Society and culture tell us that, in order to truly be happy and purposeful on this earth, we need to have children. Well, that may be true for some people, but for others, it’s definitely not. Here, people share moments of reflection as to why they regret having children.
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I feel like it has destroyed my marriage. Both of us have changed since our child was born, and I’m afraid the people we’ve become are not as compatible as the people we used to be. We never talk to each other, we never do anything together, and the very, very infrequent intimate time together is basically her attempt to maintain her ability to claim she makes an effort in our relationship. Any communication that happens between us is about logistics regarding our child. I understand there is a period after birth where everyone needs to adjust, but it has been over 4 years now.
I love my child more than anyone else on Earth, save for my wife. But I miss having a companion in life. If I had known it would be like this, I don’t think I would have made the same decisions.
I wasn’t ready to stop being selfish. I’m only two years in, so it’s still the intense stage, but parenting so far has just been relentlessly exhausting. I feel like having a kid closed off a lot of possibilities for me, definitely killed any semblance of spontaneity in my life.
I often find myself thinking, “If I could go back to before he was conceived, I’d do things differently.”
I wasn’t ready to bring children into this world. We are struggling, financially, and I have a lot of mental health problems that I’ve tried to cope with, all while raising them. My partner left me when I got pregnant, so I’m doing everything alone. It’s extremely hard. I love my kids, but I wish I had waited until I had figured myself out before I brought them into this world, until I was ready to give them the kind of life they deserve.
I never get a minute to myself. As an introvert this is the hardest part.
I see my friends going on exciting vacations, doing whatever they want to do. I can’t because kids are so expensive that we can’t afford to go anywhere.
I haven’t slept past 6 in years.
I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to live in.
I love my boys more than I ever thought I could. However, it’s Saturday night and I’m covered in baby vomit with the baby refusing to sleep anywhere else but on me. He will wake about 3 times between now and when the toddler wakes at 6am. I’m carrying 20kg more than I’m comfortable with and have no clothes that fit. I feel guilt for so many choices I make.
There are times I regret having my second baby, because it’s so hard to juggle the needs of two and still find time for my needs. People tell me it will get easier, but for now, I’m hating it.
Destroyed marriage via:
- Forget passionate love making. It becomes a chore when kids start walking.
- The things you did together, you can no longer do, together, or very rarely.
- The things you enjoyed individually cannot be replicated either.
- Forget unwind time, personal space, etc…
- Over the years people change, and nothing accelerates change as much as having another dependant being (or three).
That’s for the marriage bit.
Then there’s work/life balance, which goes out the door. The stress at work, and the increasing stress of the job market. You do not have the luxury of coming come to dissipate. What happens is that you come home after a nasty, stressful day, and the stress is COMPOUNDED with home and kid problems.
I love my kids, I’d STILL have them, but there are sacrifices that I was not prepared for. I’ve seen marriages destroyed, homes destroyed, I’ve seen mental breakdowns, drugs usage, etcetera, all from having kids.
It’s not that I regret having her, but if I could wrap her in cotton wool and bubble wrap, put her in a cupboard for ten years with the guarantee that I’ll get the same child then, I without a doubt would.
Parenthood is just not what I expected it to be. I mean, people told me that you have to make sacrifices when you become a parent, but because I had never really made any sacrifices before having her, I had no idea what that might entail or feel like. I also thought I wouldn’t mind missing out on all the partying and holidays, because I would have the ultimate gift, a child, but I have found that also to be untrue. I do mind missing out on the partying and holidays, and therefore I try to cram as much as that in as I can still, which makes my quality time with my child few and far between. I have her 5 nights a week, I feed her, bathe her, teach her, discipline her, put her to bed but I mean proper quality time I feel she misses out on, because sometimes I have no desire as I’d rather be elsewhere.
I feel constantly guilty, because I’m not putting my all in to be the best Mummy I could be, how I imagined myself to be and I feel she is missing out. Before I had her, I always wanted three children, now one is enough for me, I don’t want anymore.
Like I said, I wouldn’t use the word regret, but if I could have taken a glimpse into what parenthood really, really is like before I fell pregnant, I would have been a lot more careful. People can tell you but nothing can really prepare you for what it is really like. It is a 24/7 hands down the toughest most exhausting job ever.
I don’t care about my son.
I got my then girlfriend pregnant by accident, and her being her Christian self, didn’t want to abort it. Our relationship was always off the wall, she always had plans for our “future”, but I didn’t even want to marry her, but I never told her.
Boom comes baby, I loved him to death since I first laid eyes on him. I bought him everything I could, everything was for him. My girlfriend has postpartum depression and tells me she doesn’t love me anymore, I tell her it’s the depression talking, so we try to mend it. A year later she cheats and leaves me, moves to 7 different states and takes baby. I try to track her down but in the end it was futile. I was heartbroken from her, and especially my son.
7 years later, she goes back to live in my hometown and says she wants me to see my son, (in the end it was only because she wanted child support). I had already moved on, made my career in engineering, got married, and we have a beautiful baby girl on the way. She takes my son and we finally meet, it was really awkward and I didn’t know what to say. He spends every other week with me, but it’s like having a stranger in the house. It’s been 2 years of this and I don’t feel any connection to him. He’s a good kid, doesn’t pull any tantrums, is respectful, loves his sister, but I just don’t love him. It makes me feel guilty. I don’t really regret him, per se, but to me, he just feels like an outsider from a life I tried to move on from.
I’ve got two kids, both teenagers now. The eldest has anxiety and depression… sometimes I wonder how my wife and I have managed to stay married through it all. We love both our kids more than anything, but having one with mental health issues is just exhausting. You start to anticipate the chaos as you’re driving home from work. Almost nothing gets her out of her states, and it weighs heavy on all the relationships in the household. She does have therapy and meds, and they help some, but it’s not great. It gets hard to maintain hope.
“Regret” is a strong word, but if we could go back to when she was little and happy, and just stay there, it would be a lot better.
I love my children more than anything else in this world. Words cannot describe the type of love I feel for them. But at the same time, I do regret having them. I regret being the person that I have become as a parent. I was always carefree and spur of the moment, now I’m careful and if plans aren’t set in stone, they likely won’t happen.
I always said I would never have children. I hate kids. I do. I am just not that type of nurturing person. I was always very careful to make sure protection was in use, but I am that .1% and apparently very fertile.
I do not have that natural “motherly instinct”. I have to work really hard at it and it’s exhausting. I miss my solitude and being able to “check out” of reality from time to time.
With all that being said, there is not a thing I wouldn’t do for my children. They will always be my babies. They are amazing little creatures. My boys play travel baseball and I wouldn’t trade long nights at the ball fields for anything. Watching them play is one of the greatest joys in my life. Still, I often find myself wondering what life would be like without them.
My kids are the worst thing that every happened to me. And the best.
I have three kids, 8, 16, and 18.
The #3, at 2, got a blood disorder and we spent many months in Children’s Hospital. Were it not for the ACA kicking in for kids a year early, we’d have gone bankrupt.
Child #2, at 12, became depressed and attempted to take her own life. Prior to that, she’d be been the “easy” kid who had tons of friends, was smart, talented and easy going. We’ve spent 4 years in family based therapy and in and out of mental health hospitals.
Child #1 was different from the day he was born. No one believed me, because I was a new mom and didn’t know anything. Trust me. He was different. After NUMEROUS rounds of therapy, including one where the therapist said I secretly hated my son because I secretly hated my father, I discovered he had Aspergers. Elementary school and middle school were frought with various phone calls to and from the school. In High School, things got slightly better and he began “growing into himself.” He also started getting REALLY thirsty and REALLY hungry. And congrats, you have Type 1 diabetes!
In all of this, my husband got laid off during the Recession, right when the baby got sick. He hasn’t worked since, so I’m the sole breadwinner.
Needless to say, this isn’t what I imagined being a parent would be like.
But as I said earlier, they are also the best thing that ever happened to me.
I can see now, that without them, I would be a very different person. Probably a pretty lonely, unloved person. My kids have made me a much better person. I’m very introverted and I doubt that I’d have come out of my shell the way I have.
Believe it or not, I doubt my husband and I would still be married if we didn’t have kids. I just think we would have gotten very wrapped up in our careers and likely drifted apart.
I’ve become more empathetic to others’ misfortunes. I know that good parents are flawed people who do they best that they can every single day.
I know that I’m ultimately raising good kids who will hopefully look back on all of this and realize that they are better people for their struggles.
My 8 year old wants to be a nurse, because she remembers the nurses who helped her when she was in the hospital, and because of seeing her brother deal with diabetes.
My 16 year old is studying to be a vet tech, and is awesome with animals. She’s very sensitive and I could see her doing something with animal therapy.
My 18 year old is studying to be a welder and is super creative writing, drawing, inventing.
It’s a tough answer, because what I regret is what we’ve had to go through. But yet, going through all of that has made us, ultimately, better people.
Having a child has been a huge strain on me. I get it, that there are obvious benefits, but I often wonder if it was worth it.
Having a child ended my marriage. I never wanted kids, ever, and was very clear about this with my (now ex) wife from the day we met. We initially met each other on a dating site, on which it even said on my profile “doesn’t want kids.” She noticed this and brought it up early in dating, and I confirmed exactly my opinion. We talked about it many times from dating, through engagement, and when we were married. It was always non-negotiable with me.
A few years into marriage, she caught the baby bug from somewhere, and started badgering me about it almost constantly, trying to change my mind. “It’ll be different when it’s ours.” “You don’t like other kids but you would love your own.” “You’ll change your mind when you see it.” The usual clich crap. At some point she mentioned the issue to my parents as well, and, desperate for a grandchild, they started putting the pressure on me, too.
At this point, my wife and I had a very serious conversation, in which I made it clear that I wanted nothing more than for her to be happy, and if that meant she needed to have a child the only option was for us to end our marriage so she could find someone else who could give her what I couldn’t. I didn’t want this to be an ultimatum or a threat or anything like that, I just knew in my heart that I didn’t want a child, couldn’t love a child and didn’t want the change in lifestyle a child would bring to our marriage. She said that us being together was more important than anything else and I thought that was the end of it.
Some time later, my wife unexpectedly fell pregnant. She’s always said it was a surprise, and that it was the one in a million chance of our birth control failing. I’m not convinced, but I’ve never been able to prove anything. She told me the fact it happened was sheer fate, and showed that it was meant to be even though I “thought” I never wanted it. Our relationship, particularly trust, was basically already dead from this point onwards. She gave the same reasoning as always, I’d love it when I saw it etc., but I didn’t. Not on day 1, not after year 1, year 2, year 3…
I tried to stick at it for just under 4 years, but it was awful. I felt nothing for the child, it was like an object to me. A very inconvenient, demanding object that meant my wife and I never did anything together anymore. No dates, no holidays, no trips, no adventures, no intimacy. We barely spoke and when we did it always seemed to be child-related. In the end, I couldn’t take it anymore and filed for divorce. I happily granted full custody to my wife, and moved away to seek employment elsewhere. That was 6 years ago and I haven’t seen her or the child since. I think my parents still visit them, but after what happened, I don’t really talk to them anymore, either. I’ve never met another woman with the spark and chemistry I had with my wife in the child-free years of our relationship, and the few women I’ve dated disappear quickly when they find out I’m not going to give them a baby. I’m not sure where I go from here.
I come from a broken family and never wanted that for my kids. I wanted a full family with no step parents or split visitation. I’m now a single father of two, who have different mom’s. I really wanted things to work but they just never did. My one kid has a mom who has now gone three weeks without seeing him because she has refused to do an 8-hour illicit substances class I paid for. My other son’s mom is great, though, and we do 50/50 outside of court so that’s nice, but I still wish things weren’t this way. My regret isn’t exactly having kids, it’s having them with people I mistakingly thought were who I would be with the rest of my life.
Some days it’s hard not to regret it. My wife is active in the military, and I had to leave a very lucrative job to take care of them. I love them, but occasionally I have to chant that to remind myself that I do.
I regret it because I’m miserable. Absolutely miserable. I feel like I got pressured into it by my wife. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. On the first pregnancy we had twins. We had only been married a year-ish. After that, my marriage just got worse. After a while it got better and then she wanted another kid. I still didn’t want the first two, but I gave in. Now, we have three. I’m even more miserable. I feel stuck and I can’t please everyone. I work a ton, so my wife has them most of the time. Whenever I discipline them, she screams at me because I’m not doing it her way. I’m constantly belittled by her and always told I’m doing something wrong. I actually hate my life. I wake up every day hating myself, my life, and every choice I’ve ever made. I literally would do anything to start over and be single for ever. I’m only 25, but I never would have thought I would hate life this much when I was 18.
I feel badly that I’m their mother and my husband is their father, because we’ve made some serious mistakes and they have had to deal with that. I was 17 when I had my oldest two twins, and I genuinely did not understand how much my brain was still changing and how unprepared I was and how unprepared I would remain. The first few years, I felt like I really did pretty well, not even “pretty well for a teen mom” I thought I was a pretty excellent mom, overall. As I’ve gotten older and more self aware, that has changed.
This isn’t a constant crushing feeling or anything, just something that hurts from time to time and I try and deal. And again, I don’t regret having them; I understand that I’m biased but I truly believe that all four of them are wonderful people and the world is a much better place with them in it. But I regret not handing them over to someone who would’ve done a better job.
Mother of a 19 month old here. I’m worn out and beat down by my life. I’m a single mother. If it weren’t for my mom footing almost every bill in my life, my daughter and I would be homeless and starving. The basic facts: I can’t work because child care is $400 a week and I can’t find a job that will make 400 a week do able, (working to put my kid in daycare and nothing else), getting a job would deem me ineligible for cash assistance and food stamps ($1200/mo income limit) and the state wouldn’t pay my childcare so I couldn’t continue going to college full time. The $569 in cash I get from welfare is immediately gone paying bills, (I’m usually left with a negative balance my poor mother fills in the gaps), however, I will say my food stamps are enough to get us through the month. I feel so stuck in my cycle I’m in. I try so hard to get a “good” job, but, despite experience and education nobody thinks I’m good enough to answer phones for more that $16 an hour. In the Silicon Valley that’s the lowest livable wage.