with nothing other than kids and babies. I have no resentment whatsoever about being child free. My sister has 4 grown children and her life was not a bowl of cherries.

Ok. well thank you everyone for making me feel safe with my choice and that i am not alone in this babie obsessed world..

Grace H said...

I know that, if I ever got pregnant, I would most likely have an abortion, however horrid I may find the prospect. To avoid ever having to face that, I plan to either get steralized or get some sort of long-term birth control to prevent that ever happening to me (along with a condom, of course.) It'll be hard to get, as an eighteen-year-old childfree girl, but I am very much fixed in my decision. I have never wanted children. But I refuse to become like these poor women.

Lacey Stanton said...

U dont understand what she is saying then.
I am a mother of 5 children ages 7,6,5,3&3. And although I love them I hate them little brats just the same I want to put a bullet in my head numerous time a day I litterally am losing my hair and the rest going grey nj. Its terrible I love the babies but after they got a little older I find out my oldest is autistic with adhd, second one has adhd reallty bad, the third oneehas a freaking personallity disorder and one of my twins was diagnosed with autism about 3 weeks ago. U try living my life ontop of a husband thats self centered no sex at all and im a sex addict seriously ocd about it runing a business by myself and a household by myself because he feels because he is the man he dont need to help with the kids or the house stupid prick. I want to just pack a little bag of cloths and leave take about 1500 dollars with me and figure it out from there and never go back home again and just disappear.im seriously thinking about doing it to imosing my mind its getting to the point I dont think im safe to be around them im so freaking stressed not to mention all the freaking doctors apts for these kids and lord forbid they get sick. Holy crap on top that I have fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and am bi polar. Madness complete madness here idk what ima do so try that on for size and shut the f### up u f###### a## h###

lambchopxoxo said...

What really bothers me are the women that try to shame me as being "selfish" because I never had children.

Well, its a choice that I never made and they did. I'm really not sure why thats my problem.

Another told me that I needed to have kids so I could "sympathize" with her problems with her kids. Really? It just amazes me how many regret their decision and want to see others as unhappy as they are.

Most of the women that I speak with that have children tell me that if they had it to do again they WOULD NOT have kids.

If youre reading this ... reading this blog because you arent sure if you want kids, youre probably a great candidate for staying child-free.

lambchopxoxo said...

I have to add... theres a girl at work that is pregnant. I feel like such a jerk for feigning interest. I have not one freaking shred of interest in her pregnancy, how she feels about it, or what the name of her baby will be.

I try to be cordial and listen to her when she speaks of her pregnancy, but I simply do not care about such things.