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AIBU?

Knowing what you know now, would you have still made the same decision about having children?

382 replies

Drsparks · 01/01/2024 15:20

I'm not necessarily asking if you regret it but if you had all the facts, and knew exactly how it would pan out would you have still made the same choice?

Eg
I would of had kids earlier/later.
Or
I chose not to have them because I wanted a childfree life but having lived it, I would have chosen to have kids because it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Or
I love my kids 100% but in hindsight I'd of probably been happier with a childfree life
or
Yes it is 109% the right choice

OP posts:
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Erby · 01/01/2024 16:24

I never wanted children and now in my 60s I'm 100% sure I made the right decision.

Every word of this.

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SleepingStandingUp · 01/01/2024 16:25

I'd have liked in an ideal world to have had them a few years earlier, but that would have meant me meeting DH earlier and I didn't. Wouldn't have wanted them with an ex. Plus if we'd had them sooner I wouldn't have the first born I have, I'd likely have had a healthy baby, and if I'd had him earlier a second pregnancy would have been sooner and I'd probably have not had twins. So I'd feel guilty for basically wishing for easier children.

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Magatha · 01/01/2024 16:25

Up to when DC were around 11 years old, I'd have said yes it was the right choice to have DC.

But I now have a troubled teen (17 years). I've shared some details with people at work and have been astounded by the number of people worrying about their teenagers and young adult DC. In the past month I have spoken to people about (and these are all different people) -

DC admitted to hospital with anorexia
DC at risk of anorexica, parent has left work to look after them before they get to hospital admission stage
DC refusing to go to school
DC only going to college 50% of the time
DC addicted to weed and doesn't want to do anything else but smoke
DC transitioned a few years ago but now regrets it
DC depressed and refusing to engage with anything - no school, no work

It's such a difficult time for teenagers and mental health. The emotional strain is enormous- I know I'll be worrying about them forever more.

I know some people have the veiw that it's bad parenting. But every single person I've spoken to has raised other DC (older or younger) without these kinds of issues and I think it's societal pressure, friendships and limited mental health support that ends up with some DC struggling while others are OK. It's kind of by grace of God (in my view) if you've had teens grow up with just normal teen issues.

So if I hadn't met my DC but knew how emotionally difficult it would be to worry and worry about the, I'll say I would choose differently.

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SnowyPetals · 01/01/2024 16:27

I wish I'd met DH earlier, so we had more time as a couple before having children. I wish we'd also started earlier and I'd had a third, but we both felt too old by the time that choice came round.

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VivaVivaa · 01/01/2024 16:32

Torn on this. My DC are tiny (baby and pre schooler) and currently, from an entirely selfish perspective, my life is worse. I’m sleep deprived, I’m permanently ill, I miss spontaneity and I’m so burnt out of being needed all the time. I miss the relationship I had with my DH pre DC.

I adore my DC and the funny thing is I couldn’t live without them now. If I was offered a day with them to try it out and then my memory would be wiped so I’d never know I’d met them, I still couldn’t and wouldn’t hand them back. They are amazing. But parenting is a massive, massive slog. I wish we had loads of willing family to give us a break. That would make such a massive, massive difference.

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brownbutterfrangipanetart · 01/01/2024 16:32

If I knew, I would have gone child free as I didn’t realise the levels of sacrifice involved - currently in the baby stage and thinking of sticking at 1!

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Nottodaytgankyou · 01/01/2024 16:34

If I’d have known what I know now.

I would have waited a couple of years longer. I would have spent that time working on myself a bit (I think parenting makes issues come to the surface) and travelled a bit with DH.

Husband was happy to work part time/ full time. I think I would’ve pushed for almost full time hours . The impact it has had on my career/ earning/ pension is pretty bad to be honest.

i if I’m honest I love my husband but im not sure I would have done it with him. He is a great dad, a pretty decent husband but some of our ways of doing things/ interests are very different.

inwould still have had 2 children with same age gap I think. I have friends without children and their lives seem amazing- work and then can do whatever but genuinely I have not felt the love I have for my children anywhere else .

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CreationNat1on · 01/01/2024 16:34

No, I wouldn't change becoming a mum at 29 and again at 30. Having a well adjusted 14 and 15 year old is very rewarding. I m separated but overall their dad is a great Co parent....... He is easily influenced on a social and attitudanal level via the lads, including lad step father, so his behaviour slips around me but overall he is a great dad.

If I ld met someone else, they might be more problematic.

So currently I would say no regrets, but navigating teenage risks is daunting.

Surround them by as many healthy role models as possible is my ongoing tactic, sport, sport, sport. Sensible sports.

If I hadn't had kids, I think I ld either be a bored high achieving professional, locked into a boring sensible image...... Or else gone off the rails myself on drink..... Who knows?

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MegaMeg2710 · 01/01/2024 16:35

I’d have had just one instead of being kind of persuaded to have another. I would’ve stuck to my guns and had her later in my life and I would’ve maybe thought about solo parenting or even coparenting with my mum instead 🫠


That said I love my mad son.

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Waitingfordoggo · 01/01/2024 16:36

I have DC. I often feel guilty about bringing them into existence because the world is such a shitshow and I don’t think I realised that when I was in my twenties which was when I had them. I worry immensely about their futures because of climate change, politics, war, AI… This is probably more about my mental health than anything else though. And that’s another layer: I wish I could have been a mum with good mental
health as my DC deserved that. I have done my best and overall I think I’ve done a decent job under the circumstances but I would have liked to have been a brilliant mum and I don’t think I have been. Rather I’ve been ‘good enough’.

If I had my time again, I’d like to think I’d make a wise choice and not bring children into a very troubled world, but I suspect I’d have them anyway because the hormonal drive was so strong for me. I desperately wanted to be a mother and can’t imagine being happy in life if I hadn’t.

And if I did make the same choice again to have DC, I’d also have two of them again, and have them at the same age (I was 28 when I had DC1 and 30 with DC2). I have friends of my age, mid-40s, with very young children and don’t envy them. Am very relieved I’m not dealing with sleepless nights and all that noise while also dealing with perimenopause.

So very mixed feelings overall!

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TokyoSushi · 01/01/2024 16:36

I would have had them slightly younger and of if I was guaranteed to have another similar to the two that I have, I probably should have gone ahead and had that third that I contemplated.

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aSwarmOfMidgies · 01/01/2024 16:36

No I wouldn't have had children

I didn't realise how little would be done to counteract climate change and am scared about the horror we are Leaving them

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clarepetal · 01/01/2024 16:37

Yes. It's bloody hard, but yes.

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JadeVS72 · 01/01/2024 16:37

In an ideal world I would have conceived when I started TTC rather than taking 10 months, and I would have been well enough to have another one (or 2) but I am glad I had my only child (8) when I did (at 28) rather than waiting to be more financially stable/further on in career etc. and I chose the right dad too 🙂

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Beezknees · 01/01/2024 16:38

Yes, I'd have done exactly the same. I was young when I had DS, but I genuinely can't imagine life any other way.

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tilsmumsy · 01/01/2024 16:38

I have 3, don't regret it but knowing what I know now, I'd have started later. I wasn't particularly young (29 when I had the first) but I'd assumed getting pregnant could take a while and then I fell pregnant first month of trying. I was very very fortunate in falling pregnant with dc 2 and 3 very quickly too, so in retrospect I'd have waited until my early 30s partly to have more time just me and dh (we met and married at age 27 so didn't have a lot of time before embarking on kids) Also it would have given me more time to get promoted in my career before taking mat leave. And this was back in the early 1990s when mortgage rates went through the roof so it was financially extremely stressful with mortgage and nursery fees.

Having said all that, there's probably no 'right' time and I'm aware many people have posted here that they wish they had started earlier, so looking back I feel grateful I had my 3

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MummyJ36 · 01/01/2024 16:38

Yes I’m very glad I had them when I did. I probably would have waited longer to have DC1 to give my career a bit more advancement (although I was 30 so hardly young!) but as DH is a bit older we thought better crack on with it. I feel very lucky it all worked out how it did. I’m very glad in lots of ways I wasn’t older as I think I would have become a lot more set in my ways and found the transition from “freedom” to motherhood a lot harder!

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Wholovesabitofcheese · 01/01/2024 16:39

100% I am glad I had my dc's. I always known I wanted to have children. I had them later in life. Late thirties, youngest dc at 40. Best decision I made.

My DSIL. Never wanted children. She knew from when she was young. She has a great life. Everyone is different. I couldn't imagine not having children and my DSIL couldn't imagine having children.

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Beezknees · 01/01/2024 16:39

brownbutterfrangipanetart · 01/01/2024 16:32

If I knew, I would have gone child free as I didn’t realise the levels of sacrifice involved - currently in the baby stage and thinking of sticking at 1!

I stuck at one because I knew I couldn't do pregnancy, birth and baby stage again. I never once regretted it.

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SingsongSu · 01/01/2024 16:39

I have one of each and absolutely made the right decision. They are adults now and I have one DGC. All of my happiest moments include them and my favourite years were when I was a SAHM when they were young. That being said it’s lovely to have time with DH now, just the two of us. We definitely have the best of both worlds. Also my sister had no children by choice and she is a sad, jealous and selfish woman who is never content even though she and her DH enjoy freedom, good health and they are wealthy. I do have a close friend who has no DCs by choice and she is a wonderful person so I know not everyone is like my sister!

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grimcas · 01/01/2024 16:39

I'm about to turn 40, very happy to be childfree and if I could go back in time I'd stay childfree.

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daliesque · 01/01/2024 16:40

I think I thought I'd be trading children for more freedom, holidays and flexibility. When in reality I live a similar life to people with children, caring for older parents, pets and rarely going abroad.

Yeah, I'm afraid that is the reality for those of us without children. The fantasy childfree life of luxury is just that, fantasy. Most of us lead very ordinary lives because we too have to work and pay bills. The difference is that we don't have to deal with all of life's usual shit and children as well....for me, that's the advantage to not having them. I like a quiet life, a quiet house, silence and the company of my dogs and my partner only, or time on my own. I find children loud and annoying and the older j get, the less I enjoy their company.

No regrets here.

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fruitypancake · 01/01/2024 16:40

Love them very much and wouldn't Be without them but huge amounts of stress

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Mumof2NDers · 01/01/2024 16:40

Magatha · 01/01/2024 16:25

Up to when DC were around 11 years old, I'd have said yes it was the right choice to have DC.

But I now have a troubled teen (17 years). I've shared some details with people at work and have been astounded by the number of people worrying about their teenagers and young adult DC. In the past month I have spoken to people about (and these are all different people) -

DC admitted to hospital with anorexia
DC at risk of anorexica, parent has left work to look after them before they get to hospital admission stage
DC refusing to go to school
DC only going to college 50% of the time
DC addicted to weed and doesn't want to do anything else but smoke
DC transitioned a few years ago but now regrets it
DC depressed and refusing to engage with anything - no school, no work

It's such a difficult time for teenagers and mental health. The emotional strain is enormous- I know I'll be worrying about them forever more.

I know some people have the veiw that it's bad parenting. But every single person I've spoken to has raised other DC (older or younger) without these kinds of issues and I think it's societal pressure, friendships and limited mental health support that ends up with some DC struggling while others are OK. It's kind of by grace of God (in my view) if you've had teens grow up with just normal teen issues.

So if I hadn't met my DC but knew how emotionally difficult it would be to worry and worry about the, I'll say I would choose differently.

Hang on in there. It does get easier.
my oldest DS now 23 is the reason I suffered from anxiety and insomnia. He was a bit of a twat if I’m honest. He was always home well past curfew. I never knew where he was. He wouldn’t answer his phone. If I rang a few times he’d switch his phone off. When he was grounded he’d wait til I was in bed then climb out the window. I hid all his shoes (desperate measures) he took his dads.He was arrested for vandalism at 14. He took my car and wrote it off at 18!!
Thats all behind him now. He’s kind, thoughtful and loving. I’m proud to be his mum.
DS2 is 16 and is very different. He always lets me know where he is. If he’s going to be a bit late he’ll let me know. If he wants to stay out late he rings and asks. He’s just applied to join the army! 😭

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EmpressaurusOfTheSevenOceans · 01/01/2024 16:41

50, in peri & like several PPs, I know for sure that going child free was absolutely the right choice for me.

Cats are a whole other matter.

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