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.

Does anyone else regret having children?

(304 Posts)
Zahora Mon 29-Jun-09 02:39:04

Does anyone else regret having your child? I loved my old life. My husband really wanted a child and I put it off for so long, just knowing that it's not my calling. I gave in after so many rows thinking I would adjust. It was either that or leave my husband whom I loved very much. My son is 2 years old and it has been such a lonely and desperate struggle. I feel like my wonderful life has turned upside down. I still do not feel like a mother. I look after my son full time, I even breastfed for a year, yet it just feels so ...hollow. It's not me. I miss my old life so much I just feel like walking out and leaving my husband and son. I hate playing in the park. I want to go to a gallery. I hate watching peppa pig- I want to read a novel. I hate going to playgroups - I want to have lunch with freinds. I do everything I can for my son and he is lovely. Yet motherhood so far has left me feeling like I have been conned out of my real life. Will life ever return to normal. Will my son feel that I am detached? I don't think I'm depressed. Has anyone else felt like this?

Manda25 Sun 07-Feb-10 20:27:16

Hi again

I was a shit mum ....i had my 19 yr old when i was 17 ....and it was horrible ...to be honest he was an unwanted baby ... and we didnt 'bond' for many years. I have forgiven myself for being a crap parent ....and had my second 12 yrs later when i was 29. Although he was a more difficult baby i found him much easier because my head was in a better place ....and i can hand on heart say i have never shouted at him or smacked him (wish i could say the same about my first)

It DOES get easier the older i get and the older they get....once they became 'more independent' - i think it was the constant NEEDING me is what drove me mad.... i am just not cut out for it... i am a creature of habit ...and the kids didnt fit!

I think excepting your life will never be the same is a good start ....and then build your new life with your children in it .... it maybe going back to work or college, getting a new hobby or having a regular once a month night out with a friend. .... just have plans for yourself.

A happy mother goes along way into making for a happy kid....dont beat yourself up .... do the things you DO like doing (with the kids) and give yourself a break!!

Sorry for going on !!

phokoje Mon 08-Feb-10 12:45:32

this thread has been a life saver. i saw it yesterday and when DH got home i asked if he would read it. i have so far found it impossible to talk to him about how i feel as i know he doesnt feel the same way and i just was terrified he would be disgusted or disappointed in me. but anyway, we ended up having a lovely talk and i swear, i slept last night for what feels like the first time in years.

so thank you ladies for being so open and honest, its really helped me out.

topsi Mon 08-Feb-10 14:52:51

It does make the day a little easier doesn't it, knowing you're not a freak and others out their have similar experiences to you.

Olifin Mon 08-Feb-10 18:01:18

That's good phokoje, sounds like you have a lovely OH there.

It's funny, because the thread title shocked me when I saw it; even though I could relate to it. I think I was amazed to find someone else felt the same. Even for someone who has had/is having such thoughts, it's still shocking, still a taboo. It's not something I could ever say in RL.

Zahora Thu 18-Feb-10 22:32:06

Yes, sorry about the thread title, just felt very alone back then. MN has been such a blessing.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to shake the feelings off for good and actually really embrace motherhood?

Turnip713 Tue 03-Aug-10 08:13:23

I know this is politically incorrect advice, but if you keep looking at your suitcases and fantasizing about taking off, maybe you should. At least for a little while. What you're doing now isn't working for anyone, why not try something drastic? Things sound pretty drastic right now anyway. See if your husband can take the kid for a month or two or six, and go travel the world. Pack your bags and go to Paris or something. It may get the yearning for your old life out of your system. Maybe it'll give you perspective and you'll realize that you really do want to be a mother. Or maybe you'll realize that you never want to go back and you can reach a new arrangement with your husband. Maybe you could move out and take the kid on weekends and your husband could be the primary caregiver on weekdays? Your marriage (I know this sounds cynical) sounds like it's basically over anyway, so why not divorce and split custody? You can't give your child back, that is wrong, but turning into the worst version of yourself isn't going to do the kid any favors either, and you do sound kind of schizo(your words, not mine). Whichever you choose, time away would give you perspective and time to think, which it sounds like you desperately need. I don't think you're depressed. Depression is when you have a mental illness where even though nothing is wrong, you can't feel happy. It is usually accompanied by fatigue. You don't sound depressed, you sound genuinely unhappy.

I'm actually not sure how qualified I am to give this advice since I'm not actually a mother. A big part of the reason I am not a mother is because the only reaction I can realistically imagine myself having to motherhood is exactly the one you've described above, right down to the feeling hollow part. Some people just aren't meant to be domesticated.

Oblomov Tue 03-Aug-10 08:32:59

Dh and I regret having children. I wish I hadn't. I was so naieve. I had no idea it would be this shit. Becasue my mum ( and my dad) was such a good parent, and we were all so happy, I assumed thta if I applied basic parenting techniques Love, discipline, respect, saying no, being frim, consistency), adn worked at it, we all would be happy too. How wrong I was.
I wish they could be taken away for 6 months or a year. maybe i would miss them then. I doubt it. But that can't happen.
So I just have to shut the f**k up and get on with it.

What else can you do ?
Get yourself back to work. Part time. Was the best of both worlds for me. Well, atleast I can escape some of the time. I do enjoy them on my days off.
But I still wish we hadn't had them.

Turnip713 Tue 03-Aug-10 08:52:26

Sorry, first time on mumsnet, didn't realize there were three pages of comments, my comment was based on the first page. I'm glad you're doing better now though!

NorkyButNice Tue 03-Aug-10 09:10:52

I can't believe this thread exists - that there are other people who feel this way. I've been trying to start this exact thread for the last week but just couldn't get it written down without crying.

DS2 is 3 weeks old today - I don't feel any feelings of love towards him at all. I'm constantly annoyed and shouting at DS1 who has become a whiney limpet (understandable probably but it's driving me mad).

I've been off work sick since Nov 2008 with no prospect of returning soon - I feel fine in myself but am not able to do the job i used to do. I didn't sign up for being a SAHM - I hate myself, dislike my children (shit mother eh?) and am jealous of DH who gets to have a full nights sleep and then go out to work where he can use his brain and have adult conversation.

They'd all be better off without me and I might hate myself a little less if i just left them all to it.

itsonlyajob Tue 03-Aug-10 09:19:22

Norky, might be worth discussing this with your Health Visitor or GP asap. I discussed with my midwife similiar feelings when DD2 was a few weeks and have received a lot of support from the HV. SHe has reassured me that many many many women feel the same. It is getting better.

Good luck

montmartre Tue 03-Aug-10 09:42:02

Oh Norky- I'm sorry things are so hard at the moment. When they are small is so very very difficult- it will get better I promise.

They are so needy, and we never get any time for ourselves- I remember after DD my wound became infected because I never had chance to even shower most days sad

It is still very early days for DS2- perhaps you have a touch of PND? COuld you speak to your HV/MW/GP?

Is there anyone who can help you a little so that you can catch up on some sleep when DS2 is napping? The lack of sleep is a killer...
there have been times when my DC2 was small that I really thought I was going to leave, but after some sleep it felt much better.

Can DH let you sleep more at weekend? (I know I just hated my DH on the days he slept downstairs, and I was up every 2 hours all night.

alypaly Mon 09-Aug-10 23:42:06

i regret not having more.....time ran outsad

superdragonmama Tue 10-Aug-10 00:29:57

Wow, I thought I was one of the only ones who found being a sahm boring, frustrating, utterly maddening, felt like imprisonment physically, mentally and emotionally. Wonderful to learn I'm not the only one. I also was full of guilt because this is absolutely not the way a 'good' mother feels, is it?

I got through by buying myself some absolutely life saving time to myself. Despite severe lack of funds - I sold stuff like furniture to fund this! - I put my amazingly clingy 2 year old ds into a nursery for a whole day once a week, from 9am to 5pm. He survived it, and I had a life saving day once a week to myself. Most free days I read something, just to see if i still could.

When kids were older I did evening classes, just to escape for one evening a week, and meet non child focused adults - bliss. Did woodwork, upholstery, Welsh, Italian - all sorts of things - another life saver. Not too expensive to do, but does help if you have dh/dp who'll look after kids for one evening a week.

I work p/t now, and love going to work - wish I'd done this years ago!

slysis Thu 16-Sep-10 03:36:59

I have always wanted to have children, but my partner does not. Aside from this issue, our relationship is stable, fulfilling and wonderful. I am trying to decide whether it is better to save our relationship and not have any children or to leave the relationship and find someone who wants to have children with me.

After reading this thread, it seems that my lifelong desire to have a child might be misguided since many of you are very unhappy with the endless sacrifice that parenting requires.

Is it better to abandon the motherhood dream and save the relationship, or is there something truly rewarding hiding among the child rearing troubles?

kerstina Fri 17-Sep-10 14:06:46

If you really want children in the first place you are different from most people on this thread as i think they knew deep down they were not maternal.
I love children and worked as a nursery nurse but did not feel particularly maternal .However when i actually had my son the love i felt for my son was overpowering better than for any man ! It made doing the mundane boring stuff that motherhood entails bearable as i wanted to be with him not out at work. If you have a dog or cat times that love by a 1000.It did wear off a bit though then i was ready to go back to work.
Everyone is different trust your instincts about motherhood. Don't let this thread put you off if it's what you want.

mamsnet Sat 02-Oct-10 15:25:37

I came across this title while searching for something.

I hope you're ok, OP..

PosieParker Sat 02-Oct-10 15:28:13

Go back to work!!!smile

PosieParker Sat 02-Oct-10 15:28:53

Ooops.....I would love an update!

topsi Tue 05-Oct-10 08:46:09

my husband would love another but Ican't face it. DS is nearly 4 and I just feel I am getting my life back. He will start school next year and I am planning to start my own business. I love him to pieces but feel that another one would put me back to a place that I just don't want to go. I feel guilty as I would love DS to have a sibling but I can't bring myself to do it. If we were loaded I would have another but get a live in nanny so I could just enjoy the good bits.

scouserabroad Wed 06-Oct-10 21:20:00

I honestly think this is the best thread I've read on MN (and I lurk a lot). I didn't realise that so many people feel the same, I thought it was just me with my horrible secret thoughts of regretting having the DC. On some level I always knew I wasn't meant to have children, then had two in the space of two years - they are 3 and 4 now and it's just within the last six months or so that I've started to feel that possibly, at some point, life will be OK again.

It's so taboo, isn't it? I could never, ever say this in real life, not to anyone.

topsi Thu 07-Oct-10 08:27:42

Does it get easier at that age Scouser?

scouserabroad Thu 07-Oct-10 10:02:21

Topsi, I do feel that it has become easier, but maybe that's because nothing could be worse than having a 2 year old and a 1 year old grin Seriously, I did find it pretty relentless when they were smaller, the days used to go by in a blur of nappy changes, messy meal times, whining, tantrums, and going to the park. DD2 didn't sleep through the night until she was nearly 2, which didn't help!

I find the DDs more interesting now, they are becoming little people with their own personalities, they like going for days out and seeing new things, they like being read to and ask interesting questions (lots of but mummy why is the sky blue ? type questions too, but hey...) Plus they don't constantly need things (nappy change, food, drink, whatever...) and can actually play together for a reasonable amount of time.

I think actually a big part of my problem was that I had the DC quite young, while all my friends were going out, travelling, working etc. (Facebook has a lot to answer for: looking at pics of someone on a beach in Bali when I'd just cleaned up the aftermath of a sickness bug sent me into an unimaginable fit of jealousy grin ) But now I realise that quite soon it will be possible to go travelling etc. with the DC.

topsi Thu 07-Oct-10 11:47:09

I do hate every one on face book with their oh so interesting lives!!envy
My DS is comming up 4 and is great but a real handful, I can't face going back to the sleepless nights. The tantrums and whining are bad enough as it is. So DS will be an only child [guilt emoticom]
I do love the chatting now, he does come out with some funny stuff and he definately has a strong personality, but I can't stand the bad behaviour and the total bundle of energy he is throwing himself round the living room etc.
Glad things are getting easier for you now, you could take them to Bali in a few years!

Jolinda Fri 29-Oct-10 21:49:18

I am so pleased to have found this thread today as I was just sat in the kitchen wondering whether a day goes by that I don't regret having the children. I came to the conclusion that I don't necessarily say to myself every day "I regret having kids" but I never hear myself say "I am so glad that I had them".

I thought I really wanted Children and thought that because I have lots of neices and nephews that I knew what it was going to be like. I find myself thinking that I should love them more than I do, I only love them as much as I love my Neices and Nephews the difference is I don't spend all my time yelling at my neices and nephews to stop doing one thing or another so I sometimes feel like although I love them I don't always like them.

Although I wanted Children, I had a fantastic career so had always expected to go back to work at the end of maternity leave but unfortunately the week I was due back I got made redundant, the following week I found out I was pregnant with DS2. The pregnancy was carefully planned as I had enjoyed DS1 so much I wanted another straight away. The moment I got made redundant that all changed.

It was like working in a factory as a student, I enjoyed doing it but I knew that I was just earning the money for University and that I would only be there for 3 months so I loved it unlike the poor women who had already been doing it for 20 years. The moment I got made redundant that "summer Job" of looking after DS1 became permanent with no prospect of an end. Who would employ a senior manger who was going to going off on maternity leave in 9 months.

Anyway by the time DS2 was a year I was not going out to see friends, especially any that didn't have children or any I had worked with in the past. I became very secluded and spent my whole time being disengaged with life, feeling guilty every minute I wasn't enjoying being with the children (Which was every minute I was with them). DS1 hated being with me and just wanted DH, who wouldn't want to be with him he is charming funny and is entertainments manager. I wanted to leave all 3 of them each and everyday not because I didn't love them all but because they would all be better off without me.

Thankfully my GP was brilliant and I had a chat with him and the Health visitor, it turns out that the HV had been worried about me for months and had been looking out for me. I had a couple of councilling sessions straight away, including one with my DH and just talking through in a neutral enviroment was great.

Six months ago I finally managed to get work again, 40% pay cut on what I used to earn, not as challenging but considering I had reached a point where I believed I would never work again because my brain had gone to mush it was brilliant. More importantly I wasn't with DSs 24/7 and I started to enoy them.

Problem is I only enjoy them when I am with DH , I can't cope with them on my own. I work 80% so I get to have them one day a week myself...I hate it. I have to plan it to the nth degree. Today I thought I was going to have an afternoon with DH and DS but someting cropped up and I was left unexpectedly with them, within an hour I was screaming at them and by the time DH came to the rescue I couldn't stay in the same room with them and I was angry at them all for no reason.

So although things have got better, I still have days where I don't want to be a Mum anymore.
So thank you all for your honesty in this thread, for the first time I feel like I can say outloud (well in text)that I regret having children but I am heartened that some of you with older children have come through it and that it will get better and I may find that I am meant to be a good Mum of school-age children or teenagers just not 2 under 3 yr olds.
Writing all this down has made me realise how far I have come in the last 6 months.

sparkyjo Mon 31-Jan-11 20:53:43

Wow!! Until now I really thought I was the only person who felt this way, it is a relief to see others feel the same way, although I wouldn't wish this feeling on anyone so kinda wish I hadn't found this thread either!! I have a DS who is 4 and a DD who is 3, they are both very active, strong minded and BLOODY hard work, I don't get a minutes peace when they are around! My DH works away 4 days a week & the lonliness is horrible. Luckily 2 years ago I met a couple of other mum's at the toddler group who I really bonded with and have been absolute life savers! I'd been going to the groups for ages & find it so mind numbingly boring when all the talk is about kids, we managed to talk about other things before we had kids so whay do so many mum's find it impossible to talk about anything else after they have kids! I hate it when others assume that's all i want to talk about, my close pals are fantastic & say they love me all the more for not being a mummy bore! I don't feel I could go back to work yet but I have thrown myself into other things & having occasional nights off when I can feel like me again! But I feel so terrible at times, having kids was all I ever wanted & now I have them its not what I thought it would be like at all. I love them to pieces but I spend most nights lying in bed feeling guilty at not being a better mum, for shouting at them, worrying I'm screwing them up mentally for losing the plot with them & not spending enough "quality time" with them! How much is enough time to spend doing kiddy stuff? I have friends who are part of this new "baby led parenting" and do not know how they can do it!! One has a daughter who's a bad sleeper & if she wakes up at 4 in the morning & wants to make a cake then that's what they do, I'd go nuts if that was my kids!! Anyway, I've gone on enough! Just to say to you all, thanks for making me feel a smidgen less guilty & keep you chin up, surely if its this bad now there's no way it can possibly get any worse! xxxx

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now