Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

"I would rather have spent my life with your father than had you"

(63 Posts)
newrhythmics Fri 16-Nov-12 14:18:24

I'm not really sure why I'm starting this thread. I suppose I'd like to hear people's reactions to this comment, which was made by my mother to me a couple of years ago. At the time, I had no DC of my own- but I still found it puzzling. Then I had DD, and I found it harder to understand. And now I'm about to give birth to DC2 and it's haunting me again.

There's no real context, except to say I was having dinner with my parents (happily married for 40 years) and we were discussing a friend of mine whose long-term relationship had collapsed when (both in their mid to late 30s) her DP had confirmed that he most definitely did not want to have children- and nothing would change his mind. As my friend most definitely did want children, she felt she had no choice but to move on. My mother said she couldn't understand this at all, and "would much rather have spent her life with my father than had me and my sister".

I think it is quite a strange thing to say to your child. I wouldn't say it has hugely upset me (or even surprised me- I guess I grew up with a sense of this). But I can't imagine saying such a thing to DD.

Or am I being too sensitive about it?

Miggsie Fri 16-Nov-12 14:26:02

I'm not surprised this comment haunts you - your mother basically said that she values your father above you and your sister. This does have an implication that she wouldn't care what happened to you if she was still with your dad.

You are not being too sensitive.

However, I assume your mum was of the generation where having 2 children was part of what a woman did once married and perhaps if she did her life over again now she would choose to remain childless? It was still an insensitive comment for her to make in front of you though.

DaveMccave Fri 16-Nov-12 14:29:53

Of course that's a massive head f*ck and no parent should ever say that to a child, you have a right to feel upset about it and you shouldn't need to question it.

I know my mum thinks the same-I was her unplanned fourth, and she's heavily implied that my birth was the nail in the marriage coffin. I know she went off abroad for a couple of weeks when I was a newborn because she 'had no choice, I needed to try and save my marriage'. But she has never actually come out and said that she regrets having me (and my other sibling close in age-that was planned). I know her life would have been a lot easier if she'd just stuck with the older two, and she remarks on it a lot, often in a jokey way. Her life was sh*t while we were kids, but that was her doing really, I couldn't snap her out of her depression for our sakes, and it's only since having my daughter I've stopped feeling to blame. I don't blame her for her thoughts, they are valid, but it's not my problem.

I don't think this is the kind of thing that is worth 'having it out' with her though. There is no nice outcome for that conversation, she'll either dismiss she said it and belittle you or agree with it.

HecatePropylaea Fri 16-Nov-12 14:31:25

No, you're not been too sensitive. It's really hurtful.

My mum hates my dad. Not enough to leave though hmm

she's fond of saying that if she could have her time over, she'd never have taken up with him and he ruined her life

hmm your two daughters and three grandchildren thank you.

Anything that sounds like your parent didn't/wouldn't want you or would value others above you - particularly above you being on the planet - is hurtful.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Nov-12 14:32:01

I read that as she didn't mean it personally, but she wouldn't have left your dad if he didnt want chidlren, having children for her wasnt a priority to her above her marriage to your father. I don't think she meant she'd wish you away or anything, just that she would nto walk away form her marriage had it been a question of her marriage or having children.

I've personally never loved any one alive so much that I would have put aside my desire to have chidlren. So cannot relate, but Ican understand what she meant.

Awful thing to say in front of you. However, I think some of what Miggsie said is probably true. Depending on your mum's age, she may well be from the time when the idea that you could CHOOSE to have children really wasn't considered the done thing. Many childfree people - those who have chosen not to have kids - find it very hard to understand why, if two people love each other very deeply, someone who wants kids would choose to leave and put a 'hypothetical child' (that you may end up not having if you don't meet the right partner) over someone tangible, that already exists and already loves you.

Regardless, awful thing to say to one's own child.

Floralnomad Fri 16-Nov-12 14:39:26

I think you've taken it the wrong way , she didn't say she didn't love or want you she was just saying that if she'd been in the same position as your friend she would have chosen her husband rather than her desire to have children . I have two children who I love more than anything but if my DH had adamantly not wanted children I wouldn't have left him , I would have stayed and had no children . If however it came to a choice now obviously I'd choose the children ( although I still love my DH) , your mother would probably do the same.

PanickingIdiot Fri 16-Nov-12 14:39:33

I don't think I would find it hurtful if my parents said that to me. I'd value their honesty and the insight.

I wouldn't say it to a small child, but you are an adult and your parents have already raised you. I think they are entitled to be honest about it at this stage.

fantagrape Fri 16-Nov-12 14:45:47

I can empathise OP.

When I was about 10, my mother said to me "I love you, but I don't like you". She didn't mean she didn't like me at that moment, she meant generally.

I will never forget that, and sadly I cannot forgive her. Because since having my children I would rather die than make them feel so very worthless.

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 14:48:24

IMO it's probable that your dm simply expressed herself badly, if not baldly as some of us are wont to do at times.

It seems to me that in, effectively, saying that she would not have sought another man to have dc with had your df been unwilling or unable to father dc with her, she was simply being honest and such honesty in no way implies that she wishes she'd not had you/your sister.

It also seems to me that this is how the quintessential monogamous relationship should be as, in the grand scheme of things, it's unhealthy and undesirable for parents to live their lives through or for their dc and vice versa once those dc have achieved adulthood.

I'm not surprised that you've described your dps as having been happily married for 40 years and I wish them many more.

Trills Fri 16-Nov-12 14:48:39

What VoiceofUnreason said.

PanickingIdiot Fri 16-Nov-12 14:50:12

To add to my earlier post: I'd have phrased it a bit differently, though, making sure to mention it wasn't you and your sister she'd rather not have had, more like life with children in general.

WizardofOs Fri 16-Nov-12 14:52:19

I think maybe you are reading a little too much into it. Perhaps she meant that given the situation your friend was in she would have stayed with your Dad rather than found someone else to have kids with.

She obviously loves your Dad very very much and that is lovely. Doesn't mean she doesn't love you too. For some women having babies is an extension of the love for their partner and for some women is a biological urge...to have a baby no matter with who. Also as someone else said having babies is something married women just did without much pondering.

You have to admire her honesty I suppose!

Floralnomad Fri 16-Nov-12 14:53:56

With respect fantagrape what your mother said is a totally different thing and I agree is unforgivable . The OPs mother never said she didn't want her .

AnnaFurLact1c Fri 16-Nov-12 14:55:07

This all depends on what your relationship is like in general.

Could you bring it up again with her and tell her it has upset you and you think about it a fair bit? You might find she'd reassure you and clarify exactly how she meant it.

Marzipanface Fri 16-Nov-12 14:55:22

Sorry I think this is a completely shit thing to say to your children. I'm sorry she said this. It may well be the case that it was just badly worded. Has she form for coming out with shockers like this? If not then perhaps it was just an ill-judged comment.

Did you tell her how it made you feel?

No you aren't being too sensitive about it. So sorry xx

akaemmafrost Fri 16-Nov-12 14:56:36

I think there was very little choice involved in having children for older generations it was something that "happened" to you rather than you chose to do, like people tend to now.

To hear my Mum talk having babies is the worst thing in the world but to her generation, often it was. She was an unmarried mother with me in the early 70's and there was a real stigma attached even then. I think there was an awful lot more negative connotations to parenthood back then. I don't think it means they don't love us just rather that they take us for granted.

IvorHughJanusAndABulgingSack Fri 16-Nov-12 14:59:19

Perhaps what she meant is that had your father given her such an ultimatum prior to her becoming a mother (which is obviously when he would have had to) she would have chosen to forgo parenthood to avoid losing him. It doesn't necessarily follow that she would have chosen him over and above her children after she became a parent.

DH told me he didn't want kids just before we got married. I had to accept it because I love him with all my heart. He changed his mind (no twisting from me, I left him to it, though he knew I wanted them) a couple of years later and we have a DS. Now I know that if I had any kind of inkling of how important and wonderful and all the rest of it DS is, I would never ever have chosen DH over and above having him. But I didn't know that at the time.

Not sure that makes sense...

44SoStartingOver Fri 16-Nov-12 15:02:00

It is a bit if a strange thing to say. However I know my devoted mum would have swapped my sisters and I when my dad died.

We all knew she loved us dearly. However she loved him more. I'm not sure it was a bad thing, as it meant we had the pair of them as our foundations in life.

I can see it woukd have been hurtful.

Mayisout Fri 16-Nov-12 15:04:52

But, really, did she have to give up an exciting career to have you?

If not she is talking pure bullshit, imo. Anyone with DCs knows how busy it keeps you, what fun things can be, though maybe not ALL the time.

And had she an exciting demanding career maybe finding time for DH or not being able to move for promotion (because of DH's career) would have scuppered it.

I think if she didn't have an exciting career she would have been bored brainless waiting for DH to come home each evening. And what thrilling exciting things might they have done every weekend without DCs, OK, the occasional weekend away somewhere but what about the remaining 800 or so.

Also, having children can give you a joint aim for the future. That they grow up capable to go out into the world happily. Take that away and things could be pretty boring. She is being thoughtless and silly imo.

HullyEastergully Fri 16-Nov-12 15:06:16

wot Ivor said

But

It would have been helpful had she gone on to say however then I wouldn't have had you and you are the most delightful etc...

TerrorNotSoFrightened Fri 16-Nov-12 15:07:03

That's a awful thing to say to your child.
My mother has said before that if she knew what having children was going to be like, she wouldn't have bothered.

It hurts.

Trills Fri 16-Nov-12 15:07:59

Mayisout you seem to have a pretty poor view of life without children.

Maybe it wouldn't be for you. But not everyone likes the same things.

poozlepants Fri 16-Nov-12 15:12:14

I asked my mother if she'd rather either me or my sister had died and not my father. She said yes. It didn't surprise me it was obvious when we were growing up she found it irritating to have had kids. She used to constantly tell me she wished I'd never been born . She used to make sure we knew he loved her more than us. Surprisingly I have a reasonable relationship with her now I have had DS as she is great at being a granny. She was just an incredibly insecure woman and fucked my self esteem for a long time but she was a product of her own relationship with her parents.
I am just happy that I don't feel like that about my DS and that I can be a better mother.

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