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Does anyone else regret having children?(264 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?
I totally failed to bond with DD1, and was diagnosed with PND just a few weeks after she was born. I took good care of her, but I was desperately grieving for my old life - Like you OP I loved my own company, enjoyed pottering about, novels, spontaneous weekends away with DH.
I felt all that I enjoyed in life had been taken away from me. I just couldn't adjust to having a baby, and felt wretched and resentful, and frankly scared all the time. I just wanted to travel back in time, and never have got pregnant.
The problem was then hugely compounded when I accidentally got pregnant with DD2, when DD1 was only 3 months old
The next couple of years were just a grey, exhausted haze. I don't remember a lot of it. My PND had lifted, and I had fallen in love with the DDs, but it was still relentless drudgery. I just did not enjoy it, none of it.
But, by the time the DDs were 3 & 4, life had improved such a lot. Slowly I found the time to actually enjoy a coffee and a few chapters of my book, while they occupied themselves. They began having proper conversations with me - and became proper people, with opinions.
Then they started school, and I felt I was really hitting my stride as a Mum. They could wash, dress themselves, get themselves a drink/snack. Life just got easier and easier.
Nowadays, they're nearly 10 and 11, and bizarrely I sometimes find my self grieving for back when they were little enough to snuggle on my knee (both are now well over 5ft tall). They are getting more and more into their friends, and they often disappear into their bedrooms for hours to Skype their friends, or read...and I find myself missing them, and feeling a bit lost and lonely...yes, even though I could drink umpteen coffees and read as many books as I wanted, with no disturbances.
And, I simply cannot bear to think of them leaving home and going to university. I will encourage them to go, and wave them off with a smile, but inside a little piece of me will die, when they go.
Hello Madcat-sorry you are going through this-I'm just wondering if you might get more responses if you start a new thread or with a title referring to PND.
I didn't have PND so I'm probably not the best person to comment but I'm sure there are plenty of others who can help, but they might not see your post.
I've got a six week old baby girl who I love terribly. However, having had PND after the birth of my DS three years ago, I am now starting to develop similar symptoms which is terrifying because it was awful last time. I was on Citalopram last time which helped but it was when my son was older than my little one so it wasn't a problem to give up BF. BF is going really well this time and I really don't want to stop but absolutely won't take any AD and BF at the same time. Feeling very lonely and isolated with no one to talk to so thought I'd post my very first ever message on MN to see if anyone had any other tips about coping with PND without AD. I'm starting CBT in 10 days time but really want someone to talk to or some informal help too so I don't feel so alone. Please help!! My babies deserve more than a depressed mummy.
Being as we're updating ....
I've also posted a couple of times on this thread and will keep it on watch forevermore I think.
DS is now six and a half. I struggled greatly in the beginning. I know I made the right decision to not have any more children.
Hand on heart though, I can honestly say that I no longer feel regret. Certainly not as I used to. Sure there are times where I long for some space but I realise this is within the realms of what (if I can use the term broadly without attaching any negative connotations) "Earth" mothers yearn for. I am fortunate to have family support childminding wise which means I DO get more than my fair share of "me" time (and with DH) and I'm conscious that if I didn't have that, I may still feel that regret.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is hope that feelings can change. I certainly never envisaged that it would happen for me. Not in a million years. Despite the relief, I will always acknowledge that the depth of regret I felt was very real, needed to be understood and that I wasn't a bad person for feeling that way.
As always, much love to all of you
I sometimes find myself wishing the time away as I find looking after small children so desperately boring.
I have a DS who is 3 and a DD who is 6 months, and whilst I love them dearly, the 3 year old knows exactly how to push my buttons and I spend an awful lot of time telling him off and occasionally shouting at him, which always makes me feel sad and depressed.
Some days I am so tired I just want to slump on the sofa, but you can't with a 3 year old who is bouncing off the walls and a baby who requires regular feeding (I'm BF'ing).
I drag myself to the park and stand around freezing, windy playgrounds and wonder if this is all there is to life.
What I'd really love to do is drop them off with a grandparent for a weekend and go off with OH and have some fun..I can't remember the last time we did anything or went anywhere that didn't involve kids. Unfortunately my parents are in their mid 70's and in poor health so can't help, and OH's parents live over 3 hours away, so we have no family support. I am so envious of friends who have younger, fitter and closer parents to take their kids off to the park or away for weekends.
None of my close friends have ids ether..it seems to have skipped my generation of friends a bit (I'm 40), so I perceive them as all still having loads of freedom and going out having fun etc, and I can't..selfish I know.
Anyway..thanks for this thread. It's very comforting to know that being an 'earth mother' isn't for everyone!
I wonder too how Baboushka and the original OP are doing now...?
Havent seen this thread in a while - I posted wayyyy up the thread under a different name. I talked about having a child at 17 and one at 29.
I just wanted to say to the newer posters that have added to this thread that yes I had a terrible time and have had to deal with my guilt. However, given the fact that you (and I) are even acknowledging these feelings stand us in better stead as parents. Surly having these feeling are normal and are best not to deny?
Also mine are now 23 and 11 - and truly are the best things I have ever done. I can sit for hours watching the 11 year old in amazement and I am so proud of how my 23 year old turned out given that her had a pretty useless mum.
I look back at this thread periodically, and turns out the timing was good.
blackeyedsally, sorry to hear about your breakup. It sucks, terribly. Internet hugs to you.
One thing I'd say is trust that it was the right decision - I definitely questioned myself and second guessed the decision for months. I think that's just natural though, since you want back what you don't have, and that's the seemingly only thing keeping it that way. (And such an easy solution: just have a kid and you're back together. Never mind you're kind of throwing the rest of your life away for it.)
We've been broken up about 8 months now, and I can honestly say I'm happy with how things worked out. We still spend a very odd amount of time together, almost like the opposite of friends with benefits (celibate dating?), but he's more like my non-romantic life partner at this point, if that makes sense. Like having a gay best friend, I think. It's weird, but it works for us.
I also don't think I'd take him back if he changes his mind about the kid thing, if that gives you any hope. It's funny how someone you thought you could spend the rest of your life with can have so many flaws when you're not dating them anymore! He doesn't handle money as I would like, we disagree on some points that would actually be an issue with raising a child. Sometimes, he bugs the crap out of me. And he NEVER stops talking about his daughter. When he'll see her next, what she said on the phone, etc. Not only do I not care, but I can't imagine if we had had some of our own - he would never think about me, our worlds would revolve around the kids. It may be selfish but I'm much happier having my own life.
Hang in there, and as you told me initially, hopefully you'll find someone that shares your views, when you're ready.
(I'd love to grab a drink sometime...but I'm actually in America. Oops. Damn Yanks sneaking into your message boards. Should I end up that way on vacation, or if you end up in the west coast here someday, we should definitely hang out.)
I really hope it gets easier but if doing it on your own, I wonder how. Feel overwhelmed emotionally by it all. Never thought that I would be crying so much, cry at the good things and the bad things, it is an emotional roller coaster. I don't think that ever ends does it?
Well, my wonderful 5-year relationship has just gone the same way as MidknytOwl's, sooner than I expected. I'm devastated but also relieved in a way that he was brave enough to sit me down and call it a day now, because I pretty much knew it was inevitable.
Hope you are still doing well MidknytOwl. If by any chance you're in London & fancy a drink & a chat sometime, I shall be moving there soon!
Big love to all you struggling mums, I really hope it gets easier. x
Thank goodness I came across this thread. This has really helped me and also some of the threads have really made me laugh, I relate to all being said. Im just going to stop placing such high expectations on myself and admit that it is not what I thought it was going to be.
I hope it gets better for you, OP, I really do.
I promise you it does get easier!!! I have 4 children ages between 4-12 and I have time to read, visit galleries and lunch , all with my kids! It's lovely, a lot of the time
Hang in. I don't know anyone that doesn't find playing at the park and playgroups boring
I read this thread before my DS was born.
I read it again when he was here and I was in a psychiatric hospital going through the most horrific PND. I thought I'd made the biggest mistake of my life and the sheer terror that I couldn't undo it was indescribable.
I want to thank everyone who's contributed because it's getting the message out there for anyone reading that motherhood can be and for many feels like a jail sentence.
Parenthood, and motherhood in particular, has been fetishised in our society and we are bombarded with messages and images of perfectly happy families and earth mothers who love love love every moment of their children's lives. That a child can 'fix' issues in your life. That a child is the source of unending joy. That you must have another because, you know, you can't have 'just the one'.
We all know that's not the truth.
Thankfully I'm fully recovered from my illness now and I no longer think I made a mistake. I know there will be challenging times ahead but I can do it with one child.
I do think another baby would be a mistake, I'm not sure my marriage would survive it. We won't have another.
For me, returning to work was an epiphany. Looking back I was so unbelievably frustrated at home all the time, I was bored, I was impatient, I had far too much time to think I was a bad mother and I wasn't doing it right.
The only thing I can say to anyone reading who is suffering is to reclaim a piece of yourself. Whether it's through a job, a hobby, two hours at the weekend to window shop, meet a friend or do a class. I really don't believe it's good for a woman to be mummy 24-7 and on-duty permanently.
missmouse, your post was really honest. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Lots of people who've posted on here say words to the effect of "I really wasn't sure, but went ahead and struggled. It was grim at times... but now they're grown or growing up, it has got easier and I'm not so unhappy as I was". You are a bit different, as you enjoyed the early bits but are enjoying the older years less. What's interesting to me, is that you suspected that this might happen. You knew all along that you enjoyed tots and young children. You knew that a second child might be more than you could comfortably cope with. So I'm wondering whether your doubts made the situation come true? Was it a self-fulfilling prophecy?
But you ARE coping and I'm sure you are doing a good job and that you love them, and they you. My mother sounds a bit like you. She loves and enjoys her four grown-up children but I'm pretty sure she didn't not enjoy being a mother to pre-teens or teenagers. Your relationship with your kids may continue to be bumpy for the next few years, but it will all come good in the end, I'm sure. xx
Hi everyone, it has been reassuring and humbling to read people's experiences. I am desperately in need of someone to talk to about my experience of this. Firstly, I am so very lucky to have a kind, supportive and sweet husband who is a WONDERFUL father. I always was sure I wanted a BABY, but secretly wasn't keen on CHILDREN, but thought surely it'd be different with your own? I became pregnant 1st time of trying and had a daughter who I adored looking after.
I was happy to stop at 1 but he really wanted 2, so as I'd enjoyed the baby bit so much, I thought it'd be OK. Son was born when she was 2y 9m. It's kind of gone continuously downhill since then, as I found it difficult to cope with two. I always preferred getting away from them whenever I could (work part time) and could only feel like myself when I was peacefully alone, which I craved. I feel my mental intelligence has been completely sapped and I feel (v guilty of this) utterly resentful towards them.
Unbelievably they are now 10 and 13 and my avoidance of them has reached new levels. The tone and pitch of their voices sends me crazy, their constant bickering and arguing, their mess, their answering me back, their physically taking up so much space in our small house, the cost, the constant need to help organise their lives. I'm doing such a crap job I cannot bear it and just try to get away and not interact with them at all as I fear I'm damaging them so badly. I am terrified of talking to my daughter about sex etc and so I never do. They all would be SO much better off without me and I am now hoping I will get cancer or something so they can be a loving family on their own. I feel so shocked at myself, but I genuinely can't help how I am feeling. I am only ever happy when I am away from them. I fantasise about becoming a missing person. I can't bear being responsible for damaging 2 people's lives in this way.
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))))
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