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"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?

B1ueberryS0rbet Sat 17-Nov-12 17:10:40

Des Bishop went on tour with a tour called 'my dad could have been james bond'. When he and his brothers were growing up and his dad was a sort of reluctant family man he used to say to them a few times a week 'i could have been james bond'. He had auditioned for the part! He hadn't been offered it though. Then when he was dying he told them that he was so relieved he'd never got the part of James Bond.

THAT REMINds me of my mother when i was a lot younger saying, sometimes having the third baby ruins the marriage, i was the third and i felt the guilt, as if I chose to be born and cause my df to disappear angry with a younger woman.

TwistyBraStrap Sat 17-Nov-12 11:29:21

My mum moans constantly about my father, and bitterly regrets marrying him. They divorced when I was 10.

It was only when I asked if she regretted me and my sister that she realised we'd taken it to mean that she wished we hadn't been born. She reassured us that she in no way regretted having children, she just regretted her marriage - she saw it as two separate issues.

It's a hypothetical situation, it is not a reflection on you. I'd just say, "I'm glad you both wanted children then!"

AdoraJingleBells Sat 17-Nov-12 02:19:03

It is a total head fuck when you hear your parents say things like this.

You know some families have another baby when they thought they we had enough, most say "it was a surprise" well, I was a mistake according to my mother. It does mess with your head, some people can manage it, some can't.

If I had my time I've over I would be a better parent, rather than not being a parent.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Sat 17-Nov-12 02:01:44

I do think it's a bit of a crap thing to say to your own child. THough how hurtful it is to the child probably depends on the family history and relationships. I had a mate (well, boyfriend) who told me that his mother occasionally referred to the fact that she'd turned down a potentially life-changing job offer because she was pregnant with him, but the impression I got was of this being an affectionate family joke rather than something hurtful.
I have been telling DS, since he was old enough to talk and listen, that he was the biggest and best surprise of my life, because when he's old enough to understand about human relationships and society, he's going to know that he was, at least unplanned, but by the time he understands that, he should have had enough years of being loved (by me, his dad and the family on both sides) for it to be no more than mildly interesting or amusing.

Gennz Sat 17-Nov-12 01:41:19

I think you are possibly being a bit oversensitive OP, but then I think your mum was also a bit tactless. I can understand her comment in the context of the conversation you were having. DH and I have often discussed what we would do if we couldn't have kids (we don't have any and haven't tried to yet). We have been together 11 years. I would never ever trade the chance to have children for my husband. If we couldn't have children it would probably be a sadness for both of us but it would also open doors to a different life that we would try to embrace.

maybenow Fri 16-Nov-12 18:09:00

I can see how it might have been more diplomatic not to say this out loud to your own children, but given their time of life, to have raised children and now be enjoying each other's company as a couple again (assuming all the children left home a while ago if similar age to the OP) then looking back they probably can't imagine giving each other up earlier in life because of different desires for their lives... in a 40yr marriage they might be able to imagine what their life might have been like without children, but not without each other. I think that's lovely. (But she might want to have kept it to herself).

Trills Fri 16-Nov-12 18:06:49

Here's a task for all the parents out there - teach your children to understand that hypothetical situations are not always all about them.

rubyrubyruby Fri 16-Nov-12 18:02:34

It concerns me that people are upset by this comment.

Did you marry your husbands or get together with your partners with the intention of spending your lives together or to have children?

Durab Fri 16-Nov-12 17:54:34

I don't think your mother was saying she wished she hadn't had you, she was saying that in a similar situation to your friend's she would have stayed and remained childless rather than ending the marriage. It doesn't mean she's not extremely pleased things worked out the way they did.

Before I had my DC, I didn't feel the need to have them strongly enough that I would have sacrificed a happy marriage to have them, but now they're here, I know that my life would be much poorer without them iyswim

Parents beoig devoted to each other can only be a good thing for the children IMO

Growlithe Fri 16-Nov-12 17:36:29

It's not a bad thing to say, but I suppose she could have found a better way of saying it. She is just saying she loves your dad and their lives would have taken a different path if he hadn't wanted children. But he did, so it was ok, wasn't it?

PanickingIdiot Fri 16-Nov-12 17:32:04

Cailin, I disagree. I feel the same way as ruby, I'd feel privileged if my parents shared something as personal as this with me.

I've always known my conception was an accident (bleeding obvious from the circumstances of my birth and their marriage). I think they were very brave to have kept me. I don't exactly know why they did, but I certainly wouldn't criticise them for telling me if they chose to. Given the fact that they have raised me, there's nothing they could do or say now that would make me feel unwanted.

ivykaty44 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:30:41

I am struggling with this one as I think I am seeing this from a different angle.

If your mother and father hadn't wanted dc then they would have been happy together without children, there are many couples that wouldn't be happy with out children and some split if children don't come along.

Surely in this comment has nothing really to do with their love for you dc but their love and happiness for and being with each other.

I know I was a long time arriving, but if I hadn't have come along my parents would have still stayed together, they would have been happy together without dc and one wouldn't have left seeking to have children else where. I know that I was the cherry on top of the cake, you can take of and leave on the plate, iyswim

Mayisout Fri 16-Nov-12 17:16:56

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

Well, it's the 'much rather' which is hurtful. If she had said she could have been as happy with just the father then that might be acceptable to the OP.

rubyrubyruby Fri 16-Nov-12 17:16:45

I would actually be quite proud if my Mum said that to me.

CailinDana Fri 16-Nov-12 17:16:24

I wouldn't criticise any parent for their feelings on having children - they can't help the way they feel. But telling their children those feelings is really insensitive IMO.

PanickingIdiot Fri 16-Nov-12 17:15:06

It's a bit ironic, isn't it, to criticise our parents for the finer points of their decisions to have children.

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 17:14:19

And those who haven't had dc may speculate as to how their lives may have been different if they had.

Once we reach the age of, say, 25 surely we can converse with our dps in an adult manner and are able to posit and debate various scenarios without assuming the stance or posture of 'rejects' if our dps happen to hold or evince views that may not be immediately pleasing to us?

I relish the individuality of my dps as distinct from them being solely 'my parents'. I enjoy learning what made them, shaped them, moved them, as it enables me to learn more about myself.

MardyArsedMidlander Fri 16-Nov-12 17:11:19

My aunt once said the same thing- that she had children because my uncle really wanted them, but if he hadn't she would have been quite happy to stay married to him. Frankly, I think it's an honest and healthy attitude- surely you want to know you are not the centre of your parents' life?

zzzzz Fri 16-Nov-12 17:06:20

When Dh and I got married it was very unlikely I would ever have children. He chose to be with me regardless. Isn't this the same thing.

I would be childless with my Dh rather than have children with someone else. That does not take away from the fact that I love my children, they are my happiness.

OwlLady Fri 16-Nov-12 17:03:38

I agree with what others have said, that she meant pre having you and your sister she would have chosen your father. can you not talk to her about it?

If you want to know what truly abusive people say to their children you could listen to this one from my dad who said, upon my sisters death, he wished I had died instead

Karoleann Fri 16-Nov-12 17:03:02

Oooh that's a difficult one, I love having my children and I can't imagine my life without any of them. I'm far more fufilled as a mother and wife than I was working.....but I'm not sure I would be without a husband.
You only borrow your children for 18-20 years, then they go off and do their own things. Your husband is hopefully for life.
I'm fairly sure I would never say that to my children though, maybe she'd had a lot to drink?
My father died a couple of years ago (he was 61) and my mother misses him terribly, they had been together alomst 40 years. I'm not sure she would answer a similar question truthfully.

CailinDana Fri 16-Nov-12 17:01:36

That's fair enough amothers but I think it would be wrong of you to actually say that to your children because it would inevitably make them feel unwanted.

Out of interest why do you feel that way?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 16-Nov-12 17:00:46

If we had our time again and knew what we know now having raised two kids to adulthood I am not sure if DH and I would have children.

rubyrubyruby Fri 16-Nov-12 16:56:35

I see nothing wrong with that comment tbh.

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