Country Living Series

Monday, April 15, 2013

Children are the biggest regret

We went to visit some friends this weekend to see their new baby. We had been impatiently waiting to see their tiny son, who was born three weeks ago. The delay was due to a natural recovery time for the mother, compounded by their family coming down with the flu (except the newborn!) as well as nursing problems for the infant.

So we finally had a chance to coo and fuss over the beautiful baby.

Because he's having latching issues, the mother is pumping breast milk and using a special bottle that is harder to suck -- harder, meaning it emulates the degree of sucking needed under breastfeeding conditions. The mother is working to transition him to regular breastfeeding.

Little Simon is the sixth child and fourth son of these parents, and I hope they have more. Their children are beautifully behaved, full of life, and a pleasure to be around. The parents (Jack and Natalie) are calm, patient, firm, and consistent. In short, the ideal people to have a large family.

Now contrast this happy family with a news article that came out last week in which a mother called her children the "biggest regret" of her life. "[L]ike parasites, both my children would continue to take from me and give nothing meaningful back in return," she says.

I guess I'll give her kudos for being honest. And to her credit, she raised them herself (as opposed to daycare). Now her adult daughter has multiple sclerosis, and this woman is diligently caring for her. I can't fault her in anything except having kids in the first place when she didn't want them.

This woman knew from the start she didn't want children, and she was up front with her husband. "But I knew even then children would be a sticking point. Tony wanted four. I didn't want any. We'd discussed the subject and I believe he thought I'd change my mind."

Therein lay her first mistake. Few people "change their mind" when it comes to kids. As one commenter said, "I agree that children are not for everyone. Raising children can be very difficult at times. However, a woman should think about this before, not after, she has had the children. Nothing can be worse or more damaging for children than to realize they were unwanted."

This reminds me of an experience I had when I was pregnant with Older Daughter. Don and I spent a weekend as vendors at a craft show. In my excitement about the baby, I mentioned to many people that I was pregnant.

Toward the end of the day, the woman in the next booth turned to me and said, “So. I hear you’re pregnant.”

“Yes,” I replied proudly. “The baby is due in December.”

“You’re going to hate it,” she said flatly.

Startled, I replied, “Excuse me?”

“You’ll hate it. Believe me, I have six kids, and I hate them all.”

For the next half hour, as I slumped lower in my chair, she poured poison into my ear about how awful motherhood is. By the time she was done, I was crying.

Sad situations like this -- situations in which a mother dislikes her own children -- is probably a self-feeding cycle. If you don't like your kids enough to train, teach, and discipline them... then you're going to have untrained, untaught, and undisciplined brats, whom you dislike even more. See how it works?

Now compare these women with the family we just visited, who welcomed with loving arms their newest addition. Regret their children? Not a chance. Regret MY children? Impossible.

Just some thoughts for a Monday morning.


  1. Hating their children is just crazy talk from crazy people. Can't even imagine how that can happen. Our bodies and minds are built to bind us to our children. What disastrous event occurs to make people hate their children... that is pure evil. I have four children and fell in love with each before they were born, but even more so as I help them from that first moment. My first child is now 48 years old and my baby is 40. I still love them with all my heart and being. And they are all good people and love me back. Motherhood is a blessing not a curse. I ended up having to be both mother and father to my children..... not the life I had hoped for, but the joy of my children made it even a better life than I could have ever imagined.

    1. For your information, not all child dislikers are evil. As humans, we have the right to choose not to reproduce. Take me, for example. I don't have any kids and I'm glad because I want nothin' to do with troublesome children, although I don't think at all of them are that way.

      It seems to me that you want everyone to think in the same way that you think. Well ,you're wrong if you think that others should be like you.

      Who cares if there are people who don't like children? It's their lives. Let 'em live the ways that they wanna live.

  2. AGREED!I read an article over the weekend which discussed how a woman can remain "young looking" through middle age and it advised not having children (thereby avoiding much stress) as part of the formula. Well, I guess I'd rather - MUCH RATHER - have my six wonderful children than look a decade younger than my 50 yrs!

  3. I find it hard to believe anyone could "hate" their children.

    Certainly if the parents are prepared financially and emotionally to have a child, then that child will more than likely be a loved addition to the family.

    If the parent, or parent, is young without job skills or family support parenthood will be a long and hard time of poverty and unmet dreams. This happened to me. I was young and stupid.

    I love my children, but I wish I had stopped at one. I would be in a different and happier place.

  4. There are days when my kids irritate me, annoy me, anger me and those days when I just want to toss the whole kit-n-kiboodle and run off to Rio. But they are far, far, far outnumbered by the days my kids give me joy, happiness and hope.

    My daughter (12) read the article about that lady and mentioned it to me. My answer "Yep, there are days we don't get along - but I never, ever regret having you."

    I wish I could have had more than the two I do. But my oldest (son) has autism, and we found that in our families, this appears to be genetic. We ran a huge risk if we had another boy of having another child with autism. And while my son is the light of my life, I couldn't go through this again.

  5. I'm the mom of a 4 year old, 2 year old and 1 year old and I couldn't be more happy with my decision to have kids. Actually, I got married and we just took it from there...not really a decision, just open to God's plan for us. I'm an 'older' mom, so there may or may not be more babies coming, but regardless this kind of talk just makes me so, so sad. Biggest regret? Really? Like if you could just wipe them off the face of the earth your life would instantly be 1000 times better? I kind of just want to say GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

    And on a happier note...he is a cutie pie! Good luck to them as he figures out nursing! And I thought of you today as I bought a set of 2009 World Books from our library for $12. With print encyclopedias disappearing I figured it was my best (and cheapest) way to have some in the house for our kids, just like you guys do :)

  6. Some people do change their mind about having children. You might not want them at 24, but when the "clock starts ticking" they completely change their mind! Unfortunately I see so many children in my neighborhood not being raised because they were created for welfare, food stamp and tax refund money. Often my heart aches for them. I love my son and hope to have many more children!!!

    1. You assume a lot about people you don't even know.

  7. I love our five children and wish I could have had five more. It doesn't take money to have children, it takes faith. When God gives a commandment (multiply and repenish the earth) he opens a way to be obedient and receive blessings. You are right about the "cycle", I was raised by a woman who loved children, who was raised by a woman who loved (and had 15) children. My Dad's mother adored children too, but was able to have only two. I had to wait until I was 30 to marry and begin a family, just couldn't find "Mr. Right" until then. One of the things that attracted me to him was that he wanted a large family and looked forward to being a Dad. I would never have married him if he hadn't felt that way. While we have disagreed about many things, we've always agreed that our children are our biggest blessings. Three are adults and two almost there. We're looking forward to grandchildren now.

  8. We have five. Our only regret, to borrow from Martin Sheen, is that we didn't have six! (medical reasons.)

    I just wanted to comment on the breast feeding problems. Even though Mom must be a successful breast feeder by baby #6, problems can still happen. But a solution is always available. If they haven't already, the family might consider bringing in a lactation consultant. Sometimes they can make all the difference in the world! My mother does this type of work and I know it has been a blessing for so many families. And she never charges for this service!

    I am glad that you mentioned that this experienced family was having problems. Many women (and men) expect that breast feeding is so natural and easy it will be like a calf going to it's mom - no problem! This is far from true (and ranchers will tell you not every calf has an easy time nursing either)

    Breast feeding can be difficult. It is usually uncomfortable at first - can be down right painful - and often feels awkward. Mom's who expect it to be like Mutual of Omaha on the Serengeti are often disappointed and give up. I tell expecting moms - plan on it being tough at first. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Because, in the long run, breast feeding is such a great experience no mom should miss out on it due to frustration or fear.

    My $.02.

    God bless the new family and the new baby!

    1. Not to nit-pick, but there isn't always a way with breast-feeding. Had I exclusively breast-fed my daughter, she probably would have starved, and we supplemented with formula b/c she was losing more and more weight. (And yes, I did see a lactation consultant.)

      I managed to breast-feed my son, but he was absolutely tiny - so much so that I hated going to doctor's appts b/c I'd always get scolded by the doctor that he was so little, esp. since he started out at over 8lbs. Once he started on other foods, he started to bulk up, but it was quite the ordeal.

  9. It is hard to believe that a person can let themselves be pushed into having children when they don't want them. It is such a life changing event, and you don't take a stand on your belief? At the same time, I just can't get into the headspace of a person who never wants kids.

    I like the way I am and I like who my hubby is, so I can't wait to meet our little one in October! I can't wait to see who they look like and act like watch all the funny things they will do. I don't have rose colored glasses on either. I have done my share of child care and this will be a challenging road, but one I'm very willing to take.

    My mom actually called me and told me that she was so happy that I was happy to have a baby. With me, she was a new bride, I was a honeymoon baby and she had just moved to a new state with no familiar faces. She wasn't a happy camper about expecting, and she came to regret that attitude later in life. So she was so glad that I was super excited!

    Bringing a new life into the world is such a huge deal, I just don't understand how people can be so casual about it, or just careless. That is a human being!


    P.S. As to comments about looking younger without kids, I've actually heard it the opposite, as in having several children keeps your body young.

  10. One last thought.

    If you read scared scripture, children have ALWAYS been seen as a blessing from God. No family in scripture was sad about having a child. Rather, they rejoiced when a woman became with child. They were devastated when a woman had a barren womb.

    Oh how far we have come. Where does this self centered anti-family message come from? My belief - the enemy who "Prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, " 1 Peter 5:8.

    We being the devil into our home when we introduce abortificant contraception and then wonder why evil is prevalent in our life!

    Sorry to preach, but my heart aches for the children who were never able to be born.

    1. Doesn't your heart ache more for the children who have been born and abused and sadly sometimes killed by their parents?

  11. Motherhood isn't for everyone, and I think it's sad that there are many women who let society push them into being mothers because that's what is "normal" for our society.

    While I've dealt with my share of "when are you getting married?" and "I can't believe you don't have kids", and even "You are selfish to not want children", I knew in my heart that it wouldn't be right for me and refused to feel guilty about doing what's right for me.

    1. You're doing the right thing, and I commend you for your intelligence in recognizing it.

      - Patrice

    2. same here. never wanted kids myself, but that doesn't mean I hate kids. I have many nieces and nephews and I love them. i'm just glad I had the courage to do what's right for me.

  12. Patrice,


    I can not understand how any one could be so selfish as to regret having kids. My friends that have kids' cherish them, talk about their accomplishments and brag about them all the time.
    I always make sure to ask how their kids are doing, not because I am polite. Its because I get a kick at seeing how my friends faces light up when they talk about their kids. I can truly understand how kids are a blessing from God.

    I never had any kids, I was too busy riding motorcycles, surfing, rock climbing and doing all that adrenaline junkie stuff.

    I really missed out on something special.....

    By the way, I wish I had dollar for every time some older guy told who had kids told me that "You don't know how lucky you are being single with no kids" don't get married,etc, etc.

    I always took that at face value and thought I was lucky (Boy' was I wrong)

  13. thirty five years ago i adopted a five day old baby boy...he is the apple of my eye. day before yesterday he and his lovely sweet wife called to tell me that they heard the heartbeat of their first (due in late october)baby. this i believe is when love for your children begins..sadly, some people just are unable to love their children..

  14. I'm one of those women who never wanted children. I never felt my clock ticking and I don't particularly like children. I knew I didn't want kids and wouldn't be a good mother. I stuck by my guns and didn't have any and I haven't regretted that decision. You wouldn't believe the pressure though that is out there for women to have children because it's the "right" thing to do. I don't think, however, it's "right" to bring a child into this world if I can't love it beyond all measure and only have one because somebody else thought I should. Even now, people think that I'm sad and depressed because I never had kids. Not so. I'm happy for folks that want and love children, but don't assume that everybody wants to be a mom. The trick is to know what is right for you and be true to that no matter what others say.

  15. What's really sad is that there are entire anonymous boards full of women who regret having their children. Here is one example:

    It's incomprehensible to me.

  16. I just can't imagine! People are so selfish, it's the human epidimic. Just think, there are so many women who are going through infertility issues who would love to be in their shoes. As a momma with two little boys and three babies in heaven I can tell you, without a doubt, each child is a blessing from the LORD. I believe having the opportunity to be a mother, to love, nurture and train them well, is the greatest privilege (and responsibilty) in the world. I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

    Intersting post! Thanks for sharing. I agree with you that people should think before having children.

  17. Interesting, I saw that yahoo (or whatever) article but didn't get around to reading it. Personally I could understand if the gal had thought she wanted kids and then it turned out while she liked the idea she did not like the reality. I suspect that happens a lot more than anybody will admit.

    However it loses me when she KNEW SHE DIDN'T WANT KIDS! You get Chinese take out instead of pizza or see movie A instead of movie B for a partner. You suck it up and go to their friend who drives you crazy's BBQ for a partner. These are all discrete events of (though it may not seem to at the time) short duration and a partner does the same thing for you. However kids do not fall into that category at all.

    I fear the "love will conquer all" folks miss the point here. Some practical major stuff cannot be bargained on. One partner cannot have a simple rural life while the other pursues a high powered career in a major urban center. Along those same lines you can't split the difference between no kids and kids. These things really need to be deal makers.

  18. Growing up, all I wanted to be was a DINK - Dual Income, No Kids. Then I met my now-husband and within months found out we were pregnant. Being completely against abortion, I decided I would raise the child either with my then-boyfriend or without him. God changed my heart in many, many ways during those 9 months, and nine months after her birth, her father and I were wed.

    Fast forward nearly five years later, and we are blessed with a second child. Holding my three-month-old makes me want more! Once career driven, with a bachelors and a masters degree, I'm trying to find ways to quit my career and stay home with my children.

    It has been difficult. My son is tongue-tied and had feeding issues, as well as an overnight stay in the hospital after contracting influenza at 3-weeks-old. But I would never give them back. They are a blessing! And raising them is a blessing!

  19. Wow what a mean miserable woman she must have been. How thoughtless to bend your ear with her misery. Some folks just don't think before they open their mouths.

  20. I must say, she wrote a very good article, though very heartbreaking. I too, appreciate her honesty and also the resolve that she had to raise her children to the best of her ability. Sometimes we need to do the right thing even if we don't feel like it - my kids often hear me say that.

    Parenthood demands GREAT sacrifices, however it also offers back unending rewards - rewards that continue until the day we die.

    Two of our seven children playfully squabble over who "gets to have" mom and dad when we're too old to care for ourselves. My 12 year old gave me $5.00 in a card the other day (just because) to be used for a "fancy coffee" out. My 4 year old told me that I was cute, the other day. It's been a long time since I've been told that!

    Yes, they drive me nuts! Quite often in fact. Yes, there are days when I wondered, "What was I thinking, having all these kids?" But at the end of the day, how can I say, "They're not worth it?" Everyone of them is so precious!

  21. My brain knows there are people who dislike their own children and find them nothing but burdens. But my heart rejects the idea entirely. I have 7 grown children and nearly a dozen grandbabies, and I adore and cherish each one. I wish I could have had twelve. I wish there was never a need to ever quit adding cherubs to my family.

    Were they a lot of work? Absolutely! Did they cause me worry and heartache? A lot! Did I spend years dragged down and tired? Yes! Did they give me tons of love and joy? Absolutely! Would I turn back time and not have any or all of them again? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

  22. Wow....we love kids so much we have fostered and adopted.

  23. I can accept, albeit with horror, that there are people out there who are wicked enough not to really love their children. However, I have a hard time believing that they can be wicked enough to actually let their children know this! If you have children, suck it up, learn to appreciate them and never, ever, tell them that you don't love them. And stop being so hideously selfish!

  24. I have a relative who was constantly finding ways to dump her kids off onto someone else while they were growing up. I got dumped on plenty. One day I asked why she didn't want to spend time with her kids, and her reply to me was, "When your kids are my kids age, you won't want to spend time with them, either." I didn't have kids at the time, but I thought it was horrible. Even today, with one child about to start college and the youngest a young teen, I have never felt I didn't want to spend time with them. There are days they drive me crazy, but I have put my heart into raising them so that they will be self-sufficient, contributing members of society.

  25. There are those lord their having children over those who don't. A friend of mine married a woman with a seven-year old daughter from a previous marriage. He made a point of calling her HIS daughter all the time and how I couldn't possibly fathom what it was like to be a dad. All of that stopped once my wife gave birth to our daughter six months ago. Suddenly he doesn't want to share stories of parenthood.

  26. Children are wonderful, especially when raised correctly! I I believw that a majority if thosw parets who "hate" ther
    Kids is because they did not teach them reapect or dissaplonw them! Our 9 year old daughter was so sweet yesterday, after our softball practice I was in the truck when I just started balling about how my "stretchy pants" were tight I'm fat! My husband said " honey your beautiful and not fat, ur pregnant and the baby is getting bigger, lets go shopping!" Our daughter said " mommy, ill buy you some shorts, I have 24.00 from papa here in my purse" seriously how sweet was she to offer to buy me pregger clothes with her own money! So you see even though children can and will drive us parents crazy they so make up in the sweet things they say and do! :)

  27. All my life, all I wanted was to be a Mom. The kind of Mom my own Mother was to me. I even came up with 24 girl names and 24 boy names - just in case. My six children, 4 biological and 2 adopted,. are the most precious gifts God could have ever given me. I know I am blessed. My children are, and I know I am biased, the most loving and loyal and responsible children I have ever met. Okay, so they aren't perfect, but they are loving, very loyal and each has a very strong work ethic. They would do anything for me and I would do anything for them.

    Having said that, I have a friend who has 4 children, 3 biological and one a step child. Out of these 4 only one will speak with her consistently. None of them will help her when she is in need (as she is now.) All their lives she told them how unwanted they are. She never taught them the value of family, loyalty or the value of a strong work ethic. Three of her children are on Welfare - none of mine are.

    My friend now lives with me because she can't live alone any longer due to a disability. She is a good person, just one who should never had children. She never wanted any but had a husband that did want them, but only as a way to control her.

    I feel bad for people who have children when they don't really want them. I feel worse for the children of those parents.

  28. I am glad I never had kids. Throughout my life, I have moved around, gone through financial hardships, had some tough times in marriage and struggled to find things I enjoyed doing work wise. I would never, ever want a child to go through these kinds of problems with me. People tell me I would have been a good father. I say nothing to them, but I think, "No, you are 100 percent wrong."

  29. " She never wanted any but had a husband that did want them, but only as a way to control her. "

    This is me. Marital rape is real. Where are you suppose to go if you married to get away from your parents.

    1. There is a way out...don't give in to pressure!!!

    2. This happened to me. He beat and choked me and forced me to have sex without birth control The only reason I didn't become pregnant is I was extremely lucky. I was infertile. And I am glad I was infertile. I am happily childless. But yeah, in domestic abuse situations that is SO common.

  30. Better for parents to post regrets about having children anonymously than to use their real names and their children's names, which is an incredibly cruel thing to do to a child.

    That said, some parents do get irritatingly self-righteous about how they can't IMAGINE regretting their child. I would bet plenty of those types probably mistreat their children as badly if not worse than people who are struggling with their feelings.

    1. Exactly...children are not for everyone!

    2. Yeah because they are incapable of empathy towards anyone who is not just like they are. It's not THAT hard to understand another persons perspective..or it shouldn't be.