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Does anyone else regret having children?

(428 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?

Rixera Wed 19-Oct-16 13:10:06

Old post but I had to join in.
I regret having my baby when I did. She's a fantastic toddler aged 18 months old, she's well behaved for someone so small, very clever, good tempered, but I had her at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons.

I was only 20. Her dad, my 'D'P, was 22. I moved in with him at 18 to escape a sexually physically and emotionally abusive dad and a mum who pushed me to take on the adult responsibilities so she didn't have to deal with my dad. All his siblings, his father, his father's siblings did the same to me, it's like a family culture. I repressed it all with DID (multiple personality disorder), multiple breakdowns since 16, went completely off the deep end when I moved out, then got pregnant having been told I was infertile.

My DP blamed me for having an online affair when pregnant/when the baby was 6 month. He still uses that to tell me I'm a bad person or not doing enough. What he still doesn't get is that it wasn't just an affair, the man was a paedophile who groomed me from age 15, I didn't know how to stop him when he started hounding me over email again, though I know now.

My DP was the one who wanted kids but I'm stuck as a SAHM. I've never been stable enough to hold down a job and now I don't know if I ever will be able to, who would employ me? I'm in therapy and doing so much better but it just makes it more obvious how controlling, immature and avoidant my DP is and how toxic our relationship is. He's a nice person, I get on with him well but we got together for the wrong reasons. I'm not even attracted to him. I'm stuck cleaning up everyone else's messes all day long, hating it, hating not being able to do anything without someone wrecking it. My DP says only a few years until she can talk/wipe her own bum/go to school and life will go back to normal. I don't WANT it to go back to normal! I have NEVER had a good time in my life. It seems like I never will. We are on benefits though he works 45 hours a week, I have no prospects, and stuck in this is a gorgeous sweet little girl.

I regret being born, forget about giving birth to someone else.

SnowCurl Fri 30-Sep-16 20:05:24

Thank you, OldTimer. Your post has given me hope smile xxx

bellend123 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:53:10

What a lovely post OldTimer. I'm glad you're feeling good. flowers to everyone who is struggling.

OldTimer50 Wed 21-Sep-16 21:59:31

Hi, I've joined this Mumsnet today as I saw The Independent online ( was running an article about the subject referencing this thread and I wondered if my contribution might be helpful to someone...?

I am now a mother of 2 wonderful adult men.

When the eldest was 4 years old I was having a hard time with all sorts of issues regarding lack of support (husband, parents, name it) and was feeling very isolated, though determined to do the best for my children. However, he was such a little, exhausting tyrant. I was exhausted emotionally and physically and I felt like a useless parent. Having felt so connected to him as a baby I was surprised by this turnaround.

One day I confided in my mother: "I don't think I like him."
Expecting support instead I was met with a near-hysterical response from a woman (who I've since learnt has the emotional capacity of a paper bag) who should have offered me unconditional love and…guidance, even.
"That's awful. I'm so shocked. If you don't want him, your Dad and I will have him. We'll adopt him!" she said.
Not exactly the support I was looking for.
Saying, "I didn't say I didn't love him. I said I didn't like him. Right now. Today." didn't help either.

I actually felt really betrayed by her response and it started to cause me to lose faith in my ability to trust others but now, 23 years later I can see where the difficulties between us (mother and daughter) lay and why she would respond in that way.

I had unplanned pregnancies. When I found out I was pregnant however, I was happy to accept that this miraculous journey was ahead of me. I even enjoyed pregnancy.
But after the birth it seemed like all my previous support network vanished.
(I wish I had known about the NCT that early on.) I certainly regretted my choices early on in my children's lives. Very much. That regret caused me great anguish.

But do I regret having children now? 'After' the fact?
Well, I have had many health issues. And I think some of them arose from the psychological weight of having to be 'on my own' and shouldering the burden (and the joy!) of everything...
If I had known that the next 2 ½ decades were going to be as tough as they have been...well, I may have thrown in the towel early on. It has been exhausting and my body has paid a huge price. But this is my life. And my husband's. And my children's. Ok so it's not been a fairytale and it has had its disappointments but I am glad I persevered. The sacrifices (financial, health, emotional, career) have felt too huge along the way. It is only now looking back (I don't do rose-tinted) that I am able to say honestly, "It's ok. Even though it cost me such a lot, it is ok now."
I'm glad I was able to hang in there. Though at times it was by my fingernails.
Along the way I have found that there is no greener grass on the other side. It's just longer and takes more maintenance.

Best of luck to any of you who are having regrets.
I hope you can find a positive outlet for your frustrations.

I sought psychotherapy at the first opportunity (that, regrettably, was just 5 years ago...finances have been that challenging). Sorting my past out has been a tremendous help to me. And actually stopping 'trying' now has allowed so many more people to come into my life. Perhaps they can tell this is the authentic me and not the previously 'needy' version? I don’t know. But I feel more loved and cared for than ever before. It’s a lovely, joyful feeling. And my boys are in that mix too. I am 50 years old today and I have had the most hilarious (hilarious photo and outer wording) and poignant card from one of my sons:

“Dear Mum,
Seeing you relaxed and in your element and surrounded by lovely people at your party for the first time in too long was simply wonderful. It was really lovely to witness and be a part of. I hope that we can have many more to come.”

I really think Love - especially of the self - can overcome anything. I hope you find it in your lives. x

JennieS2145 Wed 21-Sep-16 11:18:41

Hi all,
I'm in the same boat.
I have a three (nearly four) year old daughter and have recently found out that I'm pregnant. It's not that I don't love my children, but being a mother is tough. Especially when you do most of the work. I keep dreaming about carefree days where I can go on nights out with friends and have a job that brings in a decent income. Having one child has impacted our love life, so who knows what two will do. I'm very sceptical about having a new baby. I just feel this isn't right. The people around me adore my daughter and are looking forward to meeting the new arrival, I wish I could say the same. I hope people don't think I'm selfish. I've just had children too young and feel as if life is going nowhere. I do love them as I've said, I just wish for freedom.

SnowCurl Thu 25-Aug-16 22:22:19

That is something that noons can "prepare" you for! Totally get that x

dranaksjd Thu 25-Aug-16 11:19:56

I regret having my son. If I could I back I would. I'm not depressed. I'm just not cut out to be surrounded by a child for years of my life and all the limitations that entails.

SnowCurl Fri 19-Aug-16 13:39:19

Vero03, I am in the same boat so I really can empaphise- I have 3 under 5 with the youngest unplanned. I also never wanted to have children, but let myself be talked round by my husband. I love them to pieces and can't imagine life without them. But I have grown resentful towards my other half. He has never been able to help out with picking up/dropping off from childcare which meant that ive never been able to return to work. In his profession, they have "core hours" and as it's male dominated it's obviously "woman's work" to look after children and manage childcare. I honestly do not know how single parent households manage in today's society!
Diamond I totally get what you mean about feeling like a caged animal. I feel very trapped and often find myself wishing I could just walk away. I fantasise about what life would be like without the additional responsibility. Being able to wander the streets at any time without having to come home. Without having to live to someone else's timetable. In my dreams I am often child free and doing the things I've always enjoyed.
Vero03, is it the monotony that gets to you? The noise? Are you largely at home alone with them? flowers for anyone who is having a rough time xxx

diamond457 Mon 25-Jul-16 18:51:46

I constantly grieve over my old life and all the potential I had and the things I could have done with my life. I had dd at 19 so its my own fault. But I am depressed and my career is well and truly down the pan.
Applying for jobs I wouldn't have took in a million years because its all I can do now due to childcare restrictions etc.
I do feel like a caged animal, a shell of who I was.
but I do love dd and im a good mum and she deserves the best.
I have to live with the grief the rest of my life.

sammyjayneex Mon 25-Jul-16 14:21:40

I don't regret having my kids because of what I've had to give up but I regret having them because of the responsibility you hold for them. It's your job to keep them safe, your job to make sure they eat well, your job to make sure they succeed well at school, make sure your keeping an eye on their health ect. Any thing that happens it's basically you who has to take responsibility and life can be so full of guilt of you get it wrong. I suffer from anxiety and OCD so it makes it even harder to be a proper mother so I regret having them because of the amount of stress it cause but I don't regret having to give up anything in my life before.

Vero03 Sat 23-Jul-16 22:14:50

Hi, I see this is an old discussion so I hope someone out there can discuss this with me. Im feeling pretty bad about having children. I have three kids under 5 and as bad as this sounds I wouldnt wish this life on my worse enemy. I love my children dearly but I hate my life now and I too regret having them every single day. I starting to really hate my husband for pushing me to have children. I feel i was so happy before and now I'm not. I can never abandon them because I grew up without my mother who passed when I was three so I would never want them to go through what I did but at the same time I miss my life. Ive decided to get in antidepressants so I hope this helps. At this point since there is no escape I might as well be on autopilot.

CPtart Thu 21-Jul-16 20:01:22

I don't ever regret having them, and they are almost teens now, but I too constantly wished the time away when they were babies. I went back to work pt when DC1 was 4 months and DC2 was 5 months and felt massively better, more in control with some return to routine. I feel as though I outsourced a lot of the work, stresses and boredom of those difficult early years, but have no regrets at all. We had zero family help and returning to work absolutely saved me.

Cashewnutts Thu 21-Jul-16 18:57:21

So glad I came across this thread.
I don't always regret having had my ds but when she is crying/whinging and ridiculously clingy I often find myself regretting the decision.

It's been such a relief to read some of the stories in this thread and know I'm not the only one, and that things will get better.

Dd is only 15 weeks but we have had so many ups and downs (tongue tie, trouble breastfeeding and the emotional decision to bottle feed and recently reflux) that sometimes I've wondered if dp and I made the right choice in procreating. i love her to bits but just keep counting the days until she is older and emotionally stable! Which makes me feel awful for wishing this time away.
Thankfully, dp and I are very open about our feelings and i can talk to him. I'm also lucky to have a very supportive nct group (best decision to pay for those classes, just for the ready made mum friends!) but it's still so reassuring to hear some of my feelings written already within this thread!

toodloo Thu 12-May-16 13:43:49

Oh yes, had children very young raised them on my own as divorced very young extremely had life but did enjoy it until they grew up. Now I wonder why I made so many sacrifices for them they couldn't care where I was here or not,Heart breaking

lazyminimoo Sat 23-Apr-16 02:41:52

Yes i have really regretted having my son as i have depression social anxiety an i feel like he shouldn't have to have me for a mum an i feel like i would be less depressed if i didn't have to worry about how I'm affecting him and how hes gong to grow up feeling regretful and sad that he has a mum like me . Its just guilt that i wouldn't have to have if i didn't have a child. I don't want him gone but i at times feel it would have been best all round if i hadn't had him or if only id have had him adopted so his life would turn out better and i wouldn't feel so bad and worry all the time about how I'm not being a good mum an he deserves much better . I have mostly thought yes in a heartbeat i would go back In time an have the abortion I was planning to have but didn't because the dad begged me not to an i didn't wanna lose him as he would have dumped me if i had aborted . I sometimes think maybe i was selfish not aborting him as he now has a life that i feel is worse then most 3 year olds lives because they have nice normal mum's not socially anxious depressive mums .

wagnerjessi Wed 30-Mar-16 04:28:21

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SnowCurl Wed 02-Mar-16 22:44:53

Oh, I definitely miss work, so would agree with you there.
Simmi1, its also incredibly frustrating when you can't get an answer. Can they give you antispasmodics to help with the cramps and bowel issues? Spoken to you about referral to a dietitian or something? Hope you are feeling better.
I'm really thankful I came across this thread. Found it last week when going through a really bad spell. I feel sad thinking so many of us women feel this way. At the same time its reassuring to know I'm not alone. It can often feel very isolating when everyone around you looks and seems so happy and at ease with motherhood.

MissTriggs Mon 29-Feb-16 20:41:48

Wow what a thread. I felt this way in my first pregnancy.... it was hard when everyone else was or seemed so happy..... Fortunately it was ok when the baby came

I have worked remotely since2004 and would be happy to talk with anyone who is desperate to get back to work as I think this is a big party of the solution for many of us.

Simmi1 Mon 29-Feb-16 00:24:35

Snowcurl, thank you for your concern. The first specialist I saw was not much help so seeing another one on Thursday. I've had a few tests and antibiotics etc but symptoms still continue. It is miserable being ill but I
know it's not my baby's fault xx

SnowCurl Sun 28-Feb-16 10:43:01

Just thought I'd post a message to offer some support. There's nothing more miserable than looking after someone else when you are feeling ill yourself. It sucks and I'm thinking of you. May I ask what your GP has done to try and help?

Simmi1 Tue 23-Feb-16 23:26:56

I remember wanting to run away when dd1 was a baby as I was tired and overwhelmed. However things did get easier when she started sleeping through at 6 months and then I went back to work at 9 months. Then I got pregnant again, and was happy to be expecting. Had dd2 6 months ago and have been experiencing severe IBS symptoms ever since which has really made me regret having her. I now have 2 small children and I feel unwell. Never had any of theses problems before birth and no one seems to know what's causing it and how to fix it. I feel miserable and depressed and want my old life back when dd1 was in nursery and I was working and most importantly was healthy. This has made me feel suicidal.

Viewofhedges Mon 22-Feb-16 16:24:42

Hello Cornwall. There haven't been many posters on here for a while but I've seen your messages and wanted to reach out with a hug. We're in very different positions - I was due to start IVF in January but after crying snottily down the phone at the nurse we panicked and pulled out. I'm now back on the thinking about it and feeling every day slip past (I'm 39 now) and not knowing if we're having a lucky escape or missing out on something amazing.
I don't know if I'll ever know.

For what it's worth I think you're in a very difficult situation and I'm not surprised you're struggling. I can't begin to imagine how hard twins must be and how hard it must be to have a partner who doesn't want kids. (My DH and I are similarly torn which means it's hard to decide but at least we're as hopeless as each other). It's a real shame that your DH can't step up and interact with his own family. Great that you can afford a Nanny though and I hope you can use that resource to give yourself some time to rest and breathe.

I hope you can find some support in IRL. Are there any twins support networks you can join? My friend had twins and a toddler and I'm surprised she didn't collapse (I went to help her a few times but when she told me to 'just get a dog' when we couldn't have kids and were trying to figure that out in our minds we stopped talking. But now both DH and I really want a dog!) I really do send you as much support as possible over the internet and hope that as they grow you will experience some of the joy that's supposed to come with kids.

Cornwall73 Mon 22-Feb-16 10:32:48

Im not working today and days like this morning on my own with children that make no sense and on 2 hrs sleep I could very happily walk out of the front door and not look back. How can something I wanted so badly hurt me to much that I sometimes regret having them?

Cornwall73 Mon 22-Feb-16 09:22:58

I think I have finally found a safe haven in Mumsnet again. They say that when you make plans God laughs. Well with me he was literally rolling down the aisles.

In my case I regret having children because it is literally destroying my marriage. My husband did not want children. We were married for many years and always said he didn't want them and what a crap father her would be. I DESPERATELY wanted children, it felt like a hole in my life. 8yrs into the marriage I fell pg but miscarried. I was in such a torn world of grief and helplessness at the loss of my baby and it was the only thing I could think of. We carried on trying half hearted until we were diagnosed with infertility. This led to several years of treatment which included seven cycles of IVF and two further miscarriages. DH loves me so much and was so torn to see me in a heap of loss and failure that he encouraged me to try again and again, anything to make me happy.
Cycle 7 worked and we now have toddler twins.

I suffered from antenatal depression, I knew I was going to have to cope mostly with the babies on my own as DH works long hours and sometimes weekends. No friends or family nearby. I even said that we should give one up for adoption as I wouldn't be able to cope. DH didn't engage with the pg, touch the bump or tell me I looked glowing. He just felt put upon that I was so tired and uncomfortable that I moved into the spare room to be able to cope with my pg insomnia and toss and turn without waking him up.

When the babies were born everything was okay but a few months in they had colic and reflux and I sent most days on my own covered in milk with two screaming babies. I often screamed myself.

Roll on to now and DH is just as unengaged. He says he loves us all but he doesn't like children, doesn't get them, finds them mind numbingly boring and has little interest in them. He is happy to spend 10 mins with them but then hand them back to the parents like he would with any other kid.

I feel like a single parent with the benefit of double the income and having another adult around the house. He doesn't parent, take decisions or take an interest. My mental health has really suffered and I veer from loving my children desperately to disliking the back to back tantrums from 6:30am and the constant challenging behaviour. DH's response is to throw money at it by getting me a nanny so she looks after them and he can just step back from any parenting. He says he is too selfish to have children, it isn't his home anymore and hates weekends because he is duty filled to spend time with them/us when it just bores him.

Most weekends it feels like I deal with three toddlers at different levels of behaviour and tantrums and sulks. It's exhausting and I'm seeing the doc next week and plan to ask for medication just so I can break my cycle of pressure and unhappiness.

I know toddlers are difficult, I don't have the patience to laugh off their behaviour. But does it get better?

lantee711 Sat 20-Feb-16 07:06:31

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