Lifestyle

Women reveal: Why I regret having children

MOTHERHOOD is a tough gig. An unrelenting role that changes a woman's life forever. But discussing the struggles of motherhood is still considered a taboo topic by many, so admitting you regret having children altogether seems unthinkable.

An initial study by a sociologist at Ben-Gurion University in Israel ignited a furious debate recently after findings suggested all mothers regret giving birth to some extent.

But validating the study's claims are the myriad declarations of regret made by women who have taken refuge in the anonymity of the internet.

The "I Regret Having Children" Facebook page reveals several mothers' stories of parenting despair.

One stay-at-home mum to a 7-year-old shared that she has "big regrets" about having children and misses her life before them.

"I love them but I'm not happy. They have taken all my freedom, I can't get a job, my husband barely makes enough for holidays. I was a flight stewardess, free as a bird before having kids.

"Now I'm just doing never ending house duties."

Another mother discussed her sleep battles with her 3-year-old and how she vomited from the stress induced by her daughter's refusal to sleep.

"We have no life. My husband helps so much, but even he is close to collapsing. We have no family and friends. No support network. What do I do?"

Over on parenting site Mumsnet, one woman shared how the arrival of a child turned her "wonderful life" upside down.

She wrote: "I loved my old life. My husband really wanted a child and I put it off for so long, just knowing that it's not my calling. I gave in after so many rows thinking I would adjust.

"I feel like my wonderful life has turned upside down. I still do not feel like a mother. I miss my old life so much I just feel like walking out and leaving my husband and son."

Another person vented similar sentiments, but signed off, "Please don't hate me, is what I'm really trying to say. I actually consider myself quite a loving person."

For some mothers, they believed the regret really sat with the father of their child. On question and answer site Quora, one woman wrote that she "desparately" wanted to have a baby. But it was a wish she lived to regret after her husband revealed himself as a "compulsive liar, abusive and controlling."

"I still feel loads of guilt because I regret being a parent. Not because I failed but because I don't want to be a parent. I can't really explain why I feel that way, I just do."

Robin Simon, Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University, specialises in the mental health effects of parenthood. Simon told the Independent that the difficulty in admitting such emotions about parenting stems from the fact that it "defies social norms about the sanctity of motherhood."

And according to Arabella Russell, a counsellor at relationship advice charity Relate, the common view is that the arrival of a child will be wonderful, but in fact, it "can be a real shock to the system," she told the Independent.

Russell says while it may look like other women take to motherhood "like a duck to water", this can be deceiving, and often people feel guilty about admitting their true feelings.

She encourages women to share their experiences on parenting forums as well as telling your partner or a family member about it.

Topics:  children, hey mumma, parenting



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