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?

(349 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?

TheLondoner22 Mon 02-Feb-15 21:27:53

Lovely Shakey smile x

Shakey1500 Mon 02-Feb-15 19:58:25

Bingesplodge and TheLondoner

Hello lovelies. I'm the poster who had the thunderbolt moment when DS was aged 4. I'll reiterate, I've never felt such relief over anything in my life and literally sank to my knees and wailed like a banshee.

What's good is that you both have support from close family members/partner that are able to least share the load. I recall DH being away from home for 2 weeks and I was struggling massively, totally overwhelmed. Clock watching until bedtime till I could at least breathe on my own (and smoke copiously). My parents came one afternoon and whilst I thought I was plastering the right kind of smile on my face they must have seen right through me and offered to take DS overnight. The relief!

DS is 8 this year and in all honesty, I know it seems like a distant lifetime away but time really has flown. I do still have pangs of yearning for my "old" life but it seems so far back that this life has morphed into me accepting that this is my life (if that makes sense) and I'll admit I sometimes often fantasise about retirement when I'll be totally able to do exactly as I please.

TheLondoner You are right, it will come. And do you know why I think it will? Because I truly believe that if none of us really cared, we wouldn't bother to find threads like these to seek help, words of comfort, knowledge we're not alone.

It's bloody hard, especially in the early years. I just had no option but to muddle through the fug, take each day/week/month at a time and wait for it to pass. There was no lead up to the thunderbolt, it just happened. Perhaps because I (thought I'd) reconciled myself to the fact I would always feel as despairing as I did. I wasn't trying, wasn't looking for it, I just ploughed through. But I'm mighty grateful it did and a huge burden has lifted.

Keep ploughing, keep doing the best you can, even if you feel it's not enough, it is enough for now. We're none of us perfect, there are no guidelines, our emotions can overtake us sometimes, we will get there in our own time, in our own way. Because we're human. And it's totally ok to feel absolutely rotten about it and yearn backwards. As I often say, it's not wrong it's just...different. And for those that slate this thread and have no understanding, I don't feel anger towards them, I feel glad that they have not felt like I and many of us did. Because I wouldn't wish it on any parent.

Glad you found this thread. I always have it on watch and always try to reply smile

Even if you don't feel like it, you're doing great.

TheLondoner22 Mon 02-Feb-15 16:42:55

Good post Bingle, I wasn't sure this thread was still going either.

Everyday I literally mourn my old life - I'm also a lone parent, DS now 14mths was an accident but I thought I could cope & do it all on my own. Well I have no choice........ & he's healthy & happy.

However, I am dying inside.

From day 1 he too was high needs, cried all day, only slept on me, I would leave places or just not go out.

My parents are amazing, I moved house to be closer to them & I couldn't of survived without them, I still can't.

But I truly believe & still do that it does get easier, or more to the point we cope better. My DS genuinely cried non stop, it's only in the last 3 months he's actually slightly happier! Some babies are just grumpy, and some are high needs, some are content & happy.

Please don't feel alone, I have found such solace in others that have felt the same.

I find everyday a struggle, and I can't wait for the day that I enjoy being a Mum. I hope it comes.

It will come .... We have to look at the positives x x x

Binglesplodge Sun 01-Feb-15 21:31:16

Not sure if anyone is still reading here but I just want to add my voice to this thread: it's a hard subject but I wish people felt more able to be honest about how hard it is to become a parent.

Our little one is 16 weeks and a very fussy, high-needs baby who needs to be held for daytime naps, feeds every few hours during the night and cries often during the day. He is a very beautiful baby with an utterly adorable smile and everyone is besotted with him. We're exhausted and to be honest we're feeling a bit like having a baby was the wrong decision for us. Perhaps it's just his high needs nature and perhaps it will get a bit easier?

At the moment we hardly see each other. We parent in shifts so the other can get some rest as DS is not a calm, sit around and let you have a break sort of baby. We don't go anywhere: he'd cry and we'd have to leave or not enjoy ourselves awaiting the inevitable meltdown. We sleep in separate rooms, I in with the baby and he in our bed. I have no ability to leave DS with anyone for longer than an hour or two as he's bf on demand. My DH has cut back on all hobbies outside of work so he can support me as I find being alone with DS from 8-6 is enough without evenings added on top.

If we had a time machine we'd go back to before we tried for a baby: at the time I think we were ambivalent and I feel like such a fool for assuming it would all magically fall into place. I did all the right things: nct classes, read all the books, the blogs, the magazines, made sure I followed all the guidelines. I didn't imagine for a moment that I'd spend the days with my baby pining for my old life.

Can it get better from here? I was so moved by the story of the poster who finally had the wow moment at 4 years but I really can't stand the thought of waiting that long. Surely we should be besotted now?

God, that was long. Sorry. Help?

crawlingsquirrel Sun 28-Dec-14 19:53:12

saltedcaramel i think you should tell him about your feelings as you just can't have another with the way you feel. The best way is to be honest. If you'll hide it - you won't be happy. I know how you feel as my partner wants another one in the future (somewhere in five years), but i don't want to have anymore. That's what i said to him. And he understands me, maybe just for now as he's older as well.
I just feel guilty because i feel that way sometimes, but when i remember the way my life used to be it seems that i live this life (with the baby) for about ten years. I love her more then anyone but why then i feel like that. I miss my freedom.

saltedcaramelicious Sun 28-Dec-14 16:56:57

I am really glad I found this thread.
I am 28 and actually already have a 10yo, who I fell pregnant with at 17. I actually feel I got on ok with bringing him up at the time, I was living with his dad and it was ok.
We split up a few years ago and decided on 50/50 custody. Was weird at first, but I now have a new partner and I absolutely love the weekends when my son is at his dads, me and my partner can lay-in, wander to the pub, have a conversation, watch films all day, have whatever we want for dinner. Basically all the things I never got to do with my ex as we were thrust into parenthood so young. I always thought I would have another baby and partner and I had said we'd start ttc summer 2015. Since that conversation I've been completely freaked out by the idea. No freedom all over again. No sleep, no money, a wrecked body. Nappies. Whinging. Toys everywhere. Being woken up early. I actually feel kind of sad that I feel this way as I want to want another, but I really don't think I do. Partner is quite a bit older than me, his kids are grown up. Can't say that I have the luxury of waiting a few years to see if my mind changes as partner would be well into his 50s by then.

crawlingsquirrel Sat 27-Dec-14 22:12:58

Hi everyone,

I had my little nearly three months ago. And now i have a bunch of health issues. I don't blame her, i love her into pieces but how did that happen? I was all ok until i had her. My health (psychological and physical) and i loved my life. And now i feel broken. I know i have pnd and maybe that's why i'm thinking like this but i don't know how to get my life back. I din't smile for ages. She's wonderful baby. Yes she cries but which baby doesn't. I just feel that nothing is the same and never will be. I have no sleep, i have no strength, i have no health. By saying i have no health i mean i fell very bad in all possible ways. I start to take ad today, i'll see how it goes. My partner is very supportive, sometimes i don't even know why i'm complaining but yes, sometimes i would like to turn back time. She was expected, i really waited for her and when i gave birth - everything changed.
Sorry if that was random, i just probably need to talk to someone.

Shakey1500 Wed 24-Dec-14 13:36:33

Everyone uses it because everyone knows who everyone is referring to. It's not compulsary, you go ahead and type whatever you wish.

mememeabc123 Tue 23-Dec-14 17:29:38

a bit off topic but why does everyone use this "DS" "DD" and the most annoying "DH" for (gag) dear hubby. Why not my kid, my husband?

spellcasting022 Thu 18-Dec-14 10:10:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BananaHammocks Sun 14-Dec-14 06:38:29

I found this thread when I was Googling 'don't want another child'. I have a 7 month old DD and I found the first few months soooooo hard and vowed never to do it again. I'm so lucky that she's a really easy baby but I don't think I could cope with two. If I had to cope with a toddler and a baby I'm sure I'd feel similar to you all.

But I'm quite a self conscious person and I already hate feeling like people think I'm selfish or a weirdo for only having one. Thank you for helping me make the decision to stick to my guns. I feel like, for me, one child is the best of both worlds, I get to experience being a mum but it's not too overwhelming.

My daughter sleeps throughr the night and is already quite happy with her own company for chunks of time, I have the occasional night out where DH has her and her grandmother is happy to take her off my hands whenever I want. I also work 3 days a week. You've made me realise how grateful I should be for all of this x

blackeyedsally Wed 10-Dec-14 16:12:32

sad So sorry for you. I really hope you will be one of the lucky ones that find that they actually love it when the baby arrives.

As your husband is the one that always wanted kids, is he willing to take on the lion's share of the childcare?

unpreparedmom32 Wed 10-Dec-14 12:34:01

This thread has been a huge breath of fresh air.

I'm currently 7 weeks pregnant, it wasn't planned and on my part not wanted.
I have never wanted children and have been extremely open about this from day 1 with my husband. He however always has, has been extremely broody for years and has been hoping I'd change my mind.
In 14 years together I have never changed my mind however this decision is now not mine. I found out I was pregnant 4 days ago and I'm devastated. I'm going to have to go through with it as I can't do it to my husband telling him he's potentially going to be a dad then take it away from him.
However I'm not taking it well. Aside from I have nausea that is waking me up at 3am and lasting all day, constant cramps and light headed I've also had the fun of having to be tested for ectopic and miscarriage due to cramps and bleeding. All is fine and they even showed me the damn things heartbeat. I was hoping itvsays ectopic so the decision was then out of my hands and it could have been over without me having to feel guilty. As it turns out all is healthy.
I'm devastated, hugely embarrassed, and already mourning the end of my life. Anyone who knows me knows how strong my anti pregnancy feelings are. The idea revolts me and now here I am stuck with it. My husband is being brilliant, he knows my feelings so although he is pissing glitter about the news he isn't doing it around me and is trying his best to help me with the symptoms. I also work in an all male environment and am dreading having to tell work. My mom is already telling me I'm being ridiculous with my feelings of embarrassment which I'm finding annoying and patronising. I'm 32, liked the life I had and am now terrified of how we will cope financially, how I am going to cope mentally especially with a history of depression and how I will adapt to a life I never wanted or ever planned. Sorry for ranting, but like I said this is the first time I haven't felt like a complete freak for saying I didn't want kids and am now resentful I'm having to go through it.

Sirraleigh Fri 05-Dec-14 20:45:15

Hi everyone & AmonRa1,

I read your post and like blackeyedsally said, I think you should not have children.

Having kids is as terrible as you describe it. I am a caring father of a four year old son and I regret having him every day. There's really hardly anything I enjoy about being a parent. You will be sleep-deprived all the time, you will end up a zombie most of the time just dragging yourself from one mind numbing activity to the next. With an annoying whining kid that will demand attention. You will be wishing to be doing other things all the time, but your "me-time" will be reduced to almost nothing.

And all that is not even the worst bit. The worst thing is being stuck! I mean, you cant leave your partner and kid, because you know they'll suffer even more... So, the only option you'll have is to accept that you'll be miserable for years to come... Someone once wrote: "most men lead lives of quiet desperation"... I know now that that is what being a parent is truly about.

And i think i'm kind of lucky. My wife is hot and we have great sex, i have a wonderful job, great friends and grandparents that help out, but the moment i get home and need to be a parent... I turn into a depressed zombie...

I wish i'd known what being a parent was really like 4 years ago. I would have never ever ever EVER have had a child.

Ramble over...

Take care everyone.

blackeyedsally Fri 05-Dec-14 14:14:40

Hi AmonRa1. I posted up thread because my boyfriend & I split up early this year due to him wanting kids. Like you the thought of having kids fills me with nothing but dread and horror. I am not prepared to take the risk of 20-odd years of utter misery, on the off chance that I might enjoy it, when every fibre of my being screams that I won't.

I have to tell you though that the guilt and worry that you talk about is no longer there now I am single, and I have sworn to myself that I will never again get into a relationship with a man who wants kids, or is even unsure. I don't really understand why you say "it�s going to be a problem for me at SOME POINT with whoever I am with" - men who don't want them are out there, honestly! smile

AmonRa1 Fri 05-Dec-14 12:50:31

I don’t know whether finding this thread has been a good or a bad thing. This will be long and rambly and pretty incoherent so apologies.

Basically, in a nutshell, my situation is that I am not and never have been the slightest bit maternal.

I am an absolute animal lover and that’s about where it begins and ends.

I am selfish, sometimes inconsiderate and lazy, I like socialising, and getting dressed up, partying, horse riding, dogs, horses, any animal really. I like clean, tidy spaces, tranquil surroundings, peace and quiet. I LOVE doing what I want when I want.

I find children beyond irritating. I find the constant noise, mess and just general chaos that surrounds them stressful and frustrating.

My sibling brings my nephew over and honestly, after literally about 10 minutes I can feel myself getting irritated. He is a beautiful little boy, very pretty and occasionally he’ll do or say something and I’ll vaguely think ‘aw’ but mostly, I just feel irritated. Perhaps this is more to do with other people though. From the minute he walks through the door everyone is in awe of him, there is NO other topic of conversation, no other focus. This will literally last several hours, with everyone staring at him like he’s some sort of exotic zoo animal and in awe and cooing at everything he does and says.

It drives me insane. I get so bored, not to mention exhausted. Then, when the noise and mess starts up and they all sit there cooing and awing, I want to go up to them all and slap them and scream ‘how can you LIKE this?’ ‘HOW is this endearing in anyway shape or form?!’

I just don’t get why when there is a baby or a child present EVERYONES focus just zooms in on them? Why an adult conversation can’t still commence, why, actually, you CAN’T just ignore the bloody child if it’s whining, interrupting and screaming for attention?!

I honestly just get no joy from it and find people that obsess over children and babies just the most boring people on earth. I hate the judgemental looks I get, when, after 30 mins I stop awing and cooing over the little darlings. I detest the judgemental looks I get when I express that I don’t think I want children.

This would all be fine….if it wasn’t for the fact that I have a lovely OH who has made it clear from day one that he DOES want children. I said let’s call it a day early on in the relationship because I don’t think I do and it’s better we go our separate ways now before we get too attached. He didn’t want to though and pleaded to just see how things went and worked out.

Luckily it is early days and I am only 27, so perhaps I will change my mind, but there hasn’t been a day in my life yet when I’ve ever considered wanting children. I have read a similar type thread to this out to him aloud before, he expresses that children are only as hard as you make them and that he gets a lot of time off with his job (he does) and so would always be available to do childcare, freeing up time for me to still be able to do the things that I love, that make me, me. But I am not at all convinced. I have no doubt he would be a very hands on dad but I am not sure any amount of support I received from him would be enough.

This isn’t even about him, I love him but who knows what the future holds for us, irrespective of children. But if this isn’t something that would cause problems for us in our relationship, it’s going to be a problem for me at SOME POINT with whoever I am with.

Whenever I think of having a child I just get this dreadful sense of panic, bile rises up in my throat, I can’t breathe and some days, if someone is banging on about me having children, I feel like I can’t breathe, like I’m having a panic attack.

I just carry around this sense of guilt and worry all the time about not wanting children and not being maternal. It is always there in the background and is growing bigger as more and more of my friends announce engagements, pregnancies etc. It is soon going to become so poignant in my life and I don’t know how I’ll cope. I dread the days when my friends all turn into brood mares and don’t want to go out or do anything anymore and only talk about babies the whole time, I pray they don’t turn into these types.

I know I’m going to get shot down for this, but I think if more women were a bit more like celebrities in the fact that they still kept their identities post children, still had their careers, still cared about their looks, still went on nights out and had other things to talk about then maybe, to me (and probably a lot of other people) it all wouldn’t seem so bad. I appreciate that is a really stupid statement to make as these women have pots of money and entourages to help them in everyday life, but perhaps it would make motherhood seem more appealing. Too many women lose their identities and who THEY are when they have children. I never want to do that, I never want my husband to look elsewhere because I’ve become a frumpy, mundane, tired, haggard mess who only ever talks about babies and children.

AND BREATHE. Sorry if my thoughts have offended anyone, they are just that, my thoughts.

I am lucky, in that IF current OH and I do go the distance and end up married etc and I DO decide to take a risk and have a child (I would only ever have one, if any!) with him, he WOULD be very hands on and I know I would (hopefully) get SOME time to myself, if not a lot. He earns a decent wage too and is financially very secure so a nanny or au pair may not be out of the question. But it’s a big risk to take.

I am so glad I am not the only person who feels the way I do.

isthisdirtyorclean Sun 30-Nov-14 21:39:46

Just to put my oar in. I remember when DD was a baby, another more experienced mum asked me how I was finding it. I told her that I loved the baby but hated the lifestyle. That was putting it very mildly (and simplistically), but she seemed astonished. Maybe she enjoyed being sleep deprived and robbed of basic freedoms such as finishing a meal, having a cup of tea, having a conversation? As this thread shows, it's really important that we tell each other the truth about the crapness. I sometimes wonder whether a lot of this crapness is to do with the fact that our generation are less likely to have the support of nearby family. Friends and neighbours are more likely to be out working (I remember regularly spending time at various neighbours' houses when I was little, but I've never been able to do this with my DD). I think something is wrong, with the way we're left to cope alone. At least we have MN!:-)

Shakey1500 Wed 26-Nov-14 20:26:32

MNHQ- Just a special nod, recognition and thanks for looking after this thread by weeding out any advertisers/spammers et al thanks

Wilson235 Wed 26-Nov-14 09:33:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Fadingmemory Mon 03-Nov-14 17:56:00

My children are now grown up. The first two were born 15 months apart. Their babyhood, with a largely absent DH, was a slog. I just kept thinking it would get better. It didn't but I knuckled down and got on with it. My third was a exceedingly lively child and walked at 10 months. That co-incided with incessant fighting by the other two. I was constantly on my guard, waiting for another screaming fight, a child climbing up book cases, broken sleep. Now they are all adults (the youngest is 20) I still support them as much as I can and love them all but only now do I feel my life restarting.

Marlene3 Mon 03-Nov-14 17:38:10

I recently lost a dear friend who took her own life leaving behind a small baby. Whilst I can't speculate or be certain as to the reasons, the difficult time she had in childbirth and afterwards probably had something to do with it.
I can't imagine the pain or anguish she must have been in, having known the beautiful, highly intelligent and capable person she had been.

As many other posters I've been reading this thread for a while now-its so sad to see the amount of shame, guilt, stress & pain many women seem to suffer as a result of having had children. At the same time, its helpful to see that the feelings are not all that unusual & the positive stories bring hope... I just wish so many women didn't feel pressured and conditioned into this.

Take care everyone and pls ask for help if it feels too much

Shakey1500 Mon 03-Nov-14 14:24:00

Pidgeon I get what you're saying as I was just like you. Never "got" the whole yearning etc and was the fun Aunty to my niece and nephew. I had zero interest in having my own child, knew/felt that I wasn't cut out to be a mother. I fell accidentally pregnant, and well, my experiences are well documented on this thread. I feel better now my son is older but sheesh, those first 4/5 years were unbelievably hard.

Similarly there are women (and men) who yearn for a child with every fibre of their bones and still feel regret. Alongside those who had no yearning to become a parent. Don't cope as well, then feel a whole heap of guilt for not naturally having this incredible bond they thought would magically exist one baby was born. How incredibly sad and frustrating must that be?? And of course, they dare not speak of these feelings being as they are so taboo, not easily explained OR fully understood by many. It really doesn't discriminate does it?

For me there's always a certain jealousy towards those who extol the virtues of being a parent to the highest level. I feel happy that they don't experience the utter helplessness, pleased that they are fulfilled but equally jealous. It's just no help/use anyone saying "But children are a blessing, you are doing them and you a disservice by not giving 100%, feeling the way you do etc etc" Well, YES, of course! We (g) know this, beat ourselves up with it every minute of every day and wish we didn't feel like this!

Sorry, bit ranty, having a shit week.

PidgeonFollower Mon 03-Nov-14 12:40:55

I have friends around me for whom having a baby was the biggest goal, a yearning that they needed. I simply do not have that need, that yearn. I love children and am brilliant with all the children I know. The three who have recently had them tell me ‘you should have children, you would be a great mother’ etc. I get the good bits! Children always love their “aunties” most, or appear to, as they are a novelty, a change, and rarely a disciplinary. I adore the time I spent “mothering” my baby nieces and nephews and my nine and thirteen year old ones. But spending every waking moment for a minimum of sixteen years putting another human being before myself, minding where they are, what they’re doing, and being wholly responsible for them? I just don’t see why people want to do this? I really can’t fathom it.

Bigsmiles4 Thu 30-Oct-14 22:40:51

Thank you shakey1500 for your kind comments re my situation as I was not expecting any empathy for me - time to adapt is all I need! I posted because I feel sad mostly for the kids but also for the mums who seem to feel that all the adult stuff they did before kids is so important and is lost for ever when in reality it's only limited in a way for a few years and in fact is not really such a big deal. Perhaps not so much a 'change of heart' as a wilingness to savour the moment, look into the child's eyes and not allow them to slip through your fingers as they grow up so quickly. Whilst they are small they'll continue to fight to get attention but as teenage kicks in they may give that up and be resentful. Sure go out to work and spend time away from them but it's how you spend the time with them that will make the difference and that they know they're on the top of the 'to do list'! It's no secret how quickly they grow up but it's still a shock - this from Bill Bryson expresses it well:

Shakey1500 Thu 30-Oct-14 21:50:39

BigSmiles I am sorry that you are feeling bereft thanks

But, with respect, and as mentioned many times on his thread, it really isn't as simple as you have put it. I'm sure all that suffer would pay a kings ransom to have a "change of heart" in a nanosecond if it were possible. To not beat oneself with a big guilt stick because we (general) know that our (g) children deserve time and respect and it's really REALLY hard to generate emotions and actions that simply are not there instinctively.

If you've read the whole thread, the desperation and guilt are evident. I'm glad that you have experienced your joy readily and hope you find something equally satisfying going forward.

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