Parent Confessions

My first parent confession happened several years ago. Out of seemingly nowhere, a father shared with me that if he could go back in time he would choose not to have children. This surprised me as he seemed to love children and was a doting and devoted father of two.

Recently,  I was out for lunch with an empty nester. She said the following to me, “I didn’t think it through before having children.” She stated that she was happy in her marriage and thought that the next logical step was to have a baby.  She shared with me that she didn’t think that the sacrifice was worth it in the end.

While I was surprised by the two “wouldn’t do it again” confessions, I found myself even more surprised by a different kind of statement.  In the lunchroom, a mother said to the group of us that she could see her life as equally fulfilled whether she had a biological child (she does), or adopted instead or had no children at all.

I am not sure why I was told these parent confessions. Maybe because we don’t have children? Maybe they saw me as a safe person to share their regrets with? Whatever the reason, it now causes me to pause when I hear people say,  “you’ll never regret it (children)”. The internet provides anonymous confessions by parents who say that they regret having children.  I wonder if a more accurate expression may be, “it’s likely that you won’t regret it – but I can’t say for certain, you just might.”

8 thoughts on “Parent Confessions”

  1. WOW…not sure what else to say. There’s days that life would be easier, but wouldn’t change it. With my “niece” dying last year at 5 yrs old, my perspective has changed so much towards my kids- blessings, angels in disguise to make the world not seem so crummy.

  2. I cannot believe parents would feel that way… it is a hard job but the rewards are greater than the hard parts

  3. I think it’s refreshing to hear people being honest about parenting. For a long time, there was a stigma about parents regretting having children, and I’m sure it still exists. Many people have a hard time, for whatever reason, and they are made to feel guilty for not enjoying every second of parenting, which isn’t fair. I’d rather hear the truth than be misled to believe it’s a wonderful experience for every parent out there.

  4. From my experience, we live in an increasingly driven culture. Children don’t fit that. If you want to climb the corporate later and run with the big dogs, parenting may not be for you. It is filled with putting another’s needs before you, and learning about the joy that comes from seeing a child’s smile. While it is wonderful, I daresay some may be in world views that too self focused or too driven to enjoy it. I know I would be happy and fulfilled as a person if I wasn’t a mom. BUT I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be the me I am today, and since I like me… I wouldn’t change a thing. I am raising what most would call a “difficult” child. I wouldn’t change having him or his sister. I wouldn’t change the fact that he is Autistic. He and his sister are daily making me who I am meant to be & the ride is rough but amazing.

  5. Hmmm, very interesting. I know parenting is really hard, and single parenting even harder (giving birth and raising one while my husband was deployed for 8 months I can relate), however in my opinion I wouldn’t want life without my daughter in it. The amount of selflessness I have learned through raising her so far, and the strength I never knew I was capable of, and undying love, it’s all so special and worth it. Parenting may not be for everyone, but to wish you never had kids seems a bit far. I do think parents should confess more, confess the hardships and difficulties, there is stuff no one shares because they want to look like the perfect family and have “easy” children, but those are the things that really help the other parents around them. I make it a point to talk to other parents and new moms about the difficulties I have had with Ava so that they are prepared or can take comfort in knowing all kids are ‘hard’, even the easy ones. I get in the moment of stress and pain, even Jesus asked for his burden to be lightened, but I don’t think after all was said and done he regretted doing it. I am not judging, or maybe I am, I just feel like if you wished you never had kids, maybe you thought having kids was about you. The number one lesson learned from having a kid is that it is about them…

    1. Selfishness is rooted out when children come along, unless we hold onto it and resent our children because “I still want…”

  6. Interesting…I can never imagine looking at a little person and thinking it would be okay if they didn’t exist. My son has changed everything about my life but I would never regret. Now the person who doesn’t mind about biology, I get that. We adopted our son after a brief bout with infertility. I don’t have the “grief” about not going through pregnancy that many women have.It doesn’t bother me at all, not one bit, I think I was just made to be an adoptive momma from the start. “However motherhood comes to you, its a miracle.”

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