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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?

panpipesmakemeangry Mon 08-Sep-14 23:50:52

I am also struggling with the decision. I suspect that I don't really want children badly enough. My fears somehow seem to outweigh excitement and I am trying to listen to and tune into my gut instinct. I fear that, at 40, I will be too exhausted. My partner is even older. It's sooooooooo hard, and the social pressure is hard to bear. Everywhere, it seems we are conditioned to want children, as though this is the proper way to be a woman. I seem to receive the message, over and over again, that children are the key to fulfillment. Yet I remain a little sceptical about this.

More than anything else though, I wanted to add the following to this thread.

The digital revolution has undoubtedly brought many evils to the world: the democratisation -- availabilty and variety -- of pornography. 'Electronic fidgeting' where none of us can quite switch off our multitude of screens. The problems of navigating the (at times) bitchiness of Facebook for young teenagers in school. The instant and invasive nature of Twitter soundbites and rolling news, blah blah.

BUT! THANK GOD! for threads like these. It brings tears of gratitude to my eyes (yes, really) to be able to access the testimonials here. It has been a great source of comfort and reassurance to know that I am not alone. Hearing other people's stories has been such a wonderful, wonderful help to me in my confused state. At risk of being sentimental, thank you posters, Mumsnet and the Internet, from the bottom of my heart.

evrim Fri 29-Aug-14 21:05:43

Hi All, I came across this post when I was feeling very down. I have never had a desire to have a child until a few years ago although I had been good with babies and children and I was familiar with baby care due to having babies in the family. Having a baby was a mutual decision of my husband and I. I had a lovely pregnancy although birth was very difficult and a bit traumatic. All in all, I dont have much to complain about as I have had full time support since day one and my husband and my family have been and still are very supportive whenever I need their help. I had so many episodes of unhappiness until few months ago. I have been meaning to write here but it just didnt happen so far. What changed my life was getting a professional help from a sleep consultant. I love to have a routine and plan my day, week, month so I get lots of things done. My biggest challenge was that i couldnt establish a routine for my baby for months and that made my life a chaos as well as destroyed my self confidence as I started to feel like a failure. I started to feel as if I had lost someone, as if someone I knew very well had passed away. However things changed completely when I got help from this wonderful lady who is a great sleep consultant. She works over the phone so it makes it so easy to work with her. The reason why I mention this is in this discussion is, such a simple thing can change your life and enable you to spend few hours a day and the entire evening for yourself. Also, it makes your baby very contended and also easy to be looked after.
If sleeping/eating or even manners of your baby is a problem for you, I strongly recommend getting professional help to fix it. Then, it is more fun and joy to be with your child.

kaydenitua Fri 22-Aug-14 12:51:23

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temporaryusername Thu 14-Aug-14 22:08:43

Thanks Shakey smile

Shakey1500 Thu 14-Aug-14 22:04:41

It's a mixture really temporary, most people have been really candid about their backgrounds etc as you'll see when/if you read.

temporaryusername Thu 14-Aug-14 21:57:54

I haven't been able to read the whole thread but were most of the posters who feel this way people who didn't really want children, or have some people thought they would love parenting and been shocked?

Also, were they mostly people who loved their life before children?

(I don't have children, just interested).

Shakey1500 Thu 14-Aug-14 21:31:46

Thanks Chloe


My thoughts are-

Top of the list is that it's obvious that a lot of shame surrounds these very real feelings. Years ago I would have absolutely used the word "regret" and it definitely applied at that time. 7 years on however and now that the whole motherhood thang is easier to manage (DS is more independent etc) I don't feel the regret anymore. And I feel relieved at that. I think what's clear is that the people who have posted on this thread (well, most of them) wish more than anything that they didn't feel as they do/did.

Whilst I think there is possibly a large element of PND and or depression in the mix, I also believe it's a stand alone topic (? can't think of another word, didn't want to use something like "condition")

I know a lot of MN'ers are appalled at this thread, I've seen it mentioned in other threads. And I understand that for those who don't have those feelings, it's impossible to understand. But those on this thread have posted for support/help, for someone to say "It's ok, you are NOT the first and won't be the last" Just to know you're not alone as I felt it was all consuming.

Through the "taboo-ness" there is little or no support.

If I can use thpfb post as an example, I was with her until the "Be grateful you are breathing" and beyond. Please don't misunderstand, I'm in absolute awe of what you've had to deal with and I am really happy that you feel as you do and wish you and yours good health in the years to come thanks However, whilst I can understand folk wanting "us" to be "fixed" it is what it is and no platitudes or comparisons will make a jot of difference. If I could have waved a magic wand I would have. If it was a simple as counting my blessings I would have done it. In a heartbeat.

Interesting to hear other's thoughts.

Oblomov Thu 14-Aug-14 17:03:59

Marking my place so that I can return later. I agree with most of what has been written and could have written many of the posts.

what can we conclude?

Chloe2408 Wed 13-Aug-14 22:25:09

Ps Happy Birthday to ur DS cake

Chloe2408 Wed 13-Aug-14 22:24:07

Thank you shakey1500 for replying... It feels like a weight lifted in itself being able to vocalise my feeling and fears without all the repercussions (so to speak). This is the thing, my children are beautiful and have such brilliant personalities for being so young and whenever they are poorly or upset i love being the one they come to for cuddles and kisses...
Which is why i hate how i feel, i guess what i am trying to say is that i don't want to feel like this about them as they deserve that unconditional love and i don't want them to be scared to come to mummy "incase she shouts like a mad woman" but i just feel this constant knot like a wound up feeling in my stomach all the time where i feel angry or low and resentful. I know i am only 24, and still have a life ahead but i used to be a fun, calm person before... I just want to be that same person for my kids, go out and muck around with them and not be full of dread and easily snap from one mood to another.
The thing about my DP is he is 17yrs older we have been together 7-8yrs and lots of ups and downs, just he isn't the easiest or most sympathetic guy and blames everything down to my implant in my arm (which could have an affect i understand but not to this extent- however i refuse to go on to pill as i fell pregnant twice on it) and i mention depression and my fathers bipolar and it doesn't seem to register to him i am concerned about it and just tells me to "f off you are being stupid"... But if it comes to my welfare and trying to be a better person let alone a better mum, i just hoped he be a bit more supportive. I don't want to be a mum who has to be drugged up on AD to enjoy my children but i am coming to a dead end and don't know what else to do... I have a friend who helps me alot with the childcare when we are at work and i get frustrated with myself that they have a better time with her than me because of this. I know i need to speak to a gp or someone; i just fear the repercussions.
Thank u for listening to me ranting thanks

thpb2014 Wed 13-Aug-14 20:50:29

When I was pregnant with my son in 2011... My partner broke up with me and was trying to sleep with everything in a skirt...
at 4 and a half months pregnant I found out I had blood clots everywhere on my lungs... My heart wasn't working properly and I was diagnosed with epilepsy... All the on the day after my 25th birthday... I'd gone to hospital because I couldn't breath...I thought it was anxiety as my partner broke up with me on my birthday. I was told I'd be in hospital for months IF we survived.

I was always a bit of gypsy and loved to work... travel around... try new foods... I was very social... loved night time and going out. Extremely cultured creature.

I ended up being cared for by my mum in a tiny garden flat until I was 38 weeks pregnant and moving house to be closer to the hospital and my ex as at the time I naively thought he would really love me if he saw me making such a sacrifice. Even though he was out chasing tail when I was stuck in a hospital with cords strapped to me everywhere and a tank of oxygen as my back back.
I put beds together, moved furniture... Had a frightening seizure and was induced at 38 and a half weeks. It took a week to induce me... When I finally fell into active labor it took 30 hours and we nearly died through the labor... My ex was there seeing all of this. We finally had our son.. he was laid on my chest and I sobbed... I was so sick and tired... If you look at the photos (I've burnt alot of them) I was green and Grey... he was still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. He never left my side..I lost tremendous amounts of blood and had to have transfusions... In hospital for more months after. Stage 3 tearing. I'd never held a baby for more than 2 minutes in my adult life
I was sick for months after and still breastfedetc. I cleaned him to within of his life everyday. I had holes in my a own clothes and he looked like a catwalk baby.
My ex didn't take well to being a dad... wanted to sleep with me and pretend he was doing something but couldn't help me in the slightest.. In anyway.
I still tried with all my might to bond them...
I am in no way maternal...
I was that person who yelled at people's crying babies in shops... lol karma got me.
I did realize something though. This little person clung to life with me... he is the only reason I clung to my own life... I was the only person who was going to take care if him because no one else was stepping up and I sure as hell wasn't letting people give me any crap for leaving...

As if all of this wasn't hard enough then the boredom that you have all spoken of set in. I was terrified and bored.
But my son is such an amazing spirit I couldn't help but getting lost in him..
I love him to death...
Maybe I got lucky and we had a pretty great bond
I can't say I altogether like the original post...
I get the being housebound part and the lack of help. I won't say I've never lost my temper.

I actually had a second child... My daughter who is now 6 months and VERY difficult baby... she won't go to anyone else but my goodness she is stunning. My ex and I got back together (his still an arse every now and again) but he is an incredible father now to both children. The funny thing is he was the one that wanted kids and yet he was the one that had to learn to connect.

I don't sleep much most days which flares up my epilepsy. My mum lives with us but she is 70 and some days more work than the kids. I am enrolled for a course next year and my son goes to daycare two days a week.

My whole life I thought I was sooo happy and able to live so freely... for a while I thought my children and illness hindered that person, that life.

I actually found that they were everything that was missing. I owe my life to my children... Although some days I'd like to ring their necks..
I love them...

I know your hurting mummies but what I'm trying to show by telling my story is that just because we make choices that don't suit who we are and it's hard work... There is so much beauty in being a parent. It's a selfless act... A legacy.
I hope you are all ok and your children will bring you joy someday soon.

It's all about perspective I guess. I started taking small steps. Demanding a bit of me time. Doing my nails... demanding showers... slowly talking to friends again. Going to the shops by myself...etc. I'm still in the process. Some days are so hard but the next one is so great because the little people do something amazing.

Be grateful we are breathing.

Just remember this world is pretty crappy. There are many out there who don't have the option of having children or are stuck in war torn countries with no opportunity to take care of the babies they love and want.

Shakey1500 Wed 13-Aug-14 20:40:36

Glad you found us Chloe smile It is nice knowing that there are others that feel the same way. I've only the one DS (7yrs old today actually) and can't imagine how I would feel with more than one.

Would you feel able to speak to your GP regarding possible depression? Perhaps it might help a little just to speak to a professional about it and might make your DP feel differently about labelling you stupid. Can't be easy either with both of you working long hours I expect. Good to have a place though where you can just be "you".

And there's no shame in admitting how you feel on this very taboo subject. What I will say is that, thankfully I no longer feel as bad as I did now that he's older but very much remember the feelings of regret I did have. I guess at least with two, they will be company for each other as they grow.

And remember, you cared enough to post here and gain support for your feelings. That's such a big thing. thanks

Chloe2408 Wed 13-Aug-14 19:40:45

You have no idea how relieved i felt when i came across this post, i know this thread is 5+yrs old but when i saw the title i felt relieved knowing i am not the only one who feels this way... Saying it in my head made me feel like the worst person in the world and to even dream of saying it to family or the OH made me feel disguted with myself.

I have never been a lover of children; the whining, the night feeds; the 24/7 dependancy... I didn't mind other peoples purely for the reason of being able to hand them back. That was until, i became pregnant at 20 with my OH, our little boy in many ways made us grow up, get a home, a car and sort our lives out.... I was diagnosed with mild depression at 16 and my dad suffers with bipolar and severe depression and has barely been around since i was 13.
So what is the problem? When our son turned 1, i found myself yearning to go back to work that was until we recieved the bombshell that i was 28wks pregnant- too late for a termination, our only option was to follow through and keep the child or put up for adoption. I automatically felt this hatred, and resent for this child as i didn't want 1 let alone 2, how would i cope mentally, financially (although my partner worked- he was barely at home as he is a chef) the idea of being at home all by myself with a newborn and an 18month old petrified me. So 12wks later our daughter arrived and i felt no love for her whatsoever i tried and tried; then the colic set in and made it worse... I have never felt so angry at this tiny baby in all my life, listenin to her cry... Gradually it wore off and she is almost 2.... But now i feel so alone and constantly angry, watching them wind one another up, the clingyness, the nappies. I don't enjoy playing games/ soft play or the park and disney jr is slowly grating and grating and find myself shouting more and more at them; god knows i would never hurt them; I hate myself for saying as i know there are people desperate for children and i would love to sometimes to just be able to walk away....
I work full time and the kids go to nursery one day a week, just on my days off, i would rather be out with friends or spending quality time with my partner or EVEN still be at work!! I love my job and tbh would rather be there than at home with the kids.
I feel so awful and more and more feel resentful and lonely yet i speak to my OH about my fears about depression and he tells me i am stupid and its hard to even bring up the topic as he dotes on both of our kids. I am sorry for the essay just you have no idea how relieved i am to see this thread.

Shakey1500 Mon 11-Aug-14 20:33:54

Tina, just to point out that this thread is 5 years old and Zahora hasn't posted for a while (if you're looking Zahora, we've all wished you well smile )

Also Tina, it's great that you feel better thanks to the help you've got. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to do the same, or even if they were, may not want to and are after support and understanding whilst experiencing such feelings. All the best.

tinatina01 Sun 10-Aug-14 19:06:05

Dear Zahora

plz get some help to look after u'r son.u might not like being a mother but the little one deserves a life of respect and love. i am ulmost sad to hear that u scream at your little one.

plz hire somebody to take care of him for the months and even more till u start enjoying u'r motherhood.


tinatina01 Sun 10-Aug-14 18:57:20

I had the same problem but then I hired a full time baby sitter. this way most of the hours I get for myself. I resigned after my son was born. I found it very difficult to look after him. at times I felt i'll have a nervous breakdown. and then my husband suggested that I keep a full time baby sitter.

today I am a happy mother. and i have a company in my baby sitter. she is much younger to me but we get along well so she is like my friend now. at times she gets me hot coffee . she is looking after both of us actually. smile

maybebaby88 Wed 30-Jul-14 17:39:10

I would just like to say thank you so much to all the brave women who have written on this thread. I have always been unsure whether I want children and always made to feel like some kind of mutant if I didn't fall in love with every baby I saw.

I am a long term relationship with a man 10 years older who already has a 11 year old child. This wasn't a problem at first as his evil ex hardly let him see his ds. But a few months ago it emerged that she had become a raging alcoholic and now he's staying with us long term, possibly forever (he doesn't want to go back when she is better). This is utterly terrifying to me. Because I only work weekends (about to do my postgrad in september) and my dp works full time I have him pretty much 24/7. He is the most spoiled, selfish and sulky kid Ive ever met. He's not interested in anything, refuses most things I attempt to cook him and manipulates his way out of everything by pulling the sickie routine.

The thing is me and my dp were seriously considering having kids in a few years but this has put me off so much. I am literally hiding from him in the garden now as I can't bear to be around him. I was always unsure but this experience has made me almost certain.

sorry for my rambles, but it is seriously so refreshing to hear the other side of motherhood. I really feel for you ladies and I hope you all find a way to feel good about your decision. All my friends with babies tell me how amazing it is, what a joy they bring, its so fun, so exciting blah blah blah. Or even worse 'my lifes more important because I have a child'. I honestly feel like its a misery loves company kind of thing, as now I have the step child here the conversation seems to have changed to 'its very boring and difficult'. Its like the mummy brigade wants to lure you.

But again, thank you. Ive read the whole thread over the last few days and I think the fact you've admitted how you feel is absolutely fantastic. Hugs to you and yours smile

Summertime14 Thu 24-Jul-14 14:04:00

I mean pro- choice. Sorry all mixed up

Summertime14 Thu 24-Jul-14 12:55:28

Thanks for replies. Still in two minds, but will wait 6 months to see how we are/ how I feel. Just feel like I have been so irresponsible. Am totally pro-life, but feel ashamed with what I did, only to terminate. The guilt is eating me up. I think we could have made it work. I'm such a horrible person. sad

blackeyedsally Thu 24-Jul-14 10:16:50

Hey Ms Owl, glad you're doing OK. No regrets here either and my ex and I are also good friends. smile I am loving my new life in the city, spending my weekends having fun instead of doing gardening and DIY <yawn> :D

I was already 99% sure I wouldn't date anyone with kids, so thank you for confirming that for me!!

"I would think long and hard on if you would be willing to be a single mother before you consider becoming pregnant again, because that is the worst case scenario and one you have to consider and be prepared for before making that leap, IMHO."

God, that's an excellent point. Just imagine, having a kid you never really wanted, in the belief it would save your relationship, and then the relationship going down the pan anyway and having to bring the child up alone. <shudder>

MidknytOwl Wed 23-Jul-14 21:50:43

Guess I'll update too.

It's been a year now since my ex and I broke up over the kids issue...and I can confidently say that it was the best decision and I'm really glad I went with my gut and didn't have the kids.

We're still best friends, and honestly our relationship got a lot better once we stopped dating. It's been weird; I don't know if he realizes he's been doing it, but we've kind of been emotionally dating? At least, he does things that seem a little above and beyond the feeling level of best friend.

However, now that so much time has gone by, there are plenty of things he does that bug me, and at this point I feel like I could do much better for a partner. After spending some time with him and his daughter (7.5 y/o), I can say we would have had some conflicts in parenting too, something that never even crossed my mind. (ie Things he thinks are okay for the kid are not always what I think are okay. I'm not her mother, so it doesn't matter, but I can see there would be a lot of arguments if we had kids together.)

If I had any lingering doubt to whether or not it was the right decision, that was completely wiped out by going on a several day trip with the two of them this weekend. Actually, I highly suggest going on vacation with a young child if you are still agonizing over the decision, because it is an eye opener, not being able to get away from the kid for days. You get to experience fun things, like going to a water amusement park and not riding a single ride because the kid doesn't want to. Or having to watch her brush her teeth because if you don't she only brushes them for 15 seconds. Or taking 12 hours to make an 8 hour drive because you have to stop so often. Or repeating yourself over and over again, whether to answer the same question repeatedly (yes, we'll go do x, but not until later today) or to tell them to do something that they don't feel like doing.

It actually had such an impact, being full time partial parent for three days, that I'm also going to no longer consider dating anyone that has a kid, no matter how small their visitation is, because I hate being in that stepmother role, even for one weekend a year. Needless to say, very happy I didn't reconsider and have my own with him.

Summertime14, I'm sorry for the situation you're in. Like blackeyedsally said, only you can make that decision. One thing that worries me though is you saying you two were rocky the year leading up to the seems from everything I've read, here and elsewhere, that adding a child in the mix is just going to exacerbate any problems you have. I would think long and hard on if you would be willing to be a single mother before you consider becoming pregnant again, because that is the worst case scenario and one you have to consider and be prepared for before making that leap, IMHO.

One other thing that might be helpful to the group: my ex was reading this book called All Joy No Fun, which looks at the effects that children have on the parents, versus the other way around like most parenting books. I'm only about a chapter in, but it's been good so far at talking about the real impacts of parenting, if you wanted to give it a look.

blackeyedsally Wed 23-Jul-14 15:24:50

Oh, Summertime14, my heart is breaking for you sad

All I will say is you must make the decision for you, not for anyone else. Listen to your gut feeling.

And also bear in mind that even if you do give your partner a child, it is absolutely no guarantee that he won't cheat on you again. sad

Soveryupset Wed 23-Jul-14 15:00:28

So glad I found this thread. I don't regret having my four children but life is bloody hard and happiness is something I feel even less these days.

I have an amazing job which is very flexible and I love but I am exhausted all the time. I also see my career has ground to a complete halt and that hurts a lot.

I though once my youngest was 5 things would be easier but they are not really. As they are all still at primary, if I am not working I am supervising homework, tidying, cleaning, ferrying around, etc...i barely have time to sit down and I seem to get ill a lot from sheer exhaustion.

Its been great finding this thread as I often feel so trapped whilst most people including dh think we are living a pretty perfect life..

Summertime14 Wed 23-Jul-14 08:22:23

Hi, I wish I'd read your post a few weeks ago. I'm 41 and my partner is 36. We have been together for 14yrs. I've always known deep down he would have liked kids etc. I have never felt maternal to children (very happy being maternal with my cats) Last year, my partner had a fling, I was devastated, she was only 27. He decided to stay with me and the thought of him being with her and having a family together churned me up and tied my stomach and heart in knots. I decided in Feb, to come off the pill and let nature decide (but I did not, stupidly tell my partner as I thought the pressure would be on and wouldn't then be able to change my mind) I found out in June I was 3 wks pregnant. I felt mixed emotions, but mostly dread. I couldn't believe what I had done. What was I thinking? We have had a very, very, very rocky road over the last year, only recently starting to become ' a couple' again. My partner was shocked,(i told him I was taking the pill) but I could tell he was quite happy with the news. I told him, I didn't think I could do this. He agreed the timing wasn't great and supported my decision). I felt like time was ticking, I knew if I had an abortion it would have to be sooner, rather than later. I took the first pill at 6 weeks, went home and cried my heart out. I felt like it was a big mistake. I rang the hospital who told me the pregnancy could continue, but to see how the following 2 wks were. I miscarried 4 days after taking the first pill. Part of me felt relief, the other part, guilt, stupidity that I had put myself in this situation ( i thought this only happened to teenagers, not a woman in her 40's). I wish I was still pregnant, even though I felt like I keeping it for the wrong reasons (for my partner, our relationship, which I don't think does help a relationship). I feel so confused, down, sad. I'm 41 and now I think in a yr I would maybe like to try for a child, (but fear it will be too late) for the right reasons. I want my partner to be with me for me, not because we have a child together. All my friends think the pregnancy was an accident, I'm too ashamed to tell anyone the truth about coming off the pill. I wish so much my partner did not want kids, this is tearing me apart. I now do not know what I want.

jessica334444 Wed 23-Jul-14 05:33:00

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