Mothers go through so many struggles to bring a child to life and raise them. Most of the time, the feeling of motherhood is beyond amazing but sometimes, a mother can regret her decision of having kids too.
There are various reasons why more and more people are choosing a childfree lifestyle- some think that the world has become too dark of a place to bring a child, while others don’t want to pass on their own mental issues and trauma to their children.
Although women who express regret for having a child are usually looked down upon by society, many women have still opened up about it. Recently, someone put forward a question on the Ask Women subreddit “Mothers who regret having children, what made you realize it? And how are you coping?” Many women shared their thoughts, opinions, and reasons for the regret. This thread sheds light on a perspective that is not much talked about yet. Scroll below to read some of the answers.
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My mental health, all my coping energy is spent on kids so my mh takes a back burner. I’m in therapy but I had them before I found out my struggles are asd/adhd related and will be lifelong. I still work every day to try to make life easier, but 1 one my boys is nonverbal autistic and one I’m sure has asd but on a similar level to me so it’s harder than I ever pictured motherhood
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I thought my kids would save my life. You hear those stories where your kids “give you a reason to love.” I love them whole heartedly and they are incredible. But I still wake up every morning wishing I didn’t wake up. No amount of therapy or medicine has ever changed my desire to no longer exist
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I love my daughter (7). She is the most precious thing in my life.
But in recent years I have started to regret having a child. Not because of her. She is the most easy going sweet little girl you could ever meet.
Actually I regret having children because of what’s going on in the world. I feel a SEVERE feeling of doom and anxiety when I think about her future. She will probably never be able to afford a house, will struggle with debt, climate change, scarce resources, growing inequality. I am truly terrified and I feel sooo sooo guilty.
If I was childless today I would 100% for sure not have any child now. Despite loving being a mother, the growing despair I see everyday and knowledge things will only get worse on the next 30 years make me regret having children. I love her with all my heart, and I am sad this is the future she will have. I am sad I placed her in this situation. I know many many of my friends with children feel the same.
In terms of coping I try and do my bit, to make society better for her generation, but I know it won’t be. I try and prepare her, support her by saving as much as I can for her (less than 30 GBP per month but ok, it’s all I can afford) to help her in future. To teach her about fairness and self reliance. But it’s a major stress in the back of my mind.
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I am struggling with constant anxiety and stress from work spilling over into my few hours at home and making us all miserable. My boys are at the age where they are ruining EVERYTHING in the house I rent. It’s going to cost me thousands to repair it before we move.
We don’t struggle for money, but only because I work constantly. I put way to much responsibility on my oldest daughter despite having a full time nanny. I feel like I’m losing control of everything, and a deep depression is setting in. Constantly fighting thoughts of just giving up.
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My daughter was born mentally disabled. I alway tell myself it could be worse, that there are kids who just shake back and forth in wheelchairs… thing is she is happy now but has no concept of death and I can only imagine what it will be like when her mother and I are gone. She will be institutialized and abused probably.
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I’m not a good mother. I care about them but I don’t know how to raise them. They are raising themselves with me trying beside them. Generational trauma, insane pedofile bio dad/ex husband. I was too young and groomed.
I traumatized my kids by my ignorance and I can keep trying to learn and grow. And help them. But damage is done. And I wish I could go back and fix me so I could help them but I cant. I will alway support them and when they want to yell at me in 10 years for everything and shut me out. I will get it. Because yeah. F**k man. I’ll keep trying and I’ve had them in therapy. And I’m in therapy and I’m learning. But yeah. I was to young and didn’t know enough. I chose their sperm contributions badly.
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I have two kids, well, now, they’re legally adults but mentally they are still 2 years old. They are autistic, developmentally delayed, and have mental disorders to boot. I have gotten zero help from the state, trying to navigate this world is a nightmare. It doesn’t help that the whole world is severely under prepared for an aging population, much less an aging disabled population.
I regretted having them the second I found out that they wouldn’t be able to care for themselves. I’m so scared for the day that I will have to put them in a home of some sort, because the likelihood of being sexually abused goes up 7x. They won’t understand why they can’t be at home much less what is happening to them. If I could go back in time I would’ve never had kids.
None of us have any sort of life or friends. We just stay home everyday, each of us absorbed in the internet until we pass out and the next day starts again. It’s horrible.
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All you need is a special needs kid to think something along the lines of “I wouldn’t want him to die or anything, but if I could go back to before he was conceived I’d do things differently.”
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I have a preschooler.
Things I don’t like: can’t go anywhere alone. Can’t have quiet time to myself unless they’re sleeping. Always being touched. Always being asked to do things that they can’t do on their own. Having to do daily care tasks for them like bathing & making meals. Always worried they’re going to do something bad when I’m not looking & get hurt. Not being able to move because I don’t have family or friends to help. I only have their dad & his family.
Things I do like: their laugh. Cuddles at bed time. Experiencing their imagination. Sharing funny things together. Hearing about their day. Hugs. Teaching them how to be a good person. Imagining how they’ll be as they get older.
I regret having a kid and I realized it once I became single and had to do these things on my own. I couldn’t leave them with the dad anymore. I’m just waiting it out and hoping it gets better once they’re able to be home alone for a couple hours.
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I regret having my son more than I don’t. I love him. I want to not regret having him. However, I have anxiety, depression and ADHD. I cannot multitask, I don’t deal well with loud noises or lots of different noises at once, I’ve always struggled if I get less than 8 hours sleep, and I constantly second guess my decisions as a parent. I’m an exclusively single mother, so no back-up/second parent. I’m exhausted most days.
So how I cope- I’m in therapy weekly, I try to raise my son to be independent (instead of always reliant on me), I tell my son when I need quiet time and I try to take it maybe an hour a day on weekends. I have a babysitter come once a week so i have a night to myself. (I’m an introvert so I don’t need to always go out with others, but need time to myself.) My therapist mentioned focusing on little positive things. I struggle to understand the phrase “children are a blessing” so my therapist works with me on finding little moments that are positive and celebrating those instead of focusing on the overarching big negative things. I also try not to worry about the future (mine, my sons, how he will do in life) because focusing on this isn’t helpful. It isn’t perfect and every day is still hard, but I think I’m moving towards a happier place.
ETA: it’s probably also relevant that my work profession has one of the highest suicide rates and is also very mentally draining. I love what I do and feel that I am good at it, but it is grueling.
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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.
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What made me regret it? Finding out that everything our society tells women about pregnancy, childbirth and the challenges of raising kids is either an outright lie or totally glossed over so as not to discourage women from having children.
I was shocked to find out how many people were also knowingly complicit: doctors, nurses, older women around me, obviously religious people and men. “Sshh, don’t tell them, they might change their mind.” Every step of the way has been/is difficult or had/has some heavy challenge associated with it. There are no full disclosures to potential parents, even though the same parents experience of it (and ability to adapt and cope) will directly affect the child.
When I reached out to others for advice, the typical response was “Welcome to my world.” What?! Really? You say you love me, but didn’t actually warn me how much damage my body and life would take? “Oh, that’s normal.” Really? I’ve never seen that discussed honestly and in-depth in any documentary, informational video, or any woman’s magazine. At most there is one tiny story, surrounded by lots of messages about how great it will be. This pisses me off to no end.
So, if I could go back, I would not do it. And this is coming from a mom of wonderful child. A child whom I ***have*** warned: “Having a child might ruin your lfe. Don’t do it!”
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When my daughter turned 17 and stopped speaking to me I regretted putting her first her entire life. I think if I was wealthy she’d pretend to care about me now (she’s early 20s). But I’m not, so I’m worthless to her. I derailed my entire life for her. Her dad wanted to abort her and I made her entire life possible. And I thought I made it as good as I could. But whatever it was she needed was not something I could give, which isn’t her fault but her behavior now is. I don’t feel like I even got a chance with her.
I cope by thinking about her in the past tense, making peace with her being gone. Whoever she is now is a stranger to me. I haven’t seen her in years.
It’s not a good feeling. I have a step kid who still visits and my son loves me so I guess that’s a lot more than most people get and I value them so much. I try to focus on them.
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Gave up my autonomy for the child, who grew up autistic and now has purged me from her life at age 25
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As much as I don’t like admitting this, I regret having my second child (she’s currently 9 months). I love her little face and she can be the cutest, but I was free (my oldest is 15). I got to the point where I didn’t have to do much. My teen is independent and we were slowly transitioning to a friends(ish) type of relationship. Now, I’m starting back at the beginning and I’m all alone again, because my partner works so much. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t say “I hate my life” at least once. The really sucky part is I’m about to go back to work, so on top of being the primary caregiver/homemaker, I’m going to work 40 hours a week. I’m 42 so I’ll be in my 50s before this one is truly independent. I’m trapped and there’s nothing I can do but grin and bear it, and hope I don’t have a nervous breakdown
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I really do sometimes enjoy my son.
But, having him has tied me to an abuser for the next 14.5 years. He still gets to abuse me.
And sometimes I just need quiet time that I can’t get.
I can’t move. I have a relationship that’s long distance and I want to move in with him. I want to leave my state regardless.
But since I have this kid – I can’t.
Coping? I’m ignoring the problem and hoping I don’t come to resent my son.
I was a mother of three. The things that are often mentioned about lack of sleep, autonomy, money etc. are all valid. And they last much, much longer than you expect and they can drive you to near suicide at times. Especially when the second comes along and you’re still not getting nearly enough sleep but now you have two on completely different schedules. But they do end, eventually.
But, and this is a big but, my biggest regret is my youngest, because she died at age 6. She had a brain tumour which made her blind and adversely affected her behaviour and she consumed my time and energy completely. Her loss nearly destroyed our family. I would not know the pain that I still feel if she had not been born, and I would not experience the guilt of feeling that things, on a practical level anyway, are now easier without her.
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I love my son, who is 4 next month. I love him so very much.
But I regret having him because I like sleep too much, and days like today where he wakes up at 4am and then doesn’t sleep again until 8pm because he doesn’t nap anymore… Days when all he does is scream and cry at me. He gets his impatience from me, his anger from me, his sensitivity from me, his attitude from me… He’s a perfect reflection of myself and I HATE it. I had a confusing childhood when I was growing up, and it’s mentally scarred me so badly that the only way I “remember’ my childhood is from my mum telling me her memories of it.
Of course, he makes me laugh too! Children are the funniest people on the planet. He gives nice cuddles, he’s sweet when he’s not screaming, he’s kind, he shares well, he kisses me on the cheek, comforts me when I’m sad…
But I regret having him because I am not going to be the mother he deserves, ever. I’m on anti-depressants but no amount of therapy can actually help me. I feel lost.
I odd in that I have grandchildren without ever having had children. I married a woman with two grown children (17 & 21) and now I’m a grandfather of 3 granddaughters.
Witnessing what I have as a grandfather has made my decision to have a vasectomy at 27 the single best one of my entire life. I am waaaaay to selfish with my time and money, and it would have totally ruined my marriage to have kids of our own.
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I didn’t realize that a maternal instinct is not universal. You know how you see parents in the delivery room and they are crying tears of joy? I felt nothing. Honestly, I could have left them at the hospital and it wouldn’t have bothered me. I usually have no desire to spend time with them at all. I love them and have a strong sense of duty I just don’t enjoy them or want to do any of the things they do. However I spent their whole lives going out of my way to care for them in every way a good mother should. My boys are well cared for and I am always here for them, but it feels very unnatural and fake and unenjoyable. It is a bit like a retail job you don’t like where you put on a fake persona and slog through it the best you can. I don’t get to leave this job, though. The worst is how I’m demonized for it. I’ve done eveverything I can for them for 16 years including all the extra curriculars (kids baseball is agonizing to fake enjoy I swear) and it has never been easy. Shouldn’t I get more credit than those moms who love nothing more than spending time with their kids? That doesn’t sound hard to me. Nope..I fail because I want my own life.
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