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Who regrets becoming a mum?

(153 Posts)
vizbizz Thu 26-Jun-08 03:01:51

Ok, so we are in the terrible 2's and I know this makes it hard for most mums to cope with but with all the pain, health dramas, depression etc I have had since arrival of DS I find that all too often I really regret having become a mum. I love the little man, but if I had known what I was in for I cant help thinking I would never have gone ahead and become a mum. The guilt I feel for feeling like this is awful. Does anyone else feel like this? There is so much pain (physical and emotional) as a result of DS's arrival, so much frustration and so very very little joy. He's a beautiful, and thankfully healthy little man, but I find it so hard to be happy about what I have.

And no, I am not suffering from depression anymore, just this overwhelming sense of grief when I stop to think about it all. I keep trying to convince myself that it will get better, but it's already been 2 years and I just don't see any progress in this despite counselling and the other progress I have made there. I still keep wishing I had never made the decision to be a mum.

I guess I just want to know I am not the only one that feels like this.

egypt Thu 26-Jun-08 04:26:11

Remind yourself that this really is the hardest age. When he reaches 3, certainly 4 you will find it so much easier, I promise. he will be at school (can you get a nursery place now?) He will be able to amuse himself for long periods, he will become realy company for you and not just a chore. It's OK to feel like this, and I guess I do at times - I have a 4 year old and 1 year old. Sometimes I think how easy it would be if I just had dd1. Give it time, it will pass so quickly, and do speak to other people about yor feelings - friends, family?

jabberwocky Thu 26-Jun-08 04:56:20

I don't know any of your background but I wonder if you suffered birth trauma? I had a very traumatic birth experience with ds1. It took years for me to learn to cope with it. I had/have PTSD from it and will probably be on zoloft the rest of my life as a result. Luckily I did find a good therapist and went through CBT which was extremely helpful. I was also in 2 studies on birth trauma and that was beneficial as well. I think that all of that made dealing with a child who is a difficult child on many levels challenging to say the least. One of the first things I said to my therapist was that I needed help bonding with my son.

I actually took an enormous leap of faith (after said counseling and medication!) and had ds2. He was a planned c-section and is a much easier child than ds1. I was lucky in that it worked out well and, except for the added work of a second child, has made life much better on all levels for my family.

A lot of people say to be thankful that you have a healthy baby and that is supposed to fix everything. All it did for me was just make me feel guilty that I wasn't happy. Please have a look at the birth trauma site. It may give you some answers.

superflybaby Thu 26-Jun-08 14:28:34

vizbizz, I have a not-so-terrible 2 year old that I adore but wish I wasn't responsible for.
I would make an outstandingly fantastic Aunty, but as a Mum, I find it all too overwhelming to enjoy.

I get angry easily, I cry, I sometimes feel I would rather be on my own than be part of a family, then I over compensate and wear myself out, then I feel guilty & cry & get in a state again. I just want to want the life I have as there is no alternative!

vizbizz Thu 26-Jun-08 23:00:15

egypt, thank for the words of encourgaement and support. superflybaby you have really said it as I didn't! I just want to want the life I have. I guess we just have to hang in there and learn to relax a bit?

Jaberwocky, it wasn't so traumatic a birth as it was a long and difficult one. The trauma was all about the recovery after, or rather the lack of it. A lot of tearing and nerve damage which still hasn't healed. The stress and frustration of no answers or help from the medical establishment led to many PTSD symptoms and depression....all related to lack of recovery and help. I have looked at the birth trauma site and even posted a couple of times. despite all the counselling, there is no way I can even think of getting pregnant again without crying and even with the thought of a c-section can't make me consider it.

My sister has mentioned she would be a surrogate for me (an amazing and incredibly generous offer) and she has even spoken to her obstetrician about what would be involved, but I even find that too much. I just can't stand the thought that by some nasty twist I may feel the same way again about another.

superflybaby Fri 27-Jun-08 11:57:22

Why do you feel you should become pregnant again?

Is it to do with overcoming associated feelings about pregnancy/birth or a true desire for another child?

Not saying you should or shouldn't - just curious.

CissyCharlton Fri 27-Jun-08 12:10:17

I have a two year old and over the past few weeks I've felt myself becoming more and more overwhelmed. The past 24 hours have been tough and I've contemplated a visit to the doctors to see if medication would help. Your post is therefore very timely for me. I feel surrounded by people whose dc are older and they are starting to relax. I cannot. My ds is harder than a newborn atm. You are not on your own smile.

BEAUTlFUL Fri 27-Jun-08 12:17:17

I definitely, definitely felt like that. When I was pregnant with DS1, I used to lie on my bed sobbing, "What have I done?" over & over. I was depressed anyway (on ADs) but it was awful for a few years.

Surprisingly, my mood lifted completely when I had DS2. I'm not recommending another baby as a cure! But it was almost as if some hormonal thing shifted, and the blackness all evaporated. I'm really enjoying it now.

One of the problems I had was that I don't think (looking back) that I bonded with DS1. My DH was so involved with everything -- even being a SAHD for the first 6 months -- that I felt a bit pushed-out. With DS2, I had hours & hours in the hospital, just him & me (DH looking after DS1 at home) and we completely bonded. Plus, I have much much much more confidence now, about the kids.

It's definitely not just you!

Upsydaisy1 Fri 27-Jun-08 12:49:06

It's not that I regret being a mum - I regret not listening to my insticts. I thought I could cut it as a SAHM and walked away from a bloody good job. I should have stayed at work and brought someone in to share the care of DCs. Au-pair or nanny. If I had that help I would love being a mum!

I adore my kids but I just wasn't prepared for the slog that is the first few years. It is never ending. I am tired, broke and feel cut off from the real world. I just wish I had thought about it all more before I embarked on the journey of motherhood.

jabberwocky Fri 27-Jun-08 14:11:36

vizbizz, have you tried CBT? That is considered to be the best therapy for PTSD and it definitely was what worked for me. that and zoloft. Plus talking about it a lot and writing everything down. Are you a SAHM? I think I'm a lot like upsydaisy. I'm actually a much better mother when I haven't been around my kids 24/7. I had pulled back to just 2 days a week of work and it really strained us financially plus too many days in a row at home was just not good for me - or consequently the kids.

Like Beautiful, my dh was/is almost overly involved with our ds1. So I felt like I had gone through this terrible traumatic experience and I had gained nothing from it. I didn't bond at all with ds1 - who is an extremely difficult child on top of everything else. Ds2 has been a completely different story. He's a much easier child and we both had to stay in the hospital for 5 days so I had much more one on one time with him initially.

It can get better whether you have another chid or not, but it is a tough road and my heart goes out to you. Even though you do not have depression per se anymore you still may want to look into something like zoloft. I am not depressed but the PTSD caused me to have anxiety attacks that are controlled much better with meds.

oneplusone Fri 27-Jun-08 21:29:32

I know exactly how you feel. I finally admitted as much to my DH the other day. I have 2 DC's, DD who is nearly 5 (going on 15) and DS who is 2. I love them both, there is no doubt about that, but I do many times regret becoming a mum. I have suffered severe health problems since I had DD which have all but ruined my day to day life and have taken away any enjoyment of the DC's I might otherwise have had. If I had known beforehand what a high price in terms of my health I would have to pay in order to have kids I wouldn't have gone ahead. It's as simple as that.

I feel quite bitter in that I feel I was 'sold a lie'. By that I mean that society in general portrays having children as such a wonderful thing, such a blessing etc etc, and there is little or no publicity given to the many downsides or potential subsequent health problems both physical and mental that so many women seem to suffer from as a direct consequence of having children. Society wants women to keep on having babies so we can continue our way of life, economy etc, and so sells the whole idea to us as something wonderful, which it of course in many cases can be, but I strongly feel there should be a lot more information out there about all the possible problems you can suffer afterwards so that women can make an informed choice about whether to have children or not.

I don't actually think I would have done anything differently had I known before having DC's what I know now, but at least I would have gone into it with my eyes open, it would all have been less of a shock and I would have been better prepared for the potential problems afterwards. Perhaps it's just me and I'm spectacularly ignorant, but in actual fact I am an educated, intelligent woman who feels I was duped.

Sorry, rant over, this is something i have been wanting to get off my chest for a while now.

AbstractMouse Fri 27-Jun-08 21:48:16

I do know how you feel, until recently if I could have turned back time and not had children I would have (I even posted a thred under a diff name about wanting to give them up for adoption). I have 2dc 4 and 1, and basically had a nervous breakdown about 4 months after dc2 was born. I literally could not cope with them (pnd and my mothers death floored me). Honestly I did not really enjoy DD for 2 years before this happened.

My Ds is now 20 months and I can honestly say I love him to bits. I love my DD too she is soooo beautiful and clever. Back then I couldn't cope with day to day thimgs, but I promise you this will pass.

For me I tried various anti-depressants, which both helped and hindered, but basically it was time that made me see the joy in my children.

I still have awful days where I can't be bothered, and they are being mares. But the difference is, I look at them and feel such joy, just sitting there looking straight into there lovely little faces, not believing that I made something so perfect.

have you tried playing the "I'm coming to get you game" where they try to run away and you catch them and tickle them. Even in my darkest moods the hysterical laughing will cheer me up just a little bit smile

vizbizz Sat 28-Jun-08 03:43:55

Thanks again for all your replies and support. I kind of have to face the idea of having another, as deep in my heart I know there is a DD waiting to arrive. Sometimes she is so close I feel her beside me. Maybe that sounds crazy, but just know this is true. recently I started working a few hours a week and my boss, who is psychic, mentioned that there is a daughter in my future. I hadn't told her what I felt, but she knew it also.

Part of it is also that I have never wanted an only child, and I think a part of me is still so grief stricken at what I have missed out on, that I can't help but hope I can experience it with another child. I know it would help me heal and recover from what has already been. I feel like I have only been given the ugly side of motherhood with none of the joy.

jaberwocky, I have had CBT and it's thanks to that that I am able to see pregnant women and newborns without losing it - along with other issues. I just can't seem to shift some of the last issues no matter what we try in therapy. I have just been told about the "anxiety clinic" and I may ask to be put on the waiting list for that to see if they have any ideas on what else can be done to help.

oneplusone - I completely agree with you. I feel like I was sold a big, nasty, evil lie. I completely agree with everything you have posted in your "rant". I don't think it's a rant, it's an expression of a valid viewpoint! And yes, I still feel like I would never go there if I was able to turn back time. In todays world we are assured and reassured that we will be fine, and even if there is some difficulty they will sort it out and set you right. HA! Like you have have had my health, well, mangled for want to a better word. Unable to live life like a normal person day to day. That's starting to come back, but its been such a long a painful, frustrating and lonely road. It leaves a big emotional scar.

Abstractmouse, part of my grief is that my physical health is such that I can't run (without pain anyway) to play with my son. I can't bounce on the trampoline. I physically can't do so many things I always looked forward to.

I never expected it to be easy as I have many friends who had kids before me and who were rather candid about it, but the hand I was dealt was a harsh one and nothing at all could have prepared me for it. All my friends tell me they just don't know how I have managed to get through it. I don't either.

oneplusone Sat 28-Jun-08 14:14:12

vizzbizz, hi, I also don't know how I have managed to get through the last few years. I have had and am still having counselling, the birth of my children triggered some very painful memories from my childhood (which was extremly abusive for many years), tiggered a horrifically severe and debilitating flare up of my eczema. I am still dealing with my childhood issues and trying to manage my eczema 5 years after they were triggered. It is so draining to have to cope with this day after day as well as looking after the DC's and run the household.

I have since found out that it is very common for childbirth to trigger your own painful childhood memories and feelings which have usually been deeply buried for years. If I had known this beforehand I would have at least tried to deal with it before having children as it has been extremely painful and difficult to face up to my own abusive childhood whilst at the same time trying to be a loving mother to my own children.

I feel the health service in this country completely ignores the fact that giving birth is a hugely emotional experience as well as a physical one and does not prepare you in any way for the emotional aspect. Judging by the amount of threads by mums who are depressed/anxious/suffering from PND the emotional impact of having a baby is huge and very often negative and yet there is no information on this given during pregnancy.

I am absolutely going to make sure that I tell my DD the WHOLE truth, warts and all, about the impact of having a baby so at least she will go into it with her eyes wide open.

There are also so many taboos about the whole thing, women are not allowed to say they find looking after children boring, that they don't always love their children, that they regret having them without the world being shocked. Thank god for MN where it is possible to admit to these things but I hope for a change in society where we don't need to be secretive about how we really feel, where we don't need to be ashamed or worried about being thought of as bad/ungrateful mothers, where we receive help and support if our experience of having DC's is not at all what we expected or wanted.

superflybaby Sat 28-Jun-08 20:48:45

Here Here oneplusone!

"There are also so many taboos about the whole thing, women are not allowed to say they find looking after children boring, that they don't always love their children, that they regret having them without the world being shocked. Thank god for MN where it is possible to admit to these things but I hope for a change in society where we don't need to be secretive about how we really feel, where we don't need to be ashamed or worried about being thought of as bad/ungrateful mothers, where we receive help and support if our experience of having DC's is not at all what we expected or wanted."

Spot on. I think it is disgraceful how you are treated as a new mum, with the healthcare worker giving you a tick box form on PND. Eiher you have it or you don't and if you don't suffer within the first few months you are not given any opportunities to open up to anyone. Dark thoughts & feelings you may think are unique to you are left to fester. As we all know it is not just PND that can spoil Motherhood, but it is treated as such. God, it makes me mad!

I think it takes a strong Mum to admit the things we really feel, even on MN.

elkiedee Sat 28-Jun-08 21:12:46

Viz, I see from your profile that you're a SAHM and that you didn't choose it. Plus you're in a different country. Plus your physical difficulties - lack of recovery and not being able to run around with ds as you would have liked. I would have found all those things incredibly difficult. While my experiences have been different from yours, I can see why you feel the way you feel.

Did you have your ds in Australia or NZ?

limecrush Sat 28-Jun-08 21:29:09

THANKYOU everyone. Viz I hope you can see you are not alone.

Oneplusone I want to kiss you!! Why do I never meet anyone like this in my real life...

I have found having children the hardest thing ever in my life. I have always had tendencies to depression but used to deal with things by withdrawing into my own space to heal. Nobody told me that with kids I would basically never be able to do that: particularly with my extremely demanding ds1, who is 4 and STILL basically wants to be either in intense conversation or literally clamped to your body every minute of the day (when the telly's not on.)

I work too, because I need to, but it means I am constantly exhausted. I joke that I wrote a thesis about the cultural suppression of the negative aspects of motherhood in order to get away from my children, but there's a lot of truth in it!!

For the first 2 to 3 years of his life I thought I was going totally mad. I used to feel this terrible pain in my chest all the time, combined guilt and hatred of my life. I hated dh for dealing with things better than I did and for not understanding.

I still hate the way that you just can't talk about this stuff to pretty much ANYONE. The friend I have who comes nearest to understanding always ends our conversations with a suggestion of CBT to 'get rid' of my feelings. My mother ends up repetitively telling me 'oh but the kids are so lovely' as if that makes up for the way I feel, or is a reason for me to just shut up...

Have you read Roszika Parkers 'Torn in Two' about maternal ambivalence? I found it extremely helpful to see it acknowledged, that you can love your kids but hate being a parent.

vizbizz Sat 28-Jun-08 23:07:47

Oneplusone you really have hit it spot on. Limecrush, I think that is one of the things I found so hard - absolutely no time to yourself, or for yourself when you need it. God knows I needed healing time, and someone to look after me, yet here I was having to put me second to look after someone else....and continuing to do so as women always have I guess. I will have to try and get "torn in two", it sounds like an essential read.

I had DS in NZ, and have no family support here either. I guess that just adds to the problem.

superfly, I guess MN lets us feel a bit anonymous which makes it a little easier to say what we really feel, but the biggest help is the amazing supportive people who don't judge. Thank God for MN

handlemecarefully Sat 28-Jun-08 23:10:12

I have regretted becoming a mum, I don't now. I was depressed at the time, I'm not now.

You say you are not suffering from depression any more. Are you sure. Have you tried some online depression scales for initial self diagnosis?

vizbizz Sun 29-Jun-08 02:25:35

yep, I am sure. I am still undergoing counselling with a great clinical psychologist, and the signs are that the depression is gone, and I am in the process of slowly decreasing the meds.

oneplusone Sun 29-Jun-08 21:22:02

limecrush, thank god once again for MN, even if we can't, yet, say this stuff freely in RL, at least we can say it on here. The book you have mentioned sounds interesting, will definately get hold of it. I would also be very interested to read your thesis! What are/were you studying in order to write it? Perhaps we should collaborate and write a book on this subject....

I know exactly what you mean about the complete lack of time to yourself, even just to think, and like yourself withdraw into yourself in order to heal. I'm exactly the same, I need to be by myself in order to process my thoughts and emotions and I usually emerge feeling much better. But with DC's you are totally denied this time and it is soooo hard. My DH moans about his commute, but I see it as a whole hour he has to himself, twice a day, to think/dream or to just 'be', I would love to have that.

jabberwocky, I am the same as you, i enjoy my kids a lot more when i am not around them for too long. But I am a full time SAHM (not through choice, I was too unwell to go back to work after DD) so I spend all my time with the DC's.

vizzbizz, yes i know what you mean, I need someone to look after me, and yet instead of that, I am having to look after 2 very demanding DC's. I told my DH once that I felt the DC's were literally sucking the life out of me. It's almost like when you're pregnant and the baby takes what it needs from you, they are still doing it and they have been out of my body for 5 years and 2 years respectively!

Twizzler Sun 29-Jun-08 22:10:30

Hi everyone.

I know exactly what you mean. Have posted before on this very subject(under different name) but no one seemed to get quite what I was saying and kept telling me that I sounded like a good mum.

I know I'm not a bad one just not the kind of mum I thought I'd be. I think I had my rose tinted glasses on. I seem to be shouting a lot a the moment and my patience is non exsistent.

I was just crying tonight to my DH about it. I just couldn't face the bed time/story time slog.

DH and I both love DS so much and he can be incredibly funny and gorgous but he is a whiner and a screamer and we have just had a two week holiday which quite frankly, was not a rest at all. In fact, my DH said while we were away, that he hated DS sometimes and felt that our relationship has suffered since he came along.

I feel the same as you Vizbizz that there is a DD for me but just can't face going through a pregnancy, birth and the whole baby thing. I had no great traumas giving birth and my health is not affected, I just can't face it. I breastfed for 11 months and I just couldn't wait for it to be over.

I feel like I have had all the life sucked out of me, any enthusiasm and don't feel like the person I was before.

I do all the mum things but find it all incredibly tedious and cannot stand other peoples' kids. Other friends are always saying "When are you having another/You can't only have one/You must have a playmate for DS". I sometimes think they are jealous that you only have one and they want your life to be as hard as theirs. When I see mothers with three or more kids I just think they need their head examining. Like you, I think it is all a big conspiracy.

I wouldn't want to go back but I would definitely have liked a trial run before embarking on motherhood!

I miss my old life, I dream about all the lovely relaxing holidays we had and all the things we could do at a moment's notice.

Children do bring joy but in my experience it is "moments", just small chunks and the rest is just sheer bloody, mindnumbing, frustrating hard work.

oneplusone Sun 29-Jun-08 22:12:58

limecrush, I've just ordered your book recommendation and feel i have had a 'lightbulb' moment. It seems the stock answer on MN to anyone posting about not being able to feel love for their DC's/not enjoying being a parent etc is PND. And yet I read many responses to that where mums say they are not depressed and it seems other than PND there is no other reason for not enjoying motherhood or not finding it fulfilling and I think the answer may lie in the book you have recommended (although admittedly I haven't read it yet!).

I googled the author and there was an article about her and the book in the guardian and it is the first time I have come across any information that seems to describe how I feel. I am definately not depressed, but I am not happy being a mother. I often feel I am 'in the wrong job', that's it's just not me, I am not cut out to be a mother and I hope the book will give me some validation. It all relates back to what I said about feeling like i was 'sold a lie' about motherhood, that it's all love and joy and bliss. Nobody ever tells you that sometimes you will feel like you hate your kids and I admit that at times I feel like I hate my DD and I feel terrible for feeling that way. But, now I am beginning to feel that it's actually normal and probably very common, but once again a taboo, nobody is allowed to admit it out loud.

It seems the suppression of women in our societly runs very deep and feminism has only scratched the surface by tackling issues such as equality at work etc. There is definately a long way to go before mothers are able to openly express how they really feel without being condemmed and judged.

lucyellensmum Sun 29-Jun-08 22:22:50

Firstly viz don't beat yourself up over this because God forgive me, sometimes i feel the same. I think lots of us do, tis bloody hard work being a mum. Throw depression into the mix and well.....

I wasn't going to post actually because i can see that you have had lots of support already here. BUT something you said really stopped me in my tracks.

You say you feel scared about getting pregnant again, that is understandable, i dont think i could go through it. You then go on to say that you can feel a DD. My initial thoughts were, hmm and then, ok, so you want a girl, understandable. But then i thought about my expereince. There is a 15 year gap between my girls. DD2 was definately unexpected, but she wasn't really. I just knew, i KNEW i would have another child and i knew it would be a girl. This feeling came over me in the last year of my PhD when my thoughts were turning to what i would do afterwards. All i could visualise was a baby, a little girl and it was a very comforting feeling. I put the feelings to one side, after all i was just about to embark on my career (at last), so why would i have a child. But, i did grin and more than that, one day, whilst heavily pregnant and working at home, her name came to me out of the blue - DP came home and I said, The babies name is Lucy. Oh? he said, i just said, Don't ask me - it just is grin. I actually think all that psychic stuff is hokum pokum, but i promise you, i knew i would have DD. If you are meant to have a daughter then, you will, and you will be fine, i promise.

There are days when i wonder what i would be doing if i hadn't had a baby and i do feel a bit sad about that because we are struggling financially and with PND etc it has been a tough two years. REALLY tough. I'm still waiting for it to get easier tbh. But when i look at that little girl, MY little girl, who loves me so much and i love her more, i know she was meant to be and i love her with all of my heart.

I'll join you in the mantr of "it'l get easier" "it'l get easier". aND wish you the best of luck.

oneplusone Sun 29-Jun-08 22:24:35

twizzler, you have said it all for me and I have also posted on here before but felt nobody quite got what i was talking about.

I constantly dream about life without DC's and even though people are always saying it gets easier as they get older, i don't think it will make that much difference. They will always be a huge responsibilty, they will always be an emotional drain on me if not necessarily a physical drain. And like you said, the moments of joy are just that, seconds, as compared to hours and days of sheer boredom, hard work and drudge. I could go back to work i suppose, but then i recently read a thread about mums who work and they all said they felt pulled in all directions and constantly knackered so i'm not in a hurry to go down that road!

I am scared to go on holiday (have posted about this as well) because i suspect the experience will be like yours, not a holiday at all, not for me anyway. Earlier this year i went away for a week on my own ie without DH or DC's and had the most wonderful, relaxing, refreshing time of my life (well life since DC's anyway). I wished it could have been a month! I would recommend it to all of you if it's at all possible.

I also think this country is not in the least bit family or child friendly on a political level and that affects us in many ways especially if you look at eg scandinavian countries.

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