Note: Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk, so this is not necessarily the best place to seek help if you're feeling seriously distressed or suicidal. Mumsnet cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice and support.
Does anyone else regret having children?(249 Posts)
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?
There is a gigantic con out there I think, about motherhood. It is just hard, hard, hard - especially with babies and tiny tots. Tiring, mostly boring and a huge sacrifice. When my dd was a baby I suffered raging cabin fever - I remember moving the TV into a different room to make life a bit more interesting. And I remember, when she was pretty much a newborn, wanting to go grocery shopping and being unable to, because of the cropping up of endless baby jobs or baby sleep. Finally managing it at 4.45pm. Awful. And is 'bonding' a myth? It took me a long time before I got to the point where I'd have felt bereaved if she'd just vapourised and disappeared from my life - I remember thinking at various stages - how would I feel if I lost her now - I kept realising, guiltily, the answer was 'perfectly OK'. It took a very long time before I knew something had changed, and I'd find it painful.
Some babies are easy, but mine was very very discontented.
My GP said, when I complained how whingey my dd was, that some babies just don't enjoy being babies - they feel frustrated because they want to do things which they physically can't! Which was something to hold on to.
My dd (grown up) is such a great daughter now. I am so very proud of her, and the terrific thing is, she loves me to bits as well.
There's the luck of the draw, with babies, I think. It can turn out well, or better than well - but many years of hard grind often come first.
People who decide not to have them, 'gain' - or rather, keep intact, many years of 'normal' life which babies and small children DO take away.
NOT having children is definitely a wise decision for lots of people.
I found this thread by chance today when i did a google search for 'i hate looking after my daughter'. I am so glad that i am not alone in having these feelings. I am 48 and a SAHM of one. Feel so wretched and ashamed for having such negative feelings. It has got better since dd started school and i have time to myself. It would be great to have a nite out with someone like me who struggles with motherhood. Please pm me if you are in the liverpool area and would like to meet up for a drink or go to a gig (punk/rock/indie kind of stuff).
I had a horrible abusive husband and terrible pregnancy, because I was beat up, nearly every day. When my son was born I get a very serious psychosis but that time in my country nobody know about this.
My son was a problem child all his life. Sometimes he was lovely but most of the times he lied about everything. I divorced and I find a love of my life, we brought him up together. We gave him everything love, care . I was a full time mum I tried my best, and my husband did the same.
When he was 15 we find out he has schizophrenia. He did not take medication, because he lied to the doctor too.
year later he started to use drugs, when he was 18 he moved out. I cooked for him, cleaned his home did everything, I begged go to rehab.
He did not go. he committed suicide when he was 19.
I blamed myself because I lost my temper so many times, I wanted to die too.
This happened very long time ago.
He gave me so much pain and suffer, I got cancer, even doctors said caused by the stress all the time.
Now he is dead, I miss him, but the same time I got my life back, and don't suffer any more. I loved him and I hated him .
I still don't like children definitely not babies. I am not want to be alone any babies because I fell the urge harming them. I was under psychiatrist care for 13 years, but this urge never disappeared.
I am OK now, all my friends are childless.
I think because when I was sick after childbirth I get damaged forever because I did not get any help.
I hope my story help someone who thinks for herself she is a monster. No, she is damaged, she need help. And if she feel she want harm a
baby or child, never get friends with children, don't babysit etc. and she will be OK.
I was 38 when I got pregnant. Had also had a termination 12 years before without a jot of regret. Only a rare, fleeting thought once in a while along the lines of "He/She would have been xyz years old now" but not in remorseful way.
I think I may have regretted not having DS in years to come but honestly, who knows?
I can't lie, it's (and has been well documented!) bloody exhausting to be begin with and I'm not sure how I would have coped without support and a break every now and then. I mean, I'm quite sure it's exhausting at any age but certainly more so being an "older" mum.
I'm not quite sure how I "managed" the first say, three years? It all seems a blur now to be honest. It has got better though, now he's a person not a ball of arms and legs.
I hope you reach the decision you feel is best for you [thanks
I wish lastminute would reappear!
Brettgirl, agree that lots of issues are probably dp/dh related. If mine were more, or 100%, 'behind me', I'd feel steadier. But I think my uncertainty makes him uncertain. We de-stabilise each other.
We'd have no support from grandparents but have friends nearby. These friends have children who have grown up / left home, so they wouldn't help in quite the same way as grandparents. The bond just wouldn't be there.
No one can tell you what the right thing is for you.
I've never read this thread before and can relate to it to an extent. In my case I don't particularly like babies and never have. I always saw in my future that my children would be adults . I really don't understand people who say dd2 (22 months) is a lovely age I think she's a nightmare. Dd1 (4) gets better by the day and I can't wait until the little one is at least a year older.
A lot of the issues on this thread are dp/dh related I think. Men can take 50% responsibility if they want to or even more. Some are disability related, which I can't comment on. Some are guilt related, people trying to be something they aren't. I had a guilt phase with dd1 when I realised that I wasn't ever going to be an earth mother and its highly destructive. I felt bad that I hated mat leave, mother and baby groups, other mothers ! These days I aim for average which is reasonably achievable. (Most of the time )
At least with dp retired you can go back to work (I didn't last a full 12 months Mat leave, shudder). With 2 parents and one child you can have freedom it just needs planning. Presumably though you won't have that much support from grandparents which I find useful?
To all the brave and brilliant women on this thread who have wrestled with a similar dilemma: I'd appreciate it a lot if you could read to the end. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm in a state of complete despair.
I am seven weeks pg, but very ambivalent towards the pg. I know that to have a baby, you should really want one. And I'm not sure how much I do. I am forty and have no other children, so at this point I think I have to accept that I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't. It's going to be difficult either way; with either course of action, there will be hardships and loss and regrets. But this still doesn't help me to know what to do.
My situation is complicated by the fact that I am 40; dp is almost 60. But hey! at least I have a dp, right? Lots of people go it alone at this age.... the other factor that doesn't help is that there are no aunts / cousins / grandparents / brothers / sisters, etc in our town, so we'd be dealing with all childcare on our own. My family are miles away. His family are grown / scattered / dead, etc.
I love playing with babies and small children, and I have a nephew who I adore. But I've never spent more than 48 hours in sole charge of a tot. THe idea of it fills me equally with feelings
of excitement and horror. Now that I am pg, I constantly try to imagine myself doing the things I normally do, only while being in sole charge of a two-year-old. This rules out: taking a long bath; going running; lying here on Sunday morning typing this; browsing shops; taking a long time to cook something new; staying late at work because I feel like getting a bit extra done; basically, the extent to which it changes your life makes my head spin. It is intimidating me.
How do you all manage?!
I keep thinking to myself: you are 40. You've managed this far, without children. You haven't particularly craved them. You are doing okay now (after many and various difficulties, especially in my 20s).
But then I think: if you terminate, you will regret it because this is your last chance.
Although my desire to have kids has always been "Oh, it'll be nice if it happens", rather than "Got To Do It At All Costs!!". Now it is happening and if I'm completely honest, I can't say I'm over the moon. My initial reaction when I saw the faint line was, "Oh. S**t." I thought, "perhaps I'll miscarry, then the decision will take care of itself", but I don't think this is going to happen, somehow.
I'm an idiot and I don't know what to do. I have printed this entire thread and read it lots of times. The bits that resonate are
AND work! By this I mean it will be ME doing the packed lunches, book bags, getting kids up, ironing outfits, driving to school, and all other admin as necessary- all before work then it will be (you guessed it) ...ME picking up kids - oh an 18 hour day YIPPIE!!!
I do love DS and absolutely want the best for him - it hurts when he is upset. BUT - I still feel it would have been better for all concerned if he had never existed.
Of course, it's highly unfortunate to look back, with hindsight, and think "if I could live again, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have children". And I would like to avoid this, of course. But then you have mothers saying "it was the making of me", "the most intense love affair ever", "the best thing I ever did". But I have no clue which way it will go for me. All I know is that I am full of trepidation. I am browsing the thread reminding myself of posts that resonate, but there are just too many, and it's so upsetting that I'm now crying.
fortyandstillunsure, canyoubelieveit and lastminute all speak very loudly to me.
But I just don't know if I can terminate. When I look at new mums with their babies, I feel jealous! But I don't feel at all jealous of older mums in their fifties struggling with hormonal teenagers, and knackered sixty-year-olds working difficult jobs to put demanding kids through university. And the baby bit is oh-so-transient. Perhaps I should focus on being a brilliant auntie to my three neices and nephews, and a good partner and loving daughter to my brilliant mum (who I haven't always had the best relationship with, but I do now).
I'm scared of the commitment, and scared of living out the rest of my years feeling as though I've missed something wonderful and as though I lack a sense of purpose. Plus, I would always be looking over my shoulder at that time when I was 40, thinking "what if...?". To be honest, though, I don't think an abortion would ruin my life. I had one at 35 and didn't regret it or think about it much. In the back of my mind I was thinking "there can be another time". But this time, there can't.
I need to take control, make a decision, and enjoy the rest of my life. Yet this is easier said than done. In some ways, getting pg at 40 is like a gift. I have had not a jot of sickness. So why am I so unsure what to do for the best.
Then there is the small matter of money: neither me nor dp have much money. He is retired and has a pension of £1,000 a month. I'd be on maternity. Not much to sustain three of us!
I should have known my own mind before getting pg. There is a counselling service for women in our position called 'ticktockcounselling' but I didn't know until I was pg. I agree with all of you who cite social pressures: threads like this are like 24 carot gold. Elsewhere, all you hear about are the supposed delights and joys.
What a mess.
Hi, I can relate too. I hate post natal depression which didn't help, as I desperately wanted my old life back. Like others have suggested, it was going back to work that turned it around for me. I found a good nursery for 2 days, hubby adjusted his hours to stay at home 2 days and my mother in law helped out one day a week and I went back full time. Being a SAHM was never going to be for me. I can also relate to the anger you feel, again this can be a sign of depression. Keep up with the citalopram, it can take up to 6 weeks to start working fulling. Join a gym (with a crèche facility) to get some time back, meet up with friends in a coffee shop or pub that has a children's play area (we have a soft play cafe in Bristol with CCTV so you can watch them
Play from further away than you would normally and enjoy a hot coffee and a natter with friends). Start going to mums groups. I made some Lovely friends there who when I returned to work kept including me in their nights out, where children's talk is not allowed....
My son started school this September gone, it's not been an easy 4 years, but we have now started tomgontonmuseums together and he will sit quietly in a coffee shop with a colouring book when I want to meet a friend, but in all
Honesty, now I am not with him every minute of the day I am finding I really enjoy spending time with him, and yes I love my clever boy with all my heart, something in the beginning I wasn't sure would ever happen xxx
This was a very interesting article, which reflects my own feelings very closely (but without the IVF element).
I cried with relief when I read this (relief that I'm not alone), and with gratitude that the writer went public with her story. Claudia Connell, it sounds as though you went through the torments of hell trying to work out what you wanted, and that you went through such high levels of uncertainty and anxiety on your own. My heart goes out to you. You went through so much. ((((hugs))))
It's really good to see that people still watch this thread and to see updates. I'd like to hear how Morriszap is getting on. And Zahora of course.
For myself, DS is now 6years and 3months. A long way from my thunderbolt moment. I think the feelings of regret have definitely lengthened and wonder if, for me, it was a "baby" thing. As in, I find babies mind numbingly boring and toddlers extremely challenging (even though to be fair, DS was a dream compared to
most some I've seen)
I was talking about it to a work colleague t'other day and said that, when I look back I can't believe I actually came through it. I hardly recognise the stressed, resentful, bedraggled, utter mess person that was me.
I work FT time now and time is at a premium most days. DS mixes between DH's shifts, school, Nanna and Grandads. It was useful (by default) that he spent a lot of time with various people when he was younger. Automatically accepts when we say he's staying at Nanna and Grandads.
One thing I will reiterate though is that whilst some people may think that 4 days away is a lot, it's mainly because they're probably jealous. Grab any opportunity to have time alone I say
Much love to all
Been a while since I posted on this thread, I find myself coming back to it for encouragement when I'm feeling particularly miserable.
Lots of posts have struck a cord. Thanks to the poster who pointed out that being utterly miserable for a reason isn't the same as depression. I don't think I'm depressed but dp seems to want to attach that label to me. I guess it's easier than accepting that I regret giving in and having a child, that its made me very unhappy, that its destroyed a relationship that meant everything to me but that I'm just trying to get on with it.
I recently posted elsewhere about feeling dp and i needed time away from dd and that we had only had 4 days away from dd this year. Lots of people posted that 4 days was a lot and that they hadn't left their child for years. That thread made me feel like an outcast. This one doesn't. Thanks for that.
Ps hope Zahora and others are ok.
Thank you all so much. You've no idea how much this thread has helped. I found this after screaming at my 16 month old for spilling water from a glass I left in front of her knowing what she's like. I don't regret having her, I regret losing my freedom. I'm a SAHM through my own choice as I despised the job I had. But I'm not cut out for it. She goes to daycare for 4 hours twice a week while I do a bit if work for a local business, and it's bliss. I look forward to seeing her again. But just as quick I can lose my temper. I love her to bits and she's the best in the world but when she's in a temper or testing the boundaries I genuinely feel like I'd gladly hand her to my DP and go. He's great with her and understands so that helps too. I feel I can cope so much better after reading all your stories. It'll help me have more patient to know I'm not alone.
Bumblebee123 no flaming from me. Everyone in life has their own agenda's and that goes for everyone on here too. People can flame if you are not validating their choices.
As long as your dd is happy, loved and secure who are we to flame and blame!
It's been a long while since I posted on this thread but it was nice to read other people's updates so I thought I should add my own.
I was the poster that had a child at 19 and when I split from her father let her live with him. Since I last posted I've actually focused more on my career and moved a few hours away. I see dd (now 7) every other weekend and half the school holidays. And for me, that's enough. I know I might get flamed for this, but as everyone else is being so honest I thought I should be too. I actually DO enjoy the time I spend with her now, because it's precious. I've always struggled with being a parent, and if I had fulltime care I know I would be sinking into depression by now.
Having children so young is so life-limiting, and to me it felt almost as if I was giving up my own life before it had even started. That feeling of unfairness is very very hard to deal with when you know this is it, no changing the past now.
These days thankfully I am able to feel like I have my own life, when I'm in-between visits with dd. I have a new partner and I'm enjoying my career and able to do the "grown-up" things I missed out on first time round. I know this wouldnt suit everyone, and I'm lucky that dd has a decent father (even if he was a rubbish husband) that is able to care for her. I know that it's also a huge social stigma for a mother to live apart from her child, and this is actually something I'm still working through myself. But it's been 2 years now, and I can honestly say I wouldn't want to go back to fulltime carer if I had the choice.
Thank you to everyone on this thread for being honest and frank, it's certainly helped me come to terms with my own feelings and situation.
Good to hear that you are happy with the decision you have made. It is nice to read updates across the years
Well, I know reading through the thread I loved any updates people had, so I figure I might as well post mine too.
This thread popped into my head again because I had this incredibly realistic dream (nightmare?) last night that I was 8 months pregnant.
My ex and I (naturally, because if I did ever end up in that condition, he would be involved) were at this kind of expectant parent conference. We were going to different sessions, making baby books and learning some of the basics, etc. Looking back on it, probably a really cool thing if it existed.
He was beyond ecstatic to be there, that we were expecting, and very attentive and supportive, kind of the ideal guy in that situation (which honestly he probably would be).
I excused myself to an out of the way bathroom...to pretty much have a panic attack. I was sobbing, clutching my stomach, knowing deep in my soul that this was the biggest mistake of my life, and wishing there was some way I could go back and change the decision. I felt the terror and panic overwhelm me as I knew I had just ruined the rest of my life and didn't know if I would be able to get through it, and berating myself for ever being so stupid.
Guess us breaking up was definitely the right thing to do, though I didn't really need a confirmation at this point. Very happy to wake up and find that a dream.
It’s been two months since I posted originally. My ex and I still spend a lot of time together – I actually spend more time with him and talking to him than any of my other friends. It’s definitely the strangest breakup I’ve ever had, and it was rough, especially in the beginning, but now I see him as a friend. It’s been long enough that I remember those things he does that weren’t perfect (since no relationship/person is), and I’m glad I don’t have to put up with that forever.
We are still incredibly compatible in getting along and long-term life goals, minus that kid part. I guess now we’re more like gay best friends, minus the gay part? Who knows, maybe I’ll be his best maid at his eventual wedding to a breeder. Maybe when he finally gives up on kids for being too old, we’ll end up back together. Either way, it’ll work out.
My point in posting again though is that, since it seems some of you are in the same situation, the breakup is okay. It hurts and sucks for a while, but it’s still better than making such an impactful life decision to keep us together. Yes, we were really good together and compatible, but now I see that as “I was able to find someone that wanted a lot of the same things I did in life, so there must be more of them out there that are even a better fit” than “I may be throwing away my soul mate over this one decision.”
You know what’s right for you. Trust yourself and know it gets better, whichever way it ends up. I know I second-guessed the hell out of it for the first month, but, especially after feeling everything in that dream last night, I know it was the right decision for me.
It's amazing for me to finally find people in my situation. My boyfriend is wonderful and I love being with him and feel like we could marry and be happy together for years and years. He wants kids (at least two) and I have always been doubtful about whether I wanted to have children at all. When we met it was something we discussed but we agreed to see how the relationship went and that we'd revisit it in a year or so. It's been 18 months (and I am 35) and I am no closer to knowing whether I want to have a child.
I have a great life, a worthwhile, interesting and challenging career with a lot of travel, and amazing friends I love spending time with. I constantly swing from thinking a child would be wonderful and that I could offer it a great life, to feeling like I want to scream at the thought of giving birth to a little person who is reliant on me for the next x years. Reading through the experiences above I feel like even considering having a child is crazy unless it is totally 100% what I think I want. But then I swing back the other way and I think that anyone who knows the loss of freedom, the boredom, the work and the exhaustion of having a child could not go into it without some level of trepidation? So maybe I am just being pragmatic and realistic in not feeling totally enamoured with becoming a parent?
MidknyOwl I fear I will be in your position soon; I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I am glad that you feel confident in your decision, that's so important. I hope I can reach some surety at some point too.
That's so sad MidknytOwl, and I think I will be in the same situation in a few years. Although he says it won't break us up, I don't think I could bear to deny him the fatherhood he's always wanted, especially as all his friends are starting to have kids now. I suppose it's too much to hope that they will all tell him what a nightmare it is and he'll change his mind?!
I wish you all the best and hope you meet someone who feels the same way as you, when you're ready xxx
I know this thread is very old, even though there's some recent comments, but I just had to post.
Like others, I wanted to thank the posters for being honest and brave enough to admit that you regret having children. This alone has probably helped me more right now than anything else I've tried.
My boyfriend and I broke up two weeks ago because he wants kids (2) and I have never wanted any. We've known this was an issue from pretty much two weeks into the relationship, but that early on you kind of figure there's a lot of things that can go wrong before that is an issue, especially when you're in that early giddy, first kisses stage.
(Un)fortunately, nothing else has gone wrong in the relationship. This is the best relationship I've ever been in, we love each other, and we want to be together. Hell, I honestly think if I did want kids he would have been proposing. But, as he put it when he broke up with me, we're not being fair to each other and he's ready to start a family.
The problem is that I had been debating having kids for months, because we're just so right together every other way. So I started to think about how we could do it to where it might actually be okay.
Even if I had wanted kids, I would never have biological ones - there's a lot of serious mental illness that runs in my family (mom had multiple personalities, sister is a bipolar paranoid schizophrenic that grew up in a mental institute after she stabbed me for the second time, etc.). I wouldn't want to play Russian Roulette with that.
I also know I would never get past the infant/toddler stage, as seems to be the hardest part even for those of you that wanted kids. I've always said my version of hell is populated with children under the age of 8 - the screaming, the dependency, the needing all your attention...I know I couldn't do it. I can't even stand the little buggers in the grocery store, let alone be stuck with one all the time.
So I thought maybe we could adopt a 5 or 6 year old. They would be young enough they could get over whatever made them be adopted at that age and be able to be our children, yet old enough they could feed themselves, use the bathroom on their own, and go to school.
I still figured I would probably be happier sans children, but it seemed like an okay compromise that I might even enjoy at some point. I can definitely see the appeal of having kids...sometimes.
Alas (or perhaps luckily), he wants biological children from birth, and I at least know that I could never do that. So we broke up.
But as we've continued to try to be friends, and I see over and over again how great we are together (if anything we get along better now), how we want similar things for the future (well, minus those kid things), and just miss him, I keep thinking about it and almost trying to talk myself into motherhood.
Googling brought me this thread on a night when I missed him terribly and was thinking it might be okay if he was a SAHD, and it's helped me not only to not do something stupid, like ruin my whole life for a guy, but is helping me to stop thinking we can work something out. We can't, and after reading these posts, I'm sure my compromise of adoption would have me miserable as well, as I worried it would.
Anyway, I know I'm not quite the flavor this was intended for, but thanks again for your honesty. Everyone tells me I'd be a great mother and I'd probably love it...but it's good to hear that I should trust my instincts.
We still miss each other, and I still wish there was some way we could work it out, but I now know confidently that this wouldn't be the answer.
Oh, sorry That was me skimming the thread as it was long and old.
I was actually in a slightly similar boat. DP and I were both about 30 and had been together 10 years when I fell pg by surprise, though it was only about 6m before we'd been planning on trying. It was a big shock to both of us even though it was just a few months early. We ended up buying a house, that I'd never seen, in a rush and moving at 34w pg!
Does life really change a lot once you've had a baby? Does it really take away your freedom?
There's no straightforward answer to these because while yes, life changes utterly and you have far less freedom than before, what matters is how much that bothers you. Some people will find they won't mind at all, some people will be very stressed by it. There's no way of knowing beforehand.
You can still go on holiday. You can still travel. You can still work. (Money allowing, obviously). But unless you have understanding family or a babysitter on the doorstep, you can't decide to nip down the pub on a Friday night. In your house, you can't sleep when you want to or even where you want to, watch TV when you want to, read when you want to, eat when you want to, spend time with your partner when you want to... It's a whole different world, and really it's not something you can describe just through an internet post.
This is an old thread so you are probably not going to get many replies on here. Maybe try starting a thread on Pregnancy (http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/pregnancy) for a better response?
pregnant, I too would not want to in any way lessen what these mums feel, I hope you will find that for a lot of us mums although it is different, hard knackering sometimes mind numbing it is also the best most rewarding life I was only married 3 months when I fell pregnant.DD is 30 and ds 28 and I've had the mosta mazing life. I've never been to the maldives and shivering watching cross country or netball or football etc isn't the same but not every mum regrets it.
Hi Thurlow thank u for ur reply u will find my first post about 8 comments up from this one
Pregnant -yes, your life will change, and it won't have all the freedoms you previously had. It is hard work, and there are always moments you wonder what you are doing.
However, and this is THE most important thing and I can't stress this enough... the one thing you can't prepare for when you give birth is just how much you will love your baby, and just how much they will make you laugh and cry.
The hard work, the boredom, the night feeds, the endless episodes of Peppa Pig... they all get forgotten when your child does something that surprises you (they do something new almost every single day).
Depending on how you parent, you can still do the things that you want, you make your family work as you want it to. I have friends that haven't been out in a couple of years (out of choice), and friends that went away for the weekend 6 weeks after the baby was born. Babies are hard, but they are also amazing....
& it's the first time I've found some honesty about what it's like to have children.
People have different experiences, those of the posters here are valid and honest, but my own experience (lifestyle was similar to your's pre-children ) is just as honest and valid, but completely different. That's All.