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Monday, April 8, 2013

262

Let's Talk a Bit About the Woman Who Regrets Her Kids

...in the Daily Mail. I know! I know. The Daily Mail is awful, and it likes to showcase people you'll want to throw rocks at, and yet, here we are. Because I had a lot of feelings about this one. Not even harsh feelings, really? Make sure you read the whole thing, and then loop back into the discussion.

Okay. My first reaction, of course, is that she should not have put her name on this, because of her kids. The piece would have lost a bit of its WHOA factor if it were anonymous, obviously, but this has to be really, really hard for her kids to read. I did temper that initial reaction, though, because, as I've mentioned before, my dad has been able to express his own opinion to us (that, had he had a do-over, he would not have gotten married and had kids) in a way that is completely non-scarring, and is in keeping with my parents' general policy of total honesty with us about themselves and the world. It's never altered the fact that I know my father is totally crazy about us, adores us, wants to see more of us than he can, and that he'd rather spend time with us than with anyone else. But, you know, the man is kind of hermit-y and likes his solitude. So, it's entirely possible that she talked to her (adult) children about the piece, asked them how they would feel about it, etc. We don't know.

She comes off like a real jerk here. I am not going to deny that. How many times did she call them parasites? Too many. And she went on to have a SECOND child, because she thinks it would be "selfish" to have an only child, which is just...something. But I also feel terrible for her. She's 57 years old. I think, if she were 30 today, she would just not have children. She seems to have always known she didn't want to have children. Many people do not want to have children. But she did, and it was a mistake. Some people regret having children, and we should be aware of that, I think. If you think you might regret it, do not have children. Find a partner (it can be tough! get online!) who feels similarly. Don't have children.

The other moment that gave me sympathy for the devil, as it were, was this:

To some, my life before I had the children may have seemed humdrum and my job as a typist was, it's true, not much of a career. So what was the great sacrifice, you might think?

That's not nothing. That's a something. You don't have to be Sheryl Sandberg to have a life you like. You don't need to apologize for that.

So, what I'm saying, I guess, is that this is a narrative that belongs in our discourse. It shouldn't be sidelined to a hate-fest in the Daily Mail. Is she a nice person? Probably not, she sounds like kind of an asshole. But she's also doing us a favor: we pretend that children are for everyone, and they are not. I don't know if she felt like she had the option of not having kids. You do. That's a great thing. Don't let people tell you differently.



262 Comments / Post A Comment

commanderbanana

Holy shit, did my mother write this?! She didn't want kids either and is a pretty abysmal parent, yet purposefully had me so my brother wouldn't be an only child because she "didn't like only children."
My brother and I hate each other, so there.

SarahDances

@commanderbanana I might be a little sensitive, being an only child, but I don't think people realize how insulting it can sound to say "I would never want to be/have an only child!" like we're all selfish, lonely, maladjusted freaks. I grew up having plenty of close friends and cousins, and feel like some of my bad "only child" traits (like being a little domineering) wouldn't have been any better if I'd been an eldest instead.

commanderbanana

@SarahDances Seriously, it's baffling. I mean, it's not like you can tell if someone is an only child when you meet them! In this case my mom apparently wanted two children to neglect instead of one.

OxfordComma

@SarahDances: ...I've only ever wanted one child. Only children are totally awesome, just like any other type of children.

Tracy J Derrell@twitter

@OxfordComma I'm the mom of an only. I consider myself a very happy mom, but I think two kids would have overwhelmed me. And it always amazes me the way people think they can/should comment on my choice.

Naysha

@SarahDances
"and feel like some of my bad "only child" traits (like being a little domineering) wouldn't have been any better if I'd been an eldest instead." Spoken like a TRUE "only child."

-The eldest child

Mina

@SarahDances - Hearing "I would never want to be/have an only child" as an insult is particularly self-centered. Consider some alternative meanings for this statement. Many "only children" grew up being bored more than not and longing for allies in the parent-child relationship. This alone can drive them to commit to having more than one child. Also, many parents have seen grown "only children" fight off bitterness brought on by the exhaustion of maintaining their own lives while being the only caretaker for aging parents. For me, it was both. It actually had nothing to do with "bad only child" traits. Well, I suppose there is one exception to note. I could not stand the thought of raising an only child knowing that they would eventually leave home as a young adult and experience the (often) unbearably painful "only child" struggle. You know, the one where you are repeatedly slapped by the world in an effort to let you know that your significance on planet earth is no where near as important as it was in your parents home.

beatrixkiddo1

@SarahDances I grew up the eldest child who was six years older than my younger sibling, and spent the rest of my childhood after my brother was born wishing I could go back to being an only child. I should note that as an adult I am quite fond of my brother, but as a kid I truly resented his existence and hated him and that lasted until I went to college. Maybe just like having kids isn't for everyone, having a sibling isn't for everyone.

Poubelle

@Mina Your vast generalizations do not make for a compelling argument. Also, anyone who thinks it's "unbearable painful" to learn you're not important to the whole world should probably shut the hell up about self-centeredness and also grow up the hell up.

bitzyboozer

@Mina Yeah, as an only child I'm sorry to tell you that you are way off base with pretty much all of that.

bjam

@commanderbanana I can tell an only child from one with siblings. Not just by looking at them, and probably not as adults. But I have an elementary aged child. When there is an issue with someone, certain ways they have acted or treat others, well, you just know.

beatrix

Bloody brilliant@l

log lady

Thanks for this, Nicole! I'm at a place in my life, age-wise and relationship-wise, where many of my peers are choosing to have children and my older relatives are starting to ask when I will. My mom is particularly anxious for grandbabies. And it's just not for me. I have always known this, and I state it to them rationally and calmly, and sometimes I would just really love a break from my aunt's repeated refrain of "you need someone to take care of you when you're old! do you want to die alone?" because seriously, that's NO reason to have a kid!

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@log lady also this is REALLY assuming that yr kids wont hate u and leave you to die in a shed on dog blankets

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood (feel like this got more real than i intended it to)

log lady

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Or that I won't die in a car wreck at 40, or have disabled kids that require ME to care for THEM when I'm elderly, etc. There are a lot of holes in this plan.

EpWs

@log lady Ah yes, the old Children Will Gladly And Lovingly Care For You In Old Age retirement plan. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Slapfight

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I've always planned on dying under the porch alone like my old cat, Tom. If I do end up having kids, I hope they get to discover my corpse eventually. I want them to live truly rich lives.

Myrtle

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I appreciate that you did get real.

Iki Gai

@log lady. My sentiments exactly. It just irks me when people continue to view it as a simple issue. I don't understand why all those other factors don't play into their calculation.

elyrehs

@log lady I have to say, I'm with you. Nobody should have a child that doesn't want to be a parent. I had one, a son at age 17. However I knew, even then, that I would not want another child. In my early 20s, I had a tubal ligation. I'm 57 now and I have never regretted that decision. I did eventually have a step-son who was 10 years younger than my son, but he had a dad and a mom. When he was with his father and me, I gave him great respect. Today we are great friends, but he doesn't call me mom. As it should be. But, I can tell you that had I not been 16 when I became pregnant and before Roe v Wade, I may not have had the baby. I don't "regret him", I have two beautiful granddaughter's because of him. But, I never wanted another child. That is just the way some of us gals are wired.
I totally understand this woman's feelings as expressed in the article. It takes a lot of sacrifice to be a parent. And I applaud you for doing what is right for YOU. It is, after all, your life, not your elders or parents life.

synchronized
synchronized

I have so much to say about this, but the main thing is: Thank you for sharing it! You are right in that the author does not necessarily seem like the nicest person (I mean, wow), but that doesn't invalidate her viewpoint.

This article is a great reminder that children are not for everyone. Even if all your friends want them! Even if your husband wants them! (Although ideally, you would not get married to someone who has drastically different hopes regarding procreation? Maybe that's the true lesson to take here.)

teaandcakeordeath

@synchronized
Obviously societal pressures to have kids still exist but this story just made me so grateful that there are more choices for women today. Forcing kids on people doesnt help anyone.

Roaring Girl

I didn't have a problem with anything she said, until that little aside where she got all judgmental about mothers running back to work. Then I decided she is probably a dick in general, but I still mostly feel bad for her.

D.@twitter

@Roaring Girl Exactly. I was like, "Umm, little less judgement would not be amiss here."
I can't find the exact wording, but this article brings to mind a biology textbook passage that quoted an old advertisement about seedless flowers, and how not having to put all sorts of resources into reproduction produced flowers that had superior beauty/longevity.

harebell

@D.@twitter
But I think she has so much judgment because she's also judging herself -- this is what she made herself do despite REALLY not wanting to. So it had better be necessary for other mothers to do it as well! etc. It seems part of her own self-hatred.
And maybe publishing this article publicly in the newspaper is also an element of this self-hatred -- a sort of weird public humiliation/flagellation. She both wants her desires and wants to condemn them, hence self-destructive things like publishing this article. Ugh.

questingbeast

@Roaring Girl I hate that canard people trot out about 'why do people have children if they're going to have a nanny/childminder'. Um, perhaps they like children and want to read a bedtime story and play with them at weekends, but don't want to spend every waking minute tending to their every whim? It's like those people who laugh at someone in MacDonald's ordering a Big Mac and a Diet Coke, as though the fact that they're eating SOME calories means they should EAT ALL THE CALORIES EVER, don't try and moderate your intake in any way, fatty! Wanting to do something a bit does not logically mean you have to do it all. the. time. The fact that she decided to respond to not liking motherhood that much by doing more of it just seems bizarre to me.

iceberg

@harebell OMG okay you just managed to push my empathy buttons for this woman. I do not like her judging the choice of working mothers (like myself obviously), but I can slmost see where she's coming from with everything else.

TheBelleWitch

@harebell Bleh, but then she wraps up with, "I hate being a mother so much because I'm just the BEST mom," and it's right back to dicksville. I don't know if I'm getting self-hatred from this. (Of course it's the Daily Mail and I am taking the entire thing with a huge grain of salt.)

datalass

@harebell Yeah, I kind of get the logic she applies here. I used to go hiking to please my partner. I didn't like it, but if anything, that made me more hardcore about doing it. So, we'd go out and hike 10 miles of mountainous terrain a day. Occasionally, I'd meet someone who said she really loved hiking (which meant she like strolling along canal paths for a mile or so), and oh would I silently judge.

That's the rub of doing something you don't want to do: you're going to try to define standards for it so you know when your obligation has been met. For things like parenting and hiking, though, there are no definitive standards, so you're always insecure about how well you've done and the only real satisfaction you can get is when you point to someone else who's done less.

Urwelt

@questingbeast Exactly! And somehow those people never have any objection to parents sending their kids to school. If you think daycare is a cop out, why don't you also insist on homeschooling? Oh right, because you/your parents didn't do that, so it can't be that important.

@questingbeast Yeah, the "why do people have children when they'll just hire a nanny?" bullshit gets to me. I was a kid with two working parents. Why did they both work? Because they both wanted to and needed to, and they also wanted children. Because you can want kids desperately, and then realize "oh crap I am still going to need to be able to retire when I am old" or "oh crap, I have interests outside of my children."

And somehow this line is only trotted out for mothers. Dad wants to work? No problem! Mom wants to work? WHY DID YOU GET PREGNANT YOU AWFUL HUSSY YOU HATE YOUR CHILDREN.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

its like u were never told by yr mom that u were an accident

Amphora

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood My older sister asked my parents point blank if I was an accident when we were all at dinner (we're 8 years apart). Being the tactful midwestern parents they are, they said I was a "nice surprise."

anachronistique

@Amphora One of the few times my mother has ever been actually furious at me was when I told my seven-years-younger sister she was an accident. (Mom also preferred the "surprise" phrasing. And I love my sister. But kids say mean things!)

garli

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood My dad has always called me mistakey. (Brother 10 years older, no in between siblings)

Ialdagorth

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I was the baby my mother used to trap my father into marriage that she PRETENDED was an accident. So I kind of got the best of both worlds, cause my dad thinks I was an accident and my mom used me to manipulate someone into a terrible decision! Hooray!

Judith Slutler

@Ialdagorth And now they can split your therapy bills. Damn.

Ialdagorth

@Emmanuelle Cunt Luckily my dad is more "happy accident!" and my mother can...go to hell, so I'm surprisingly well adjusted. I think. I mean, I am not totally qualified to make that kind of diagnosis but I FEEL well adjusted.

bitchycrosstownexpress

@Amphora My boyfriend was an accident (his parents' marriage was already on the rocks when he came along) AND he takes after a different side of the family than all of his siblings (he's dark and short, they are tall and fair), so not only did he get "you were an accident" he also got jokes about being the mailman's kid. It's honestly a miracle he turned out so well -- although when he marvels at "how cool" my parents are sometimes for doing things that are normal family relationship things it breaks my heart a little.

robotosaur

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I have three siblings and all four of us were accidents! BUT only because my brother and I were adopted (thus accidents only to the biological parents) and my adoptive parents thought they couldn't have kids (and then that they were definitely too old for another kid). So we were all "wanted," in the end, but it's a running joke in the family. I think it speaks more to the utter lack of birth control methodology taught to Catholics in the 80s.

barefoot cuntessa

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

My dad told me that a) I was not planned and b) that my grandmother suggested my mom abort me because apparently 2 kids were enough and she had already gotten a grandson. He told me this the day after said grandmother died. WHY I needed this information EVER is beyond me. My dad is normally a pretty great person, so I've chalked the whole episode up to grief.

skyslang

@anachronistique This is funny. I'm eight years younger than my sister and had always assumed I was an accident, as was my sister (my parents were in high school and not married when she was conceived). Also, it was quite obvious that my parents shouldn't have had kids -- not that they didn't think they wanted kids, but they should not have had kids. They were very negligent parents. Weirdly, though, I never felt bad about this. That's just how it was. My parents were emotionally immature, still are.
I don't know. Do I wish I had a loving family? Sure! But I don't. I moved on when I was, like, 13.

MilesofMountains

@bitchycrosstownexpress I'm pretty sure I was an accident (my mother basically said it, then has denied saying it ever since) and I definitely look nothing like my three siblings. As my brother says "[MilesofMountains] looks like the mailman, the rest of us look like the milkman". As a preteen/teenager I used to swear I was adopted, and my mother would just cackle "You wish! But I was there and you're stuck with us!" My family's pretty great, though.

AOpp

@skyslang Me too, pretty much. Like, unless my parents have a secret TARDIS or something, I know just based on the constraints of how time works that they met each other no later than the fall of 1987, and I was born in September of 1988, so do the math there. My mom was 19 when I was born, and my dad was 20. They did get married before I was born, but that didn't even last long enough for me to have memories of them as a married couple. *shrug* It is what it is. I have no illusions about where I came from, but it's not like I was mistreated or unwanted once I was here, so I wouldn't say that my parents were "negligent." I would definitely agree that there was a tendency toward emotional immaturity while I was growing up, though.

When my mom went through the process of getting her marriage to my dad officially annulled through the Catholic church so that she could marry her current husband in the Church (she converted in order to marry him; neither she nor my dad were raised Catholic, and my dad isn't religious at all), my dad and I basically just made a big joke about whether the erasure of their marriage would make me illegitimate.

MrsTeacherFace

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I figured out at 12 that I was an accident, but my parents never made me feel like a mistake, so I didn't care that I wasn't planned. I was, in fact, the reason they got married. Loves make up for it!

Although it did make me super careful about birth control always and incredibly paranoid about getting pregnant when I was younger.

hallelujah

Hoo boy. I mean, she's an asshole for many reasons besides publicly declaring she regrets her kids WITH PICTURES (really lady? you're gonna get judgmental about working moms after THIS?), but I do appreciate the real talk. Like, maybe she has to be absolutely outrageous about it in order to open a dialogue that lets other women be honest without looking like monsters.

On a personal level, I had a baby a few months ago, and often wistfully imagine an alternate reality where I didn't and am still free as a bird at the bar with my friends. I don't think this makes me a bad person or a bad mom, and if this article lets other women feel a little less bad about regrets they have, then I'll take it.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@hallelujah But there's a big difference between nostalgia for your old life/curiosity at the road not taken, and telling the whole world that you wish your kids had never been born.

I get where she's coming from - there are times I wish I had never been born but that doesn't mean I'm suicidal. I agree that this is a really important facet of this discussion, I just think that she presented this so, so poorly. She may love her kids now but she comes off as so stiff and cold that you wonder how she really could have "done her duty" as she claims. And then, additionally, she has the gall to judge other mothers for how they raise their kids when the whole point of the article is that she didn't ever want to be a mother and was pretty clear about that to everyone.

selyse

@hallelujah Don't worry, you'll be back at the bar (alone!) with your friends soon enough. And you'll enjoy/appreciate it soon much more. Trust me!

Shara

@hallelujah I am right there with you. I have a three year old, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't love parenthood. Maybe I'll like it more later in life, but I doubt it. I'm good at being a mom because I work at it, and I love the bejesus out of my son. He is awesome and is one of the most important people in my world.

To my surprise though (I always wanted kids), I've never liked motherhood. My priorities and goals have shifted in the past years, and I resent the fact that motherhood stands in the way of me doing a lot of the things I want to do. I've had cherished romantic relationships end as a result of my choice to be a parent, I've made major career sacrifices, and I do envy my friends who have chosen the childless route. I'd perhaps say that there are times I regret choosing to have kids. I wish it was easier to admit that without being shamed and judged by happy parents and non-parents.

But to say that you regret having your children--as individuals? To go to the 'wish you didn't exist' place? Even she loves her kids dearly, it's hard to find sympathy with this lady.

iceberg

@Shara I would love to read YOUR story instead of hers! I think your distinction between motherhood as a thing and your child as a person is the key.

prefer not to say

@Shara Ok -- it's cool to hate parenthood ( I think even people who love parenthood hate parenthood at least 40% of the time), but my concrete question to you is what would you like a friend to say back, if you said "Wow, I really regret having this kid?" Because I have a friend who's constantly bagging on her 8-yr old, telling me "Kids are so boring, I never would have done this if I'd known, God, I'd pay someone to take her now" and I really don't have the slightest idea what to say back. And because I hang out with her AND her 8-yr old (who I like -- she's a neat 8-yer old), it feels slightly disloyal to sit there and say "Oh, yeah, you're right, she's a complete cunt." The power dynamics seem a bit unevenly skewed toward my friend and away from the small child at this point. I try to be sympathetic in a "Parenthood must be very trying for you" kind of way, but then, there IS another human being involved whose thriving does matter, and I don't know how to deal with that in a fair way.

Maryaed

@hallelujah Sounds like a perfect time to say "What a terrible thing to say. I hope your child never hears you."

Lalochezia

@prefer not to say Might I suggest submitting your question to Captain Awkward? I think the site might be in a 'Hold your Questions' phase currently, but they are great at concrete and compassionate advice for unpleasant/awkward situations.

Myrtle

@prefer not to say can I come late to this party to make a suggestion? The 8 year old is your friend and deserves your loyalty, so I want to encourage you to trust the voice that's squirming over being disloyal.

weetzie

@hallelujah I have a baby who is probably a few months older than yours and I TOTALLY GET THAT. My daughter was also a surprise (I won't say unplanned, because we wanted kids, just not right now, exactly) and I have, occasionally, mentioned to friends/aquaintances that there is accomplish-y life stuff that I feel I've missed out on by having a child at this stage. And saying that is usually a real conversation-stopper. I don't mean that I regret my daughter's existence in any way, but I do wish it was more acceptable (especially for moms!) to aknowledge that there can be some level of grieving and loss attached to becoming a parent. There are some things that you definitely get to go back to doing (nights out at the bar with friends!) and others that might never work out (taking off to Central America on a whim and staying for six months while I perfect my Spanish! Volunteering with MSF in east Africa!), and that's hard sometimes.

themegnapkin

Too distracted by the side bar of bizarre stories and sub-headlines to read the main story.

themegnapkin

@themegnapkin OMG that site is a swamp. I feel a lot of sympathy for that woman. I suspect that if I had kids, I would feel the same (except for hating on women who go back to work).
Anyone else struck by her repeated statements that she never wanted to hurt her son? I think the lady doth protest too much.

wharrgarbl

@themegnapkin I dunno. If you so much as hint that you're not 10,000% in love with everything about your children and maybe wish you hadn't had them, a loooooot of people will react like you just said you're looking for a convenient dumpster to leave them in. If she's been shooting straight with people about the fact that she wishes she hadn't had them for a couple decades, the "NO I DO NOT WANT TO MURDER MY BABY" thing might well be reflexive at this point.

harebell

It's such a strange article, because she's also been more "self-sacrificing" than many mothers -- her own insistence that she HAD to stop working to "raise" her children (you can raise them even if they go to day care, you know), and also the fact that right now she is the full-time carer for her disabled daughter with multiple sclerosis, who if I understand correctly is forecasted to live at home and need full-time care until the end of her life. Also her definition of being a grandparent seems to = babysitting.
I wonder how much of the exhaustion of caring full-time for a disabled adult child fed into this article. Maybe if she had a less rigid idea of what a good mother is and what a good mother does, and paradoxically set slightly lower standards for herself, she could have felt more like a mother and found ways to be happier in this whole situation, not feel taken advantage of (the host of "parasites"). But her internal definition of her duty made it impossible for her to find more flexible ways of dealing with the situation (and maybe class and money, too). I feel sad for her -- she sounds so stunted as a human being now.

karenb

@harebell yeah, i agree with your reading of it. maybe if she had cut herself a break every now and then, she wouldn't be quite so bitter. but as a person who likes kids, but does not want to do the job of mothering, i do understand her sentiment of "this was not worth it, for me". she was also raising her kids in a time when it was sort of unthinkable for Dad to stay home with them, instead.

Springtime for Voldemort

@harebell I dunno. She might have hated being a mother less, and found things a bit easier. But the lack of connection to her kids, the lack of maternal feelings and instinct? I don't think that would really change even if she saw working moms as valid moms.

Mira

I actually don't think she sounds like a real jerk at all. She doesn't sound especially warm, but clearly she does love her kids and has done her best for them even though she regrets having had them, which is a lot more than many kids get from their parents. I think the real jerk here is her husband, who pressured her into having kids even though he knew she didn't want them.

iceberg

@Mira "I cannot understand mothers who insist they want children - especially those who undergo years of fertility treatment - then race back to work at the earliest opportunity after giving birth, leaving the vital job of caring for them to strangers. Why have them at all if you don't want to bring them up, or can't afford to? And why pretend you wanted them if you have no intention of raising them? This hypocrisy is, in my view, far more pernicious and difficult to fathom than my own admission that my life would have been better without children."

Nope, I'm firmly in Camp Jerk.

Mira

@iceberg Well, sure, a lot of her side comments are pretty judgmental (and a logical extension of her sort of grim kids-as-jobs-and-by-god-I'll-do-mine mindset), but I don't think those comments are why we're being invited to call her a jerk and an asshole.

I don't know, I guess I'm just more inclined toward compassion for her, although I can understand why other people wouldn't be.

aphrabean

@Mira Turning into this kind of woman is my number one argument (with myself) against having kids. A lot of what she said resonated with me - my need for privacy, for solitude, for the things that would absolutely be compromised if I took on the care of a small person. A lot of her jerkier attitudes (her views on working moms, etc) seem to be self-justifying her sacrifice - a martyr complex that I think is VERY common among women of her generation.

Mira

@aphrabean Yep, I'm the same. I read this and saw myself, if I had been born a couple of decades ago or lacked the self-knowledge to understand these things about myself. Just not cut out for it.

I have a lot of pity for her. And I also think the vast majority of children in the world would have been very happy to switch mothers with her kids.

iceberg

@Mira I don't know. I mean, I have no problem with a lady who regrets having kids, I have not much problem with a lady who couldn't imagine life without her husband so she gave him the kids he wanted, because we've all done stupid shit for love, I don't even really have a problem with her thinking that she had to raise them because she personally thought she would do a better job than anyone else. BUT I know that for me, I would be an even worse mother than I already am if I was trapped in a house all day with the Bergy Bits, I love those little buggers but they drive me up the wall and I have a very short fuse, so me being a working mom is better for all of us (the fact that we couldn't afford for me to stay at home is almost incidental). So yeah I get super huffy when this chick isd like, "I don't even want or love my kids and I'm still doing a better job than you."

BoozinSusan

@aphrabean What bothered me in her article was - for example - when she DID NOT MIND that her newborn was lacking air and brought into another room to be treated. That was odd, and speaks more to depression than to feelings about having children in general.

Mira

@iceberg I think your criticism is completely valid (staying home with kids is basically my worst nightmare), and we agree on that for sure. It's just that the way Nicole framed this referred to this woman as a jerk, an asshole, and the devil because of her public regret at having kids, not her attitudes about working moms. That's what I'm objecting to. It's just...a bit much, I think.

sweetleah

@BoozinSusan Exactly! That's what bothered me the most (I guess, so many things bothered me) is her not feeling sorry for a suffocating newborn that she pushed out of her body 30 seconds earlier, nor did she feel guilty or scared that possibly she killed her baby by leaving it in a stroller tied to a post as she went home to have tea. Seems like she can recognize human emotion but does not indulge in feeling it herself. How ironic that after despising to care for little children for years of her life she now has to care for her poor adult daughter until she passes?

Lizanator

@BoozinSusan Right? I most certainly don't want kids, but the idea of an infant dying is upsetting. That's human empathy. I wonder if this woman is a sociopath. Not in the evil, murderous way, but simply in the 'I have no connection to other humans and don't understand empathy' sort of way.

Alli525

I... I hate to use the word "sociopath," but the woman seems very robotic in this piece. Maybe she's a very warm person in real life, with her friends/husband, but she comes off in this piece very "beep boop hate kids blurp beep," as if no moment, not one single solitary minute of either of her children's lives, made her happy or proud.

I think it's completely fair and right to include "some women just don't want children and that's okay" in the debate, and I feel sorry that 30+ years ago it wasn't really an option welcomed warmly in society, but... I don't know, I pity those kids. She comes off as the kind of mum that gets a puppy because her kids really want one, and never emotionally connects with it. Except, these aren't puppies, they're children.

LilRedCorvette

@Alli525 Maybe it's just her writing (did you want your son to "prosper and thrive"? How very...Vulcan of you), or maybe she would straight up fail a Voight-Kampff test.

MilesofMountains

@Alli525 She seems quite cold and emotionless, but I wouldn't say sociopath. The whole piece is about how she gave up pretty much everything she wanted for herself for her family, and that's pretty much the opposite of sociopathic behaviour even if she ended up pretty bitter as a result.

Alli525

@MilesofMountains WELLLL I just mean sociopathic in the vein of "I understand what human emotions are supposed to be like but I do not feel them." Not psychopathic. I just don't get the sense that this woman has emotional responses, specifically w/r/t her kids but could be more widespread than that.

T A@twitter

@Alli525 she loves her husband, she misses her freedom. She just didn't want children. She hates the time she's lost. She may not be the best writer, but she clearly has emotions.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Alli525 I'm bummed by how many people - feminist people - still associate "doesn't have maternal feelings" with "is a sociopath". Sociopath would be not being able to connect with *any* human being. The kind of thing where any woman who doesn't love her kids and would die for them is a sociopath is exactly the kind of pressure that makes women have children when they don't want to. Imagine if we decided that all the dead-beat dads of the world were sociopaths - we'd suddenly be like "woah, I think you're overpathologizing and watering down the meaning of that word."

Myrtle

@Alli525 maybe on the autism spectrum , then?

tea for all

@Alli525 also worth noting that she didn't write this, it's been processed by the daily mail article generator, so anything we think we can glean about her from its robotic tone is probably not that illuminating. i'd be surprised if she had any editorial input, really.

the simple fact that she chose to put her name and face, her kids' names and faces, to this publication, though, probably speaks volumes about her character.

Fayebelline

Everyone needs to be careful to read the piece through the usual Daily Mail filter which recognises that it historically edits and heavily rewrites first person pieces to make the subject out to be a horrendous person.

Genghis Khat

@Fayebelline I certainly sense the heavy hand of an editor here. Some of the details in this writing seem to not mesh up with the story we are being told about a woman who took and takes pretty good care of her children. I doubt the woman who makes an effort to communicate to her children that she loves them when they have doubts and who continues to care for her daughter for the rest of her would actually write that she didn't care if her infant lived or died or that she cared more if she left her dog at the store. She might think those things, but the woman so concerned with proper mothering wouldn't write them where said children can see it.

disco_clone

@Fayebelline seriously, they change everything. You should never entertain the idea that anything written in a DM piece came from the writer. I'm actually a little sad that the Hairpin is providing clicks to this misogynist hate rag.

anachronistique

@disco_clone Isn't the Daily Mail one of the sites that posted Edith's satirical piece about hipsters without a toilet as fact?

disco_clone

@anachronistique I did not know about this! But yeah, if people will click on it or get mad about it, they'll print it

evil melis

@anachronistique My relationship to the Daily Mail is similar to my relationship to XOJane; I will go months without thinking of it (other than to idly go tccch) and then I will spend two hours furiously clicking on every side article, unable to stop myself until I have read everything and buried myself in the crimson maw of human misery.

supernintendochalmers

On the one hand, I really enjoy reading these kinds of articles because you often hear people say things like, "You should have a kid just in case you regret it later," and you rarely hear the opposite. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the only reason these writers never choose anonymity is the prospect of publicity. And that's kind of gross, when you have kids you could hurt.

supernintendochalmers

@supernintendochalmers Also I can't BELIEVE she said "I believe it is utterly selfish to have only one [child]." Nope, utterly selfish is having kids you don't want because you think it'll do something for you that you can't do for yourself.

karenb

@supernintendochalmers i would SO MUCH rather regret not having a kid (foster! adopt! mentor! friends' kids!) than regret having one (nothing you can do about it now!). if i round the corner past my "child bearing years" and realise that i really should have had one, there are alternatives available for me, different ways to access the same type of fulfillment. if i have a kid and regret it? yeah, that's just a life of regret.

Linette

@supernintendochalmers Dear god YES. I don't want to have kids because of the consequences. Some people think the good part of having a kid outweighs the bad part by a lot, and for some of us, it's the reverse. Some are walking a middle line. All of these positions are completely cool. You get to weight your pro-con list however is true for you.

But can we please not act like there are no consequences to kid-having? There are tons! Many of them affect your overall happiness, especially if you personally are a person who needs a lot of Alone Time (as just one example).

Jane Dough

@karenb Yes, exactly! I always thought the same thing-- better to regret NOT having kids than regret having them. I'm over 50 now, no kids and no regrets.

Myrtle

@Jane Dough this! Thank you, birth control, for preventing me from becoming an abusive parent like my parents.

noReally

Oh man, and I needed to get some work done this morning. Ok.

When I was trying to get pregnant, my mother wrote me a long letter trying to change my mind. She said no one (but really just not she) would have children if they knew what it was like. That even though you love them, children prevent happiness for the rest of your life. If you're not worried that they'll drown in an unfenced swimming pool you're sitting in a principal's office begging for one more chance. They take all your money, and all your peace of mind, and yell I hate you and slam doors. The life of a childless couple is a life of well-rested bliss, with lots of travel and restaurant dining.

And I took it to mean that now that her children are grown, with a success rate of about 60%, this is her perspective on the road not taken. Looks great. She didn't say she'd never wanted them. She said she had them because that's what you did. And she loved us. But she made me clear warning: "Don't make the mistake I did. You will have a happier life if you don't have a baby."

And I thought she was full of shit and I still do. My son is almost 6 and I would kill or die for him in a second. I love my life, and I'm going to be a far better parent than she was.

karenb

@noReally some people (and it sounds like your mom was one of them) are just not built to be parents (i am of this camp.) Luckily now, we have that option much more than when our parents were having kids.

MoxyCrimeFighter

I really, really wonder that this never affected her relationship with her husband. Despite the fact that she says he's a wonderful father, I kinda question the judgement of anyone who would marry someone knowing she didn't want kids (even with the prevailing attitude of the time that she just needs to pop 'em out and then she'll be right as rain). Wouldn't it be hard to raise children with someone in the home who maybe did her duty but clearly wasn't happy or interested? Why would you expose your children to someone like that? Maybe he's grateful that she gave him 2 kids he adores and is able to look past everything else. That's not to say he wouldn't be a jerk to be resentful that he couldn't pressure her into being someone she's not, but...I don't know. There's a lot of talk of "selfishness" in the article, but I think the ultimate selfish act was staying together and not finding other people who would be able to give them each what they wanted.

EpWs

@MoxyCrimeFighter Seconded. Having kids with a person that you have to pressure into it seems like a bad plan.

wharrgarbl

@MoxyCrimeFighter I'm inclined to give him the side-eye, but I'm guessing there's also a huge generational component to it. Like, he was clearly into being a dad and was a very involved parent.

The default model at the time they made these decisions was very "mom looks after the kids, dad gets to check out because working for money is hard." If you still think that's an okay model, you're not necessarily going to think it's so horrible to just swap who does the emotional work of actually caring for the kids.

punzy

I cringed when I read about how her husband wanted 4 kids and she wanted 0 and each thought the other would change their mind. Kids are a big deal! And people do change their minds in both directions, but that is not something you should count on.

iceberg

@punzy Yeah things that are okay to compromise on are like "I'm not a dog person, buuut..." not creating other humans that have to live with knowing you only give a shit about them because duty.

Nicole Cliffe

Yeah. There is no genuine compromise possible when one partner sincerely wants 0, and the other person wants more than 0.

EpWs

@Nicole Cliffe Bingo.

meetapossum

@punzy I also thought mostly of Robin in How I Met Your Mother when she learns she can't have children, and later tells this to Kevin when he proposes. And he's like, "Oh, it's ok, we can adopt!" And she has to tell him that no, she never ever ever wants kids and that becomes the dealbreaker.

The Lady of Shalott

@Nicole Cliffe This. I cannot understand why people get married when there is a fundamental disconnect about whether or not to have children. I feel like this is a huge, major, life-changing dealbreaker if both parties are not on the same page, and it will end in suffering for one or all parties involved.

Hammitt

@iceberg

I don't understand why you think compromising on dogs is acceptable.

Okay, I jest, mostly, but two of the things that my boyfriend and joint-freak out about about our future are

1. He wants two kids I want three and feel guilty about that because of the environment but want them
2. He want a terrier I want some giant dog bigger than me.

And these are BIG DEALS. I don't understand how anyone can be like "oh, they'll change their mind about kids"

EpWs

@Hammitt SOLUTIONS!
1. I'm not having kids so you can have kiddo #3 guilt-free to make up for my lack thereof.
2. Airedale Terrier, yo. Or a Giant Schnauzer for extra oomph.

(I get what you're saying, though.)

Judith Slutler

You know, this all makes me so thankful for my mom, who has always been pretty up-front about the fact that if it weren't for my dad getting broody and definitely being A Dad Type of Man, she wouldn't have had kids. That it was work for her. She never idealizes motherhood in the least. For her, it's just a thing you can do or not do. I have always loved talking to her about it even more than I love knowing how much my dad looked forward to having us.

Katy

Moments after my daughter was born she choked and had to be resucitated. During that time I felt a million different things, including the slightest, most miniscule twinge of relief. I feel horrible about that, but I think I was feeling very overwhelmed in the sense that I was very afraid that my life was over forever and this was a way that I might be off the hook. I had terrible post partum depression and didn't feel bonded to my daughter more than a year. And now I'd literally kill someone on the street if they even attempted to hurt or take her. I think the thing is I wasn't constantly telling myself how this person had ruined my life and taken my freedom. The writer is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. NO, not everyone should have kids, but also, living a life 100% focused on you doesn't make you a better person, either. I have learned a lot about my own selfishness, as well as what I need to be fulfilled by being a parent, and a lot of those things don't even have anything to do with my daughter. I think if you're always saying you would have been happier if something hadn't happened, you continue to live your life going forward with that shaping and forming your happiness.
Also, her point about spontenaiety is not really true. I find that I'm just as likely to plan a last minute trip or outing with a child in tow, it just takes a little longer to pack up the car. I appreciate her sentiment, that no one should have a child to please someone else, (people need to make these kind of decisions before marriage, I think) but I feel like this is a little self-pitying for me.

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@Katy I think I'd prefer to read an article written by someone like you.

Katy

@OhMyGoshYouGuys Well trying to be really logical and approach things with a common sense attitude (as I try to remind myself to do about 1600 times a day) doesn't usually generate pageviews, so I guess there's that. I can't imagine this whole thing didn't start with the site seeking someone such as her so that we can all click on it and have opinions about it. I guess it worked! But thank you, that makes me feel validated as a successful human being :)

eiffeldesigns

As someone who does not want children, and never has wanted children, I appreciate her confirming the fact that no, I won't regret not having them. She does seem rather snotty (and whoa karma with the having to take care of her adult child). But I imagine I'd be a bitter bitch too if I had two kids I hadn't wanted to birth.

I'm so glad I'm currently partnered with a gentleman who shares my view- I've known several women who've had children at the behest of their partner and they are universally miserable. And I've seen more than one marriage break up because one partner thought they could change the mind of the other. I just don't understand that mentality. Life is too short to spend it trying to convince another person that your way of life is superior to theirs.

iceberg

@Kirs Yeah I think this is useful as more of a cautionary tale than anything - if you are pretty sure you don't want kids and don't want your life to change? She is the Ghost of That Future.

EpWs

@Kirs Exactly. Having kids or not having kids isn't a right or wrong decision, as long as it's what you well and truly want. I don't want kids, I have friends that do, and the world needs all of us.

catfoodandhairnets

@iceberg I was always 'Go read "We need to talk about Kevin"'. Basically my take is changing your mind too late and wishing you had had a child is a much less scary potential outcome than having a child, being ambivalent about it and then him/her turning out to be a monster and you wondering if it's all your fault.

Linette

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher There's a pretty good section in Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed that talks about the role of childless women in society as a whole, and it is a pretty kickass role, and I am just as happy with it as most mothers I see being happy with the role of Mom.

EpWs

@Linette There was a good talk about things that way on A Practical Wedding a while back, and I read it while I was struggling with kids/no kids, and it helped a lot. I'll have to check out Committed.

OhMyGoshYouGuys

As someone who is childless, I'm reeeaaalllly trying not to pull a Frank Bruni and judge her for her feelings or choice to express them publicly.

I'm sure her experience isn't all that uncommon, though I wouldn't call her brave for telling her story. I do, however, feel she's being honest and this doesn't seem like the usual Daily Mail trolling piece.

This piece makes me wonder how I'd feel if I were to get pregnant and have a child. I've never wanted to be a mother, yet I'm absolutely crazy about my niece and nephew. I just don't think I'd feel as excited to become a mom myself.

I'm not defending her. I cringed at the part of the article where she described forgetting her baby and dog at the bakery and only noticed when the dog wasn't there begging for food.

I guess it's proof there's all kinds of mothers and all kinds of families and ... I don't know. I'm just glad I'm not her kid.

hedgehog

OK, you know what? It is possible to have and express a strong introvert's case for childlessness WITHOUT coming across as a sociopath. (AND EVEN, I think, to do it in the form of a regrets piece like this one -- giving maximal benefit of doubt for talking to your kids first and contextualizing appropriately and doing the "and also: love" part like Nicole's dad, and for being in general a person with a more nuanced approach than this writer or at least than the Daily Fail editors' version of her.)

I have some bitterness that THIS is the piece that floats this whole thing up to the surface for discussion. Because it is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad exemplar.

The incidentally taking down working women as collateral damage is also not helpful, because there's a couple of right ways to pull through that issue vis-a-vis childlessness as well, and this is the opposite of any of them. And it is something that needs to be done particularly badly right now. It's been conspicuously and damagingly missing for the most par from this entire spring wave of post-Sheryl Sandberg women-and-work think pieces, which have largely construed the entire conversation as one about balancing work and kids, which is oversimplifying as hell and leaves the most interesting part of Sandberg's specific arguments (as opposed to EVERYBODY's arguments on this not lately un-plumbed topic, e.g. during the recent Anne-Marie Slaughter wave) basically invisible.

So I get why Nicole picked this one but also: goddamn it, Nicole, why this one?

EpWs

WHAMMO. This right here is what I'm worried about and (part of the reason) why I don't want to have kids--that gut feeling that I would resent it and regret it, and that's not fair to anyone.

Like Nicole, I wish--for her kids' sakes--that she had done this anonymously. Nobody deserves to read this about themselves.

hahahaha, ja.

I recently fostered a dog for a few weeks, and he turned out to be a handful: anxious, high-energy, loud barking to communicate. Not his fault, he's been through some tough times (his previous owners got divorced and the poor guy lived through all the arguments and changes) and I knew going in that he was high-energy. But taking care of him was definitely sapping all my energy, and I found myself googling things like "when is it OK to return a foster dog." And based on my search results, it seemed like every other person in the world who had fostered a dog had a great, loving, beautiful, transcendental experience. Meanwhile, I was crying in my car every day to relieve some of the stress. The whole experience made me rethink having kids (what if I pop out a kid and immediately start googling "when is it OK to kick the kid out of the house"?) and I'm still not sure.

Anyway, I know that dogs =/= kids, and this was just a few months of fostering and not a lifetime of commitment, so my experience was orders of magnitude less intense. I guess my point is that it's nice to see articles like this, regardless of what we may think about the writer as a person.

iceberg

@hahahaha, ja. It's kind of the same in that you had a being in your care who was totally helpless without you and needed you when it needed you, and wasn't always behaving the way you wanted it to, and didn't have an off-switch or conveniently-scheduled/schedulable needs.

themegnapkin

@hahahaha, ja. When I adopted my dog (that's Archie in my avatar!), at first I thought it was a huge mistake. I couldn't deal with his neediness - he barked at me constantly, he was terrified of other dogs, he wouldn't eat his dog food (I think he had been given human food in his former home, and so was a picky eater - when I took him on walks in my neighborhood, he was starving from refusing to eat dog food, so he would lunge for gross bones from fried chicken that people had discarded on the sidewalk). I cried daily over whether to return him, and I googled "am I a horrible person for wanting to return an adopted dog". One Sunday, I was at my parents' and my dad and I got ready to drive him back to the shelter. For some reason, we had to delay the trip, and by the time we could go, somehow, I had fallen in love with him. It took maybe a month? But now I'm so happy with him and love him so much that I can't imagine my life without him.
I think sometimes about how this might translate to kids. For me, I think the difference is that I had wanted a dog for years, and I've never felt a strong desire to have kids.

hahahaha, ja.

@iceberg: Someone needs to engineer some sort of on-off switch for pets and/or kids. GET ON IT SCIENCE

hahahaha, ja.

@themegnapkin: Yeah, I can see that. I guess my fear is that the feeling of wanting to return the dog might never go away. I mean, I'm definitely a dog person (the one in my avatar is my family's goofy golden), but ... maybe I'm more of a "play with a dog for a few days before returning it to its owner" person. And, similarly, maybe I'd rather just take care of friends' kids for an afternoon instead of actually having my own. I guess this is something I'll be slowly figuring out over the years.

Also, I'm glad to hear your story. Again, it seems like everyone's experience is "I got a dog and I loooooved it immediately." Which, ARGH, so frustrating when you're not in that boat.

Ialdagorth

@hahahaha, ja. When I adopted my dog, I was outright bamboozled - they told me she was well adjusted, leash trained, loved people, kids, and other dogs - LIES, all lies. She's a bundle of nervous insanity who has panic attacks, hides in the tub drooling, and is borderline agoraphobic. I also considered giving her back once I realized just how nuts she actually was, but I didn't. Because guilt, probably, if I'm being honest. I didn't see how anyone else could adopt a dog that was this big of a mess, so I felt like I'd be dooming her to some horrible fate. I've had her for years now and while she's still pretty bonkers, it is a bonkers I have learned how to handle and I love her stupid ugly face so much. Her bonkers has aligned itself with my life in a way that made it work out, I guess is what I'm saying (and she's better than she was after YEARS of working with her to calm her down. Also valerian root).

But I did NOT love her right away. And sometimes you have to do a lot of mental life math, like do I know how to handle a dog with these kinds of problems? Do I have the time, energy, or money to do all the shit this dog needs to be happy and healthy? And if the answer is no, well, you would both be better off if the dog was elsewhere. And it would not make you a bad person at all.

Gilgongo

@hahahaha, ja. It's funny. My husband & I got a puppy as sort of practice for having kids. She was so awful that it clinched not having kids for us. I felt such rage towards her, at times, that I thought I could never have a kid. How could I when I couldn't even deal with a dog? (important note: I've never hurt our dog or anything like that. Just been really mad at her) Cut to about 7 years later (with lots of various things happening in the meantime). My daughter is 3. I swear to god, she's (way) easier to deal with than our damned dog. You know how that woman in the article feels about her kids? I kind of feel that way about our dog. I've never felt anger/rage towards my daughter the way I have about my dog. Maybe I'm just not a dog person.

skyslang

@hahahaha, ja. Oh man! I feel you.KI had the same realization when I was dog sitting for friends. What, the dog wakes up at 5am and I have to WALK him? FUCK THAT.
I like my life just the way it is, thank you very much. I like sleeping in and not picking up dog poop or listening to barking all the damn time. I really don't get dogs!

hahahaha, ja.

@skyslang: Yeah, there were definitely times when I wanted to, say, go to happy hour with coworkers, but I had to go home and take care of the dog instead. I mean, I like dogs, but I mostly like the idea of having a fluffy beast that will walk and cuddle and be adorable. I forgot that, besides walking and cuddling and being fluffy (sometimes), dogs will also poop and pee and whine and bark and stress the fuck out. This particular dog used to get so attached to people that he'd bark whenever someone went to the bathroom. Which was hilarious for me, and not so hilarious for the friend who was trying to pee.

nyikint

Irrelevant, but I couldn't help thinking of @melis when I saw this:

PatatasBravas

@nyikint Where did you find this and I love you let's not have kids together.

evil melis

IT'S A STRAWBERRYYYYYY

disco_clone

I posted something like this upthread, but basically it's a shame we can't discuss an important issue without it being based on what I can only assume is made-up click-bait trolling that bears no resemblance to what the original writer may have intended to say (as per every other DM 'lifestyle' story ever). You should not assume that "she thinks" anything that is written in that piece.

I know you said to read it before joining the discussion, but I'd rather not - is there nothing better out there encapsulating this issue?

cherrispryte

I used to be one of those horrible militant child-free "we hate your kids, ugh stop breeding" types, but have softened over the past few years, to the point where I'm now, at best, ambivalent about having kids myself, and totally supportive of other people's decisions to do so. (I had to grow up eventually, right?) Reading this article, however, just made me go NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE all over the place. Because that would totally be me - the resentment, the bitchily judging other mothers, the doing a good job but hating it, all of it. Some people just shouldn't have kids. I am most likely one of them.

karenb

@cherrispryte me too. i need lots of quiet time, which, as i am sure all of the parents here can attest to, basically is when the kids are asleep. i can just picture myself getting tired, and frazzled, and irritated, and snapping meanly at a poor kiddo, and i don't want anyone to have That Mom.

Nukegrrrl

@cherrispryte You may be (or have been?) militant but are so not horrible. It warmed my cockles to see your post being the first one in this thread to use the term "child-free" instead of "childless."

Here's to all the awesome women out there making awesome choices for themselves (and for their kids, if that's what they want!) <3

Mrs. Beeton

This whole thing was pretty clearly thinly-veiled resentment over having to care for adult daughter until one of them dies.

itiresias

@Mrs. Beeton right?! honey. caretaking for all ages is an industry. get over yourself if avoiding it is making you this much of a bitch.

Olivia2.0

Right now I'm reading this book called "Why have kids" (that I think I actually read about on here?) and it's incredible, and does a great job of pointing out that HEY kids AREN'T for everyone - we probably need to stop acting like they are! Anyways, I'd recommend it, it's a great read. A lot of interesting topics.

commanderbanana

@Olivia2.0 It kind of makes me pine for the old days(tm) when if you didn't have kids, everyone assumed something was wrong and you were secretly DYING INSIDE and didn't ask about it.
Now everyone is up in your business. Fortunately even though I am inching closer to my thirties when my eggs turn into fossils and I lose all sexual desirability (haha thanks men's rights activists) anyone who spends longer than five minutes with me realizes that I probably shouldn't be trusted with string, so no one asks me when I'm planning on having kids.

Gilgongo

So horrified by this article. I can understand having a kid and then wishing you didn't. I guess? But it was how friggin' judgemental she was about people who only have 1 kid and/or mom's who go back to work. Dude, YOU LEFT YOUR KID OUTSIDE AND THEN FORGOT ABOUT THEM! AND THEN DIDN'T CARE! I hated this woman.
I also want to take a minute to say that I, TOO, did not have that immediate "I am bonded with this child" feeling when she was born (that took about 4 or 5 months to kick in). Breastfeeding was HELL ON EARTH for me. After 2 weeks of it, I started seeing my daughter as this little monster who wanted nothing more than to cause me pain. (so I switched to exclusive pumping. She got the breast milk. I stopped resenting her). There were MANY times, in that first 6 month that I thought to myself "I've made a horrible horrible mistake." Totally normal feelings. You don't take those feelings and apply the to the rest of your life, though!
My daughter is 3 now and I, like this woman, would cut off my own arm (or whatever) for her (you know... if that was required for some reason). She's the best thing I ever did. I don't understand the "I love you. I would die for you. But I wish you were never born." feeling. That's weird. I TOTALLY get "I wish I had more time for myself. I wish I could go to a movie whenever I want. I wish I wish I wish..." but to wish your kid was never born while still loving them? Huh?

Gilgongo

I totally pressured my husband into having a kid. He did NOT want kids, and I pretty much forced the issue. (Quick note: he was on board with my getting pregnant, but felt very pressured into it. It's a LONG story and I'm not as awful as this makes me seem. I hope.)
Our daughter (who's 3 now) is the love of his life. I mean, seriously... it's ridiculous. He's thanked me, over and over, for "making him" have her with me. She's the best thing that's every happened to us.
This is PROBABLY not typical, so I don't really recommend it. But there are so many stories about people being talked into having kids and then resenting it. I thought I'd share my opposite experience.

Mira

@Gilgongo Are there really a lot of stories about people being talked into having kids and then resenting it? I feel like the narrative of "Oh, you'll love them once they're youuuuuuurs!" is always the (presumed universal) story that's used to shame ambivalent people into having kids. And clearly it is not always true.

I'm happy that situation worked out for you, though!

PatatasBravas

@Mira Have to agree with you, I have seen very few pressure/resentment stories and about four billion "just do it and you'll love them!" stories.

But there are a lot of women-nagging-men-for-babies stories. They just all end in love and smirky condescension.

Mira

@PatatasBravas Yeah, exactly. And this one is notable precisely because there are so few of these stories out there, although I suspect this person's attitude is a lot more common than most people think (want to think?). I'd never be able to forgive someone who pressured me into having kids, even if I ended up really happy about being a parent!

p.s. I think it's odd that we all react with so much gasp-horror to this story when it seems pretty common for men to admit they weren't really into their kids that much, left raising them to their wives, etc. Do we still think mothers have more of a nurturing obligation than fathers, maybe?

Gilgongo

@PatatasBravas Didn't mean to sound smirky or condescending. I've heard a TON of "I was pressured into having a kid and then regretted it" stories. But, you know, it might have been my husband who sent them to me back when I was "nagging" him to have a baby.
The back-story is that neither of us particularly wanted kids. I accidentally got pregnant and although I'm pro-choice, I just couldn't have an abortion. My husband wanted me to. We had a rough couple of weeks and back-and-forth. Therapy. He "came around" and eventually became even more excited about having a baby than I was. At almost 6 months, I had a stillbirth and almost died myself. We were both very traumatized by this. I reacted by desperately wanting another baby to "replace" the one we had lost. My husband's reaction was "No, the F$&*ck, WAY!" I became very depressed. We fought/discussed/etc... about it and he eventually gave in. Took me 2 more years to get pregnant. He would occasionally remind me that it was "all my idea" to have our second baby. Right up until I gave birth. It was a very rough several years, so the fact that it all "worked out" so well is a constant shock to me. It's probably not typical.
The scariest thing about having kids, to me, is that you kind of never know how you're going to react. You can be one of those "I've always wanted kids!" people and then resent your kids. And you can be an "I'm not particularly maternal" type, have a kid, and have it be the greatest thing ever. I've heard of both happening.

PatatasBravas

@Gilgongo nonononono you're not smirky and condescending! The stories I hear about women-nagging-men-for-babies are often smirky and condescending, but generally I find the Hairpin commenters take a rather different tone than The Rest Of The Internet.

Also your story scared the stew out of me. I'm so glad that you have a wanted child and that your husband loves the both of you very much.

Mira

@PatatasBravas I just wanted to clarify that when I was agreeing with you, I also assumed that you were not calling @Gilgongo smirky and condescending!

Amanda@twitter

"If you think you might regret it, do not have children." But what if I also think I might not regret it at the same time? I don't understaaaaaaand.

PatatasBravas

KEEP THINKING

fondue with cheddar

@Amanda@twitter Here's the thing...if you aren't sure, it's better to err on the side of not having them. Because if you have kids and then change your mind, you're screwed. But if you don't have kids and then change your mind, you can have kids then! If you're adamant about having biological children, freeze some eggs. If you aren't you can adopt or foster. Not having kids gives you options, having kids does not.

I didn't have children because I wasn't sure, and thought that maybe one day I would be sure. I never became sure, and now I'm 39 and do not regret my decision (or indecision, depending how you look at it) one bit.

Better to Eat You With

Being her kid would beat the holy hell out of being told from an early age that you were a mistake and your mother wished you hadn't been born and you were going to be shipped off to live with your (effectively demonized) estranged father, like someone I know, um, intimately.

For me, the result was really, really not wanting children (though being happy for whomever else to have them) until my life finally seemed situated and stable (which has been very recent). And now I'm ambivalent, definitely not leaning "yes."

We talk a lot about how things ought to be--how parents ought to behave--but realistically, very few parents really do what we wish they would do. I don't know very many people whose parents devoted themselves wholly (resentfully or not) to their upbringing. I see more of that now, now that we've begun to think of motherhood as an exalted lifestyle, but it doesn't seem, to me, anyway, that most women of her generation made a point of being stellar parents. Those I know personally did what they had to to get by, since having children was a culture-wide expectation, not a choice.

KellyR

This article almost makes me wish my mom was this honest. It's taken my sisters and me a long time to realize that it was nothing personal and there wasn't anything wrong with us.

My mom wanted kids the same way I want a dog - I want to do the fun stuff, when I want to do it, but somebody else needs to do all the hard stuff. That's why I don't have, and never will, either a dog or kids.

skyslang

@KellyR TOTALLY! You just wrote exactly what I was thinking. My mom so obviously did not want my sister or I. It took me a long time to work through that and move on. I wish we could talk about it honestly and have a real adult relationship.

siniichulok

@KellyR My parents were the same (my dad still is, my mom would be if she were alive). They also had us to provide them with unconditional love and protection and eternal validation that they didn't get from THEIR parents, so one can imagine how well that worked out, since three-year-olds aren't the best at providing therapy....

charmcity

I heard that you just have to have all of your kids before you turn 23. You don't have kids because you want to be a parent! You become a parent and then magically everything works out! DUH. PS, get married first!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@charmcity But don't let your kids surf. But it's ok for them to kill animals for their own amusement? Ugh, so many rules.

frigwiggin

I know that posting this here will look kind of flippant, but it's semi-related and makes me laugh, so: Reasons My Son Is Crying. Even though I don't want kids, just knowing that this exists and that it's possible to be a loving parent while still being like "are you kidding me with this shit, toddler" instead of swanning around being perfectly bonded and angelic-loving 100% of the time makes me feel comforted.

iceberg

@frigwiggin oh my god I am literally silent crying tears of laughter at my desk, this tumblr is basically every 5 minutes at chez Iceberg.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@frigwiggin That tumblr is my Personal Nightmare (tm).

missupright

@iceberg @frigwiggin My best one, from one of the boys I nannied last year, inconsolable sobbing because "I met a spider and she didn't want to be my friend". And innumerable "you BROKE my CHEESE"s.

EpWs

@iceberg Can we get a weekly Best Of Why The Bergy Bits Are Crying? Just the highlights? :D

iceberg

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Haha anytime!

muggles

Eeeek this reminds me SO MUCH of Eva in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," just without the thoughtful introspection, sophisticated writing, or (hopefully) multiple homicides.

jule_b_sorry

This article is making me feel weird, b/c I think I just decided this weekend that I want kids (after many, many years of being like "no no no" and then 100% ambivalent). DAMMIT INTERNET.

FoxBaseAlpha

@jule_b_sorry If it makes you feel any better, this article makes me feel weird because I always thought I wanted kids but then didn't meet the guy until I was 34; and now we're getting married and I'm 37 and it's like tick-tock... and suddenly I'm ambivalent and not sure. And then this stuff shows up and makes me wonder if my past 16 or so years of thinking were wrong. So... yeah, internet articles - they can get in your head and eff shit up.

RoyRogersMcFreely

I can't help but feel like the Daily Mail intended this to be more of a LOOK AT THIS LADY SHE REGRETS HAVING KIDS WHAT A FREAK AND A MONSTER -type piece, rather than a legitimate discussion of what should be a serious topic. There are strong overtones (and possibly/probably some editorial tweaking) that seem intended to portray this woman as a robotic, semi-sociopathic caricature. It's ridicule disguised as a thoughtful opinion piece, and it cheapens and de-legitimizes the experiences of real women who have these feelings.

wharrgarbl

@RoyRogersMcFreely I don't know. I got more of a "look at this woman who never even wanted her kids, but even she didn't go so far as to hire a nanny or refuse to have two, what the fuck is wrong with you?" vibe off it.

LydiaohLydia

Hmmm, I didn't want to read it and yet I had to after reading all the comments. Darn you, Daily Mail.
This brings up lots of complicated emotions for me. I love my two little guys, but I was never someone who absolutely dreamed of being a mother or felt like having children was something I "had to do."
It did take a while for me to bond with them. And being a parent is hard sometimes and complicated most of the time. There are definitely times I wish for more me time or wish they could grow up a little faster or not need me quite so much.
And I tell every woman who is thinking about children honestly that it is hard at times (people who tell you otherwise are trying to sell you something) and if you're not sure there is nothing, nothing, nothing wrong with not having children. Thank you, modern medicine.
There's nothing wrong with having them either, if it's what you want.
One of my guys is also a special needs guy and may live with us forever. I was thinking the other day about some of my "dreams deferred" might turn out to be "dreams never to be" because of this. But you know what? That's life. Every life has surprises and twists and turns, if you have kids or not.
So mixed feelings and not always super loving being a mom? I get that.
But regret they were born? Never. I would step in front of a bullet for either one and I do love them more every day.
Taking it on face value (for discussion's sake) and assuming that this is what she intended to write and not the Daily Mail's pandering for links, I do feel more sorry for her than disgust. It does seem somewhat generational too, as echoed above. I get it can be therapy to super brutal and honest sometimes, but it is a short term fix. I think maybe some therapy could have helped resolve a lot of this in a better way.

commanderbanana

Maybe she just saw that Reasons My Son is Crying Tumblr?

Minxynzl

I have TWO I suppose 'only' children. My first son I had at twenty, unplanned. I felt another child should only follow if I felt a second child would be welcome in their own right and at a time I could cope, not as a mere playmate for my son. As life goes, it was at age 40 with my husband that I (we) felt good about welcoming another child...twenty years later. And what a joy they both are. I know for a fact and from raising an only child that it does not mean raising a spolit, maladjusted and unappy loner.

hence_erstwhile

I think my mother feels exactly the same way, and I think that feeling tears her apart every day. My mum had me and only me. I ask my dad, with whom I am significantly closer, why they never had another kid. He gives me a different answer every time, which suggests to me that he just doesn't really know. I think neither one of them ever asked the other if they wanted to have more, so they didn't. I suspect mum realized she didn't love me the way she was 'supposed' to and never pushed the issue, and early in my childhood she developed alcoholism in part to deal with her shortage of feelings on the issue. I don't blame her for this. It's not her fault. It's just the way it happened.

I take this woman's tone as a coping mechanism. How do you wake up and wish you hadn't born your children each day for 30+ years without developing some degree of cynicism? How do you actually deal with that? I don't know. I don't want to be totally forgiving of her, because she does sound sort of horrible, but how easy would it be to be not kind of horrible in her position? I don't know.

dontannoyme

I have two children who are central to my life and my identity and my everything. But I am so glad to read this piece and to read the commentary on it (the Hairpin comments not the DM comments...oh lordy). I think this woman is very honest (although perhaps misguided with the photos etc). Although I fear that she has harmed her own children with her honesty, she may help other women realise that they don't want children and it's a fine decision to make. My heart broke a little for her recognition that the life that she had was small but it was hers and hers alone. I am not one of the women who doesn't want children - I had mine on my own such was my determination to have them come hell or high water. But I know that need was just my thing - and for women who don't have that need, I think it's vital that they know their choice is as valid as mine.

mczz

I feel compelled to point out that she actually only refers to her children as parasites once, and the rest are pull quotes and captions, giving a slightly worse impression of what she really said.

I found what she wrote to be terrible, but still I am fairly sympathetic to her, because she is a living manifestation of my fears. I honestly don't know whether or not I want to have children, although I generally lean towards no, and my husband unequivocally does want them. Recent evidence (my reaction to friends with kids) has made me believe that maybe I do, but I don't have urges or a ticking clock, and I'm not maternal in the slightest. I am pretty afraid of ending up in a situation similar to hers, and there's a lot of sorting through that I need to do before I make a decision.

In general, I do always like to hear the voices that counter "every woman wants babies and even if you think you don't once you have them you will be in love with them" because I find that mentality pretty oppressive, and it's frustrating and exhausting when someone's reflexive answer to me saying I don't want kids is "Don't worry, you will." It's a problem for me that people treat parenthood as natural, and therefore all of us who don't believe in it are unnatural.

The most uncomfortable parts to me were her not caring about the umbilical cord, and not being worried after forgetting her son at the store. I can't imagine what that's like for her son reading that in print. And it's a little strange that she keeps insisting that she was a great mom and her kids felt loved... oh yeah? I'd like to hear from them. Maybe they really are like Nicole, aware of it and okay with it, but also they may not be, and this is horrible.

OxfordComma

@mczz : I'm in the same place as you.

...And I'm also lost as to what I'm supposed to do with it.

hoo:ha

1. Don't feed them after midnight.
2. Don't whiz on the electric fence.
3. Don't cross the streams.
4. Don't click on anything that links to the Daily Mail.

Blech.

Yeah, Right

I am 58, five years older than the birth control pill and like the writer, I did not want kids. I knew this since I was 4-5 years old. Why? Who knows, some people know they want to be a doctor that young, others know they are gay at that age. I knew I didn’t want to be a parent.

I first “came out” publicly for my eight grade year book. We were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up and how many children we wanted. I replied rich and none. I forgot I went to Catholic School. I was sent to the school shrink who decided I had a Borderline personality Disorder and was not accepting my feminine role.”

When I was 17, and still a virgin, I went to Planned Parenthood to see about getting my tubes tied. I was a project welfare kid and I wanted to make certain I did not have an Oops. I was told I was too young and would change my mind in a few years. I spent the next five years on the pill and trying to get fixed.

When I got married at age 22, people continued to tell me I would change my mind when my sisters and girlfriends had kids; that if I really loved my husband I would want to have children with him; you’re not a true woman until you’ve given birth; that I was selfish, immature; who would take care of me in my old age; that I was missing out on life greats joy. But I just wasn’t interested in being a parent. I am sure it can be very interesting, rewarding and at times down right fun. But so can being an astronaut but I was not interested in doing that either.

Finally, I got my tubes tied in 1978 at age 23. Many doctors now, as then, will not tie a woman under 30 who does not have kids. 16year olds are deemed old enough to decide to keep a child or have an abortion, but a 18-29 year old woman is deemed too young to choose permanent birth control. After 30+ years I still don’t understand that. But I digress. We had agreed for 3 years before we got married no kids. Three years after I got tied, we were military and he had to sign for it, had to wait 6 months and go before a panel of 3 shrinks, I learned he thought I would change my mind. I didn’t. Marriage over.

I have had friends and even people I don’t know tell me they regret having kids and had others tell me they regret not having kids. I have had more parents tell me they have regrets, than people without kids, but that may be because there are simply more parents than non-parents in general in my age group. But most people are happy with what they have one way or the other. It is almost sacrilegious for a parent to say they regret having had children so most don’t say it to other parents. They feel those who willfully chose non-parenthood can understand and so confess to the childfree.

It is time that society accepts that not everyone wants to be a parent. That not everyone who wants to have kids want the same number of kids. When people capriciously told me just do it, you’ll love it they no doubt did not consider women with post partum depression, or men who really don’t want children killing their pregnant wife/girlfriend/one night stand.
Despite all the available birth control, I’d wager half of today’s children are unplanned. I would also wager there is no child as in danger, physically, emotionally, financially, as an unwanted child.

Akasha

@Yeah, Right I'm with you. I got my tubes tied at age 28. I recall the conversation with the male doctor who asked me what my boyfriend thought of this. And I told him that I didn't have one. Then he said, "Well, you might change your mind one day and it's always important to discuss this with your partner." So I reminded him that I didn't currently have a partner and that it was MY body and MY choice and that if he didn't want to do the operation, I would be happy to pay my good money to someone else who would. I also reminded him that it was the 1990s and that women had a right to have control over their reproductive process. He said, "Well, you'll have to sign a form saying that this is a voluntary operation and that you release me from all responsibility if you change your mind about having children in the future." He actually had wanted to have my non-existent boyfriend sign a form to say the same. In the 1990s. In the U.S. What a crock!

And I can't count the number of women in their 40s and up who have told me that if they had it to do all over again, they definitely wouldn't have children because they had to give up so much to do it. Since most men don't take on the primary caregiving role for children, even today even in most developed countries, they often sacrifice much less when they have children. So, there it is. If you want children, by all means have them. And if you don't, don't feel pressured into having them. And, really, think hard about what it takes to be a parent. I have seen and met a lot of parents who really want nothing to do with childrearing and are stuck with it because they didn't consider the amount of time, energy, money and effort it would take. And it's the children who suffer the most.

AnnS033169

I am both a mother of 2 and a stepmother to 1. My stepdaughter is the product of a 'mother' (and I use that term extremely loosely)who would have preferred to give her up but was 'talked into keeping her' by my husband. He is old country European, which means mothers mostly are responsible for rearing the chlidren and the fathers are off working to support the family. As a result, the child fell through the cracks and has for the most part reared herself. She (age 12)struggles with school and has been diagnosed with learning disabilities, has social anxiety...and so many more things. It would have been so much better to have placed her up for adoption with the potential for a family that would have invested in her (nature v. nurture) then what she faces and will face as her life continues. I am doing as much as I can as a stepparent, and as harsh as this sounds, with all my heart I hope she chooses to not have children herself.

satinswan

I know four child-bearing age people who do not want kids. As a parent, I tell them if they don't want kids, don't have them. I wanted kids, and there are times when it's frustrating beyond belief to be a parent, so setting yourself up for that when you don't want kids (or for some of them, don't even like kids) is insane.

The only sympathy I feel for this woman is that she came of age in a time when her views on child bearing didn't count for much, and that she very obviously had PPD (though she denies it) and could have used therapy for it. It would not have made her magically want her kids, but I think she would have benefited A LOT.

But she knew she didn't want kids and she went ahead and married somebody who did and who evidently didn't care that she didn't want them. She made that choice, and she can resent HERSELF for making it, or her husband for not listening to her, but she doesn't get to resent her kids and call them parasites and blame them for sucking up her time and energy when they didn't get to choose being born. When you CHOOSE to become a parent, you agree to accept not having time to yourself and having to care for another person and the other zillion inconveniences that come with being a parent. It's not all roses and sunshine, and there's certainly room for complaint, but you DO NOT get to tell your kids, "I wish you were never born."

mommie.j

@satinswan THANK YOU!!! Exactly what I was thinking!!! Everyone else is talking about how bad they had it or sympathizing with this woman and no one is concerned with how this is going to affect them. Parenthood isn't for everyone but when you make the choice to have children you do take on that responsibility. I feel sorry for those children whose mother decided that this was okay to tell the whole world. She is a very selfish person for purposely hurting others with such hateful words.

majornikki

I agree with the author of the post...I often feel like my children have sucked the life out of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!if I could go back in time I would not have any children. As babies they are so cute and lovable, however they grow up. Still cute and loveable but they grow into parasites. they grow into beasts that devour every minute of your time until all you can do is cuss, shower and go to sleep.

chiquitabenita

I'm commenting despite the fact that I haven't read the article in its entirety, nor all the comments posted before mine. But I have to put my twelve cents in... Haven't we progressed enough to know that having children does not make a woman "complete." I brought my kids up during Oprah's heyday and we, as a society, were just getting comfortable talking about stuff our mothers never could- or would! So it's easy for us to be armchair psychologists but we don't know her kids, husband or her life prior to writing this. Feelings are genuine no matter how "right" or how "wrong" they are (to anyone else); she was honest enough to put herself out there so what's it to anyone else? Her children are old enough to deal with it; I believe they've been dealing with it all their lives. If this had been written while her kids were still young and in her care, I'd be concerned. But why she felt she had to say this now and why she felt she had to have children despite not wanting to, is what troubles me. Her article is a gift, in my opinion, to other women who felt/feel "pressure" to have children, despite not having any maternal feelings at all. Especially in this country, when the pedestals aren't high enough for Duchesses, Kardashians and Duggars- oh my!

obeythedoberman

How many times have you heard a women express what is against the norm - having kids. It was sad to read, but also hit me. I never had a child. I am 56 and still wonder -at times, should I have? But other times, I've fine. I was forced to have an abortion when I was 16. I wanted the child but my Mom (A true Mommy Dearest and Step Dad insisted). I'm sure my Mom did not tell my Step Dad I was an accident. Dam, if it was not for loving Grandparents who were so wonderful, I do not know what I would have done. I put up with my Mom's temper, being Narcissistic, and a Perfectionist. When I got a divorce, I finally decided I was divorcing her also. It was that or go crazy. I had a shrink say that she was toxic and I would be better to go my own way. I recommend it if things are that bad. I do not care whether she is my Mom or not, you do not treat your child like she did. Now, my health is better.

Akasha

@obeythedoberman I think we had the same mom. Although both my father and my mother were narcissistic. I got called harsh when I cut off contact the entire toxic family years ago. I'm currently in contact with my mother, but only because she hunted me down even though I had moved to work in another country somewhere halfway around the world. Our relationship is better these days ... but only because it's very superficial and I never, ever, ever share anything real about what I'm doing. Sad, that, but not everyone is cut out to be a mom and not everyone has the luck of having positive parents. Such is the world.

Akasha

My mother repeatedly told my sisters and I how much she resented having had kids and how she would have been an executive businesswoman or important journalist if it hadn't been for us holding her back all the time. In recent years, as she has reached her late 60s, she's changing her story and saying that she never regretted having kids. What a load! You can't spend 30+ years bitching about how much you hated having kids and hated being a parent (and she was a very abusive parent at that) and then, all of a sudden, change your mind and start singing the happy song about it. Now she's all about the grandkids. Personally, I've never wanted to have kids and have had a few relationships break up because of this. But, despite having been called selfish and self-centered for knowing how I feel, I actually believe that having children when you know you don't want them is so much more selfish than not having them in the first place because the children suffer for it and they had no say in being born to a parent who didn't want them. Sure, the mother who didn't want them and the father who didn't want them suffer too, but they made that decision. The kids didn't. (Yeah, my dad didn't want kids either. Second marriage and second set of kids. So, double-whammy for me and my sisters).

nobabysmama

All, I recently started a blog on this very topic.... follow me at nobabysmama.com

Fail

My mother thought she should have childeren after 7 years and thinking about getting a divorce My sister and I decided to ask our Dad why he wanted us he said whatever mom wanted Neither were interested Two of us turned out sick and imperfect made it worse for our mother She should have been working not a house wife

Virginia M. Greene

Child-Bearing IS NOT for every woman. I knew by the time I was 15 I did not want children. I married (1st time) for 5 years and then at 55 married again. I am 73 years old- I have never regretted my decision. It was the best one for MYSELF!! I was taught never to let other people and outside influences make my decisions. At 73 I work from home with Ameiplan USA, I host a Blog-Talk-Radio Show once or twice per month, I am an officer in the Non-Profit Monterey Park,Ca. Library Foundation Board belong to other organizations and the years between 1964 and 1985 when I graduated from Nursing School in Chicago practicing my profession, I have worked in Escrow,I am still a practicing Notary Public in California (19 years). I arrange fundraising events for the Library Foundation and I am a Past Board Member from 2010 to 2012 of the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, a member of the National Notary Assn. and a member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians. As you can see, if you chose to live life without having children, life does not have to be uneventful. Virginia Mason-Greene

Tsaysnotwithoutcoffee

Okay, I've read it. And my initial perception remains the same. I'd like nothing more than to buy this woman a couple of 2x4' some screws, build her a cross so she can nail herself right on up there. I have 2 kids who I swear plot in secret to drive me bat shit crazy some days. I want to be left alone some days. I want to go out with my friends and have an adult conversation some days. And guess what I did while I was raising my kids? I got out of the damn house when I need to. I locked myself in the bathroom with some bath salts a book and a beer. I did what I needed to do to keep my sanity. I have zero empathy for this woman. She CHOSE to get pregnant, it was not a sacrifice for her husband, she should have been honest and held her ground if she was that set against kids..she did not. And now she has immortalized her selfish me me me whiney omg no one has it as bad as me attitude for her children to one day read. SAD. They should send HER a cards on their birthdays .. Thanks for the use of your oven! Have a day.

denver_mike

My wife was a great parent - involved, tender, loving and devoted. And she never regretted having children through all the years of raising them. She gave up her nursing career that she loved and made raising her children her life’s work. She was happy to do it because she thought it was a meaningful contribution.

Now, we have 2 adult children with college educations, graduate degrees (that I paid for) and no jobs. They drift from one job as a barista to the next as a pizza delivery driver, etc. They want to move back in with Mommy and Daddy so that they can freeload. They’re sweet kids, but they are total f**k ups.

So, would we be better off without them? Probably. At least at this point. But I have hope that they will achieve some traction in life and not be “parasites” forever. And, despite numerous reasons not to, I love them both with all my heart.

And, to all you know-it-all 20 & 30-somethings sharing your conclusive opinions regarding parental regret --- get back to me in 30 years when you actually have some basis for that opinion.

Catwoman

@denver_mike Maybe your kids are adrift in life precisely because your wife was such a loving and devoted parent? I'm not critizing. I think it's great that she wanted to be involved and really felt that raising your kids was a meaningful experience. However, I think there should ideally be a balance between 100% devotion and outright neglect. I feel this way b/c my mother was devoted to me, and I've turned out much like your children, and I'm 51 now. It's not like I haven't tried. I almost became successful until the economy collapsed. However, I get the feeling my lack of direction came from having my mother directing me all through my childhood. I may have fared better had I learned to deal with life on my own once in awhile.

Jeduhc

I used to regret having children until I realized I loved having the children. What I didn't like was everything I though I had to do to be a "good" mother while my husband went on with his life as usual! If I had it to do over again, I'd be myself in my mothering methods. I wouldn't listen to my mother (if I'd given this some thought I would've admitted she wasn't such a great mother herself). I would've enjoyed my children if I could've relaxed & not obcessed over what they ate & how clean they were & how clean our house was & trying to be the kind of mother my mother wouldn't criticize while not offering any constructive ideas and actually enjoying seeing me miserable.

DontJudge

@Jeduhc so very well put! I agree!

DontJudge

Why judge her? She is being honest not only for herself, but for the people who feel absolutely the same way, but don't have the guts to admit it out loud.

I am in TOTAL agreement with her about why people have children & then immediately ship them off to Day Care or Child Care for somebody else to raise.

I have witnessed first hand parents who work 8am-4:30pm and they drop their children off at day care as soon as it opens (6-7am) and then they don't want to pick up until 5:30 or 6pm. And, when their children are sick, they immediately want to drop them off to daycare they do not want to care for their own children.

Seriously! Why have them?

At least she tried to do what was right and raise them herself without help. So many people want to act like they are there emotionally all the time, when in fact their not. When their children are talking to their parents or trying to get their parents attention, the parent responds with uh huh, yeah, uh huh...but in fact they really are not present.

Kuddos to her for being so honest!!!

mommie.j

@DontJudge So you think it's okay for her to publicly hurt these kids that didn't choose her but she chose them?? If she didn't want them she shouldn't have had them. Why do you think it's good for her to hurt them in front of the whole world?? She is selfish and rude and hateful.

Catwoman

Well, I think she could've been more polite for the sake of the children she did have (whether she wanted them or not, she made the choice to have them, and they deserve some respect). However, I can completely understand her feelings. I never wanted children, and I never had them. I don't regret not having them. I would've regretted it if I had. This woman is obviously a selfish person, and so am I. The difference is, I knew this about myself from a very early age ... like prior to 10 years old. I never liked playing with babydolls. Barbies were my thing ... and my cats. I also see how this mother could have made things easier on herself, and maybe enjoyed motherhood more had she been able to delegate responsibility of her children to others once in awhile to serve her own needs. Yet, again, I understand her reasons for not doing so. They are some of the same reasons I didn't have kids. I would've had to devote myself entirely to them, just as my mother devoted herself to me. Anything else would have seemed a shirking of my responsibilities. Maybe this mother was raised similarly by a mother who completely gave up her life to raise her children? I don't know, but that has an effect on a person growing up in that atmosphere. I knew I couldn't give that much of myself to something, so I didn't. I thought I had dodged the bullet by not having children, but God had other plans for me. Now, my cats are like my children, and they make me realize how right I was in my choice. Cats don't have as many needs as children, but it is even difficult sometimes to meet what needs they have. Sometimes I even resent them, or rather, I resent what love makes me do. To me, though, love means putting yourself out for someone else, and making yourself uncomfortable to do for someone what they need done. If you want to do it, it doesn't really show love. It's like giving until it hurts. When it hurts to give anymore, but you keep giving, it's love. Maybe this mother feels likewise? Again, I don't know. All I know is that I'm glad I didn't have children, and I sometimes regret having my cats, but I know I love my cats more than anything and wouldn't trade them for the world now that they're in my life. Maybe she feels the same way about her kids? Or maybe she's just a jerk? Either way, I get where she's coming from.

Mozayic

I knew from the age of 7 that I had absolutely no maternal instinct or desire for children. Oh, sure, I had dolls, but they really didn't interest me; instead, I was a book-a-holic. When I shared with my mother that I wanted to marry someday but didn't want to have any children, she laughed if off, saying that I would change my mind as i grew older. I didn't. In fact, I felt as though having children would be nothing more than a life-long prison sentence of living with guilt and frustration. I found the whole concept to be repulsive to me. I wasn't "down" on children in general; I thought they were fine for other people. Somehow, even at that tender age, I instinctively knew that parenting was not my calling. I did not want the enormous responsibility and sacrifice required to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child and realized that although I would take care of its every physical need, I would never be able to provide the emotional bond that is so critical to full development. No child deserves to be born into that kind of situation, and knowing upfront that I could not love a child selflessly, I chose to remain childless. I am now 64 and have not experienced one moment of regret or wondering if I made the right choice. I never wanted to be "tied down", preferring independence and solitude (BTW, I did marry), and always felt 'complete' without children. Call it selfish if you wish; I call it knowing yourself.

strawberries 404

@Mozayic I agree 100%! I knew from a young age that I never wanted children but I did want to get married. Everyone over the years told me that I would change my mind, but that has not happened yet, and it never will. I have no maternal instincts and I do not feel like I was put on this earth to have and raise kids. Actually I am about to be sterilized with the Essure procedure to ensure that it doesn't happen. I think there are many women who don't want kids, but they have them anyway because people keep telling them that they should, especially if they are married. However, I figured it out that I will be the one responsible for taking care of the kid, not anyone else. So I think I'd better remain child free.

Mozayic

@Strawberries 404: I commend you for your courage to believe in yourself and bravely confront the 'slings and arrows' of criticism and guilt often flung by family and friends, as well as society in general. Because so few ever really live who they are, it has become an admirable achievement when you do.

CornFedinOhio

My mother is alive at age of 85 and frankly she is an oddball. I am here on earth simply because she enjoyed sex and in the day Catholics did not practice birth control. She says I am supposed to love her because in her own words, "I could have drowned you kids." Because she did not kill us we (three brothers) should be grateful.

Robin Fortney@facebook

@CornFedinOhio WOW.....WOW

living40

I knew at age 11, my mother did not want children, she had me, my two brother and at age 1,2, and 3, she dumped us on my grandmother and did not come back until age 11 then only stayed for 3 months, remarried and is 68 now and hopes none of us come into her life. She is a person who feels like all focus should be on her and her life. I undertand a person not wanting kids, and that is ok. Everyone has their own beliefs, but after the first one if you still feel that way do not keep having them. The neglect and selfishness is not hidden from the children, I know today my mother does not like none of us and could care less if she hears from any one of us.But on the other hand like "cornfedohio" my mother said she cold have killed us and she expects us to act like she was there in front of her friends, No love lost either way and now we go for years without caring if she is here or not.

PattyL

There's a huge difference between advocating for choice re: whether or not to have kids and publishing an article that your kids will read in which you blatantly say they were a mistake and are resented. The first could have been achieved without the second. The author is the type of woman who makes other women look bad -- she's unhappy about HER CHOICES, is incredibly bitter, and obviously just wants others to feel as bad as she does. I feel not an iota of sympathy with her. Her choices -- to have children, to write an insensitive article instead of a well-written one, and to (I'm sure) make her children feel like crap. I do feel sympathy to her children and to her husband. She must be hell to live with!

sundown

Strange article. I've heard other women say similar things in conversation .We all have regrets. We do things we know are not for us. Why...? Why is that ? I never wanted kids. I didn't want to pass on the same maladjustment I saw in my self and felt was a result of upbringing. The same flat unemotional experiences we were raised with. I ended up raising someone else's kids and it has been the reward I never thought it would be. I will never do anything in my life as great as that. Did I regret not having my own ?..biologically, yes...did I regret the giving up of my youth to be a parent..? in some ways yeah....but we move on. At middle age to be steeped in such regret and anger and declare it so publicly is not evidence of a healthy mind. I hope she finds her way.What about the fellow in England recently who's letter to his grown children was published extolling what a disappointment they had been to him and his wife. I hope it's not a trend !

ABDarcy

@sundown I was thinking that, too. That these are the musings of an unhealthy mind. So sad that at 57 she is still pining for her "stolen youth". I am sure if she hadn't had children, she would have found something else to blame for her unfulfilled life.

ABDarcy

This woman seems like a real peach to live with, lol. It's bad enough that she resents her two kids but she doesn't even give them a CHANCE to be with people who might like them! Why not admit it enough to stick them in a HAPPY, JOYFUL DAYCARE down the street! I mean, seriously, put the kids in daycare with people who love and enjoy children! Then she could have gone off to her dream "Typist" job or whatever. If she had gotten more personal time to herself, then when she did spend time with these kids, she would have been a nicer person to be around.

Just Me, Myself, and I

I have to weigh in here. As a 60 year-old woman who did not want kids but had one for my husband anyway, I have to address the era that my and Isabella's children were born. She and I were reared in an environment where women were EXPECTED to marry and have children. Those of us who would have rather not had children were ostracized if we voiced those feelings. As a result I was not an effective mother. Now I'll never say that I don't love my son endlessly, but I do feel guilty that I was not the sort of person to have been his mother. That is a heavy cross to bear. I would not take a million bucks for my son but I also would not give a plug nickle for another one just like him. So now it comes for not only me to be unhappy with my mothering skills and the choice that I made against my better judgement, but for him, as well. He didn't ask to brought into this world and I failed him miserably after I did it. Now there are two more miserable people in the world because I fell victim to that old American dream of having children. I suspect that Isabella did too.

oldernonparent

KUDOS for the truth as this woman experienced it. We need more truths of real experiences and emotions and not the usual Mom and Applie Pie nonsense. I've just finished a memoir looking back, at age 70, at the choice I made not to have or raise children. "Confessions of a Childfree Woman" (amazon.com) explores what happened when I announced on "60 Minutes" I never wanted to have or raise children. Mike Wallace ended that show with, "Pardon our perversion for airing this on Mothers Day". The reaction was swift and terrifying. I lost my job, and had death threats against me and my dog. The one question I am constantly asked is if I ever had regrets. This memoir answers that.I'm sorry this woman didn't have the opportunity to read it a long time ago.

Sudia

Okay, I'm somewhat younger than Me Myself and I, but not by that much - and I definitely don't recall being young in an era when women were "expected" to marry and have children. Every career in the world was open to us. I never had any sense that my options were less than those of my male peers, and in fact the world I remember was less sexist and lookist then than it is now. Many of my female classmates at college did indeed choose not to marry and/or not to have children. I'm not denying that women of my generation felt the pressure, but, just as nowadays, it came from their families, not from 'society". I know: I was there.

Jayelle

@Sudia You're very lucky then. I too am younger than the author, and even though I am a lot older than the typical new mother, I constantly get assaulted with, when are you going to have kids? You have to! Not from my family at all--but from coworkers, casual acquaintances and people I have just met. I believe society still pressures and even demonizes women who choose not to have children. And that's from MY personal experience.

oldernonparent

@Sudia YOu have NO idea how much media, the arts, music, advertising, books, and TV still try and convince all that parenting is the answer to a full and happy life. Granted, there's more reality on those nauseating, sappy or silly sit coms but it's still aimed at convincing everyone that parenting is the way to go!I WAS FIRED AFTER ANNOUNCING I DIDN'T WANT KIDS on "60 Minutes" It's in my memoir. It's real! Would it happen today? I think it could!

Jayelle

@oldernonparent Absolutely reading your memoir. You don't need me to tell you that you didn't deserve to be punished at all for your perfectly normal and acceptable decision. (One that I have made myself.) You are right; we are still treated as weird and abnormal for not wanting children.

Jayelle

I am not mad at this woman at all for speaking the truth. Neither of my parents wanted a child but they had one anyway. I don't know this because they said so; I know this because of the way they treated me once I got here. They are not the only ones. I wish more people who don't want kids could just be honest with themselves about it and maybe they would decide not to have them. It's not like we have happy lives knowing even as kids that our parents don't love us, but resent us for taking them away from the life they would have had without us.
I myself don't want kids and I cannot count the number of people who try to talk me into it--even complete strangers! "Oh, but you HAVE to have kids! You're missing out! You'll change your mind and want them once they're here! Your baby will make you a good mother!" Yeah, well, if any of that is true, how is it possible that child neglect and abuse and abandonment exist? It's because people who have no business having kids think they have to have them. I wish I could pass out her article to every idiot who lets this garbage fall out of their mouths.
There was a time that my husband wanted a child and tried to change my mind. I told him he was free to walk out the door and find a woman who would have a child with him. About a year later, we hosted my brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and our then 2-year-old niece. That weekend was enough to convince my husband that he had no interest in being a father. I thank God I had the strength to stand my ground and keep one more child with uninterested parents from being born.

strawberries 404

@Jayelle I absolutely agree. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was emotionally distant who favored my brother, so I definitely felt unwanted. They should not have had kids. I felt every bit of a burden to them which is why I hardly every asked them for anything. I feared my father cursing me out, even at a young age, or my mother telling at me, or one telling the other so they could double team me. Some years ago in my early 20s my mother told a mutual friend of ours that my brother is her favorite child, yet I am the one shecomes to for help. I still do not have a functional relationship with either parent as my father and I do not talk much and my mother and I have a role reversal thing going on. I'm sure that all of this had something to do with my being a child free person. I do not like kids and the thought of having my own makes me angry and nauseous. I am about to undergo the Essure permanent sterilization procedure to ensure that I never have kids. Yeah, I am that serious about my decision.

strawberries 404

@Jayelle I absolutely agree. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was emotionally distant who favored my brother, so I definitely felt unwanted. They should not have had kids. I felt every bit of a burden to them which is why I hardly every asked them for anything. I was a kid. I feared my father cursing me out, even at a young age, or my mother telling at me, or one telling the other so they could double team me. Some years ago in my early 20s my mother told a mutual friend of ours that my brother is her favorite child, yet I am the one shecomes to for help. I still do not have a functional relationship with either parent as my father and I do not talk much and my mother and I have a role reversal thing going on. I'm sure that all of this had something to do with my being a child free person. I do not like kids and the thought of having my own makes me angry and nauseous. I am about to undergo the Essure permanent sterilization procedure to ensure that I never have kids. Yeah, I am that serious about my decision.

Bria

I appauld you Isabella loudly. I feel the same way.......too often. I was told that I could not have children and then WHAM! My situation is similiar because my selfish, inconsiderate, lying, and the list goes on and on daughter never lets up. Being that I had awful parents, who I wrote off as just being clueless or individuals who shouldn't have had children. So I of course decided to love my children so much that they would have no choice but to be easy going, but to the contrary. My life is a living freaking hell with not even a hot breeze. My nightmare of a daughter will soon turn 13 and I am and have been counting down the years until she is GONE! She is so mean that she is turning my loving sweet son into a raving monster and he's only 6. Many parents especially single parents don't have the resources to hire a nanny to make their lives easier, like myself. Also, many do not have family support either, like myself. I ams stuck. Better said "jailed" by at least 1 of my children. So the point is that I TOTALLY understand Isabelle's plight. She is just in feeling exactly as she feels. I also commend her for being a visible parent in the lives of her children. What I do hope, is that she discusses her mistakes with her children as they age so that they make good decisions in choosing men and what having children entails (this goes for both sexes). I'm not sure if age is a factor but I am 40. I cannot imagine having 3 children. I'd probably slit my wrists.

houstonhint

I never wanted any kids. I got my wife pregnant before we were married and she had a miscarriage. When she told me, I said one less thing to worry about! I was happy.
She had a lot of micarriages before we met and I never wanted kids so I thought that I was safe.
I couldn't stand kids, the furthest I was away from them the better!
Well we had a kid. She is beautiful! I wish That I could get to know her. she will be 16 on may 19th. her name is Hope Shelby Rangel. Her Mother and I had the worst marriage ever. she was the Devil's daughter. I had to give up my rights to stay out of jail. I paid all back child support.
I was talking to her on Facebook and my ex-wife had blocked me.
I love My daughter. She is the only 1 that I will ever have.
She is on facebook as Hope rangel. Could someone Please tell her that the one that fathered her would like to talk to her again!
Her mother died a year ago and her step-father has taken good care of her, but I would like to get in touch with her. Please send her a message on fb. Hope Rangel.
ty

sleeplesnmich

I never wanted kids either, but had trouble with birthcontrol, they where very new when i started taking them. and before I knew wham 3 kids later i ran for the hills..lol..Im an artist i wanted to rise to be a shinning star..instead i got babies bottles and shitty diapers..kids who grew up to hum...hate me behind my back..for???ive no clue, i never made them clean do dishes nada, bought them what ever they wanted or needed, let them have tons of sleep overs..i was on call 24/7 for what every a mom needs to do, i went beyond the call of duty, to end up being 63 alone..and wondering where did my life go? i still go beyond, my last child being my 4th, is 30..and i live on fixed income, and my income is still fixing her..so go figure..the hate they all express behind my back...doesnt leaving me to feel i acomplished a dang thing in this world..and i am ready to cast it off...the life the world..im just all used up..and through it all there was nothing left for me..

MClifton

What disturbs me is that there are actually people out there that regret having children!! Children are a gift from God. One of the problems with our world today is that women have their priorities all wrong. Its okay to not want to be a mother. However, if you choose to have unprotected sex, you are inviting children into your life. The children should not be punished for your irresponsibility. I find it appalling that women blame innocent children for their own lack of responsibility. PERIOD!!

Yepmeto

@MClifton So aren't dogs and horses and all the rest of the things we humans enjoy,But regret alot also..Thats a gift from our God to...

HorseLady

Have to go with the "I regrets". Grew up a child of the depression,and a teenager of the '50's. Midwest upbringing, Lutheran church up bringing, destined for marriage. In a time when all the glossy magazines heralded marriage,children,receipes,and how to please your man..you were well on your way to destruction. I married, had three children; 2 sweet girls and one husband. Was sooooo unhappy, I was su

HorseLady

As I was saying...suicidal. Worked, got pregnant, didn't work, got pregnant,stayed home for 8 years, worked, put husband thru college. He cleaned out our bank accounts and left. AS I approched retirement, first daughter said "Don't expect us to take care of you". Second daughter left home with her boyfriend..stole my jewelry, clothes and cleaned out my bank account. Went to jail, came home, got pregnant, got married..had 3 children and when her husband left she put herself through college. Don't know what all of this really means except that second daughter learned from my experience and expanded on hers. She also does not have any interest in pursuing a relationship with me. I wanted to be an airline stewardess, but was too short.

Ron
Ron

Love is the answer,real love,not what's in a book or magazine.
first and most important is to Love yourself.
I used to have your same feeling ,I didn't know what love was,of any kind, you have to work on loveing yourself frist before you can love others .
PS. It's never to late,ever.

NOKIDS

My wife and I have no kids. I am darn glad that we don't. They are parasites. For example: These days kids are on medical insurance policies until age 26 or 27. I almost had a heart attack when I found this out. You people already get a discount from the IRS for each kid you have and now you can keep them insured until 26 or 27 years old. Now part of my premium is go towards your kid who is 25 years old on your insurance help paid by me. Unless your kid is a full time college on your insurance at age 25 then he/she is a burden on society and not a productive citizen. Actually, I don’t give a darn if they are in college I still am not hip to funding their insurance.

Yepmeto

I'd rather had dogs and Horses

Becca*46

I remember the first day that I found out I was having my daughter, it was Friday the 13th... and to me that was the luckiest day of my life. I never thought that having a child would alter my perspective on my own life but alas, it did. I suppose this woman has some degree of a neurosis about being a "role model mother". I suppose she feels that pleasing others needs like her husband is being a "good wife". I think in my opinion a person needs to be honest first of all with themselves and know their limitations and have a good sense of self. As a woman I can understand how she feels that she has regret (only to the degree of what regret means) Verb~Feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, esp. a loss or missed opportunity).
Noun~A feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
With that being said, This woman feels she missed an opportunity to do something different with her life. Albeit, she stated she had no career before she became a mother. Yet, she prides herself on being a "role model Mother". I think she would have done herself a favor by going to counseling to explorer her feelings before she insulted her children and defamed other mother's who work and balance life with their children. In my opinion, she is being honest a little to late in life and she owes her Children an apology. The bottom line is having children is a personal choice. If you do not want to become a parent fine, make sure you do not. If you cannot have children and want them then do everything possible to make it a reality. Know thyself ~ Socrates

Iseeitnow

Having kids is also my biggest regret. I have sacrificed my life and finances and really don't get the satisfaction other parents seem to get out of it. That said, I love the two I have because I can't help it. I accept full responsibility for them and have tried to make them feel loved, cared for in spite of my not really being into this. I cannot wait for them to leave but do pretty well at not making them feel unwanted. I hope they never have kids as I don't want more babies and toddlers coming around. If they do, I will have a more reserved grandparent role. To NOKIDS regarding insurance premiums...I pay my own and my company pays no sponsored part of premiums for anyone in my family. Never quite understood why there was a tax deduction for having kids though and I'll give you that one.

LeLonna

I have a daughter and she is absolutely by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. That being said I wish more people in this world would know their limits if they did there wouldn't be so many stories about neglected and abused children in this world. I have very thick skin but when I hear a story about a child being treated so badly and not loved it just crushes me. there's nothing wrong with being honest but I wish more people would be honest before these children are born. sometimes it doesn't matter how much love you give an abused or unwanted child if you're not their biological parent they will never recover.

Blue Sage

It was refreshing to me to hear another woman have the courage to admit that mothering was not for her. Maybe her choice of words at times were not sensitive but there are many women out there that feel the same way and never share there feelings because of the backlash and judgement that she is receiving.

I personally never wanted children and same as her had a child because my ex-husband's bilogical clock was ticking not mine. We were together 14 years and married 7 when I decided to give into what he wanted and had a child for him. Now, I'm 49 years old with a 9 year old at home, a single mom and struggling. Having a child ended our marriage. My life was complete without children and there are many days that I wish I could go back and stick with my original decision not to have children knowing that motherhood was not for me.

He was planned and I love him dearly. I am a good mom to him everyday. I never tell him that I have huge regrets because that is not his fault. I made my choices with my eyes wide open and he deserves the best life I can give him. I have to live with the consequences of my choices and make the best of it. I do not believe that it is selfish to know that you didn't want children, however if the choice is made to have them live with your regret quietly and don't make them pay for your choice to bring a child into this world. All children deserve to be loved unconditionally. Always remember that they did not make the choice to be born, you did.

lorelei99

Some people should just not have kids and if they decide not to, their choice should be respected by the rest of us. Parenthood is not for everybody. BUT - if you do have kids, how about you suck it up and be the grown up. Kids don't ask to be brought into this world. Once they're here it is up to the parents to do right by them physically, emotionally and in all ways. To tell your kids they were unwanted is so cruel. And it is unnecessary. And if your kids end up being "parasites," whose fault is that? You raised them for goddsake.

wayout66

I personally never wanted children as I knew it was not for me. It took me a long time to find a man who felt the same way and I have never regretted it. What is that old saying? "To thine ownself be true" - says it all. This woman, as much as I feel some amount of sympathy for her, gets no pity or much compassion from me as she should have been honest first with herself, then she would have naturally been honest with her husband. and now her kids have to pay for her irresponsible actions just to "keep" her husband. Very selfish if you ask me.

ProfLoriG18

I gave up my life and my body to two ungrateful boys--one biological, one adopted. I love them, but can't stand them. I would have lived my life very differently if I had known then what I know now. Maybe it would have been different if I had had a girl. I, too, do not understand why a woman would put herself through this experience. This is the saddest experience of my rich and wonderful life.

HoloTheWiseWolf

@ProfLoriG18 I commend your courageousness for telling the truth. We shouldn't judge people for being honest about how they really feel. I may not know what it's like to have kids, but I know what it's like to wish I could've done my life differently. I've wished it so hard that I cry and suffocate in my sleep sometimes. The choices we make may forever haunt us. And the only thing we can do is try to find a little bit of peace and happiness in the misery we've created for ourselves.

HoloTheWiseWolf

I never want kids. Many people have told me over the years, "Oh, well, you're young, you'll change your mind." No, I won't. I don't like kids, and can't understand why people have them. Then people tell me, "Oh, well, you'll feel differently when you have kids, because YOU HAVE TO LIKE YOUR OWN." Um, no actually, you don't. I'm certain I wouldn't like them, ESPECIALLY if they came from me. I hate myself. Why would I like a product of myself? I applaud the woman of this article for having the metaphorical balls to tell how she really feels. Unfortunately, it's a little too late for her now that she's already had kids. I have no sympathy (or empathy) for anyone who consciously decides to have kids, whether they want them or not. To me, the 10% of the time that kids say or do something (kind of) cute or smart doesn't outweigh the 90% of the time they are screaming, being gross, asking for something, being hyper or annoying, etc. People should just get a puppy. They're always happy to see you, easy to make happy, they never turn into rebellious teenagers, and when they do ask for something, it's just plain cute. (Is everyone a dog lover like me? No. I understand that, it was just an example. A person could easily refute my argument by saying that dogs can be annoying and hyper and gross too. I won't deny that. But to each his own). Will you all be outraged at people like me who think the worst about kids and parents? Probably. I've actually toned down what I would really like to say about the whole matter. I have personal issues and demons inside of me, yes. And a lot of bitterness and resentment, it's true. I own up to that. So please don't come at me with your hoes and pitchforks.

HoloTheWiseWolf

I never want kids. Many people have told me over the years, "Oh, well, you're young, you'll change your mind." No, I won't. I don't like kids, and can't understand why people have them. Then people tell me, "Oh, well, you'll feel differently when you have kids, because YOU HAVE TO LIKE YOUR OWN." Um, no actually, you don't. I'm certain I wouldn't like them, ESPECIALLY if they came from me. I hate myself. Why would I like a product of myself? I applaud the woman of this article for having the metaphorical balls to tell how she really feels. Unfortunately, it's a little too late for her now that she's already had kids. I have no sympathy (or empathy) for anyone who consciously decides to have kids, whether they want them or not. To me, the 10% of the time that kids say or do something (kind of) cute or smart doesn't outweigh the 90% of the time they are screaming, being gross, asking for something, being hyper or annoying, etc. People should just get a puppy. They're always happy to see you, easy to make happy, they never turn into rebellious teenagers, and when they do ask for something, it's just plain cute. (Is everyone a dog lover like me? No. I understand that, it was just an example. A person could easily refute my argument by saying that dogs can be annoying and hyper and gross too. I won't deny that. But to each his own). Will you all be outraged at people like me who think the worst about kids and parents? Probably. I've actually toned down what I would really like to say about the whole matter. I have personal issues and demons inside of me, yes. And a lot of bitterness and resentment, it's true. I own up to that. So please don't come at me with your hoes and pitchforks.

rockhopper

@HoloTheWiseWolf I pretty much liked everything you had to say except the sentence "I hate myself." I don't like kids either. Resent having to pay for breeder's kids to go to school, in the form of non-ad valorem assessments for school districts, when I have never burdened the system.

gldnmom

I have 5 kids and while I don't regret having them,if I had the chance to do it again,I would have never had them.I simply don't like kids.I think we are hard wired to be moms and dads and some of us are missing a connection or two and there isn't anything wrong with that

Whimsical Hippie

I love my daughters and my grandchildren. And I always did want children. I have to admit, however, that if I had known how they would turn out, I would not have had them. Five of the seven have fairly serious disabilities. Two of them love me but do not like me. (Those two also complain about me.) Two of them are addicted to drugs and / or alcohol. Of the four who are adults who could work, only one has a job. One household with small children lives in filthy conditions with garbage and cockroaches everywhere. Those who attend school intermittently are not doing well in school. Enough about them, what about me? I was a single parent who worked hard at an average job for an average wage. I generally attended school nights in order to gradually improve our circumstances. There was no child support. One adult child resents that I worked all the time and went to school and so was away from them so much. I always thought I was a reasonably good mother, serving decent home cooked meals, doing things with them on weekends, etc. But I have to observe in light of how they have all turned out that I must not have done as good of a job as I thought. As I said, I love them all very much. But I do feel disappointed in how they have turned out.

Kelly Rusinack@twitter

When I was 19, I was shooting the breeze with my English professor one day, when I told him I didn't want children. He told me it was good that I recognized this early in life. He said, during his divorce from his first wife, she admitted that, though she loved their two sons (who were young adults by that time), if she had to do it all over again, she would never had had them, she was not cut out for motherhood. That always saddened him. So he thought it was wise I would not have the same regret.

There are a lot of comments here by people who feel their mothers should not have had children, were either abusive or neglectful. But having children, from what I have been told, is about having a *desire* to have them. It has nothing to do with wanting to raise them or raise them well. Your moms probably had that strong desire to have children that other women tell me about, but did not have good mothering instincts.

My mom made many mistakes, and so did us kids (she had 3). But when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I just happened to have come home, for the first time in about 20 years, to work on my doctoral dissertation (at her insistence). So I was here to fulfill what I feel is the destiny of any child: to take care of a parent in their time of need, which I did 'til the day she died.

Some people say they didn't have children so they could have a certain lifestyle. I didn't have them because I didn't want to. My lifestyle was made possible by that lack of desire. I feel bad for the women who lived at times when society expected you to have children, whether or not you felt cut out for it. People used to tell me all the time, "Don't worry, you will want kids someday," and I would say, "I'm NOT worried, because I know what I do and do not want." Then again, I also never married (yet, at least), and that bugs the crap out of people, too. But some of these "bad" moms actually wanted kids. And some women who never wanted kids would not have been bad moms. Life isn't going to be perfect. And really, it looks like some of you need to get over that.

rockhopper

@Kelly Rusinack@twitter well said Kelly! Bravo! Yes, there should be a desire to have them.

stonefruit

Seriously though, *where* are all these new commenters coming from on this post!

Mozayic

@stonefruit: You make it sound like there is some sort of 'conspiracy' out there designed solely to fuel the fire on this topic. I believe this subject, so long ignored and/or swept under the proverbial "rug", is a much bigger issue than many think, and this forum provides the opportunity for those who are usually silent to speak out and share their very intense personal feelings and beliefs on this monumental issue.

Daizimae

Isabella Dutton is my hero. I admire her courage in raising her children well even though it was not her passion or her goal in life. If she had been male, I think her point of view would have been more accepted by others. It's okay for a man not to want a child but heaven forbid a female should feel that way in our society. Children are not magical nor is it every woman's dream to have them.

I craved having children, but was unable to conceive. I became a high school teacher and occasionally would take a student into my home who needed a safe place to stay while children's services found a better situation for them. Doing the mom thing wasn't all it was cracked up to be. There are constant demands on your time and resources. Children being what they are, they believe the world revolves around them. So many of my students were warped from mothers who doted on them and overindulged them at every step of the way.

One of my former students came back to stay with me when she was older and had birthed a baby while she was on drugs and prostituting. She left the baby with me while she went back to drugs and the street. I took good care of the baby and did love her, but was glad when children services found a place for her.

Being a good parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I admire Isabella Dutton for not farming her kids out to daycare or to nannies. And yes, she could have pursued her own interests if she had, but they would have not had the individual attention. And their father was a nurturer so I do not think her children suffered from a lack of care. And she does say she always put their well-being before hers. I think she is just saying what many people are too afraid to say for fear of what society will think of them. If she were a male, this would be a non-issue.

Nancy Sowell

I couldn't agree more It ruined any kind of happy
life I hoped to ever have had. Not a day of bliss or blessing to be had. And still I seem to have to pay pay pay When does it end

boopster

why are people feeling sorry for her?!? i feel sorry for her kids. their mom sucks. hopefully they never get a chance to read this article. or perhaps they already hate her so she knew it wasn't going to ruin something she hasn't already ruined.
she's the dumb ass who went and had 2 kids even though she knew she didn't want kids. don't marry someone who wants kids if you don't. it should be a pre-marriage discussion.
also, why is she slamming women who go back to work after struggling to have kids or having to adopt when that doesn't work out? some women HAVE to for financial reasons. and some women are better mothers if they work outside the home. i might be one of those. if i could work and my husband stay home, i would. but i also love being with my kids. today i watched my oldest master her back handspring. it was fun to watch her try and better to see her get it. wouldn't trade this for a day of lounging in bed reading with no interruptions. are my kids a PIA some days? yup. do i wish i could slip into my single days and have a sunday with nothing to do? yup. would i go back? no way. i was supporting myself, bought a condo and doing just fine. my life is better now even though i don't have much time to myself.
if you are selfish with your time, don't have kids. they will time suck it all away. and that's ok if you don't want kids.
but for heaven's sake don't have kids and then say you regret them. STFU about it and get thru the very few years you have them for. i'm already panicking that my oldest is almost 9 and that is 1/2 way to 18 and college.

the two of cups@twitter

The part that brought me to tears is when she says her son was born blue, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and she didn’t even care if he would live or die:

“Stuart was born, blue in the face as the cord was wrapped round his neck. While other mothers would be frantic with worry, I remained calm when the doctor whisked him away. I sent Tony back to work and for the next four hours I waited without any apprehension. I did not really think about Stuart at all, until Tony returned after work and asked where he was.”

Later she ‘accidentally’ leaves him in is stroller at the store, misses the family dog before she misses him, and describes the same feeling of perfect calm as she called the store to make sure he was still there.

That’s mental illness or just plain evil.

strawberries 404

I completely this empathize with this woman. Her feelings are very real and more common than people want to admit. In fact, I have a coworker who said the exact same thing. She said she loves her 2 kids and would go to a place of fiery torment for them, but if she could do it all over again she wouldn't have kids.

As a child free person myself, I also do not want to have children, ever. Even when I was a kid I knew that I did not want to be a mother. My emphasis has always been on getting married, and my husband better not change his devotion to remaining child free. Right now I have 3 nephews and I hardly have anything to do with them. My brother understands how I am and knows that's just how it is.

I also don't care about when mothers keep talking about such inconsequential matters as birth weights, first steps, first words, and the cutest little thing the kid did the other day.But I try to spare their feelings by pretending like I am interested, but not so much so that they keep talking about it. To me, kids are highly irritating. They require a seemingly unlimited amount of time, money, and patience.Furthermore, they definitely strain a marriage. All of this is increased manifold if the child has special needs.

Don't get me wrong.I think it's great when people who want kids for the right reasons have them, but I hate that having kids is promulgated as the right thing to do for married couples.I just want to love my husband and live our lives to the full with each other.That's it. Unfortunately, this idea is still unpopular. People still ask childless couples when they are having kids, and everyone feels it is their duty to lecture child free people on how important it is to have kids. One stranger even told me once that he thinks I am being selfish for not wanting kids. My logical response was that I'd rather know I don't want kids now and not have them than wait until they are here to realize that I don't want them.

I feel for Isabella, but she did a very foolish thing in marrying a man who really wanted kids. It's hard to love someone so much and be unable to give him up, but the decision to have kids is an important one in which a man and woman need to be in total agreement. If there are any doubts and one of them is a child free person, they should probably not get married as one of them will undoubtedly resent the other. I am shocked to learn that Isabella and her husband are still together.

rockhopper

@strawberries 404 so much of what you said is exactly what I have said in the past and what I have experienced. I still don't regret not having children.

Caressa

This sounds like my mom. I think she may-be a sociopath. She hasn't been diagnosed but she sure has all the symptoms! I'm sure she would've had an abortion but it wasn't legal in the 70's. For someone who didn't want any kids, she sure had a lot... She had 2 girls & 2 boys & states, "I shouldn't have had any of you kids!"
I'm so surprised this is so common- I was shocked to have come across this article.
Anyways, it is what it is.

rockhopper

Having children isn't for everyone, the crux is to know it in advance instead of after the fact. I know I made the decision for myself when I was 16 that I didn't want to have children or get get married before I was 30. I am 55 and have never regretted my decision. I always told my mother she wasn't going to get any grandchildren out of me. I'm lucky that my Mom is totally cool and she never had a problem with my statement. I didn't get married until I was 34 and never had any children. Finally was able to have a tubal ligation when I was 35 and on initial screening for that procedure the doctor asked me what if I changed my mind. I told her then I could always adopt but knew I wouldn't change my mind. It helped also that my husband didn't want children either and we discussed it before marriage. We are both the youngest of three, maybe that had something to do with our mutual feelings about not having children. It's a shame more people can't realize before hand the fact that they don't want children or aren't cut out for it. I don't negate the experience for those who have children and love it and them. But over the years I know I've fielded the question about why I didn't have children and the slight disdain in some cases for my decision. Sometimes think folks should have to fill out an application and be approved before having children. It's a huge responsibility, both financially and emotionally, for a minimum of 18 years! People need to think about that. There is far too much child abuse and child neglect in the world.

Pbkmaine

I have never wanted children of my own. Never played with baby dolls. Never understood why others would want the trouble and expense. I must say, my friends and family have been wonderfully accepting of my "eccentricity". I have loved being a stepmother to three excellent stepdaughters who tease me about my total lack of maternal instincts. (I think it's made it easier being a stepmother, actually. They never felt like I was trying to be their mother.) I'm more like an aunt than anything else, a role I love. Three stepdaughters, four grandchildren, a niece and three nephews, a grandnephew and two goddaughters. Plenty of children in my life. Love them to bits, but I am not responsible for their welfare, and that's the way I like it. I feel so sad that so many others gave into pressure to do what they knew wasn't right for them. To those of you still able to make the choice - please follow your heart and IGNORE what society says.

SDmomto2

I had a really really good career making a lot of money before kids. Due to "issues" our kids are adopted. Two things- people always say "how can a mom give up her kids" well better for have someone who really wants kids parent them than to put your BS issues on them because you are unhappy. I left my job and have never looked back, now working at home. And next year my daughter will go to college and its like a part of me will be gone. I love both of them more than I can even say and they are both just gifts to me and my husband. Is it hard, you betcha. Is it for everyone, absolutely NOT. It is for me but I honor and respect those who can, especially when kids are babies or before having them say "you know, its not for me". I know when my daughter was a baby there was kind of a "group think" where it was like "oh you have to have a baby" and then "oh you have to have 2" and then I saw folks having babies to avoid having to go back to work or face the future. very sad. As women we need to respect each others choices and just hope and pray some of these decisions are made pre birth or when the kids are babies.

LisaB

To be honest, I didn't want to have children. I didn't want to be reminded of my childhood. I discussed it with my husband before we married and he was okay with it. Ijust wanted to love him. Less than one year into marriage he threatened to divorce me if I didn't have children. So I did. My life began the day I gave birth to my first son and it got even better the day I gave birth to my second. My children are hard work but they are the BEST things I have ever done in my life. I thank God everyday for them. Oh and my husband is now my ex-husband. I learned what real love was from my children - the ex was just selfish.

weetzie

My daughter was a surprise (I won't say unplanned, because we wanted kids, just not right now, exactly) and I have, occasionally, mentioned to friends/aquaintances that there is accomplish-y life stuff that I feel I've missed out on by having a child at this stage. And saying that is usually a real conversation-stopper. I don't mean that I regret my daughter's existence in any way, but I do wish it was more acceptable (especially for moms!) to aknowledge that there can be some level of grieving and loss attached to becoming a parent. There are some things that you definitely get to go back to doing (nights out at the bar with friends!) and others that might never work out (taking off to Central America on a whim and staying for six months while I perfect my Spanish! Volunteering with MSF in east Africa!), and that's hard sometimes. Please excuse my excessive use of parentheses.

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