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I regret having children

(87 Posts)
SlowlyDyingInside Fri 11-Mar-11 19:21:13

That's just it, really. I have a 3 year old and a 9 month old. I gave up my career to become a SAHM. I love them but in an abstract way, because I have to and they don't deserve anything else. I do as much as I can with them, but I take no pleasure in them. My 3 yo in particular drives me to tears most days, and I rue the day she was born, my life has been beyond miserable ever since. I struggle to keep my temper with her and end up yelling at her. I feel like I'm turning into my own (completely useless) parents. All I can think about every day is killing myself. I feel trapped and can't see any way out other than just walking away/disappearing and leaving them to their father.

Am I the only one? Is it normal to regret having children? I don't have PND, btw. I did after my eldest and I think that's part of why I have difficulties with her. My baby, who was not planned, is an absolute doll, I sometimes wonder how life would have turned out if I'd had him first.

Not trying to be controversial and I don't want saving, I just feel lonely, I've got nobody to talk to about this.

squeakytoy Fri 11-Mar-11 19:30:48

I dont have kids (stepchildren all grown up)but I have a 5 year old granddaughter, and I know how exhausting they are.. at 3 it was a day full of defiance, a battle of wills, and I was lucky as I could hand her back at tea time!

Is there any way you can use a childminder or a nursery for at least a couple of days a week so that you can go back to work. Adult company is probably the break that you need to get the balance right and your sanity!

I am 100% sure you are NOT the only one who feels like this too!

gettingeasier Fri 11-Mar-11 19:32:35

I couldnt read and not respond that must have been hard to write , hopefully someone will read this who has been in this position and come through happily.

With my limited experience maybe talking to your health visitor as a starting point or your family doctor ?

Do you have a supportive partner ? Have you family and friends you can look to for support ?

There will be a way past this even if its a hard path , sending you hugs

Portofino Fri 11-Mar-11 19:36:38

I would get thee back to work if at all possible! I am not maternal, earth mother type, and whilst I love my dd to absolute pieces, I could NOT have stayed home all day every day for years. I would have gone mad.

They get a bit easier as they grow. You can have conversations, play proper games. I cannot do lego and cbeebies - I have no patience for it.

GollyHolightly Fri 11-Mar-11 19:39:14

You're not alone. Life is different with kids.

perfumedlife Fri 11-Mar-11 19:44:47

OP my friend felt the same way as you after her second was born. He was the demanding one of the two, her health had nosedived and she was a SAHM really missing her career. It didn't help that her partner worked away weeks on end, and was too mean to buy her a cheap car to get out of the isolated villiage.

She didn't have PND, she just found it really hard work and tedious beyond belief. I only have one and marvel at mothers with two or more, it is damned hard.

Now that her youngest is at school, my friend has really improved. She is back at work and loving it. Is that something you could think about?

SherbetDibDab Fri 11-Mar-11 19:45:04

You are properly in the thick of it with parenting. In a couple of years, your eldest will come out of the impossible toddler stage and hopefully become a charming little person. Honestly, they actually become good company.

I would second what others have said, that I would have gone completely crazy if I didn't work. Is there any chance you could get part time work. It could do you the world of good and not do your kids any harm at all.

I hope you get the help you need.

mercibucket Fri 11-Mar-11 19:45:31

a lot of women feel like that inside I think. I know you say it's not pnd but perhaps just 'straight' depression? certainly it is tough when the kids are young and I wanted to just walk out quite a few times! my 3 year old can also drive me insane within minutes of picking her up from nursery so that's par for the course too if that makes you feel better? In fact, I'm quite glad I have a job to escape back to.
If you can't work or it doesn't fit right now, how about something similar for the adult company and escape from the drudgery of small children? volunteer work?
can you set up times for just you and your three year old so you can 'reconnect' with her as well - doing something fun while your partner or a friend looks after the 9 month old

lostinthejungle Fri 11-Mar-11 19:56:08

SDI, why are you so sure you don't have PND? Or just good old-fashioned depression, which does an equally good job of hiding the forest for the trees?

It's so damn hard being a mother under the best of circumstances, let alone when you have a difficult kid. My son, who I worship and have always worshipped, was ANYTHING but a bed of roses and I have no problem at all understanding your temper and your yelling. But the rest of what you say sounds like depression to me - just my feeling, okay?

Sounds to me like perhaps you lost respect/identity for yourself when you stopped work. Solution - get back in there, it is obviously really important for you (me, I was thrilled to abandon high-pressure career tho it took a breakdown to get me there!). Is it financially/logistically possible? Also, you don't discuss him, but it sounds like perhaps your husband is not being supportive enough. Don't be offended, but could it be that you need some counselling, individually and/or together?

Finally, if you seriously are thinking more than in mad fits (that you know are mad) about killing yourself, please get some real help. These things have a way of spiralling out of control.

Good luck, seriously!

pollyblue Fri 11-Mar-11 19:57:07

I really understand what you're saying - I have a 4yo ald 2yo twins and yesterday I came very close to walking out. It is so bloody hard sometimes, I wonder why I had children - I love them very much but I often doubt how good I am, or will ever be, as a Mum.

My oldest will go to school in september and the twins will be able to go to playgroup, so i know things will change then, but this is all a way off for you yet. I agree with another posters suggestion, seriously consider a childminder or nursery for some of the week, and go back to work if you would like to. I go to college one day a week and really that has saved my sanity.

HerBeX Fri 11-Mar-11 20:07:34

It really sounds to me like you need

a) possibly to go to counselling


b) almost definitely, to go back to work.

I also agree with others tht you may well have straightforward (not PND) depression and that's hwere the counselling might help.

But it sounds to me like you are really missing having an identity and work might give you that. Having said that, it's a tough job market out there at the moment and childcare costs are astronomical so in the meantime, counselling might help you sort out your feelings about whether it's actually having children per se which you regret, or the life you are living as a result of it. You can't change the fact that you've had children, but you can change the life you're living, you don't have to be a SAHM if it's draining the joy and energy out of you.

babyapplejack Fri 11-Mar-11 20:16:25

Do you think that life will be different once they get older/to school etc?

It can be very hard when kids are little, but when they grow up a bit, things can change. I have no patience with babies or toddlers (I was not too bad when mine were that little), but now babies/toddlers irritate me and I would prefer not to be in their company. I like children though - proper little people as opposed to a screaming unreasonable little baby/toddler.

I think you should get your 3yo into all the free sessions ASAP and I think that also you should use a creche on an ad hoc basis for your 9mo to give you a break. Alternatively, like others have suggested, both could go to a day care nursery and you could go back to work.

kayjayel Fri 11-Mar-11 20:19:03

When my two were at that age (similar gap) I would have written the same. 3 year olds are really, really, really hard. Add into that the exhaustion of a baby plus the difficulty of learning to split yourself to meet both their needs. I think you sound nicer than I was able to be at that time. So I think you're describing a reasonable reaction to a really tough situation.

I tried counselling, I tried yoga, I tried going back to work. The latter worked best for me. I needed a sense of identity and respect from others to balance the complete lack of respect and authority I felt when I was with kids! I've no idea what will help for you, but if you try lots of things, something may click. And while you're trying it the kids get older (and a bit easier). 4 was much better. 5 is great, I can see 6 in the distance as very lovely. It will get better smile. And they will survive it if you balance the shouting with love. My DS seems to have forgiven me.

YesPleaseDrChristian Fri 11-Mar-11 20:28:10

No matter what your relationship with your children is like you do need urgent help if you think about killing youself everyday.

Does your partner know how you are feeling?

RedFlagHag Fri 11-Mar-11 20:32:47

Go back to work immediately. Start off time part-time / temp/contract if you can, because it is a huge adjustment and you might falter at your first attempt (voice of experience!).

In the long run (ish), work is so, so brilliant for putting life in perspective and helping you get back a sense of yourself and your controlling your own destiny.

I went quietly mad as a SAHM (mine are 6 yrs and 2yrs and went back to work when youngest was 6 mths old after 4 yrs as a frustrated, semi suicidal SAHM).

lilyberry Fri 11-Mar-11 21:40:59

If you would like to talk to someone, the Samaritans are available 24/7 and will listen to anyone who is distressed or alone. Please consider calling them. You don't have to go through anything alone.

I second the other poster who suggested you may have depression. Wanting to kill yourself and crying every day is a pretty big sign: it's just your brain telling you that it can't cope as things are at the moment.

SlowlyDyingInside Fri 11-Mar-11 22:00:21

Thank you for all your kind replies, I'm sorry that I can't reply to each one individually.

I am depressed, I have had depression since I was a child and suicidal thoughts since about the age of 11 (2 half hearted attempts at about age 12 and 22). This is not PND, however, I did have it post DD and I had antenatal counselling as a result.

I suppose I am a "high functioning" depressive, if that makes sense. I worked hard at my lowly school, got myself a stellar (Oxbridge) university education, high status/high earning career in the City. I've never really fit in, though. I always found I had to move on because something wasn't quite right - I reinvented myself a lot, under the guise of getting better jobs with more status/money. I guess I've always been running away from something, and now there's nowhere to run.

I had an extremely stressful childhood with 2 abusive parents. I can't parent by example and feel the need to do the opposite of what they did all the time. However, I feel like I "revert to type" from time to time, and vomit out the sort of verbal abuse my mother fired at us. When it happens, it feels like an out of body experience, and I am physically shaking afterwards. Unlike her, I rarely use violence. I have smacked hard a couple of times, and felt physically sick about it. Unlike my own mother, I do balance it out with love, my DD and I have a very loving relationship. I always apologise after one of my episodes and try to explain why I was angry and make it clear that the behaviour on my part was bad. I try to make my daughter know that it is her behaviour, not her being, that was bad. Nevertheless, I know my daughter is being adversely effected by my behaviour, and my screaming fits really upset my normally placid baby.

I have a few close friends but would not/could not burden them with childcare or my problems. I have never been able to bear the mother/baby groups, I feel such a fraud at them and I have felt awkward and plagued with the "not fitting in" feelings. I do take the DCs to groups (music/gym etc) and have people I am friendly with, but nothing that's translated into friendships.

I have severed contact with my family, save for one dear, dear sister, who helps me when she can, but who lives several hundred miles away and has her own burdens to bear.

WRT work, there is a general hiring freeze in my sector, I have been actively seeking since DD turned 1. Nothing has come up, really. In any event, the type of work I do is not really conducive to part time work.

I don't think my feelings towards my children are completely down to the difficulties of the early years, although I do recognise that things get easier as they get older. I can't, and never will have, the life I wanted for myself. The resentment that generates in the moment, I can't see that dissipating, only intensifying as I get older and further away from the promise of my youth.

My husband is a good man, but we are ill matched. He knows how I feel, including the suicidal feelings, but he simply can't get his head around it. He works very long hours in the City and I am quite often left to deal with the children alone (he does pull his wight when he is at home). He is living his idyll, and can't understand why I am not grateful to be in the privileged position I am.

I do agree that work may at least get me out of the fug I am in. We have recently moved to a new city and are about to move to a new town again. Once things settle down, my DD will hopefully be in nursery care come September and I'd like DS to start nursery a couple of mornings this time next year.

My fear, however, is that these feelings will not go away and will blight me forever. I am having counselling, which is fine up to a point, but I'm a bit cynical as to the long term benefits.

Thanks again for all your posts and caring comments.

thereturnofElsieTanner Fri 11-Mar-11 22:10:54

Why do you say you "have nobody to talk to about this"? If you printed your op and showed it to your husband / health visitor / GP would they be surprised? If yes, I think you need to tell them how you are feeling. Can you do this?

I remember a HV asking me how I was enjoying being a mum when dd was 1. I was incredulous. Enjoy??? Looking back, I definitely had PND but hid it very successfully, most of all from myself. I felt so guilty that I wasn't enjoying her as she was a perfect baby in every way. She's nearly 24 now and my best friend.

It doesn't matter whether someone says you are or you are not depressed. You are feeling shit and you need some support.

thereturnofElsieTanner Fri 11-Mar-11 22:16:20

Sorry. X post and you have expanded considerabley. You sound so unhappy and so resigned to it. And the latter is the heartbreaking part. Has posting here helped at all?

YesPleaseDrChristian Fri 11-Mar-11 22:48:24

If money is not tight could you arrange some childcare where you put both children into nursery for a day a week and you could have some time to yourself?

You sound desperately unhappy and unsupported actually, even though you say your DH is a good man.

YesPleaseDrChristian Fri 11-Mar-11 22:50:33

Out of interest what is the life you wanted for yourself if this isn't it? Genuine question.

squinkydinkus Fri 11-Mar-11 23:41:41

I know you probably dont feel like you have PND probably because it feels different to the first time you ahd it, I say this because I had it with my first severely, eight years later i had my second and he is 27 months old now, I felt to me not as bad as I felt with my first but still really down and kept saying to myself it's not PND cos im not quite as miserable, it was only when he turned about 2 that I saw the cloud lift and now I KNOW I had it I was horrible I felt like i hated him but it was me, he is still the same annoying kid but i can suddenly find his little ways funny and sweet whereas before i wanted to give him away seriously give him away and never see him again, I thought it was all him being an evil child but it was me I needed help and I should have got it. I really hope that you go and get some advice, I wish i had it would have spared me from feeling such a bad mum, you're not a bad mum, you're just going through a really bad time. xxxx

SlowlyDyingInside Fri 11-Mar-11 23:51:10

thereturnofElsieTanner, fab name! I've posted on and off here for about 18 months. It helps a bit, but I just don't have that much time to sit down and fully engage. I'm on my own with the kids from a minimum stint of 7.30am to 7.30pm, quite often (like tonight) later. It's a bit like the counselling, just when I want to get stuck into how I'm feeling, time is up.....or in the case of MN, people don't respond, or I need to do chores or do something with the children etc. I'm typing this knowing I will be up with the baby soon and regretting having stayed up late. I also find MN a bit addictive, I've managed to stay away for a couple of weeks and that as freed me up to do more with the kids/house. But once I get sucked in, I just want to talk/type all the time. it's the only consistent daily/daytime adult conversation I've really had in the last 3 years. Sad, huh?

YesPleaseDrChristian, the life I wanted? Difficult to answer, but my career was important to my self esteem, and I had the chance to take it to another level with a job abroad, which I did not take because of DH. It would have involved a lot of travel, which I adore(d). He and I just don't have much in common. I'm sporty, arty, musical, into politics. He's none of those things, the only thing he gets passionate about is cricket (watching, not playing). All the simple things I used to enjoy, he's not interested in. Galleries, cinema, theatre....even the Sunday papers and a fry up at a greasy spoon are just not his thing. Life just revolves around the children and household drudgery day after groundhog day. He adores the children and is pretty domestic, so that all suits him fine.

Ultimately, I do what I do at the moment pretty well (shouty episodes aside, and the fact that my DD has no friends because I don't socialise much). I just don't enjoy it. I just want to enjoy my life and I really can't see me ever being content because I'm just not programmed that way. I was brought up to doubt myself and I just don't think I'll ever get past that. As I said above, the difference between now and the past is that I can't reinvent myself the way I used to when the doubts set in. I am stuck. If it was just DH and me, I'd be long gone. It's the children that glue me in my place, because even if I walk out the door, I've still got the guilt of their existence to deal with and the knowledge I'll be fucking them up by abandoning them.

SlowlyDyingInside Fri 11-Mar-11 23:54:51

Xpost Squinky , thank you. Well, I guess best case scenario is that this is PND, but I think I am just one of life's malcontents and I'm always going to wonder what might have been if I'd decided to follow my heart rather than my head. I'm happy you and your little boy are on good terms now x

livinginthesticks Sat 12-Mar-11 00:02:57

if this is any help I don't know...I had a high powered, demanding(probably not by your standards though) job once but after having my son I went back to work part time in my local authority where I am a press officer and I am so much happier than either being a SAHM or being full time in the full on job I had.

So maybe you don't need to go back to what you did before but just something that gets you out of the house and is interesting to you without totally stressing you.

Also, if you can afford it maybe it'd be worth having some childcare so you can do something you enjoy like going to the gym or doing something for yourself.

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