‘I hope my children don’t have children.’ Why these parents regret having kids.

Not many parents would be prepared to admit that they regret having children.

Sure, they might talk about the difficulties involved in raising kids, or how exhausted they are after constantly picking up after them. They may even go as far as telling others not to have children. But never, ever will they say that they regret having their own.

Watch: 8 Toxic Things Parents Say To Their Children. Post continues below.

Video via Psych2Go.

While most insist they've never felt this way, there is a small contingent of mums and dads who do

According to research from the UK, eight per cent of parents regret having kids, with younger parents aged of 25-34 more likely to feel resentment towards their role as mum and dad (likely due to their kids still being babies, say the researchers).

And another study found that seven per cent of parents over 45 wouldn't have kids if they had a 'do-over'.

Angie Martin, a user on Quora opened up about exactly that, saying she "100% very deeply regrets" having her four children.

"Before passing judgement, please let me explain," she wrote.

"I am an introverted, hard-working person. My mother named me Angel at birth, which set me up for a lifetime of living up to trying to be the perfect kid.


"Sadly, as hard as I was on myself, everyone else was even harder on me. It seemed like everyone was always disgruntled that I was 'different'. I had sensory problems and hearing damage called misophonia because I suffered a skull fracture at six months old.

"I had to try to find quiet time for myself whenever and wherever I could steal it, to deal with my hearing sensitivity, otherwise I would suffer migraines and stress."

Angie detailed her life of trauma and emotional abuse due to, she says, her being an introvert. She wrote that the people around her demolished her artwork and forced her to take pills because they believed she had a mental illness, despite her insistence she didn't.

"I wanted nothing more than to be a mum for most of my life. I was told I would never have children, and I almost died several times trying to have children," she wrote.

"Finally, I had four children in a 20-year span of time. I was tickled pink. They were quirky, ADHD and autistic, and I loved the daylights out of them. I loved everything there was to love about being a mom.

"Just like my family had, my extroverted husband and in-laws hated my personality. Hated how I raised and mentored and guided the kids. Hated how I let them do art and make messes. Hated how I let them disassemble and reassemble things to figure out how the world worked. Hated that I pushed them to go to new places and try new foods.

"Most of all, they hated that I needed a break here and there. They hated that I asked for someone to watch the kids for five minutes so I could take my extra long shower after we did yard work and remodelling all day.


"They convinced a few people that my requests for quiet time or alone time were somehow unreasonable. That grandma could do so much better; she was the vision of perfection that everyone else had to live up to."

Angie ended up losing custody of her four children after the people she says abused and doubted her convinced the courts that she had bipolar disorder.

"If I wouldn't have given birth to my children, I wouldn't have suffered any of this. 

"I regret having my children, not because of them, but because a mother is expected to be perfect, and any other definition is considered a failure."

Angie finished by saying she hopes her children don’t have kids of their own.

"I hope my children don't have children. Since they are also a little 'different', and our society likes to separate 'different' children from 'different' parents, to give them to 'normal' couples to try to make everyone 'normal.'"

Angie's post attracted a lot of attention, with more than 700 people responding with their own stories of regret.

"My son is 27, suffering from chronic depression, in a low-paying dead-end job without the faintest idea of how to get out of it. His life is an unending continuum of unhappiness and dissatisfaction," wrote one user named Jack Claxton.

"If I knew that he would develop like this, I would not have had him. I would not want to bring a person into this world outside of his own volition, if I knew that he would experience no joy in his existence."


Another user, who had her son at 18, said that she regrets having him, as he has been a "nightmare" since she brought him home.

"When he was a baby nothing could console him. Then the toddler years hit, and he became extremely hyperactive and destructive. When he was four, his sister was born, and he HATED her with a passion and became very jealous of her. (He still hates her 11 years later)," she wrote.

"At school age, he never wanted to learn because he hated rules (he is actually very smart but unwilling to learn).

"Now he is a 14-year-old bully! Who refuses to go to school or do absolutely anything anyone asks of him, and we have to walk on eggshells trying not to upset him or he will go completely nuts on us."

She admitted to calling the police on three separate occasions because of his attempts to beat her and her husband, all while causing damage to their rental property.

After a psych evaluation, it was discovered that he most likely has oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and that there isn’t anything the parents can really do.

"I hate to say it… but I can’t stand him. I want to sign my custody over to the state."

So, why do parents regret having children?

According to paediatrician Dr Golly, it's not extremely common for parents to regret having children; however, instability can cause resentment.


"Parents often regret the timing, like having children close together. Other mums often report regret about having children before being stable from a vocational or financial point of view," Dr Golly told Mamamia.

It's also quite common for parents to have children hoping it would mend their broken relationship – something that rarely works in the long run.

"This often leads to further relationship breakdown, due to the added stressors of sleep deprivation, uneven distribution of responsibilities/tasks and higher financial pressures."

A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine also discovered that parents who have experienced childhood trauma are also more likely to suffer from parental identity crisis and burnout, causing feelings of regret.

How can parents avoid regret?

In a nutshell? Plan as much as possible, says Dr Golly. 

While it's true that you can never be fully prepared before having a baby, it doesn't hurt to create a birth plan, a financial postpartum plan and a social support plan, he explains.

"Couples need to prioritise their relationship and the mental and physical well-being of mother and father. Truth is,  secure attachment is formed by having access to a physically AND emotionally available parent."

If you find yourself needing to talk to someone after reading this story, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For children and young adults, Kids Helpline is available on 1800 551 800.

Feature Image: Getty. 

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