Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
*deep breath* I regret having children.(171 Posts)
Ive namechanged clearly... even so, writing the title took me about 20 minutes... but it still doesn't sound wrong.
I regret having my ds. He is 15 months old now, and while I'd go to the ends of the Earth for him, there is not a day goes by that I don't kick myself.
It is not PND. I am not depressed or 'down'. No doubt someone will try to convince me it is, just like unhappy victorian ladies were labelled as mentally ill when they were desperately unhappy with the lives society gave them. I am perfectly happy with my life, or rather, I was. My son is perfectly lovely, and my dh is extremely helpfull. I adore them both. And no, I wasn't pressured into it, either. I was in love with the idea. I thought it was what I wanted. Society told me it was what I wanted ,right?
I would never give up my ds, and I look forward to giving him a loving environment to grow and learn... but if there was a way to reverse time, and politely, painlessly engineer him out of existence, I would. Honestly.
It never occurred to me that I had any choice otherwise. Nobody ever tells you that you have a choice. I miss my old life intensely, and the thought that I had every right and opportunity to keep it that way makes me sick. It's got to the point that these thoughts don't make me feel guilty anymore.
I miss my relationship with my partner. I miss what we did together. I miss being able to walk out the front door of my own bloody house without a second thought. I miss having the money to spend on the odd nice thing. I miss having a house full of our nice, beautiful, adult things. I miss being able to ponder freely over my career options.
Honestly, truthfully, does anyone feel the same? I don't mean those who are unfortunate enough to have depression... does anyone actually endure cold, hard regret? Even just sometimes?
I don't want help. I don't even know what I want. I don't think I could describe myself as feeling "desperate". I guess i just want to feel like I'm not a hideous monster all on my own.
I know I'll probably get a million identical replies of "It's sometimes hard... but I wouldn't change them for the world!!!". Although, yeah, I'm happy for you.
Please don't hate me, is what I'm really trying to say. I actually consider myself quite a loving person.
Don't really know how to end this. Over to you.
I think we all feel like this !
I wouldn't say I regretted having my DD but OMG i missed my old life intensely for a couple of years... my old figure/wardrobe/independence/car/job/money/peace! etc etc etc etc. If you enjoyed your life before DC it's quite normal to mourn the loss of it. I don't even thing it means you 'regret' having your DC, just that you regret having to make so many sacrifices.
Your post is full of love, it doesn't sound like regret is the word you mean
I am in a waiting room about to be called onto something so can't write as much as I'd like to. Suffice to say, at least for now, that I know exactly how you feel. I could have written your post myself. I think I'm now at the stage where I realise that my old life has gone forever, and it is "just" a matter of re-equilibrating expectations to the new one. There is a lot of grieving involved and God knows when it will finally happen though. Hope someone will be along with something more profound and useful.
It does get easier as they get older. I could have happily missed 0-2 yrs. Ds is nearly 7 now and is great company. My life is less restricted, holiday choices are now the same as I did pre-dc and life in general is easier. When he was 15 months I wondered if I would ever get my life back so, at least for me, what you are feeling is perfectly normal.
BadGround, I'm not posting to say I feel the same, so I won't pretend I do but still I do know how hard it is to make that change. I had my first at 35 and I had really got used to my life, and our life as a couple, and it does change. Plus 15 months is a very tough age they are not fully verbal but they are haring around everywhere and it's exhausting.
However it's not all doom and gloom because you DO get your life back - even with children. I've recently had my second after a 5-year gap and now I'm back in that world of hardly being able to do anything and being constantly tired and frustrated (about the things I can't do - though I do adore my DC too). But before the baby was born, we really could do a lot with a 4/5-year-old, childcare becomes much easier, your child can come with you to some things, you can leave the DC with your partner/family and go away for a few days etc. I managed to get back to my hobbies and social life really pretty well (now largely on hold again, but having been through it I know it will get easier).
I think one of the important things is being able to admit these feelings in a society and role where you're not "supposed" to feel them. But it's nothing new. Having children has always had a frustrating side and plenty of mothers in the past just farmed out their childcare to nannies/household staff so they could stay free - if they had the money.
It's OK to feel like this abd you can look forward to it getting better. Can you focus on something you would really like to do for yourself and arrange it so that it can happen - whether it's a night away, special day with partner etc?
I endure a daily battle with these feelings.
I am one of those 'say it as it is' types and I too struggle with not being able to say what I actually feel.
I love my kids intensely - my whole life is about them. But my goodness, what I wouldn't give to reverse time and have one more day....
I am even more aware now than I ever was that the next time I come up for air and get to be who I really really am I will be too old, too worn-down by it all, too docile, had all the courage ripped out of me.
I think all the time about what I could have been by now, could have had, could have done; but on the flip side I DO have moments of total bliss. Moments where I think 'what was I doing before all this - nothing means anything compared to this! This is what it's all about!' So I suppose I hang onto those moments tightly and I realise that, yes, I will be able to look back and say 'no regrets'.
I do feel as though I have lost any inkling of who I am. I used to feel like I had a good grip of that.
Societal rules have conspired to do this to me - I feel very strongly asbout that. Changing my name when I got married, staying at home to look after the kids after getting 2 degrees - yes all my choices. I chose.
But I also didn't in a way.
Is sacrificed the right word?
A sacrifice for whatever the greater good we are aiming for actually is.
I felt very much the same when ds was that age. I really questioned whether I had done the right thing. But as he has got older (he is 10 now), life has changed again, and many of the things you are describing will change quite quickly. For example, once they are about 4 or 5, you can leave the house without taking loads of stuff with you - they only need to put on shoes, and a coat in winter. Also by that age you can have your house full of nice adult things (keep the children's stuff in their rooms). We certainly don't have ds's stuff all over our living room etc.
And as they get older, it becomes easier to do things again with your partner (it's easier getting babysitters when they are older, and some things you can all do as a family, which are hard at baby/toddler stage).
And I find that now ds is older, he is really good company. At 15 months, although I loved him, I couldn't honestly say he was good company. I found it really hard to engage with the baby/toddler stage, and although I tried my best, I always felt as if I was acting out a part, and it wasn't the real me. But it's not like that at all now.
I can totally understand how you feel, but I know that for me it did change. I sometimes wished I could turn the clock back when ds was a baby/toddler, but I don't any more. I hope this helps/gives you some hope.
I agree that there is a huge amount of propaganda surrounding becoming a parent - all those celebrity mags where women talk about how amazing it is, how it's the best thing they've ever done (normally when baby is about five minutes old); the way people start asking you as soon as you're married when you're going to have kids; you're made such a fuss of when pregnant and after the birth.
I had no fucking idea what I was getting myself into. None. We were one of the first in our group of friends to have children so we didn't really have any real life experience of what it truly entails. The people we did know with kids didn't say anything - it's like there's a code of secrecy which means that as soon as you're pregnant no-one wants to tell you the truth so when you find it out for yourself it comes as a massive horrible shock.
I hated it. Hated. Mourned my old life desperately, could not believe how very shit the shit bits were. I sort of made it my job to tell the truth about the reality of motherhood - in amongst my friend's facebook updates about how amazing it all is you will find mine, which are more truthful. My truth anyway. But i've encountered problems there in that some of my friends really want kids but can't have them, so I end up looking unkind and ungrateful.
Anyway, I have two kids. Ds1 is 3.5yo and a joy to be around. I never thought I would get there, I hated the first two years. I now have a 6mo ds2 and I'm hating it all over again. If I could fast forward to 2013 I would do it in a heartbeat. Turns out, I don't really do babies, it's only when they're actual people I start to enjoy it. Having said that seeing my two together is lovely so I'm glad they have each other. Think that thought is keeping me going, tbh.
I quite agree, Betty. In fact it was the thought of having to go through the baby/early toddler stage again that put me off having another.
It's worked out ok, as ds is quite happy without any siblings, but I do sometimes feel a bit guilty that I should have tried to provide a brother or sister for him.
I sometimes think that, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have had kids. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Is that regret?
I also agree that there is a process of mourning your old life. At some point you do come to terms with the loss, lift your head up, and have hope again.
It can be hard looking at the long years ahead before they leave home. It helps me to remember that each of those years won't actually be like this year. The children will grow up and become less demanding.
And I know it's annoying to be told this over and over again, but it is true: it does get better as they get older. Honestly.
I regretted it too - until my children were about 4. I knew it had all been a terrible mistake. People used to say "I bet you can't imagine life without them" and I would think "I can, and it would be great".
They are now 7 and 6 and it is all different - I miss them when they are not there. Once you can talk to them and they can give as much as they take, the relationship changes completely.
You will find yourself able to have more and more time for you and your relationship with your partner again - you just have to hang in there through the early years.
I agree so much with both Guildenstern and Goosey. I remember when ds was about 6 months old, I had a weekend away without him (dh looked after him at home). So many people said "I bet you missed him". I didn't at all, I was just so happy to have time to myself. But now he is 10, if he is away overnight I miss him like crazy, or if I have to go away without him (which I wouldn't choose to do now).
well i do miss the simplicity of life before kids I must say. And being able to do stuff spontaneously. But it seems like a long time ago now! A different life, in a way. Life moves on and changes, and there's not much point looking back. Anyway, I hang on to the thought that I will get my life back eventually.
i regret / have regretted it too. i remember one very dark sunday afternoon when my single friends had come round and they walked out the door saying bye. i watched them walking down the street and this intense longing to just run away with them and never come back was completely overwhelming. turning back into the flat was one of the darkest hours of my life - apart from deaths i've had to deal with.
it's terribly hard.
my only way of coping with it is to get a couple of hours a week to myself to pursue whatever i want. or veg on the sofa drinking coffee and eating bonbons if i want. it's not quite enough, but it's something.
hang in there.
I don't think I would turn the clock back, but I know for sure my DP would think twice about having DC if he had the choice again (even though he is a very doting and committed dad). We have had so many childhood illnesses and thwarted plans this winter and it has been really exhausting. One day as he went out of the door he grumbled "Having kids is shit!". That would be shocking (and it's not something I'd want everyone in RL to know!) except that I know how hard he finds it and that he doesn't mean he doesn't love them - he just needs to let it out.
As for me, although I wouldn't say I regret it, I do have a "parallel life" in my mind, one where I stayed childless and, if not single, living alone. In my fantasy I spend my free time pootling about gardening, sewing, going on exciting travels, even choosing my own duvet cover without a fuss over joint decisions or how expensive or washable it is. In John Lewis of IKEA I will literally go and "choose" my fantasy choice and have a little daydream, before returning to the practical options.
Well it keeps me sane
I had this discussion with my DH the other day. It went along the lines of this...
"When I was single and living by myself, all I could think about is how I would love to be in a stable relationship and have a family of my own. Now I have that relationship and a family, I would love to get rid of you all."
I regret having my children, but its got better over time. I don't regret them so much as miss my old life.
I agree that if I had known what life with children would be like I would have considered it much more seriously and think I would have had one maximum [have three] if any at all.
A friend of mine said having a third would ruin my life which I resented at the time but have thought true since.
It's not so much that I miss my old life but that quite a lot of the last 12 years have been hell and my life has been put on hold really.
With all of the 'I love them to bits' bits too.
I feel like this from time to time. Mainly in terms of my career. And, sorry to say, it's got worse as they have got older. When the children were younger, I thought I could have it all. Am now grappling with the reality that I can't and am struggling to feel good about any aspect of my life as a result.
But, when I do get really down about this, I think about how some of this is just aging and life getting more complicated generally. If I didn't have children, my friends probably still would and so the free and easy social life was gone anyway. And while I might not be looking after children, I could be caring for my elderly parents. And I would probably spend a lot of time regreting not having had children. It's kind of backward, but this thought process actually helps me!
You're not alone, but possibly what you're beating yourself up about it's not as clear cut as you think.
I feel the same as MarineIguana. DD is 18 months old. I had her when I was 38. The last 18 months have been the fastest of my life. We had honestly done the "single life" to death. Plus I am long enough in the tooth to realise I didn't have a career, I have a job. It pays well enough but any romantic notion of fulfilment from it was kicked out of me years ago. It's merely a means to an end. My relationship with DP honestly doesn't seem to have changed - in what ways has yours?
Are you quite young by comparison to me OP?
I can safely say you are not alone.
I have three children. I resented having the first so much it took me 4 years to get over the lose of my life and have another one.
My career went to shit, my dp carried on as if baby hadn't arrived.
I am now 11 years later and a mother of three at a point of acceptance.
I tell myself that all I have to do is make sure the children I produced get the best start in life then I can be proud of myself.
I do spend a lot of time biteing my tongue and in a state of confusion when I listen or read about those women who are so totally in love with the crap that is being at home with their children. I genuinely do not understand what it is they find so interesting.
That isnt to say I think less of them or think I am in any way shape or form better than them.
I genuinely do not understand. It is as if a bit of me is not wired properly!? iyswim?
Oh yes those women who say "well it was a relief to give up work because now I can just be with the DC 24/7" or "I love the holidays when we can all just hang out all the time". When they say that I'm always a split second away from making a comedy sticking-forks-in-my-eyes gesture and have to stop myself.
I do love my DC, they are wonderful and I do actually love their company too, but my god I need a break. I can't function if I do nothing but childcare because my brain needs to focus and concentrate - I need work days and headspace.
The one thing I would say is for heavens sake don't giveup work. I did, and moved away from friends, too, andi regret itevery day. Am finding it impossible to get ft work again. Leave yourself that outlet at least.
At school when they say how much they love the holidays!! I dread the holidays. The first few days are ok as you dont have to rush out the door each morning. But after that how boring is it when each day they fight, bicker, expect you to be at their beck and call. Hideous.
I love my children but they are not my friends and I wouldn't chose to spend my relaxation time with them.
I'm so pleased to have found this thread. I don't feel such a bad person for feeling that way about my son. I was 25 when he was born, and feel like I'm missing so much as all my friends are foot loose and fancy free, looking amazing, spending their money on fab clothes, holidays and having perfect tidy houses. I would like for just one day to have a life like they do, how mine was. And not have to feign how great life is with a small child!
If I could I would too take it all back, for him to arrive in another 10 years time.
I agree also with not giving up work. It was never really an option for me in that the workplace would have moved on so quickly that I'd never have been able to get back in at the same level. But that's not to say that I find going out to work somehow meaningful. It is something I do - it doesn't define me, heaven forbid.
I think everyone wishes that life could just be as EASY as it was pre-DC. That you could just do what you liked. That you could have hobbies and go to the gym and have a social life.
So in that sense everyone regrets having DC albeit that they love them. My life is bloody hard work at the moment trying to work and care for DD. How lovely it would be to just book a foreign holiday (no money), to just go out to the cinema with DH, to actually sleep through the night and wake up with DH next to me rather than having to kick him out so that DD can come in and sleep next to me.
That said she is very very very adorable and there is no way I would want to turn back the clock even if it were possible to do so.
15 months? I may be wrong but I think your son is about to get more enjoyable in the next few months. My DD is 20 mths and there is a massive difference even from three months ago. She talks, she is very affectionate, she is funny, she sleeps better, it feels much more like a two way relationship and that she is a little person rather than "just" a baby. She also entertains herself much more so I can chill and do my own thing!
Many mums find they enjoy their kids more as they get older - perhaps this will be true for you? Perhaps it will all start to feel better the older he gets?
Oh how I understand. Just this morning I said to my mum that if I didn't think it'd give DS an abandonment complex I'd leave and never come back. Some days I want to do something to get myself sectioned/arrested so I can have a break.
I'd go as far as to say I hate my life and my husband hates our DS. Everything is really, really shit.
This is such a relief hearing that there are more people out there who feel the same way.
Babies are really boring, I think. It is just hard work, and the lack of contrast is the thing that gets to me. I spend all day every day doing the same boring, mundane tasks, like the shittest, most boring factory job or something. Poo, food, sleep, washing, play, tv, poo, sick, food, sleep, bath, food, sleep and on and on and on. I have become very dull as a result. I don't have anything to say.
No sick days
We are slaves. No wonder we feel so fucking miserable. Worst part is we supposedly chose this for ourselves. I don't agree - I signed a contract that wasn't explained to me. I didn't read the small print. The EU would find this job illegal!
I think you will get your life back again when DS is older. It is really really hard in these early years and easy to feel that your world has been shattered and nothing will ever be the same again. When he's older, you will be able to walk out the door again and you will be able to go on lovely holidays and have lovely grown up stuff in your house. Remember the MN motto "this too shall pass".
That sounds so sad. You are really struggling. Have you got help around you?
Another one here! Although I think in my case it's just a case of the grass being greener! I find myself wishing my DH away, along with the kids. I long for a free and unrestricted life as a single person! But if I were single, you can bet I wouldn't appreciate it and would wish for a loving partner and a family!
I dream of taking off for days, weeks, months - no-one to worry about but myself! I'm a solitary person and having to be so involved with the DDs is sometimes very overwhelming.
Work is a godsend. As are my evenings out at choir/gym.
Work and hobbies - they are key!
Anyway, as others have said, it does get better. Once you can go out without having to pack a large suitcase, once they can talk and are more human, it's much better.
Don't feel guilty - you can't help feeling the way you do. Not everyone is cut out to be all maternal and a Precious Moments Mummy.
Do you work? If not, I'd suggest you get your career back on track as a big first step towards feeling better. It certainly cleared up a lot of my depression and anger.
Read 'Notes on a Scandal'! It will make you feel better, honest. I've wanted a proper family, with people around all the time, for as long as I can remember. In the future you will have children and grandchildren around you. I think life would be quite empty without them.
Mazfah, why does your husband hate your child?
The first thing I want to say is hang in there. When your children are this young, it feels like it will last forever, but the years will pass faster than you can imagine and one day you will blink and have your life back, I promise. it really isn't forever and it gets easier in small stages. I was someone who enjoyed the early years but even I look back (my girls are 11 and 15 now) and wonder how on earth I put up with it when they were young - they just demand every second of your time and your life changes unimaginably. They grow up fast, though, even though it doesn't feel it now, and every year is a step more freedom for you.
A friend of mine felt just like you do. She had only ever planned to have one child and ended up with twins. She hated the early years, truly wished she'd never had them, wanted her old life back more than she could possibly say. She had trouble feeling anything for them except huge regret that she'd ever made the decision to have them.
They got to maybe 4, and she started enjoying them more. Once they became able to talk, more independent, she found herself not regretting them so much. They are 12 now and she adores them and is so, so thankful she had them both. She is an amazing mum and her twins are very happy and balanced.
Just because you feel like this now doesn't mean you always will. Don't beat yourself up over it - feeling like this is more common than you think.
I think there's a huge myth out there that all women are naturally mothers, and just want to spend every waking, and even sleeping, moment with their precious bundles.
But while there are some women like that, I doubt they're the majority. I should imagine that they myth has been happily perpetuated by the patriarchy to keep women at home, out of the workplace and subservient to them. "But all women love their babies and want to be home with them. Why do you want to go to work instead of being with your baby? What's wrong with you?"
For the most part, once the very early days are over, men get to carry on with their pre-baby lives. This is considered normal.
Women need to reclaim more of that for themselves too, and not feel the slightest guilt for it.
Excuse this turning into a feminist rant!!
I know exactly what you mean, and once when my DCs were small I walked out (in the middle of the ironing) and sat on the beach sobbing for a couple of hours (don't worry, DH was at home!). I really felt I couldn't go back home, and fantasized about running away and setting myself up in a flat on my own under a false name. Roll on 10 years and my kids are now fascinating teens and pre-teens, views and tastes of their own, lots of great friends round all the time, bringing life into the house rather than sucking the life out of it (as I felt that night on the beach). I think some of us are better with older children. Hang on in there, and try to get the odd weekend away.
As I frequently tell anyone who will listen, babies are yukky!
Poor OP. I really sympathise. But remember also that time would have passed with or without your ds. Your relationship with OH would have changed. You would still have got older, been less comfortable in the environments that you enjoyed pre-ds, and that discomfort would have increased over time.
In a short while (I know it doesn't seem possible) you will be in a position to do more of the old stuff. But you'll find it less appealing than you did, and when ds is 9 like mine (I blinked) you'll feel, I really believe, that life is better with than without.
I don't regret having DS but I really resent the pressure we are under to have children.I was talking to 3 childfree women the other day the subject of having children came up and I wanted to try to get accross to them how motherhood can be grim and they shouldn't be too sad about not having children but I'm worried I sounded patronising.
I knew things would be hard work before I had my DS but I didn't realise just how relentess it would be. I think it is really important to be able to express these feelings.
Like nearly everyone else though I can say things get better as they get older. For me 18 months to 2.5 was the worst. Now I can have fun with my boy.
I won't add another story about how I feel as it's been covered well by lots of others!
What gets me through is:
- That I'm still adjusting to the new life. I had DD1 at 33 and I had lived by myself for years and was happy, successful and work and highly independent. Even now, 4 years later, I feel as if I haven't adjusted yet. But I hope that one day (soon) I will!
- I was never broody or felt drawn to babies, so it's not surprising that I'm not gushing over my own. I look after them carefully as that is my job but I don't enjoy it. However DD1 is 3.5 and is getting easier and better company every day. We have had some good trips out just the two of us (only up the road but still). Again, I look forward to the day that DD2 is this age and DD1 is 5 - it will be so much better. I can't handle the unpredictability and illogical approaches of toddlers, the potty training and the traipsing stuff all over the house, all that stuff, it does my head in
Basically I feel that if I can just stick it out for another 2 years everything will start to get better.
Should have put a on the end of my thread there.
It will, sardineQueen. I found all those things really hard (and I only had one child), but now I really enjoy him.
I wish there was more honesty about this stuff.
There's so much pre-natal depression, post-natal depression, other mental health problems. And that's before you even get to the people who are fine but just don't like it
All the messages we get are about how fab it all is.
Don't forget that in the 70s all the mummies were on valium and before that they were all drunk. (That may be a slight exaggeration). Rich people (as someone pointed out) have always got other people to do it for them.
Unfortunately these days mummy being dosed up to the gills on happy pills or pissed as a fart at 11am is frowned upon. We're not even allowed to smoke any more. Goddamit
Lol, SardineQueen, I actually really worried about a lot of what motherhood was like when I was pregnant. I actually think my worries were quite realistic. But most other people thought I was being ridiculously pessimistic!
I'd say it took me about 4 years not to feel bitter about many many losses of freedom and 'self'. However, there are still lots of things that make me feel cross and regretful.
I still hate it that when I get in from somewhere, I can't just dump my shopping and slump in front of the telly like I used to. Instead I have to spend an hour putting coats away, hurriedly getting drinks, cooking tea etc.
I still DREAM of the lazy sunday afternoons of old, watching old Columbo episodes, and enjoying a lazy bath.
I crave being able to pop out for milk and bread without it being a half an hour event involving bags, coats, tantrums....
But it HAS got better. I have aclimatised (sp) IYSWIM, and it all seems quite normal now. And its getting better - life is changing from 100% DCs 0% DH and I, to more like 90% DCs and 10% DH and I! There is light at the end of the tunnel.
I miss thinking my own thoughts, I am seriously not even sure I remember what that is like.
If I am not thinking about something I "must" be doing for DD or what I need to get at Tesco for the family's tea or responding to her then I am in a fog of tiredness getting from place to place. I used to daydream and just think about things but I don't have the headspace for that anymore.
I am always telling childless friends to have that "big" holiday now because they won't get a chance after children, or not to have a quiet night in, go out and dance and dash off to London at the drop of a hat.
I have one friend who throws great parties but she never gives more than a couple of days notice which makes it impossible to get a babysitter so I always try to get her to give me more notice but no luck so far, it just isn't on their radar.
There was another thread about this a few months ago - can't find it unfortunately - but it is such a relief to know that other people feel the same way as it is seriously the last 'taboo' to admit that you wished you didn't have children.
I find the loss of independence incredibly difficult - I don't want to go out clubbing or anything like that (not that there is anything wrong if you want to do that ) - but for example just to go out for a walk - on your own - it is NOT the same if you have to take a buggy/toddler/reluctant child with you - just to be spontaneous and not to have to spend yet another miserable Saturday afternoon watching football practice in the rain!!
The tediousness of doing 'worthy' things at weekends and after school; the lack of 'adult' discussions and relationships - not sure I agree that it does get better - it hasn't yet (10 years on) - I hardly dare mention that I am really looking forward to my DS leaving home !! I mourn the loss of my relationship with my DH - it has changed considerably - he is a fantastic father and DS and he have such a wonderful bond which is great but I miss what we had as a couple. Apologies - I know this sounds horribly self-indulgent .
undercovamutha - I don't like those percentages!
I miss Sundays too. I miss waking up on the weekend and deciding what I fancy doing.
I had today and I've got Monday off work and instead of looking forward to my long weekend, part of me was dreading it. Everyone at work was saying: "Oooh, lucky you." And I was thinking: "Not really. It is easier being at work!"
My ds is 10, and although I love his company (he is really interesting) I still miss the lack of adult company and conversation (think that's why I spend so long on MN actually). I do go out one evening a week (to play my clarinet in a band) and help out in ds's school library twice a week, it's not the same as it was pre ds.
Ragwort, please don't apologise for being "horribly self indulgent", I don't think you are! But you seem to have hit the nail on the head there, it's almost as if society doesn't expect us to have any wants once our lives are consumed with Baby Joy.
It's still one of society's biggest taboos to tell people that perhaps they would be better off without children. In the movies all the willfully childless characters are the bad guys, and babies make everything better etc...
There should be a way to get this kind of information out there! I'm not talking about convincing people out of having children altogether, just a way of making it common knowledge that your life WILL change, and in what ways. I mean, sure, everyone jokes about those charming little inconveniences, but most of the population is utterly in the dark about the process of permenant transition from Human to Parent...
...perhaps I should write a book...
Thanks for all the support, mums. It's exciting to think about all the possibilities for the future, and look forward to developing a relationship with my little guy. As for developing a personality... he seems like he's currently trying his best to develop one, with all the noises he makes!
Much love. Who knows, maybe we can make a difference. x
Wonderful thread. Makes me feel hugely better reading this. I have two DD aged 5 and 1 and I find it hideous.
I adore them, don't regret having had them (would do exactly the same again) but all the same, I feel my life is a constant torture that DH could never comprehend (he's a great dad but has no idea how hideous it all is for me).
I hate the fact that every day begins with the sound of crying. Even an alarm clock beeping would make my life marginally more enjoyable. I hate the routine. I hate strapping and unstrapping children into cars, picking up clothes, wiping floors, washing hair, dropping off and picking up at nursery/school/rainbows/dancing.
I hate having to cook meals that will be fussed over and picked at. I hate the whining and moaning when you're driving in the car. I hate sticky hands on my clothes. I hate beign contradicted and questioned all the time.
I hate watching childrens' TV. I hear it in my sleep. I hate glue on the table, glitter on the floor, muddy trainers, toddlers removing their socks and shoes in the car so you have to put them back on at the end of the journey. The tiredness and bleakness of it all.
I was 34 when I had DD1. I'd been to university, I had a career, we had great holidays, spare cash, we could go out of the front door in the evening, we went to the gym, we walked, the car was clean, we listened to radio 4.
But I tell you what I really regret - I regret that the generation above us don't give it a thought. My parents' generation had children in their twenties - they'd never had a life to mourn. I really wish they would try to understand. I have no relatives and no support, with the exception of my in-laws. I have tried so hard to reach out for their help but they are deaf to it. My MIL visits once a week and stays for an hour, but only since she retired. When she had a part time job, they could go a whole month or longer without visiting. She's bored now, so the grandchildren are a welcome diversion once a week.
At the moment they are gettign some winter sun in the canaries. They needed the break, apparently.
I think that my parents probably think that I was lucky being able to be so free for so long before settling down.
I also know that I am a different type of women to my mother, she just put up and shut up and got on with it. She says she used to shut herself in the toilet and cry when me and my bro were little - apparently we'd come and hammer on the door - but I know that she would consider how I feel to be a bit self -indulgent. Her POV is that you've made your bed now lie in it, and a bit of hard work never hurt anyone...
Am feeling gloomy today. DH is off to work soon and I have no enthusiasm at all.
my MIL thinks "you had them...." in other words, you made your bed.
Such wonderful support! I'll be equally supportive as she gets older.
Read this amazing poem the other day - sums it up for me:
After Theodore Roethke
I have known the inexorable sadness of children's shoes,
squat in their boxes, scuffed after five minutes' wearing,
the incalculable tristesse of Thomas the Tank Engine slippers,
DayGlo blue nylon with immutable plastic badges,
and the cost of all this which is sleeplessness, vomit and Dettox spray,
rage of shoelace tying,
bottom wiping, yoghurt scraping, Ribena mopping,
as you try, one hand glued to your hair, your mouth burning
with sores, to speak politely on the telephone
to the woman who is buying your house,
the doctor who says don't bend, the friend who is just back from Prague
your mother who begins, 'Well, in my day...
And I have seen dust collect under their beds, there is nothing
I can do to prevent it, visions of gin, gallons of it, before breakfast,
incomprehensible gobbledegook of Tommee Tippee instructions,
Tixylix, dawn-light of Calpol, poignancy of vests in their packets,
blockage of buggies in swing doors
and heartbreak of stories by the fire,
Granpa, Peepo!, Peace at Last, the firelight wavering
and breathing slowing to a pulse
that overcomes you with drowsiness,
the furies of your life ebbing as the story, here, now, unfurls,
grows, is fixed, not a word omitted or changed,
by stories are we known and do tell ourselves, daddy,
I'm tired now please, carry me, you forgot vitamins, to bed.
Betty - thankyou for posting that, what a great poem.
I dont feel like the OP or most of the thread - it gets me down on occasion but not overwhelmingly so but I have had to organise our family time so that we all get some space - for instance I usually spend quite a lot of Sunday on my own - lazing in bed, or shopping or working etc so that I do have time to myself - dh does all the childcare on sundays. If you can I think its important ot have time off.
And it does get a lot better as they get older and you can start going to proper restaurants again and go on holiday without worrying about the flights etc.
"I'm a solitary person and having to be so involved with the DDs is sometimes very overwhelming."
I can totally sympathise with that bit annie! I have always enjoyed my own company.
But I could never ever wish my DC weren't here. They are still the best thing I ever did.
I have definitely felt like this. And like you it wasnt depression, or stress it was genuine feelings of having made a huge mistake.
I remember feeling like the biggest idiot for ever having thought that being a parent would add something to my life - when the reality seemed to be that it just took away from it.
I adored, absolutely loved, ds from the start but I would wish he could belong to someone else. I really felt that, had I been single and my family wouldnt have been outraged, I'd have placed him up for adoption. In my mind the best scenario - barring time travel, would have been for someone else to have him and I could visit occasionally.
I also became deeply, deeply resentful of his dad because he could, in theory just walk away at any time - men do it all the time - even though he never would as he took to beig a parent brilliantly. Thank god one of us did.
Ds is almost 5 now and I can honestly say - bar the odd moment of thinking 'I just dont need this, life would be so much easier if i wasnt a parent' (and i think EVERYONE has those thoughts occasionally) - that im over those feelings. I dont feel like ds is draining me anymore, he is a seperate person who I enjoy being with. I can see ways to still live life the way I want to, and I accept that this is my life now - I've almost forgotten what life was like before him. This is my reality now and I have as much chance of having a good life now as I did before. It's just different.
When I think of ds now I get that fluttery feeling in my stomach, i feel overwhelmingly proud of him and absolutly adore him. Him getting older has really helped and I hope it will get even better as time goes on. I look forward to being a mum of a 10yo/18yo...a grandmother. But in the meantime I am ensuring that i also get time for myself, make plans for ME and defniitely dont have any more I couldnt start over again!
this thread is a comfort - thought it was just me who resented the sacrifices having children has brought. Espcially the loss of my identity. i am now X's mum, Y's mum, Z's mum. This is how society recognises me. And inside there is a little voice growing ever fainter whispering "What about me?"
this thread is a comfort
its complicated being a mother
you love them to bits but they are draining
i find i am drained sometimes to the point where i can't even hold a conversation and in fact don't want to answer the phone because i've got brainache
i think being an older mummy has got something to do with it
its harder definitely
i miss the old me at university that was footloose and fancy free and the realisation that those days are never to return was a huge shock
i am not good at growing up!!
I've had moments/periods of feeling like this.
It does get better as they get older.
I have recently started reading again - I mean proper, uninteruupted reading of novels every evening - as I am finally not being woken up at night and am no longer a walking zombie.
I have also gone back to work full-time, which is a fantastic break from motherhood
Hang on in there.
I won't patronise you by saying it is depression, but it is very early days for you and this is a transition period in your life. Motherhood, for me, was like all the pain and hideousness of adolescence multiplied by 100. A very difficult and endlessly long transition. In five years time (providing you don't have any more!) you will be on the other side of this transition and things will probably feel less bleak.
I know this sounds dramatic at times i think i have thought 'ok i have this new life in my hands I have to pass the baton to this new generation'
but then i think well why the h*ll is my life over? :-(
it isn't over but i guess it has changed so dramatically
and thanks Betty Butterknife i have just sent the poem to a friend in Chicago
Glad to have found this thread.
Hope to be back later to read it properly, I am counting the hours till July when I go back to work and can feel like a real person again.................
Just wanted to add my agreement. I found maternity leave in particular to be a peculiar form of torture. DS is now 2.11 and all is much better now he can talk, and express himself a bit. I'd happily have skipped everything from 0-2.5. Naturally, I wouldn't be without him, but goodness, it's a drain, isn't it? Can remember my mother screeching "I can't hear myself THINK!" and I now know just how she felt. The thought of having another is terrifying, but I do want DS to have a sibling, so on we go ...
I don't agree with the part about having children in the 20s means you have no previous life to mourn, or words to that effect. I wasn't even 20, I was 17. Had two children by 19. I mourned the freedom to come and go as I pleased, the chance to sleep until I was ready to wake up and not when a baby/toddler decided I'd had enough. Mourned the opportunities to do what my friends were doing.
I'm 32 now qith four kids and maybe I mourn the lack of young, free and single life. I never really had it.
I admit that with my first I used to actually visualise a long, black tunnel, the light at the end (which I could never see) was his magical 18th birthday. It never really occured to me that it gets easier WAY before then. It keeps coming up in this thread so there is obviously truth to it - that they DO become far more enjoyable as they get older. You can actually interact with them because yeah, babies and toddlers are bloody boring.
Now my baby days are definitely over I sometimes have twinges of actually missing the baby days but then I recall THAT toddler stage, into everything, too young to entertain themselves, too old to sleep the days away in a moses basket and it's hard, hard work. Boring and frustrating. You can't even have half an hour to sit down and read a book because your time is entirely dictated to you when they're that age.
You're responsible every single thing another human being needs. It's relentless, it just doesn't stop. You want to scream in frustration of it all.
Yep, if I'm totally honest I used to kick myself too. WHY did I put MYSELF in this position? I'm 18 years old fgs with responsibilities I shouldn't have even considered for another ten years. If I could have made him go away with the provision he was born again when I was 27, not 17 I'd have done it in a heartbeat.
Now, without wanting to come across as gushy mummy I honestly love it all. Maybe because my youngest is almost six and even at that young age they're far, far more independent. She can even make herself a bowl of cereal and sit with her older brothers in the morning while we snooze in bed. I'm not the most maternal woman - but they are 'people' now, with their own personalities and it's no longer a parasitic (yes, I mean that too) relationship where it is ALL take, take take. Shit, a couple of them are now even old enough to run a hoover about and wash the dishes for me.
Hang in there, for the vast majority of us it gets better and one day you'll not feel like this anymore. You'll recall HOW you felt and no, it doesn't make you a horrible monster. Just honest in saying the things we pretty much all think at some point but it's too taboo to admit to.
I can identify with so much of what you all have written. I wish MN was around 16 years ago when I had DD1. We went on to have twins boys five years later, so we had our hands full. I hated the baby years. The sleep deprevation killed me, so much so that it was dh who used to get up during the night to tend to the dc's, God knows what would have happened to them if I'd been a single Mum. I was SO unhappy that my weight ballooned to 18.5 stone. I ate for comfort, to ease the stress and to stave off exhaustion. Each night I would feed the twins in their high chairs while trying to entertain a boisterous five year old while stuffing handfuls of Haribo/crips/chocolate into my mouth to ease my pain. I found the toddler years was just as stressful, the workload was different but it was equally as hard.
I was never very maternal, I assumed those feelings would come naturally when I had a child. I remember getting Tiny Tears for Christmas one year but I never played with her, she lay at the bottom of the toy box, she held no interest for me. It must have been a sign. My older sister on the other hand loved playing Mum, she was desperate to have children but can't have any ... its quite ironic really
My DD is now 16 and my boys are 11. My weight has reduced to 13.5 stone. I now have the time to look after my physical and emotional well being that I couldn't do when the dc's were small. My life has changed so much for the better. We still face challanges with the dc's (teenage tantrums, messy bedrooms, settling arguments etc) but its nothing we can't handle and nothing compared to the relentless struggle we faced when they were small. I love my dc's more than anything and enjoy being their Mum (now) but I wouldn't go back to that time for anything. This thread is refreshing and I agree, a very taboo subject, I've never heard it being discussed in RL.
OP, I hope it makes you realise you are now alone. Good luck.
I have flickers of it and push it to the back of my mind like "La La Laaa !!!"
I think Nigella Lawson said that motherhood is when you stop being the picture and start being the pictureframe. That resonates with me - sometimes I realise I haven't had any lunch, or been to the loo all day, because my entire focus is on two small people.
I miss me.
A childless friend of mine was admiring my garden today. We've just bought the house and it has a large garden. She had all these ideas about whhat we could do with it, how we could landscape it into areas for small children.
I joked that by the time we could find the time or energy, the kids would be too old to enjoy it. She didn't understand this - couldn't see why we couldn't go out with spades at the weekend.
I explained that our 20 month old needed looking after - we knackered. She suggested the little one could have a spade and join in.
I just didn't know where to begin.
I'm feeling this way at the moment. I don't enjoy it at all, I get no fun out of it, I literally cannot see the "joy" in having a family at all despite loving them so much it hurts my heart.
I fell pregnant with dd 5 years ago when using contraception. I cried each and every day of the pregnancy but though "it'll be alright eveyone doe it, I'll cope with it" but the reality was worse far worse than i imagined. Had ds 17m ago, and feel crippled with resentment. I hadn't finished my life when I got pregnant and although I've felt ok I've only had a few rare moments of feeling truly happy since dcs. I'm just not a natural parent. I'm having to face up to the fact 4.5 years and 2 children down the line that i don't really enjoy it that much.
I often think that if people really knew what it was like they wouldn't have them. It's like a conspiracy. The worst is the weekend, you do a weeks work and/or childcare and what's the reward at the end of it, more boring soul destroying drudgery with no respite. I'm also a very solitary person and i find never ever being alone so stressful, It's like my heads exploding.
DH keeps saying it will get better, he's a natural parent and enjoys it much more than I do.
I know exactly how you all feel. I'm currently 16 weeks pregnant which means my life is over now. I'm not even a Mum yet and I'm already being completely restricted.
I hate not doing what I want to do for the sake of someone else. I can't drink alcohol anymore and god forbid I go out because I'm guaranteed to throw up anyway. I'm not even allowed to eat certain types of bloody cheese due to a 1 in 50,000 chance...
If this is how I feel already then how am I meant to be happy when it is here? I'm stuck in a job I can't stand because "we need the maternity pay" and can't just bugger off whenever feel like it to another city for another job anymore.
I think I've ruined my life completely and this is the end of it for me. What little independence I have at the moment will completely vanish soon. But I can at least be glad I'm not the only one who feels like this. I'm a little less lonely now.
You might feel better when the baby comes, sadmumtobe. Some people do find that - every moment of pregnancy is hell and when the baby comes they pick up again.
I do hope that happens
It's just a case of wait and see and keep at it, for all of us.
Is your DH more "maternal"? I have a plan where I am going to go back to work full time and DH can knock his hours back - he's just better at the children than me, and he likes it, and I really don't, and so it seems silly to do the "traditional" gender roles when it's just not working for anyone.
"I often think that if people really knew what it was like they wouldn't have them. It's like a conspiracy. The worst is the weekend, you do a weeks work and/or childcare and what's the reward at the end of it, more boring soul destroying drudgery with no respite. I'm also a very solitary person and i find never ever being alone so stressful, It's like my heads exploding."
The 'never being truly alone again' would have been the deal-breaker for me if I'd been told, and taken the time to understand what that meant.
And you're right. What can we do? I'm inspired to do something. Something big, to help this situation, not for me but with ladies thinking about kids. But I feel like doing anything of the sort would be an affront to my LO.
I mean, by the time they've reached this thread it's already too late for some, isn't it?
Much love, and who know, maybe we could make a difference.
This morning I made my first post on another thread (on being nonmaternal), before I found this one. I am 38 yrs old, 8 weeks pregnant with my first and am horribly depressed and ambivalent. I have never felt maternal, had sworn off children-- a choice that my husband (who is much more a "broody type") respected, while most likely harboring the hope that I would someday see the light. Well, here I am, entering the 2nd month of an unplanned pregnancy and I am just nothing but blind-terrified of everything I read in this thread-- because it resonates, all of it. The loss of self, the depression, the resentment. I nodded so much as I read--the idea that parenthood in general is a sort of conspiracy... I just wanted to say that I am grateful for everyone's candor. What you are confirming are the worst fears I have for motherhood myself. I have friends who swear up and down that they felt as I did but then the baby arrived and -- poof!--it's been nothing but rainbows and chickadees ever since. I know that they are probably also shielding me from the worst of it, for both of our sakes. That said, I also truly believe that some women are meant to be mothers-- that they really have that "calling." That they enjoy it naturally and weather the lumps and bumps of it so much easier that types like me who never felt remotely interested in the first place. I know that even posting these thoughts anonymously could not have been easy, since to admit maternal regret is the last bastion of taboo in this very childcentric world. I hope many of the women here can feel better just for knowing that they are far from alone in their thoughts. And I just want to say, to InPraiseofBacchus and others, that this thread HAS made a difference. To me anyway. It is not yet too late for me, though time is wasting. I think I have decided for good to terminate and will make the appointment today. I do hope somenone might respond to this, if only to let me know that my thougts, too, were heard. My best to you all.
I can't put my hand on heart and say that if I were to turn the clock back that I would have kids again. Mine are grown up now (22 and 20) but both DH and I agree it has been hard slog and at times a poor return on investment (as in the amount of time and energy not money!) I do love both my kids and but hey, I am LOVING the fact that half the year they are not around much as they are at uni and DH and I are a couple again. This is our reward!!!! Of course, I rarely admit this in real life as I am surrounded by mothers weeping and freeting over the chicks that have flown the nest!
'But I tell you what I really regret - I regret that the generation above us don't give it a thought. My parents' generation had children in their twenties - they'd never had a life to mourn.'
I think they did, and now they have their lives back to go abroad and enjoy. I think it's wrong to expect grandparents to want to be hands on. They already sacrificed their lives once for their children, they shouldn't have to do it again for grandchildren.
OP, please tell us you're not just getting quotes for an article or something? Lots of people have opened up to you here.
15 months is a revolting age. They are messy at both ends clingy and into everything. One never has a moments peace. What is needed is a friend like the one I had when DS was a beastly demanding baby. "Don't kill it bring it over here". Gallows humour gets one through. When they can talk and be interesting it gets much better. Everyone has stages they like and stages they grit their teeth through.
Lulublue: Only just noticed your post about termination. Really not sure what to say but didn't want your post to go unanswered.
Lulublue - good luck with things x
I was not maternal. At all. I wasn' going to have babies. DH resigned himself to being childless. Something changed about the time I turned 30 and I had ds1 a month befoe my 32nd b'day. The whole process felt entirely alien to me - I was an interloper in the pastel-coloured world of maternity. Once he was born I did fall in love with him and the whole mothering business. That fact helped to smooth over a lot of the misery of having a young child. Some but not all. I had severe pnd with my second baby, less so with my 3rd.
There were many times I wanted to scream and run away. I had bout after bout of depressing, I often drank too much, I felt overwhelmed with the sheer drudgery and repetition of it all. There wasn't room for me. But at the same time I was also in a haze of utter love for my children, they were a miracle , a wonder beyond compare. There were moments of lambent joy the like of which I had never felt. No mere man could hold a candle to them. That juxtaposition of opposites is my main memory of that time.
I often wonder if this ambivalence has alWays been there but there was not the opportunity to think about it or consider any alternatives. Having babies was what women did.
Lulublue - please talk to someone in real life before making a final decision. Please, please do not make such a decision based on reading just this thread. Please do read other happier ones.
Having children has been the most frustrating thing I have ever done but it has also brought me feelings of such love that I have never felt before.
Nobody can or should influence what you want to do but please do not let a thread on Mumsnet be the catalyst in terminating your pregnancy.
You have time still to think things through and talk to someone in real life.
Lulu please talk to someone. The people here are posting thoughts that they have, but most of them I suspect don't think these thoughts all the time. Some days are better, some stages are better, sometimes things are bloody marvellous. Don't, please, leave this thread thinking that these thoughts are the reality of motherhood and everyone feels like this all the time, they really don't. Some people feel like this some of the time. That's all.
What kind of article would want to hear from someone like me? Does that kind of thing happen a lot here?
Please don't accuse Lulu of making a decision like that based on reading two threads. That would never ever happen. I'm sure it's based on a lot more but anyway I hope you do what's really best for you, Lulu, and do please talk it over with the people you love. x
Thank you so much for responding to my post. It means so much to feel heard. I did not have the nerve to make the call. Instead I stayed on this site, looking at more and more threads. It would probably help if I had more people in real life to hash this out with-- but I am afraid that isn't the case. My girlfriends all have children, and as much as I think they would try to be objective, they really can't be, and there's no way I can expect that. I also feel that to talk with them so unvarnishedly about my fear of motherhood is to nearly criticize their own choices (which I don't, at all, but my overall loathing of the idea probably would sound like it). I am considering therapy again, and the possibility of going on antidepressants to get through this. I have read that Wellbutrin has been used by pregnant women to no ill effect. I wonder if other women out there have gotten help with their pregnancy (and post-partum) through therapy or meds? Sigh... just the sheer fact that I feel I must be benumbed to get through this makes me again, question the wisdom of it all. But there it is.
Yes, a lot of journos lurk here looking for ideas and quotes for articles. I wondered about your thread because you asked people so clearly to open up, but didn't say a lot yourself.
Lulu I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I have no idea what the right answer is for you and obviously the time pressure must be massive. But I do really think you need to talk it over with someone. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
Lulu I know this may not help but whatever decision you do make you will probably end up feeling it's the 'right' one, because the course your life will take will be different but both choices would ultimately work out for you.
I decided I was more likely to regret not having children than having them. I have a 15 month old DD and after a horrific birth have found it every bit as difficult and frustrating as many state above, however my DD is getting more interesting and funnier every day. We probably want her to be our only one and having made that decision I can now look forward to and plan for the future!
Good luck whatever you decide.
Thank you so much, Badground,*Acanthus*, and Arcadia. For what it's worth, I met with my gynecologist today and she put me an antidepressant. I am hoping that in a week or so that the clouds will begin to lift and I will be able to decipher whether I am merely depressed in general (I have a history of depression) or if the pregnancy is the root cause of it. She urged me to give it some time to make my decision. I will do so, but do feel, each day, that time is "running out." If any posters have other thoughts on particular threads that might be helpful to read, do give a shout out. I'm new here and have found the site a bit hard to navigate. (Spooky to think that journalists come trolling for quotes!)
Lulublue - I really feel for you, your head must be all over the place.
Thing is, there is nothing anyone can say to help you decide. Whatever you do, you'll never know if it was the 'right' decision - there probably is no such thing.
It's good that you have talked in rl and are getting some help, also good that you have got a bit of time to think.
I felt very similar to you once and I had a termination. I really couldn't see a good outcome either way, couldn't decide and just wanted to bury my head in the sand - but of course that's not possible. I finally made my decision based on which 'wrong' decision I would be able to deal with better. Having a child and regretting it seemed so awful, I'd be condemning myself and the child to a lifetime of regret and resentment (of course this may not have been the case, I was going on worst case scenarios) or regret a termination, and that seemed less detrimental, at least it would just be me and I'd just have to get over it.
Dont know if that makes any sense to you, just want to share because I can really empathise with your feelings.
I've never really regretted my decision, felt a little sad maybe but it's fine.
To counter that I also have a son (I have posted further down the thread about him) and he's truly the best best best thing, my favourite person in the whole world, and I'm amazed constantly that someone so bloody amazing could be mine!
I think what I'm trying to say is that there is no way of knowing but I think we have a talent for making the best (mostly) of whatever situation we find ourselves in.
I have posted about my termination a few times and always say that thinking about which 'wrong' decision would be easiest to live with was very helpful for me when making any decision seemed impossible. It might work for you x
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, JeremyVile. Your way of thinking makes complete sense to me.
I think I am leaning very much toward the "known entity" which is childlessness-- rather than that great unknown--of life with a child. I guess all the stories I've heard of women being blindsided by the toil and drudgery makes me think I am simply not up to it. Especially since I am already so fearful!
I have seen dear friends who longed and tried for a baby for years--only to be utterly derailed (and nearly divorce) from the shock of the experience. My dr. today said, "Well, your husband would make a wonderful father, after all, and if a kid has one really good parent, then that's enough."
I like my doc a lot, but I thought her reasoning was off. So, I should just keep the pregnancy going, even if it might eventually make my life (and the baby's) miserable, if only because my husband would surely make an ace dad?
Well, there's obviously more thinking to be done.
But I really can't tell you how much I've appreciated the kindness and the honesty I've met on this thread. I truly believe it's helped more than any conversation in RL could have.
I just wanted to say that this is the thread I have always wanted to start. The fact that you took 20 mins to evenwrite the title, I totally understand.
Betty have had 'one of those days', and that poem has really hit home. What a beautiful piece of writing. Have tears in my eyes.
i have these moments of despair when dd is asking to play play dough again or whatever: i miss - no, grieve for some space in my own home. but dd is only 2, of course it is like this: i want a full time nanny, not for her not to exist. and i've found, while much has more or less gone by the board for now - social life, sex life, wardrobe, lie-ins, holidays - that her presence has given me an impetus to actually do the things i had always planned to do, in order to maintain my identity.
regret being a parent? occasionally, briefly. regret dd? never, even for a second.
lulu, i hope that you can reach a point of clarity about your situation. you are early enough in the process to see what difference the meds make before you decide. i wish you luck.
Loved the poem too. Am going to go and have a hunt for his other stuff.
Had a lovely night out tonight with DH, and left DS with my mum for the evening. Was nice to get some space, and mum adores LO, so good times all round. The only was is up, as they say.
I miss my previous life terribly, daily. I don't regret having DD or making the choice to round off the family with another, but I regret decisions I've made under the aegis I was making better choices for DD, like moving from London back to Canada. For my own sanity and career, we should have stayed in London. She is two now and although makes me laugh on a daily bases, no one tells you how tedious and lonely being a SAHM can be. I work from home as well, if you call it that, as I usually haven't the intellectual stamina to do what I should be doing once she goes to bed at night. All I do is drink tea, MN or FB, shower and go to bed. DH is a Chef, so he works long hours and essentially has the same life as before with the added bonus of us waiting at home for him. It burns my ass a lot. I am counting down the days though when both are in school and I can afford a nanny just so I can get a good drunk on at an art opening once in a while TBH.
Its been great to have a network of friends here on MN and here in my city with women who are open to discuss and fully understand these feelings.
Ever since reading the poem after Roethke that BettyButterknife posted, I've been thinking of this one by Larkin. Thought I'd post it here for a bit of levity (though I'm not sure Larkin was joking).
Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
I love that poem, LuluBlue. Funny thing is, my dad was the one who first read it to me when I was in my teens. I think he thought he'd pre-empt me finding it as I was a pretty precocious child. I just thought it was brilliant that it had a swear word in it
So here's a thing. I find this bit so, so tough - I think months 0-6 are truly horrendous, 6-18 months better but still hard work with not much recompense, 2-3 pockets of fun, 3 upwards absolutely brilliant. I have 2 children but always wanted an enormous family. I know, KNOW, in later life I will regret not having more. But I can't do this first bit again. If I could fast-forward to my fourth child being the age that my second is now, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
This thread is very interesting.
I am not one that regrets having children. I have five (one died 5 years ago and one is adopted). If I could I would have more but its not practical or sensible.
BUT much as I love being a mum, feel it is what I was meant to do, I dont miss my old life etc I can STILL connect with a lot that has been said on this thread.
I do not like playing with children, watching children's tv, going out to 'family' things. I do NOT like the school holidays apart from they give a break to the dull routine for a while (before the new routine sets in).
There are always a flurry of AIBU 'to feel really sad when I hear a mum say 'I am dreading the holidays' threads come July.
I hate them. I love my children, I am a good and devoted mother. But I do not enjoy trying to entertain children who do not wish to be entertained. I have realised that I am no good with teenagers and the thought that I have to do this 3 more times horrifies me.
If we could go back to a time where we were allowed to get on with our parenting without a constant stream of info and interference (within reason) do you think so many of us would feel this way?
BettyButterknife, you have a very cool dad.
I feel I've learned a lot, reading all the thoughts on this thread-- from mothers of children of all ages... and have been interested to learn that in every case, it's individual, it fluctuates, that each age brings with it further independence and further challenges, that no mother is ever 100% smitten at all times with motherhood, or even with her child(ren), and that it doesn't automatically make for a lifetime of regret.
I suppose I've always known that, just as with the rest of life, motherhood is not a black or white thing-- and that there's probably lots of "grey space" in between where all of these ambigious feelings fit in.
What makes this thread so enlightening to me is to read all of your varied and thoughtful responses and to realize that while there may be similarities in your frustrations, there are also infinite, individual reasons for your happiness, too. That's a hopeful thing.
Not sure I've articulated myself very well; but hope this makes sense.
Also wanted to add,*Badground*, that I'm glad you had a good night out. You deserve it!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
BadGround, if you are real and not a journalist, then your poor, poor little boy. I hope he never ever finds out how you feel.
He, like every child, deserves a mother who wants him, not one who would like to painlessly engineer him out of existence - that just chills me to the bone if it's how you really feel. How anyone can actually write those words about their own child I don't know.
Please try and embrace what is wonderful about your life with him- and I am sure there are many things if you try to see them rather than focussing on your old life - rather than seeking validation online for your feelings of wishing him into non existence.I only hope that his father does not feel the same way as you.
You cannot stop him from existing now, so asking strangers online to tell you it's OK to feel this way is not the right thing to do by your son, loving him is - he needs you.
i've made the choice not to have children and i have to say i'm 100 percent happy with it. yes my OH's parents might be disappointed - but they already have grandkids and sorry, they won't be the ones raising them.
even though we aren't mega wealthy (i earn well, husband average wage) we have a fantastic lifestyle that just wouldn't be possible with children. we have hobbies, keep fit, eat well, travel and are planning a six months in UK six months in overseas property (which we have now bought) living pattern. this stuff just wouldn't be possible with children.
the things i will miss - holding a child that is genetically mine in my arms and just the curiosity of what that child might be like.
the things i won't miss - everything else about the responsibilities of parenthood including stressing about schooling, childhood illness, teen angst, having to fit your entire life around school hours and children's hobbies, the absolute expense of modern day child rearing, the boring conversations about bringing up children, the parental competitiveness, the sense of being stuck and trapped.
i think people who have children and raise them well are amazing. i just don't want to do it myself.
notaskiver, I don't think what you have said is any help at all fo anyone who is going through what the OP is.
Having been through similar myself, I am sure that she is not deliberately trying not to love her son. I'm sure aslo, she looks after him well, and never mistreats him. But you can't make yourself love your baby. For most mothers, even though they have bad days when they find it hard to cope, they still love their babies, and that's what makes it worth carrying on. But for a few of us it doesn't happen, at least not straight away. That's not to say that it will never happen.
When ds was born, I didn't feel any surge of love for him really. Obviously I looked after him as well as I could, and didn't want him to come to any harm. But every day I woke up in tears, just wishing that I could turn the clock back to the time before I was pregnant. I knew there was no option - I couldn't "send him back", so I had to get on with looking after him. I never wanted any harm to come to him - I knew it wasn't his fault that he had been born to a woman who couldn't stand babies.
Gradually, as he became older, he stopped being a baby, and turned into a little boy, and then I was able to love him. He is now 10, and I love him so much, I could never be without him. I will probably never tell him how I really felt when he was a baby. It's not his fault, and yes he does deserve a mother who loves him, but I wasn't able to do that when he was a baby. But if someone had come and said that to me at the time, I would have felt even worse than I already did.
I never had a second child, and the main reason for it was that I didn't want to inflict myself as a parent on another baby.
Some people may quetion why I became pregnant in the first place when I really disliked babies. Well, I naively assumed that many women weren't really keen on babies in general, but that it would be different if it was my own. Sadly, this wasn't the case.
But the positive thing I can say to others who feel the same way as I do, is that for me at least, the feelings I had disappeared as ds became older. If you had asked me when ds was a few months old if I regretted having him, I would have said yes. If you ask me now, it's definitely no - it's the best thing I ever did.
NotASkiver, I do love my child, I just do NOT love being a mother. There's a huge difference. I'm sure even NormanTheForeman wouldn't say there was no love at all in the first year, as truly dreary as they may be.
We don't hate our kids, we just wish we'd known.
Also @ Smashing: Hope you don't get flamed. I'm glad you feel able to say stuff like that because it needs to be said, and I respect you for it.
BadGround, I was just in such a bad place in the first year or so, I really didn't know whether I loved my ds or not. It was so hard. But I
well and truly know I love him now.
I think I did love him in a way when he was a baby - but hated my own life so much it was hard. I don't know, it's so difficult to explain to people who haven't been there.
Anyway, I love him to bits now. I've come out the other side, and hope you do too, OP.
I too am going through this at the moment. I have a 3.4 year old ds, and an almost 3 week old ds and it has all come flooding back just how much I hated this with my first baby.
I regret having my second baby and question why I got pregnant in the first place. I have been able to share my feelings with my dh and my health visitor and am getting the help I need.
I just don't enjoy this stage and love my older ds so much and feel our relationship started to blossom when he was around 18 months old.
I have been told to take each day as it comes and find this is really helping as if I think too far into the future it makes me want to leave and never come back. Today I am literally taking each feed, nap etc as it comes.
I m glad that I've been able to admit how I'm feeling and not to have been labelled as having PND. The way some of us feel and have felt about our children is valid and must never be written of as depression.
Maybe we could use this thread to support one another through these hard times. OP I will pm you now to see if you would like to do this
Probably get flamed for this but...
You all need a stepladder to get over yourselves, you really do. It's just a lot of 'me, me, me' and I pity your children.
that's such a shallow crass comment GAG. It doesn't really add much to the proceedings does it. If you don't understand at least have the decency to keep your judgements to yourself.
Because I think sitting about thinking 'Where has my life gone?', 'I hate my life' to the detriment of your life now is deeply unhelpful. What purpose does it serve?
Badground, I've skimread, but just wanted you to know that things do change. I'm at the stage where my kids are secondary school age and older, and it's wonderful. Hang on in there and there will be stages where you thoroughly enjoy your child's age and stage, and the regret will go. I understand you.
There's always one person who has obviously never suffered from the feelings most of us have and feels the need to pass comment on something they have no understanding off. Nice comments GAG. Very helpful comments. Bet your a really supportive friend in real life huh?
oh s*d off GAG. The women on this thread are doing exactly the opposite, they are considering their lives and getting on with them. I think you must have a huge amount of personal conflicts yourself, probably around your own motherhood, to need to lash out at other women who are being honest and supportive with eachother.
GAG, what's the alternative then? Sit by ourselves in denial? Suffer resentfully in secret? Make ourselves into another smiling face, just like the ones which convinces us that everything would be ok in the first place?
I get the feeling you just want a fight, so, whatever. In the meantime, I guess I'll just sit here and 'get over myself'.
Right. There are two threads with the same topic on MN are the moment, but they are different in tone and I've probably posted on the wrong one.
However, to clarify, I have every sympathy for those with PND, attachment issues, or feeling generally unsupported as a mother. I agree that the much touted concept of motherhood as route to ultimate bliss/ competitive sport is deeply harmful to women.
But, hearing women wish their children out of existence, just because their life is less fun now, that I cannot agree with and I can't pretend it's healthy either, for the mother or the children.
Oh go away GAG. All of us are doing the very best we can for our kids, there is so much love being expressed here. What we are saying is that the lifestyle with kids can be at best tedious, at worst really depressing. I have seen my career slide, have gone from plenty of money to money being really tight, my relationship with dh turn into one of cohabiting carers not lovers, and our social and cultural life vanish.
What keeps me sane? Primarily a network of friends with kids of similar ages - absolutely essential. The odd night out when we can afford a babysitter. And the thought that this too will pass...
My kids are nearly 3 and the other is 4 months. Love them to bits but the 3yo is very demanding and frequently ill and the baby is not letting me sleep much.
Sometimes when I smile my face feels odd as I haven't done it for so long.
BUT I don't regret it, I know I would feel enormous sadness had I decided not to have them, I am only going to live once and this is a life experience I want to have so I will accept the crap and make the best of the good bits (as others have said, the older ds1 has got the more fun he becomes)
But I haven't got PND, and I don't think I should need to convince people around me that I'm mentally ill in order to make them feel that I deserve some support.
True, maybe my situation isn't ideal, for DS or for myself, but saying "Well, just stop it!" isn't going to help! Perhaps the way I'm feeling IS harmful (I don't think it is necessarily) but there's more to it than being told to 'snap out of it'. What do I do? Flip a switch? Find my 'reset' button? Dose myself up to the eyeballs?
And I've stopped imagining that it's a problem in my life. It's a problem in society.
Joan Smith in the Independent on Sunday yesterday said something which I felt to be very illuminating.
I paraphrase here but it was along the lines of that because in the past women had NO choice over whether they had children or not (pre-contraception), the assumption was that every woman wanted children.
I don't think that every woman is maternal at all.
The sooner this is accepted the better, frankly.
The world is overpopulated enough as it is.
But for those who ALREADY have children who regret doing so, I honestly do not know what to say.
Perhaps the grass is always greener?
Oh OP what a honest ans heartfelt post. There is nothing wrong with mourning the lost of your previous life, I think if I had acknowledged this and accepted things had changed I woulnt have OND so bad for so long.
Your DS is at an difficult age and you and your DH will be able to get some bits of your old life style back as he get older. In some instances you will find ways of doing the same things but in different ways.
In some ways Children give you a 'free pass' to relive and enjoy lots of childhood stuff and have fun in ways adults cant.
OP and others who have the feeling of regret is this related to being unable to bond? My experience was different and just trying to understand.
I also think it doesnt matter how much you read or prepare and talk to others nothing can prepare you for how you change emtionally and physically and your life.
Whilst I felt very bad when I had PND I was still capable of feeling much love for DS even though I was desperately unhappy. So I believe OP and can understand how she is capable loving her DS yet feeling bad for herself.
GAG, I despair at your comments. Why are you looking at a thread in 'mental health' if you have no understanding or compassion?
Bad, I haven't felt exactly what you feel so won't pretend I did or that anyone who hasn't is in a position to advise on it.
But I did have horrific PND, and thought I was the only one in the world who mourned my old life so bitterly. I used to sit around at lunch with all these purring NCT mums saying how much more fun this was than working and I wanted to eat my own head because it was so intensely more boring than working and I missed my old life like I was in bereavement. And felt I was the world's lousiest mother. And all that self-pity just ground me down. So I don't think GAG's point is as off as some other posters did. i think she has a point.
You want to feel better, I presume? You don't want to carry on regretting something you can't reverse? You'd like to feel as happy and engaged with life as you used to?
One day I realised, this was it. The old life had died and would never return. If I was to feel happy again, the only way to do it was to make a new life that I also loved. Entirely different but equally absorbing and enjoyable family life. It worked. I stopped feeling like I was acting when we had fun as a family and started to really enjoy it. I taught my kids a massive vocabulary and very dry sense of humour and irony from the youngest age, so we could entertain each other. They make me howl with laughter, genuine laughter, often, every day, as much as my old friends did.
And now when I see my single friends and realise all they do is drink far too much and bleat on about blokes and job dissatisfaction, I realise I'd far rather be with my kids who are passionate about life and what they do. They're more positive, uplifting, optimistic, creative, humorous company.
The great thing about feeling the way you do is that your kids grow older and since you appreciate adult company, things can only get better. They'll be grown up for far longer than they are babies. So you're likely to have a healthier, happier relationship with them than those earth mums who can only relate to helpless babies. The toddler years are oppressively dull for people who like adult company. But they pass and your memory deletes them pretty swiftly. Soon your DC will be at school. Maybe you'll return to work. And a new life begins. The toddler life is an interim blip.
The new life will never be the same but it can be far better than the one you mourned. We do, as GAG says, have to face up to the irreversible change and build on it. Make something new, but something we genuinely want, from it. It's a chance to start from scratch. That's hard to believe when the entire day sometimes seems to be locked into battles about nappies or tantrums about car journeys, but if you start to make plans now for when DC's older, for stuff you'd like to be doing in a year or so, and meanwhile enjoy as much of the day to day as you can, then you're on the way to feeling happier.
What a fantastic post Menagerie.
OP, I feel the same. The 'cope no matter what' mentality of the first few months is well and truly over.
Parenting seems totally thankless, with a baby who is easily bored, often grumpy, and not remotely cuddly. My relationship with DP nearly broke down completely, and, although it's now on the mend I really identify with whichever poster described their relationship as 'co-habiting carers'.
The idea of waiting months or even years before this becomes enjoyable is totally at odds with my mentality of not wasting your life. Ironically though, I feel totally defeated and unable to take any initiative to improve my lot. I feel totally overwhelmed and that I have ruined my life.
The lovely home and relationship with your partner is only on hold for something equally special. My ds is nearly 17 and dp and I are virtua;lly like 2 people in a new relationship we are doing all the things that get put on the back burner and its great. I really enjoyed the years when ds was at school but was not really a baby person although i adored him I was quite used to a selfish single existence and so had to adjust! But once he was at school and I could get involved with that it was a lot easier. Your post doesn't sound regretful just shocked at teh change It will pass xx
to those of you still struggling through the toddler years as did I, just keep in mind starting school as the target to aim for - 3/4 years max - not 18!! It WILL all start to come good then. Do whatever you have to do to try and survive each day now. For me I had to make future plans and take baby steps towards making progress with them - albeit on a much slower, lower level than I used to. Hang on in there ladies, every day ticked off is a step nearer. There will be moments of joy before then too - the corner is turned slowly without you really noticing ....
Yes, I felt like you after DS was born. I didn't want any harm to come to him, wouldn't have dreamed of hurting him, and I kept him clean and well fed. But, basically I would have sold my soul for him to never have happened. I just wanted a time machine so I could travel back in time and change history so that I never got pregnant.
I bitterly missed my previous lifestyle. I hated having DS come between me and DH (who was a fantastic Dad by the way). I hated being responsible for someone else.
Although unlike you during this time I never felt I adored my DS. I felt nothing for him, just a frustrated feeling of duty and massive guilt that I felt that way
If I'm honest it took several years for those feeling to fully fade. But DS is now 9 and I do love him very, very much and I'm so very glad that he did happen and wouldn't take a trip in that time machine now if you paid me.
But, having said all that I still like a lot of time to myself and I find most child chatter and activities very dull. I much prefer adult conversation and adult activities and have no interest in other people's children.
This thrread has made me feel a whole lot better. Hope it has for you too, OP. My ds's are 7 and 2 and I sincerely regret having them. Hope that gets better, becasue it would sure be a shame to go through the next 16 years feeling thta way about it, wouldn't it ?
Before we had our DDs I had a great life. Plenty of disposable income, great social life, lots of spontaneity and independence. I thought nothing of dropping £500 on clothes in Karen Millen most months, and we regularly went away for the weekend 'Just because...'
Just before DD1 was born we bought a fuck-off barn conversion with real WOW factor...
And, then DD1 was born and basically my previous life stopped overnight. No more spontaneity, no more designer clothes, no more weekends away. I couldn't appreciate my amazing house because I was exhausted all the time, and it was cluttered with baby-stuff.
It's no wonder I missed my old life bitterly, who wouldn't
It took a very, very, very long time for me to adjust to my new life with the DDs.
I found that once they could wash and dress themselves, once they could hold a proper conversation, once they could occupy themselves for an hour or so...suddenly my life felt much brighter again, and I began to really enjoy them
Menagerie you have brilliantly articulated some of my own feelings on this subject. Like lots of other mothers here, I adore my DS with an intensity that is frightening, but don't exactly thrill to the daily grind of cleaning, cooking and constant negotiation. We have recently moved area and I'm not working as am pg with our second, so I've gone from a nice familiar routine that gave me lots of headspace (friends round the corner, half the week at home and half at work) to being at home all day every day with a very active 2yo. I worry a lot that I'm not doing the best for him and that I'm not up to it, but I just refuse to sacrifice everything that is me to become some faceless mumbot. I don't think that would be in either of our interests.
And since DS arrived, I have found that actually my sense of who I was isn't necessarily something I want to hang onto in the future. The things I miss about life pre-children (spontaneity, personal independence etc.) are things I wasn't taking much advantage of anyway, for reasons that aren't relevant here. The dark moments of thinking 'fuck what have I done, tying myself into a lifetime contract of worry and hard work?' have actually helped me think about what sort of life I DO want: for myself, my children and my life as one of a partnership. Now I can see that these things will return as my lovely DS grows up, and that I'll hopefully have the added bonus of having made a funny, lively person who is curious about their world, so in the meantime I have a chance to think about ways to shape my/our future lives in a positive fashion. In that sense I think motherhood in all its colours has been hugely beneficial for me.
<insert 'every experience is different' disclaimer here>
I had several very lengthy and illuminating conversations with my HV after DD1 was born. I was diagnosed with PND and my HV hads written her thesis on PND.
In her opinion PND was far, far more common among edcuated, 30-something Mums who had enjoyed a fairly affluent/independent level of lifestyle before having their first baby.
She reckoned that the adjustment to Motherhood hit them that much harder because they had been used to such freedoms, and luxuries and plenty of daily mental stimulation and challenges etc.
LeQueen, I can believe that. The thing I mourned most, that I just couldn't believe had happened, was lack of space and time to think my own thoughts. from dawn to nightfall it felt like my head was crammed with breastfeeding and nappy changes and temperature checks and hospital runs and analysing screaming sounds to work out which one meant what. There was never even five minutes to just think my own thoughts. And in the job I gave up when the kids were born, I'd had a lot of autonomy and thinking time. It was the most difficult thing ever.
i remember meeting a mum in the park once. She was standing with her pram in full make up, heels and business suit. We got chatting and I asked if she was working. She said, 'No, I just have to put this on sometimes to feel human again.' I really knew what she meant.
Thank you all for this thread. I had my DS a week after graduating as a mature student. The collapse of an intellectual life has been killer. This thread will keep me sane, seriously.
I don't think this is so much about how maternal women are, it is much more to do with how much a person can deal with a domestic life. The change is abrupt and huge.
Most pnd I think is a natural reaction to being less free. Not being able to work or do something else. Not about being less maternal. It is unbelievably reducing in some cases and lots of people (including men if they had to) respond with pnd. Also mothers used to have more support than they do now.
Menagerie's post is great too, children are fun and interesting when they are at school age.
When I was pregnant and going to ante-natal classes, I remember the (very wise and kind) MW who ran the community MW group being very firm with all of us and telling us not to buy lots of baby equipment and nursery furniture. She said that we would find out after the birth what we really needed, and that it was a lot less than everyone thought. Part of the ante-natal class included us imagining how we were going to leave the house with a newborn, and thinking through the logistics of life so that we didn't get stuck at home.
I luckily never had a second of PND - I was delighted to have a baby and took to motherhood immediately. I didn't actually yearn for my "old life" in anyway, and had no immediate desire to go out/travel/shop. But I never thought I had to limit myself because of my DD. I breastfed all over the place and took her out in her buggy and let her have her nap in it in a wet nappy . But I don't think she suffered for it at all and it kept me sane and happy.
The big shock for me was when she started pre-school and I was tied to the school time table. I felt severely limited and, tbh, it is now she is at school that I have lost my freedom.
I know Annie went back to work but I am amazed by those who felt this way and didn't return to work. I went back to work when dd was 4 months (we needed the money) and it was eerily as though nothing had changed. Everyone at work treated me as if nothing was different, much in the same way I imagine men get treated once they have a baby.
I think if you have a very independent lifestyle, a good career and those are things you've worked hard for then giving it up at the drop of a hat would be a huge shock.
By going back to work fairly quickly, my life felt like it just carried on where it stopped just before I had had dd.
I think it's a mistake that people think they have to 'stop' their lives and have to stop going out, stop their career, stop going out for dinner. Men don't stop those things when they have children so I don't really know why women feel they should too?
foxinsocks - one baby is very portable, IME. It's when you have a baby and toddler that the logistics of life with children get much harder, I think.
Of course, if you have older stepchildren, you have ready made childcare, which also helps!
It's not the same though because you can't go for a drink after work, have to get home do all the childcare things that you didn't before, take time off when they're sick etc etc
but you can compo, you just have to make sure you've negotiated with a partner first (if you have one - if not then I appreciate that it is significantly harder!). It's not easy, I know, but it is possible, just harder. I doubt there are many men who have a baby and then completely stop going out for a drink after work. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I just want to point out that there is another way. I think a lot of mothers let guilt overwhelm them.
Lol Bonsoir, yes very true. I had just under 15 months between mine which was thoroughly insane looking back on it but I did it deliberately as I wasn't much good at the baby phase so thought it better to get it over and done with in one go !
This post really struck a chord as I think we all feel like this, at least on occasion. I found the first two years with my DS really, really hard and I still feel like a non-person because I'm a SAHM and it just isn't all valued in our society.
Not that I'm itching to go back to work. I had a job before I had him and sometimes I enjoyed it, but I can't say I miss work. I miss having my own money, I miss the intellectual challenge, and for a while I missed my colleagues, but actually I never really liked working.
What I miss is the freedom to do as I please. I miss the fun my DH and I used to have before we had kids - lovely holidays to places we wanted to go, lie ins, being able to go to museums and exhibitions, long, boozy lunches or dinners, in other words all things every parent misses.
We just had a hideous week's holiday with our 3-year-old. We were all sleeping in one hotel room, none of us was getting enough sleep, he was a nightmare in almost every restaurant we went to, despite us ordering one course and eating it as fast as we could so we could get out before he kicked off. The problem is that his idea of heaven is several hours spent at a play centre - which is any adult's idea of hell.
I'm looking forward to him (and his soon-to-be-born sibling), being of an age where we can all go and do civilised things and our life returns to something resembling normal. My mother tells me this is when your last child is approx. 5 years old. Roll on 2016 ...
We all want a bit of freedom I think.
Freedom from work, to work
or school run
or freedom to work at home (in my case).
Not everyone will have same needs. But I don't think being maternal comes in to it. Although being depressed will reduce the ability to be maternal if that makes sense.
I must admit I didn't get down due to having children but I did feel trapped wr to family I had married into and had to deal with. Unfortunately.
I am not making the same mistake with second and have been fine and happy trundling around.
Our circumstances are so different aren't they.
BadGround, I think that's such a clear and well written post - I apologise if that sounds like I'm giving you marks for an essay, but I think that articulating feelings about motherhood that don't fall into an easily available 'template' is actually very hard. Thank you for sharing it, I think it takes balls. (ditto twosoups).
I don't think you are a monster at all. The choices we have available to us as women today, if we are biologically able to have children, are still very new. No other generation before us has been in our position.
As others have said, it may be that you aren't a 'baby person', and that you may find something of a return to the life you enjoyed when your DS is older. Or, and I guess this is more likely, your life will evolve in a new direction, but you will still be more satisfied than you are now.
My mother always said she couldn't stand babies, and only started to have an enjoyable day to day life when we could walk, talk, and bugger off to school for a few hours each day. And now we are all adults, she's having a whale of a time as a SAGA lout. (I don't mean to imply you will have to wait 20 years to live a life you are happy with, btw).
I think for a woman to remain voluntarily childless is still seen as something very strange by society in general. As someone who had a DS in their late 30s, the biological clock issue hung over me - what if I didn't try to have children? Would I regret it? etc. The fear of getting into late 40s, and thinking, shit, I wish I'd had children is very strong. But of course, that fear doesn't mean it IS the right thing to do.
I think for well educated career women in their 30s, the life change to being a mother is such an abrupt change, especially if much of our lives, identities, social world etc is associated with work. I don't think I have anything more useful to say, apart from I wish we talked about these things more, and not in a Daily Mail 'burn the selfish modern witches' way.
I think having a child, for most, is like dying and being reborn. Overnight your old life and its trappings go out the window - every freedom you took for granted is gone. Plus I found you lose a heap of friends and make an entirely new set.
It is much more fun once they're older, can talk properly, you can share the same interests - watch the same films, perhaps go to a museum together, go out for a meal.
My youngest is nearly 4 and I'd say I'm just getting used to my new life.
OP, I understand and can identify with many of your thoughts and feelings:
"I miss my relationship with my partner. I miss what we did together. I miss being able to walk out the front door of my own bloody house without a second thought. I miss having the money to spend on the odd nice thing. I miss having a house full of our nice, beautiful, adult things. I miss being able to ponder freely over my career options."
Your relationship with your partner may be what gave you the confidence to take a risk and become a mum.
What you did together was no doubt multi-faceted and the really important things that you did together you will hold on to.
Walking out your own front door without a second thought. All it takes is a burglary to shatter that comfort.
I suppose what I'm saying is that a bit of ill fortune and the things that you miss would still have been gone, baby or no baby.
There is no conspiracy. Friends of mine told me that it 'changes your life' and the look in their eyes said it all. It does - you just have to make the most of it. Rebuild, reconfigure, reinvent, not regret .
"Overnight your old life and its trappings go out the window - every freedom you took for granted is gone."
Personally I found it pretty liberating to be able to set my own agenda all day long!
Yes, it obviously does depend on the individual - and the life they had before and the kind of baby and then toddler you have, a lot of variables. Some love it and some don't, unfortunately as the OP discovered, it's not for everyone and you can't try before you buy.
Such a reassuring thread - thanks! Lots of you are saying that 'things get better'. On the other hand I am dreading the 'as they get older and I can't pack them off to bed and then get my own time' or 'converse with them fine using only a bit of my brain because really I'm thinking about other stuff to amuse myself'..I'm fine with the baby and toddler on this basis and being able to breathe with my two days a week work, but I'm finding my demanding 9 year old impossible to be with. I can honestly say I enjoy his company rarely and he would not be my choice of someone to spend the day with as it means I can't make any decisions without negotiating everything with him! And a few weeks ago when friends wanted theirs and our 9 year old to stay up with us for the evening while we were on holiday I clearly had a face like thunder and looked like a total bitch no doubt.
Just my two pennies worth - I personally think that one of the reasons people feel the way the OP does is because parenting these days is an awful lot harder than it used to be for the simple reason that we no longer feel comfortable about 'letting the children out to play'. When I was small (pre age 8) I remember going out with my younger sister for HOURS at a time. My mother had literally no idea where we were. This was considered normal back in the 1970s. Had we had an accident, it would have been a 'tragedy'. Nowadays, however, if a parent did the same, and the children had an accident, she would probably find herself in court for 'neglect'.
People also used to put their children in a pram and 'leave them at the bottom of the garden' to cry!! We'd never dream of doing that now.
My grandmother used to be able to park the buggy (with the child in it) outside a shop and go in and have a good old browse without any worries at all - nowadays, we have to take the child in with us, which can make browsing rather stressful (!!) so we never really have a minute's peace.
It's no-one's fault - everyone has been so frightened by all these stories of abductions etc, - but it IS making parenting harder.
Look at all these indoor soft-play areas - these have only sprung up since parents are no longer willing to release their children into the street to play.
Anyway - that's it really. Hope life gets a bit more enjoyable soon, OP.
Wow I can't believe I found this thread. I feel slightly better having read all the messages. I have a 6 month old and feel like my life has ended.I am having such a hard time coming to terms with it all.
I used to feel that way OP, when they were really small, now I don't! (they are 6 and 8). Ime it gets easier - whether it is because their needs and demands are not so encompassing as they get older, or whether it is because we have to undergo some painful transformation (and learn to compromise and not be so self serving and hedonistic) before we 'acclimatise' I don't know, think it is a combination of both
Wow, I cried and cried last weekend as I hated them. Lovely boys, perfect in every way but how exhausting and wild they are. Hubby works (self employed) many hours and I just get fed up with being stuck with 2 & 5 yr old as I struggle to think what to do when the baby runs in the opposite direction.
Constant early rises, long days - fighting, whinging, howling what is the joy? As a SAHM and helping hubby with business the constant lists, planning, organising and then at 3pm stopping to pick up DS1.
Friday's I have a long child free day but thursday night I stressing on how much I need to enjoy and get as much done as possible. My house is being ruined, the walls are dirty, floors scratched, bath scratched, mess and crumbs everywhere.
I agree so much, the day they were born I didnt have this overwhelming love like its told, took months to bond and have never turned down an overnight stay without them.
I had this lovely image of coffee meetings with friends, baking all day, feeling boundlessly happy, but its nothing like that, its all about being totally unselfish, giving up your life for their needs and yours no longer count.
I just worry that I'm giving up my life and they could turn around at 16 and turn into total idiots (like my hubby was!) and thats the last they see of them, god I hope not! ....
This minute I'm here all alone, all windows open, birds twetting, perfect...loving being all alone in MY world.....on edge now for the car door!!!
My dd is only three weeks but one thing that struck me is that I don't have that 'overwhelming joy' that they talk about. I'm not sad or especially regretful, but I certainly haven't really had that much happiness yet.
Can I add myself to the pile please! The OP's feelings are exactly the same as mine - I also have a 15 month old son. I have been diagnosed with PND though. I was on anti depressants for severe anxiety and dread of being home alone with my son when he was smaller. Maternity leave for me was hell.
Once I went back to work in December, I felt better and eased myself off the Prozac (under Dr's advice). However more recently, and after a period of DS being ill, grizzly, grumpy and just a plain nightmare to deal with, I got all those old anxious feelings back, plus those feelings this thread has been talking about. I find being a mother just really difficult and I feel like I'm acting being a mother whilst hiding my true feelings. On the outside I would appear to be the perfect mother, doing all the right things for my DS, but inside I can't bear spending lengths of time doing mumsy stuff. DS goes to nursery full time and so I only see him for about an hour and a half each day and to me that is enough. At the weekend, I get really miserable and have to have loads of plans as I need to kill the time before my DS goes to bed. My husband is very understanding and does what he can to support me and give me time to myself and I also have very understanding friends and family, but I can't get away from the fact that I'm his mother and I've got myself in this mess that I can't get myself out of.
Like many of the other posters, I do love my DS but just feel overwhelmed with regret about my decision to have a baby.
PS - I went back on the Prozac today so I'm hoping that this will help my current state of mind........
Haven't read every single post but I am at the other end of the spectrum from most of you. My children are 24, 22 and 16 and I have not felt "right" since the first was born. Exhaustion, boredom, trying to do the best and always feeling I have failed. Reading to them, playing with them, school runs, after school clubs, standing on the touchline for sport at weekends, supporting them when they were unhappy. I tried so very hard. Didn't stop two of them turning their backs on me when their father and I divorced to go and live with him. The youngest has exams coming up but is not working for them, just spending every minute with infantile boyfriend. If she fails the exams, that will be my fault too no doubt. I feel as though I have been locked up for almost 25 years. My sensibilities are so blunted that I don't even dare look forward to when the youngest leaves home. Sorry folks, but that's how it was and is. Tried everything for all of us for it to feel better but to no avail. I do not have words to describe how much I regret having had children.
WMD I'm so sorry you feel that way
I don't have children. When I was a teenager and even up to my early twenties I couldn't have imagined not having babies. Now, the older I get, the stronger my conviction that I really don't want to be a mother. I'm 32.
I'm so grateful for the raw honesty on this thread. It's a subject I have no way of discussing in RL.
WMD, I'm sorry things turned out like that for you. I'm so glad you feel like you can say it here. I don't judge you for what you've said, and nor should anyone else. People seem to be allowed to regret any other lifestyle choice they make, except this one, it seems. Hope things turn out ok. x
I want to thank a lot of the people who have posted on this thread. I have a 3 year old and a nearly one year old, and have been finding things very difficult recently. There have been a lot of bad days where I have found myself wishing that I hadn't had children. However some of the posts on here have made me feel a bit less guilty about this, and others have really helped me to begin to turn things around. I'm trying to embrace the idea of raising them as my friends rather than as a burden, and looking forward to a time when we can all enjoy doing things together. I think I find the hardest thing is the pressure I put on myself - I take it very hard when they eat poorly, sleep poorly, and when my eldest doesn't meet his developmental 'targets' (he won't draw or attempt anything creative or messy like most children will). I'm trying to take the pressure off a bit, and to believe that for the time being that it's enough to be with them and to love them. Yesterday was another bad day, but I think things are slowly getting better.
Ealey, I think we mothers have a habit of wanting everything to be perfect, after all, we all want the best for our children! I'm trying to enjoy my baby, now six weeks old, and really do enjoy my 3.6 year old. I try not to pressure myself into doing too much with my older boy as sometimes its ok for him to just want to stay at home and chill.
Take it days it comes, I know I am! Things can only get better/easier and there will be good and bad days
Another one here adding to the pile. Mine are 5 and 4. I love them so so so so much, but I desperately miss my freedom, the times when I didn't have to think about what to cook, have they got their pe bag, saying the relentless have you brushed your teeth, please put on your shoes blah blah blah. Motherhood is a pile of shite. When my ds was born I remember thinking, no one ever ever told me it was going to be like this. I remember going to a good friend's wedding when he was 3 weeks old and thinking 'oh god, I'm so tired, I'll have an early night,' and then thinking 'no I won't because I have to get up and feed you at 10pm, and then 2pm...' It made me feel utterly panic stricken, like I was in some sort of jail.
No one ever told me labour would be so painful, no one ever told me that breastfeeding would be so hard, no one told me how hideous sleep deprivation is, that having a baby is lonely, and that you disappear, you are no longer you. That you have no idea where this baby ends and you begin. My children are 18 month apart. I have little recollection of those months when I had two, apart from this overriding feeling of stress. I love them to pieces, but I mourn those days when it was just me. A friend once said, I love my children when they are asleep and at school. Becoming a mother fucks with your identity. No one ever told me that either. It is one big conspiracy theory. I don't want to hear from those who have come on this thread to tell us to get over ourselves. I can't and I won't. I am not ashamed to admit this is how I feel. And to be honest, denying it for so long has landed me in a rather huge pile of depression that I am desperately trying to get out of.
I don't think we should have to get over it either. We are only human and deserve to be our own people too not just mothers. No one tells the truth when it comes to just how hard it all is, I actually forgot before i had my second child and can't believe I'm back to the start again!
This morning the baby was in bed with me and I closed myeyes and wished he wasnt there! But then when I was feeding him at 3.30am I imagined him pulling himself up onto the sofa and felt really excited about the future!
Right at this moment I hate my life and the relentlessness of babyhood but have lots of hope for the future
"I miss my old life intensely." God, I can relate to that. The parallel universe that exists in your head where you wonder what you'd be doing if you hadn't had kids. I had an odd experience, in that when my baby was five weeks old I got very sick. I was in A&E and when the doctor said, I want to keep you in, I was so relieved. For ten nights it was as if I hadn't had a baby. I slept, food brought to me, I read novels, read the paper from cover to cover, slept, slept more.... it was utter bliss after the shock of becoming a parent. Having that time out made such a massive difference to my mental health. I don't know what would have happened otherwise... anyway in relation to this thread, what I learned from it is how important it is to get away from being a mother, even for an hour.
Thank you all for this thread.
Oscalito, I was interested to hear about your experience. I went six months from giving birth (rather draining in itself) before I got more than four hours sleep - I know that that is nothing compared to what some people experience. I have, like a lot of parents I suspect, to wake up naturally so I don't really know how much sleep I could use but I think I still could use a bit more than I am getting.
Anyhow, I often used to wonder that if, somehow, I had been given a few twelve hour sleeps here and there in those early days when I practically started hulicinating from lack of sleep, that I would have felt - and might now feel - better about it all.
Notenoughsocks glad you posted, thought I'd killed the thread! I am certain that lack of sleep is what grinds you down. I was a mess when I went into hospital (complications of swine flu) and came out feeling human again. My sleep was so messed up I made them give me a sleeping pill every night to guarantee a full 8 hours. Agghh baby awake. Hope you get some sleep soon.... I have a four month old and he's never slept more than 4 hours in a row either....not much fun really.
I think it's the full on intensity of young children that nearly kills us. As another poster has already said, years ago the kids would be playing out from a young age, left to cry in the garden, weaned from a young age to help sleep and you could leave them outside a shop. We don't get any of that now.
I had a hysterectomy nearly 2 years ago and was not allowed to do anything with the kids for weeks, I was actually rather fond of them by the end of that as I'd had a break. Mine are 4.5 and 2.7 now and while most days are a killer I can see it getting easier little by little.
I also think we're booted out of hospital too quickly. Oh for the old days when you had the baby in a nursery so you could sleep at night and stayed in bed for a good five days. I know things have changed and there are reasons for that, but IMHO a bit more time right at the start, when your hormones are all over the place and you're exhausted from the birth, would make the launch into motherhood a bit less gruelling.
Hear hear to that! I blame the shitty exhausting induced labour, birth and post natal hell where the baby never left my side despite the fact that I'd gone three days without sleep for how I feel about having my DS now. I didn't exactly start all happy and well rested and thinking clearly and I've never really had the chance to have a proper break and recover. This all gets twisted in my mind into "I regret EVER having started on this path" but I'm not convinced I mean it.
I am simply too shattered, not just tired and in need of a good night's sleep, but tired to my very bones, to think clearly and have any enthusiasm for anything, especially 24/7 parenting where I am never ever off duty and where each day is as dull as the one before and the four walls close in, and when the baby is screaming and I don't know why.
It has to get better.
auburnlizzy78, it will get better. Proably quite slowly, but things will get easier bit by bit. Perhaps speak to your HV. They have heard it all before, they are unshockable and can be quite helpful.
I don't know why we are left to go through this in this way, and why there is this big taboo about talking about it. It does my head in. I think you are right, it is too easy to get sucked down the 'I regret this path'.
One of my ealiest experinces with DS made me wonder about the emphais that is put on various aspects of motherhood today. I had to stay in hospital for two days after the birth for obs, even though the labour had been fine. It was made perfectly clear from the beginning that THE BABY SHOULD BE WITH ME, ATTACHED TO ME, AT ALL TIMES. I vaguley remember this bit in the night after my DP had gone home where DS was screaming and screaming and screaming despite my best efforts to feed him. At one point there were probably three or four midwives and nurses around my help 'helping him to latch on'. I was not a nervous breastfeeder, and was pretty sure that it was not simply a case of getting his latch right. He had been latched on, then had had enough and wanted, for reasons unknown to me, to cry. He was screaming, and my body was being pulled about (I am sure they were quite gentle and were genuinely trying to help, but that is what it felt like to me). Finally, I said that I couldn't take it any more. They took him off me and gave him 40ml of formula. He slept for seven hours and I got a few hours in. But I felt like a total failure.
PS - it didn't mess up my BFing. Aside from that 40ml, he was exclusively bf until five months. I am still giving DS the odd feed here and there over a year later.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.