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Does anyone else regret having children?

(441 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?

Clair1909 Tue 25-Jul-17 21:07:17

I never really wanted children- they seemed too messy, noisy and restrictive. Then I had one and now I hate my life. There's 0 spontaneity in my life, I haven't had a dinner without there being a back drop of a screaming child in 3 months and I'm miserable.

I feel like all the stories I was told about it being magical and the most rewarding thing ever was a total lie or I'm abnormal and have something missing in me.

I keep trying to find like minded people but it just reinforces the notion that I am some kind of monster. I have tried speaking to my husband about how I feel but he doesn't understand he thinks I'm just blowing off steam in the moment when I say that I think he and my daughter would be better off without me.

I just can't do it. I hate the fact that I can't do anything without military planning weeks in advance, I hate never being on my own. I hate that I had to give up more or less everything and now I feel like I'm laying my identity down too.

I cry all the time and I hate the way I look. I feel like all I do is feel miserable

msrisotto Tue 21-Feb-17 20:01:19

Sorry we're not giving an answer you're happy with. There is no good answer. It's ok to have a moan to strangers about it. I'd recommend psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapy if you want to explore it more.

Sirraleigh Tue 21-Feb-17 19:31:38

Thank Msrisotto, yes, "acceptance" is what my psychiatrist advised as well... In fact, she almost literally said to me what you wrote.

It just seems like a generic approach one can use for anything. And, believe me, I tried accepting it long and hard...

I'm not deliberately dwelling on my situation and how bad I think it is. The situation just makes me feel horrible. If I accept it or not, it still does that.

GloriousSlug Tue 21-Feb-17 19:08:16

I do bit have struggled to find people with older children that feel the same, often it's women with very young children expressing regret and then it's put down to pnd.

My children are 7 and 12 and I absolutely should not have had them. I try my best but to be honest it isn't good enough.

The only way I manage to deal with my feelings is by taking anti depressants, definitely takes the edge off but the regret doesn't ever go away.

msrisotto Tue 21-Feb-17 19:02:21

My advice would be to try to accept the situation you are in and commit to making changes that move you towards your goals. Some things you can change and some you can't. Dwelling on something you can't change will just erode your life and mental health. Regret is like bitterness, it only poisons yourself.

Sirraleigh Tue 21-Feb-17 16:19:03

I was happy. What I wasn't happy with, I changed. There's a lot you can change in life.

Being a parent, when it makes you depressed and hate yourself, is not easy to change.

Any advice is appreciated. How did you deal with, cope with that regret???

msrisotto Tue 21-Feb-17 15:58:18

I'm really sorry to hear those who are unhappy.

One question I have for you, is about how you were before having children? Were you really happy?

Sirraleigh Tue 21-Feb-17 14:58:02

Hi, I first wrote to the thread in 2014. Still feel the same way: regret. Love my kids, but regret being a parent.

My question is simply this:

Is there anyone that truly felt like this during parenthood, and is now feeling better, that can offer any advice, insight, comfort???

Been in counseling and on meds... Doesn't help.

goingonabearhunt1 Mon 20-Feb-17 14:47:43

flowers to everyone having a hard time. I hope you have/find some support IRL as well.

goingonabearhunt1 Mon 20-Feb-17 14:45:59

There is certainly a lot of pressure to have kids if you are a woman, especially once you reach 30. People don't seem to understand that someone might choose not to, I think it's still seen as a bit odd. I think this leads to a lot of unhappiness as people are pressured into it to some extent by family/friends/partners.

Itsgettingbetter Sun 19-Feb-17 22:03:06

Just your post Rixera. I'm very sorry to hear what you've been through. Please get some some support to help you process what has happened to you.

You have something to offer the world - everyone does.

scorpio1981 Sat 11-Feb-17 18:36:52

I so regret my decision and nothing is making any difference. The body now ruined with stretch marks, tits like tea-bags and varicose veins, the indifference of my husband, the lack of money/sleep/social life/sex; nothing is getting any better. Had I known how much I had to give up to be a parent I never, ever would have done it. I'm brain dead and don't have a life. I'm so bored, so tired, so fed-up, so angry at my stupidity. Ah well, only 10 years or so to go and then I'll be free of this stone around my neck and can then finally breath. I'd give anything to have my old life back but no-one tells you the down side of parenting do they until its too late. I love my son but I hate parenting. Were there a way to buy them age 18, house trained, polite and over all the mess, I'd do it but as it is I just have to put up and shut up and try not to let it get to me. One thing though; were I stuck in a lift, lost in space or shipwrecked, I'd want another parent by my side because unless you've cleaned up puke at the bottom of the bed at three in the morning and then done it again twenty minutes later, you haven't grown up.

quincycake Sat 11-Feb-17 14:52:29

Rixera Wed 19-Oct-16 13:10:06

Old post but I had to join in.
I regret having my baby when I did. She's a fantastic toddler aged 18 months old, she's well behaved for someone so small, very clever, good tempered, but I had her at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons.

I was only 20. Her dad, my 'D'P, was 22. I moved in with him at 18 to escape a sexually physically and emotionally abusive dad and a mum who pushed me to take on the adult responsibilities so she didn't have to deal with my dad. All his siblings, his father, his father's siblings did the same to me, it's like a family culture. I repressed it all with DID (multiple personality disorder), multiple breakdowns since 16, went completely off the deep end when I moved out, then got pregnant having been told I was infertile.

My DP blamed me for having an online affair when pregnant/when the baby was 6 month. He still uses that to tell me I'm a bad person or not doing enough. What he still doesn't get is that it wasn't just an affair, the man was a paedophile who groomed me from age 15, I didn't know how to stop him when he started hounding me over email again, though I know now.

My DP was the one who wanted kids but I'm stuck as a SAHM. I've never been stable enough to hold down a job and now I don't know if I ever will be able to, who would employ me? I'm in therapy and doing so much better but it just makes it more obvious how controlling, immature and avoidant my DP is and how toxic our relationship is. He's a nice person, I get on with him well but we got together for the wrong reasons. I'm not even attracted to him. I'm stuck cleaning up everyone else's messes all day long, hating it, hating not being able to do anything without someone wrecking it. My DP says only a few years until she can talk/wipe her own bum/go to school and life will go back to normal. I don't WANT it to go back to normal! I have NEVER had a good time in my life. It seems like I never will. We are on benefits though he works 45 hours a week, I have no prospects, and stuck in this is a gorgeous sweet little girl.

I regret being born, forget about giving birth to someone else.

SnowCurl Fri 30-Sep-16 20:05:24

Thank you, OldTimer. Your post has given me hope smile xxx

bellend123 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:53:10

What a lovely post OldTimer. I'm glad you're feeling good. flowers to everyone who is struggling.

OldTimer50 Wed 21-Sep-16 21:59:31

Hi, I've joined this Mumsnet today as I saw The Independent online ( was running an article about the subject referencing this thread and I wondered if my contribution might be helpful to someone...?

I am now a mother of 2 wonderful adult men.

When the eldest was 4 years old I was having a hard time with all sorts of issues regarding lack of support (husband, parents, name it) and was feeling very isolated, though determined to do the best for my children. However, he was such a little, exhausting tyrant. I was exhausted emotionally and physically and I felt like a useless parent. Having felt so connected to him as a baby I was surprised by this turnaround.

One day I confided in my mother: "I don't think I like him."
Expecting support instead I was met with a near-hysterical response from a woman (who I've since learnt has the emotional capacity of a paper bag) who should have offered me unconditional love and…guidance, even.
"That's awful. I'm so shocked. If you don't want him, your Dad and I will have him. We'll adopt him!" she said.
Not exactly the support I was looking for.
Saying, "I didn't say I didn't love him. I said I didn't like him. Right now. Today." didn't help either.

I actually felt really betrayed by her response and it started to cause me to lose faith in my ability to trust others but now, 23 years later I can see where the difficulties between us (mother and daughter) lay and why she would respond in that way.

I had unplanned pregnancies. When I found out I was pregnant however, I was happy to accept that this miraculous journey was ahead of me. I even enjoyed pregnancy.
But after the birth it seemed like all my previous support network vanished.
(I wish I had known about the NCT that early on.) I certainly regretted my choices early on in my children's lives. Very much. That regret caused me great anguish.

But do I regret having children now? 'After' the fact?
Well, I have had many health issues. And I think some of them arose from the psychological weight of having to be 'on my own' and shouldering the burden (and the joy!) of everything...
If I had known that the next 2 ½ decades were going to be as tough as they have been...well, I may have thrown in the towel early on. It has been exhausting and my body has paid a huge price. But this is my life. And my husband's. And my children's. Ok so it's not been a fairytale and it has had its disappointments but I am glad I persevered. The sacrifices (financial, health, emotional, career) have felt too huge along the way. It is only now looking back (I don't do rose-tinted) that I am able to say honestly, "It's ok. Even though it cost me such a lot, it is ok now."
I'm glad I was able to hang in there. Though at times it was by my fingernails.
Along the way I have found that there is no greener grass on the other side. It's just longer and takes more maintenance.

Best of luck to any of you who are having regrets.
I hope you can find a positive outlet for your frustrations.

I sought psychotherapy at the first opportunity (that, regrettably, was just 5 years ago...finances have been that challenging). Sorting my past out has been a tremendous help to me. And actually stopping 'trying' now has allowed so many more people to come into my life. Perhaps they can tell this is the authentic me and not the previously 'needy' version? I don’t know. But I feel more loved and cared for than ever before. It’s a lovely, joyful feeling. And my boys are in that mix too. I am 50 years old today and I have had the most hilarious (hilarious photo and outer wording) and poignant card from one of my sons:

“Dear Mum,
Seeing you relaxed and in your element and surrounded by lovely people at your party for the first time in too long was simply wonderful. It was really lovely to witness and be a part of. I hope that we can have many more to come.”

I really think Love - especially of the self - can overcome anything. I hope you find it in your lives. x

JennieS2145 Wed 21-Sep-16 11:18:41

Hi all,
I'm in the same boat.
I have a three (nearly four) year old daughter and have recently found out that I'm pregnant. It's not that I don't love my children, but being a mother is tough. Especially when you do most of the work. I keep dreaming about carefree days where I can go on nights out with friends and have a job that brings in a decent income. Having one child has impacted our love life, so who knows what two will do. I'm very sceptical about having a new baby. I just feel this isn't right. The people around me adore my daughter and are looking forward to meeting the new arrival, I wish I could say the same. I hope people don't think I'm selfish. I've just had children too young and feel as if life is going nowhere. I do love them as I've said, I just wish for freedom.

SnowCurl Thu 25-Aug-16 22:22:19

That is something that noons can "prepare" you for! Totally get that x

dranaksjd Thu 25-Aug-16 11:19:56

I regret having my son. If I could I back I would. I'm not depressed. I'm just not cut out to be surrounded by a child for years of my life and all the limitations that entails.

SnowCurl Fri 19-Aug-16 13:39:19

Vero03, I am in the same boat so I really can empaphise- I have 3 under 5 with the youngest unplanned. I also never wanted to have children, but let myself be talked round by my husband. I love them to pieces and can't imagine life without them. But I have grown resentful towards my other half. He has never been able to help out with picking up/dropping off from childcare which meant that ive never been able to return to work. In his profession, they have "core hours" and as it's male dominated it's obviously "woman's work" to look after children and manage childcare. I honestly do not know how single parent households manage in today's society!
Diamond I totally get what you mean about feeling like a caged animal. I feel very trapped and often find myself wishing I could just walk away. I fantasise about what life would be like without the additional responsibility. Being able to wander the streets at any time without having to come home. Without having to live to someone else's timetable. In my dreams I am often child free and doing the things I've always enjoyed.
Vero03, is it the monotony that gets to you? The noise? Are you largely at home alone with them? flowers for anyone who is having a rough time xxx

diamond457 Mon 25-Jul-16 18:51:46

I constantly grieve over my old life and all the potential I had and the things I could have done with my life. I had dd at 19 so its my own fault. But I am depressed and my career is well and truly down the pan.
Applying for jobs I wouldn't have took in a million years because its all I can do now due to childcare restrictions etc.
I do feel like a caged animal, a shell of who I was.
but I do love dd and im a good mum and she deserves the best.
I have to live with the grief the rest of my life.

sammyjayneex Mon 25-Jul-16 14:21:40

I don't regret having my kids because of what I've had to give up but I regret having them because of the responsibility you hold for them. It's your job to keep them safe, your job to make sure they eat well, your job to make sure they succeed well at school, make sure your keeping an eye on their health ect. Any thing that happens it's basically you who has to take responsibility and life can be so full of guilt of you get it wrong. I suffer from anxiety and OCD so it makes it even harder to be a proper mother so I regret having them because of the amount of stress it cause but I don't regret having to give up anything in my life before.

Vero03 Sat 23-Jul-16 22:14:50

Hi, I see this is an old discussion so I hope someone out there can discuss this with me. Im feeling pretty bad about having children. I have three kids under 5 and as bad as this sounds I wouldnt wish this life on my worse enemy. I love my children dearly but I hate my life now and I too regret having them every single day. I starting to really hate my husband for pushing me to have children. I feel i was so happy before and now I'm not. I can never abandon them because I grew up without my mother who passed when I was three so I would never want them to go through what I did but at the same time I miss my life. Ive decided to get in antidepressants so I hope this helps. At this point since there is no escape I might as well be on autopilot.

CPtart Thu 21-Jul-16 20:01:22

I don't ever regret having them, and they are almost teens now, but I too constantly wished the time away when they were babies. I went back to work pt when DC1 was 4 months and DC2 was 5 months and felt massively better, more in control with some return to routine. I feel as though I outsourced a lot of the work, stresses and boredom of those difficult early years, but have no regrets at all. We had zero family help and returning to work absolutely saved me.

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