It is perceived that having a baby or babies is a thing of joy for the mother, father, or parents of the child, but to others (it might surprise you how many), having a baby is seen as a regrettable act.
‘Having a baby ruined my life’ has been the reason a lot of people gave when asked why their lives didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to.
“I love my kids fiercely. But, if I’m being totally honest, there are times when I catch myself dreaming about the life I might have if I weren’t chained to three young kids, a husband, and a mortgage” says Lola Augustine Brown, a mother of 3.
Really?! So, can having a baby really ruin a person’s life? Well, of course. Imagine you are from a poor home, currently schooling and pursuing your dreams, then Wham-Bam! You have gotten someone pregnant or gotten pregnant yourself. Let’s just say that you have gotten a huge amount of workload on your plate now as if schooling was not enough, and if care is not taken, you have complicated your life.
So yes! The statement: ‘Having a baby ruined my life’ is very conceivable. You can be going about enjoying your life, just doing your thing, and then out of nowhere, a baby comes in! The horror!! And just like that you are on your way to ruining your life.
We have gone around and done a lot of research as well as getting ‘Having a baby ruined my life’ experiences to get to the root of this quandary – How can having a baby ruin someone’s life?
This post covers experiences and answers from different sources in response to how having a baby can ruin a person’s life, as well as how to cope with this.
'Having a Baby Has Ruined My Life - I'm a Shell of Myself and I Regret It So Much'
An anonymous mum has admitted she regrets having a baby as it's caused her to become 'a shell of herself' and she wishes she could go back in time and do things differently.
This is her story;
A mum has shared a heartbreaking warning online for others who might currently be thinking of having children.
In an anonymous post on the parenting forum, Mumsnet, the woman admitted she "regrets" having a baby and wishes she could go back in time and do things differently.
She tells those considering having their own child not to do it - or to do so at their own risk.
"If you're thinking of having a baby - don't. Or do. But be aware it may ruin your life," she writes.1https://www.choosingtherapy.com/regret-having-kids/
The parent goes on to stress that she loves her seven-month-old son more than anything, but it does little to dampen the regret she feels.
"I regret having a baby so much. It has absolutely destroyed my physical and mental health and it’s impossible for me to envisage a time when I will ever be happy again.
"I used to be a vibrant, interesting, fun person with a great family life and hobbies, purpose, and fulfillment.
"I’m now a shell of my former self, my world is so, so small."
She says that if she could go back to a time before her child was born and not remember he ever existed, she would do so "without hesitation".
"I wish with all my heart and soul I hadn’t done it," the mum exclaims.
Hundreds of people responded to the post on the Am I Being Unreasonable section of the site, offering words of support for the unnamed parent.
One person said: "I couldn’t read this and run. I am so sorry you feel this way. Motherhood is certainly brutal and terrifying. I remember that trapped feeling very well."
Another wrote: "Oh I felt like that when mine were that age. I think the first 3-4 years can be brutal depending on the nature of the child. It WILL get easier and more enjoyable, especially if you stick with just one. Hang in there, it's not forever."
A third replied: "There is a huge pressure on new mums to be over the moon despite the first year being very hard for many, many women."
Another Story From Lola Augustine Brown
I have a childless friend who writes bestselling chick-lit novels and runs a media empire. I follow her compulsively on Instagram; while my jealousy grows with every unfiltered photo, I can’t stop scrolling. She’s still as skinny as she was when we were at university, and hot damn she looks good in leather pants. I’m just happy if the sweats I bought at the grocery store are clean enough to get me through another day. While she’s sipping sparkling wine as she jets from London to New York, I’m downing tepid coffee as I drive my kids to ballet and swimming lessons. Early-morning yoga class and getting an immaculate half-moon manicure? For me, being able to go to the washroom all by myself is a treat.
There are times, like when I look at her life and then at my own, that’s when I find myself regretting motherhood. And that makes me feel like a very shitty person indeed.
But before someone ties me to a stake and sets me aflame, I need to make that necessary qualifying statement we must all use when complaining about our lot: I love my children. The deep, burning love I feel for them eclipses everything I have ever felt for anyone, and the love they give back makes me incredibly happy. Every day I look at these beautiful little people I’ve created and know they are the best things I have ever done. They are my life, for good and bad, and I do everything I can to give them opportunities I never had. And in return, I get ridiculous amounts of pleasure, watching my nine-year-old daughter shining at her ballet recital, seeing my four-year-old son splashing around at swimming lessons, hearing my 15-month-old saying “balalalala” instead of “banana” as he plants a big, sloppy kiss on my cheek.
In other words, I am not a monster. In fact, I think I’m a kick-ass mom. But what I’m struggling with is that it feels like their amazing life comes at the expense of my own. It’s a 45-minute drive to town for all the lessons they take, and managing the minutiae of their lives is all-consuming. By the time I get them into bed, I’m exhausted, but then there’s laundry to do and lunches to pack. I’ll maybe watch half an hour of TV before stumbling into bed, only to be woken at 4 a.m. by the baby—and the slog starts all over again.
Far too often there is nothing left for me. Nothing. And that feeling of utter depletion is so frustrating, so overwhelming, I find myself sobbing late at night in the bathtub or when I’m out walking the dogs—pretty much the only times I have for myself in this life I wanted so badly and now find myself trapped in.
I know I’m not alone. But admitting that parenting is hard, or that there are parts of it we don’t like, is still something of a taboo. There is a ridiculous amount of pressure on us to give everything to our kids, to not let any small achievement or milestone go unnoticed, and to make everything amazing all the time. And yet we can’t really talk honestly about what it’s like to live with that pressure and those sacrifices. When we do complain, we do it in the most socially acceptable way, through memes declaring “the struggle is real” or by talking about how much wine we need to get through this. We joke, but it doesn’t feel very funny. It feels like bits of me, the fun bits, mostly, are dying from a lack of attention.
When I ask my parents and friends if they dream of running away, every single one of them says yes. They might laugh when they reply but dig deeper, and they’ll talk longingly about the things they miss—newspapers in bed on a Sunday morning; patio drinks that spill into raucous nights out; long, leisurely lovemaking sessions with their husbands—and all the opportunities they’ve passed up by having kids.
My friend James admits he misses the freedom he and his husband had before they adopted their children. “We had 10 years together before we had kids, and I miss that time. I miss being able to do things like decide to move to India for a few years or other crazy, spontaneous life decisions,” he says. Another friend, Laura, says she fantasizes about not having kids—all the time. “When a friend talks about watching Netflix all day and taking a big nap in the afternoon, or tells me she and her boyfriend are jetting off to New York for a weekend,” she says, “I think, this is awful—what have I done to my life?”
From an Anonymous Mum
I’m going anonymous to avoid backlash. Yes, backlash. This is a difficult topic for people to discuss honestly. Having children is revered in society. Most of your happiest days ever are expected to involve your children. But what’s discussed behind closed doors is a different story.
In a nutshell, based on my own experience and also what I’ve heard from some people in confidence is that the first few years after birth are very difficult: the healing of the woman’s body, the sleep deprivation, the baby’s pooping/peeing/vomiting, the stress on the marriage. Around 3 things begin to be fun. They are lovable and loving and fun. Then around 10-12 things begin to go downhill again. Then there are the teenage years, which are widely known to be awful, then they go off to college. At that point, they're pretty much gone other than an annual visit, and a few texts or calls here or there.
For what my husband and I put in financially, emotionally, and time-wise, I would not do it again. There are many other things I could have put all that time and effort into over those 20+ years and gotten a lot more back. I’m proud of my daughter. She’s doing great in all aspects of the world. But the world doesn’t need more people. I thought I would have more of a closer relationship, but she has her own life. I guess I just thought the whole process would have been more gratifying, and that there would be more reciprocation in the relationship once she became an adult.
If you want a child, make sure you want one very, very badly because children are very expensive and time-consuming and parenting can be a thankless job. Finally, do not expect them to take care of you when you get old, either. Likely they will have long ago moved away and are very busy in their own life.2https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/family/having-baby-ruined-life-regret-24414653
From Joanna Lee
If you want them, have them. If you don’t, don’t. Don’t let the world dictate your decision. Even though 1 in 5 people will now remain childless, our society still pushes people into parenting, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do. No one should ever be pushed into parenting.
I’m a happily married, well-off, a 36-year-old woman who has chosen the childfree lifestyle. My husband is older than me and supports my decision fully. My body, my choice. I spend my entire day taking care of people and foster animals at home. I don’t feel like anything is missing in my life. I’m not this selfish monster some of these people have made childfree people out to be. I give a lot back to other people and the world daily. Looking at my friends with children and the direction in which our world is going, I worry about my friends with kids, while they sometimes look at me with pity for not having children. The grass is always greener on the other side I suppose.
I don’t know where you live, but parenting in the USA is cruel. Your odds of ending up divorced are 50/50, medical bills are expensive, maternity leave is meager and the cost to raise a child along with childcare is a joke in this country compared to other developed countries. I’ve seen my best friend who is a single mom of two boys lose several jobs due to issues pertaining to raising her boys, i.e. they get sick and she can’t go to work and she can’t pay her bills. If you have a large family or are financially stable then go for it. I don’t think it’s socially responsible for people to bring children into this world if you can’t afford them or their education, as the largest predictor of a child's success in life is heavily tied to parental income, the hard work to succeed line is something we’ve all been fed to believe but statistically isn’t true. Make sure you have strong support systems if you have kids. If you are middle class, your kids will likely be middle class. Religions can often work as a support system as they like to promote family and helping families boosts membership/continues the religion.
My mom and her mom all had children young and contrary to them believing they were great parents and everything was hunky dory, they all seemed pretty miserable and felt trapped by their children. Most people will not say parenting is terrible after they have kids because biologically it goes against every grain in our body, but a recent survey showed 10% of parents regret having children.
There is a fairly strong history of bi-polar, depression, and autoimmune disease in my family. I’m not bi-polar but I do have an autoimmune disease and it causes depression at times. I couldn’t in good faith give the person I’m supposed to love the most that sort of pain in life. I wish more people would take that into consideration when having children. I can only imagine how my life would be if the smallest tasks didn’t defeat me daily. In my mom’s defense, she had me young and didn’t realize she was sick until her mid 30’s. I am often resentful of the idea that I’m going to have to take care of my aging mother due to her condition which has left her functioning like an impulsive and physically disabled 14-year-old in her 50’s. I didn’t sign up for that but now I’m obligated out of love to take care of her, but I wouldn’t wish that on a child if I had one. I’m incredibly thankful that I don’t have to take care of a child along with my ailing mother. I’ve made sure to save and make sure I have money to afford assistance in 20 years if needed.
The selfish reasons people have children crack me up. If your life feels empty, buy a puppy, don’t put that burden on your kids. Children do not fix marriages, but your husband might stick around out of guilt and resent you. Children have their own personalities, there is a strong chance they will not turn out like you or even take you seriously. There’s no guarantee they will leave the house at 18. Toddlers, especially boys, are downright nightmarish and will run you into a wall at times. I work with the elderly and I’d have to say a good half of children ignore their elderly parents. Some parents were terrible and probably deserve it, while some kids resent their parents for other reasons. There’s no guarantee your kids will turn out healthy or outlive you. Having to comfort parents whose children die before them is heartbreaking, but that’s life. The majority of men I know, while good-intentioned, don’t split the housework or burden of children 50/50, there are a few men, but it’s not that common. Picking a good partner is a huge part of your success as a parent because women historically take on the larger part of this burden.
If I ever decide I want kids in my life again, I will probably foster them, the world has enough issues. I’m not deluded into thinking my genetics are superior or are going to change the world. The world is already getting destroyed rapidly by overpopulation, I don’t want to add to the problem. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my free time with lots of pets, travels, and naps. I look about 15 years younger than my friends with children, pretty sure they wreak havoc on your health.
If you want children, have them. If you don’t, don’t… but think long and hard about it before you bring another life into this world because you can’t exactly return to sender.3https://www.quora.com/Did-having-a-kid-ruin-your-life
From an Anonymous Parent:
Well, now let me see. Do you like to sleep? Forget it (and I mean FORGET IT)
Do you like money? forget that too
Do you like good uninterrupted sex with your partner? Without hearing “mummy” just as you're getting into it? Once again, forget about it.
Do you like me time, long showers/baths, TV time, dinner with friends, going to the movies, sanity, quiet, a clean home, one second to have a single thought that doesn't involve your child/children, clothes shopping, gym time, dating, long walks, new expensive shoes, talking for hours on the phone, sleeping in a bed alone till midday, traveling, having any man u now meet (if you're female) thinking anything except “oh she's a mother”?
Do you enjoy constant yelling, crying, demands, arguments between siblings, school runs 5 days a week, extra-curricular activities, constant guilt about what other children have, and other parents going on and on and on and on about their kids?
Do you enjoy saying hurry up we're late 50 times in the morning? Do you enjoy bodily fluids on your clothes/ face/mouth, mainly poo, pee, puke, snot, and tears? Do you enjoy repeating yourself 1,000 times a day (possibly more) do u like mindless loud cartoons that go on and on and on to the point where you'll soon know the next lines and every shitty song in between?
Do you enjoy repeating safety measures 1,000 times a day, no, stop, don't, it's dangerous? Do you enjoy children's parties with smelly little rugrats destroying everything and eating the paint off the walls, not to mention the colossal noise and clean up afterward!
Do you like being pushed to the brink of your emotional health and sanity and then pushed some more than possibly shit on straight after and still all the while remaining calm and loving. Forget it if you're unwell, have period cramps, flu. You are now number zero. You don't matter, this child does and they don't let u forget it.
I hope you enjoy cooking, cleaning and washing clothes they're gonna be your new best friends. If you enjoy sitting alone for 10+ years being totally imprisoned by parenting and forking out thousands for pleasure. Go right on ahead and have a couple of kids.
Welcome to hell by the way!! I do actually really love my children, absolutely pure love but they drive me nuts!
Watch the video below to know more on this matter:
The Right to Complain by Lola Augustine Brown
When faced with a toddler who flatly refuses to wear mittens or a nine-year-old who only remembers she’s forgotten her lunch once I’ve driven her to school, that bitter question inevitably pops up: Why did parenthood seem like such a good idea again?4https://www.todaysparent.com/family/i-regret-motherhood/ For me, one of the most frustrating aspects is the level of ingratitude I live with every day. It’s the death stare I get as I’m told, “I didn’t ask for toast.” And the tantrum that results from giving my son a blue cup instead of his favorite orange one. And the total lack of awareness of what it takes to keep everyone clothed and fed. No one is meeting my needs, and if they were, I’d sure as hell say thanks, unprompted, from time to time.
I was already using Facebook when I became a parent in 2007, so I don’t know if it used to be easier to complain about what you were going through without being made to feel like an ungrateful wench. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been told, “You’ll miss this when they’re gone,” or been scolded with, “Well, you wanted three.” Both of these statements are true, of course, but the truth isn’t that helpful.
As a culture, we don’t know how to deal with these feelings of frustration. In a 2015 study, sociologist Orna Donath of Tel Aviv University found the public airing of maternal grievances may still be considered unnatural and may even be viewed as some kind of mental illness. Women who express regret are assumed to be unable to love their child or are considered in some way less feminine, she found. Basically, society thinks there must be something horribly wrong with the mother who expresses dissatisfaction with parenthood.
Luckily, I have people I can be truly honest with, like my frank and funny friend, Laura. I’ve known her for a decade and watched her life change drastically since she had her first child six years ago, and then another. Like me, Laura has fielded plenty of judgy comments and is way better than I am at shrugging them off. She laughs as she tells me that if you used IVF to have your children, as she did, then you are forbidden from complaining, even to your immediate family. “I’ve had people reprimand me, saying things like, ‘You’re so lucky to have them,’” she says. “Well, I wanted to go to university and that was hard, too. My desire to have something doesn’t negate the impact it has on my life.”
The Right to Contemplate What If? - Lola Augustine Brown
How happy do we have a right to be? There are times when I feel as though motherhood has sucked all the life from me, destroying every shred of potential, and leaving me a dried husk of what I could have been. I have no time for anything, and on the rare occasion I do get a few hours to myself, I don’t feel particularly creative. I can’t help but wonder: If I hadn’t had children, or if I had stopped at one, would I have become a bestselling author by now? Would I have created something important and beautiful?
Whenever I’ve complained about being too tired or busy to write a novel, there’s someone ready to remind me that J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book when she was a single mom waiting tables. That never fails to make me feel like an even bigger loser. I’m so exhausted, I can’t even come up with a brilliant comeback, let alone a complex narrative with compelling characters!
Talking to creative friends, I hear similar complaints. Sue is a visual artist with two adorable children. Maybe I should say she was a visual artist. Will she be again once her kids grow up? She tells me that while she loves her kids (because we all feel the need to qualify this before admitting anything, right?), being a mom has completely vacuumed the creativity right out of her. “It’s like there’s a gut instinct in kids: ‘Mom is about to focus her attention, energy, and heart somewhere else—time for me to throw a fit, throw up, pee my bed, or discover a wrinkle in my sheet that is making it impossible to sleep,’” she says. “Never mind the fact that even if you ever manage to carve out time to write, paint or sew when they are sleeping, you are downright exhausted or then have to fill in-school field trip forms, make lunches and fold laundry.”
When Sue sees her childless friends off on painting retreats or writing while traveling across the country in a van, she can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. “It’s not regret. It is something deeper, like a realization that there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to care for them and myself, without some things falling off the to-do list—and that, all too often, the thing that falls off the list is me.”
Of course, I may have done even less if I hadn’t had kids. As James says, I could have become a heroin addict. Who knows, I might have squandered the past decade and ended up lonesome and regretful for not becoming a mother. “Having kids forces you to be disciplined in many ways,” he says. “They could be the reason for other successes in your life.” He might be right. I’m still making a decent living freelancing in a creative field, and I was even asked to speak at two conferences last year. But it’s easy to forget this stuff when I’m one wet wipe short of dealing with a poopy bum.
What to Do If You Regret Having Kids: 8 Tips for Moving Forward
Regret is a common emotion experienced by parents. If you find yourself experiencing regret, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, and rest assured that you are not alone. It is important to acknowledge the regret and take steps to cope. By dealing with these feelings head-on, you can prevent them from affecting your relationships with your children.
What Are the Reasons People Regret Having Children?
Parents may experience varying amounts of regret about having children. Each person is different and people regret having children for many different reasons.
Parents may wish that they had the same amount of time, money, or opportunities that they did before having children. They may feel upset about the impact of having children on their personal life, body, marriage, and other relationships.
One study of users of the online platform Reddit sought to find out what parents most regretted about having children. The results indicated that common regrets about parenthood included:
- Timing: Wishing you had children earlier or later on in life
- Number: Wishing you had more or fewer children
- Sacrifice: Having to give up certain things, like time, money, work, or educational opportunities because of parenthood
- Partner: Regret over whom you chose as a parent for your child
- External world: Regret over having children because of outside circumstances in the world, like war or political tension.
How Common Is This? Are You the Only One?
The reality is that many parents have mixed feelings about parenthood. A 2013 Gallup poll surveyed 5,100 adults across the United States about their experiences with children.
The poll revealed that 86% of respondents over age 45 had children and 9 of 10 reported that they would have children again if they had the chance to do it over again. Around 7% of those with children said that they would not have children again if given the chance.
The study of Reddit users mentioned above also revealed that some users would not have had children if they could go back in time. However, others would still have children despite the hardships of parenting.
Does Regretting Having Children Make Me a Bad Person?
If you are experiencing regret about having children, you are not a bad person. While you may have certain regrets, acknowledging and working on these feelings can help prevent them from affecting how you raise your children.
Can I Still Be a Good Parent If I Regret Having Children?
You can still be a good parent even if you regret having children. Having negative feelings about parenthood does not guarantee that you will be a bad parent. How you behave with your children is more important than how you feel about parenthood. You can take steps to ensure that these feelings do not affect your relationships with your children.
What to Do If You Regret Having Kids: 8 Steps to Consider
If you find yourself experiencing regret about having children, you are not alone. There are steps you can take to understand and cope with these feelings. Dealing with your regret can help you have a more positive parenting experience, even if it is difficult at times.
Here are eight steps to consider if you regret having kids:
- Acknowledge Your Feelings
Acknowledging your feelings about parenthood is an important first step. Often, we may be experiencing negative emotions without even realizing it. These feelings can manifest in other ways, like irritability, anger, sleeping problems, and aches and pains. To help get in touch with what you are experiencing, take some time alone to reflect on how you truly feel about being a parent. You can do this through quiet reflection or journaling.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I like about being a parent?
- What do I dislike?
- How has my life changed since I had children?
- What do I miss about my pre-child life?
After asking yourself these questions, take some time to notice what comes up. You might notice positive emotions like joy and gratitude, or negative ones like regret, disappointment, or sadness. Allow yourself to express all of these feelings and stay present in the moment. This will help you parent more mindfully and enjoy time with your child
- Don’t Judge Yourself
Now that you are in touch with your feelings, avoid judging yourself for them. Thoughts like “you shouldn’t feel this way” or “regretting parenthood makes me a bad person” may enter your mind. Remember that there is no evidence for these thoughts. The reality is that any experience in life brings both pros and cons, and parenthood is no different. Give yourself permission to have these feelings. Now that you are aware of how you are feeling and allowing yourself to have these emotions, you can take steps to address them.
- Work on Solving the Issue
Problem-solving is a good tool for addressing what may be causing a negative emotion. When it comes to dealing with regret, problem-solving can help you look at what is contributing to this feeling and make changes if possible.
Take some time to think about what you regret about having children:
- Do you dislike having less time or money for yourself?
- Or the impact that it has had on your marriage or relationships?
- Or do you regret parenthood because you don’t feel good enough in your role?
Once you have a clear idea of what is causing your negative feelings, ask yourself “what can I do about it?” If you feel like you lack skills, you can take a parenting class. If you wish you had more time for yourself, you can brainstorm ways to adjust your schedule or delegate certain tasks to free up more time. Focus on what you can control about your situation and make changes to help manage the negative aspects of parenting.
- Write a List of the Benefits & Rewards
Parenting has both pros and cons. When you are having a tough time, it’s easy to overlook the positive aspects of parenting. To help you remain in touch with these positives, create a list for yourself of the benefits and rewards of having children. This list can include specific memories, milestones, and daily events. Maybe it is a warm hug, seeing your child learn a new skill or a fun day at the park. Keep this list handy and regularly refer to it, especially during days when you may be experiencing more negative emotions.
- Remember That Negative Feelings Will Pass
The concept of impermanence is a helpful way to think about emotions. Impermanence means that nothing lasts forever, including our emotions. When we experience a negative emotion, we can remember that this feeling will eventually go away; it may return again at another point in time, but it never lasts forever. The same goes for positive feelings. While it may be discouraging to think that positive emotions also won’t last, impermanence can remind us to fully appreciate these emotions when we do experience them.
- Engage in Self-Care
Self-care is the act of caring for yourself both physically and emotionally, and is essential as a parent. When it comes to physical self-care, it is important to attend to your basic needs, like eating well, exercising, getting enough rest, and keeping up with your hygiene. When it comes to emotional self-care, you must carve out some time for yourself to do activities that help you to feel relaxed and happy. This can include reading, writing, doing art, or even getting your hair done.
Thoughts like “I don’t deserve to make time for myself,” or “I’m selfish if I do something for me,” may get in the way of you taking time for self-care. If this happens, simply acknowledge these thoughts and feelings, and remind yourself that caring for yourself is necessary for you to be a more present and effective parent. When in doubt, remember the oxygen mask metaphor—if your plane is crashing you must put on your mask first so that you can be of help to others. However, rather than waiting for an emergency like a plane crash to put on your oxygen mask, take a proactive approach to self-care and make it a daily practice.
- Find a Hobby That You Can Share with Your Children
Finding new ways to connect with your children can help enhance your positive feelings about parenting. Establishing a new hobby that you can do together is one way to do this. Consider some activities that could be fun for both you and your kids, like hiking, taking an art or dance class together, or traveling.
You can even turn brainstorming into a fun activity by sitting down with a pen and paper and each coming up with ideas. Write down every idea your child offers, no matter how wild. Once you have a comprehensive list, you can go through it together and pick a few that would be fun for everyone. Aim to plan at least one activity each week together. You can even take turns picking the activity.
- Get Support
Connecting with other parents who may be struggling with similar feelings can also be beneficial. You may consider setting up playdates with other families, joining a “mommy and me” class, or reaching out to supportive friends and family. If you do not have a good support network or do not feel comfortable speaking with people you already know, you can also join a support group for parents.
There are many different support groups both in-person and online that are specifically intended for parents dealing with these issues. These groups may be led by a mental health professional or a peer. To find a group, you can conduct an online search for support groups for parents or seek help from an organization, like Postpartum Support International, which offers groups for mothers and fathers dealing with the adjustment to parenthood.
Online communities and social media platforms are another space for parents to share their positive and negative feelings about parenting. Facebook groups allow parents to come together to share their experiences and give and receive advice on various parenting topics. Instagram is another social media platform where parents, especially mothers, may share their daily experiences raising children, both the good and bad. These sites can give parents a more realistic view of parenting, rather than focusing only on the positive aspects, and can help parents realize that they are not alone in their struggles.
How Therapy Can Help People Who Regret Having Kids
Negative emotions like regret can be taxing on your emotional health. Reaching out to a therapist or couples counselor to help you problem-solve and deal with your emotions can be the healthiest way to cope. If you regret having children and it is affecting different areas of your life, like your ability to parent and care for yourself, then you may be dealing with depression.
Symptoms of major depressive disorder include:
- Sadness that lasts for at least two weeks
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Increased or decreased appetite, weight, or sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- An increase or decrease in movement
- Thoughts of suicide
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that begins within the baby’s first year of life. It can affect mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents.
Therapists that specialize in parenting issues can help you understand where your feelings may be coming from, learn ways to cope and change the way that you think about your circumstances.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that can help parents deal with negative feelings like regret. CBT is effective for treating a range of mental health disorders and issues, including depression, anxiety, anger, and marital distress. This type of therapy focuses on how your thoughts and beliefs influence your feelings and behaviors. A CBT therapist will help you modify your negative thoughts, which can help change your feelings and behaviors.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is another type of therapy that can be helpful for parents experiencing regret. The goal of ACT is to develop psychological flexibility, which involves being more present at the moment. This type of therapy focuses on accepting the full range of your emotional experience, including your negative emotions, identifying your values, and living a life that is in line with those values. Like CBT, ACT is an effective treatment for a range of mental health concerns.
How to Find a Therapist
Thinking about finding a therapist can feel overwhelming, but there are several ways to find a good fit. You can ask for a referral from your doctor or check with your insurance to see what types of therapies they might cover. Or, you can use an online therapist directory, where you can filter for specific criteria, like someone who practices ACT or CBT.
A Way to Cope from Lola Augustine Brown
The idea of emerging from the parenting trenches and being able to carve out space to write fiction, or even just a simple daily journal entry, sounds divine. And so out of reach right now.
I look to my friend Alice, an artist mom of three kids, as a beacon of hope that things might get easier. She has never let art leave her life completely, but while her kids were young, she wasn’t able to do anything but dabble creatively.
“Now that they are all at school, I’m coming out of it, but it has been 10 years of me putting everyone’s needs first,” she says. “Now it’s my turn, and it feels good. When you’re in it, though, it’s hard. I definitely went through resentful phases and felt like I was getting ripped off. I self-medicated with wine—a lot.”
I know I need to take the occasional break from my family and stop feeling guilty about taking some time for myself. I probably also need to delegate more of the running around to my husband and stop stepping in and doing everything for everyone.
I’m lucky my job requires the odd trip away, and now that my youngest is 15 months old, and I’ve stopped nursing, I can travel solo again. Being away is incredible, and I savor each small pleasure (uninterrupted sleep-in crisp sheets, a long bath, finishing a novel, dinner after 5 p.m., someone serving me—I could go on and on).
After my last trip, my daughter asked, “But you missed us, right Mom?” And I did. After just two days away, I cried when looking at photos of them on my phone. I missed them so much that I physically ached. It’s good to remember that we all need timeouts: a chance to recharge and remember who we are and whom we want to be.
Final Thoughts for Those Who Regret Having Kids
If you are experiencing regret about parenthood, you are not alone. While these feelings can be distressing, there are steps you can take to help cope with them so that they do not interfere with your life. You can still enjoy the rewarding aspects of parenthood even if it is challenging at times, and finding a solid support system to help you cope is the best way to move forward.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Having Children
Sorry, No FAQ Available!
Additional resources and citations