All mothers have momentary wishes that they weren’t scratching dried vomit from their clothes as they leave the house, that they didn’t have an audience on the toilet or could experience a night of solid uninterrupted sleep.
For some, the regret of having children is not a momentary experience but a desperate painful yearning that drags on all day every day. These woman are often forced to suffer in silence as it is not socially acceptable for mothers to think “if I had my time over I wouldn’t have children” let alone express this regret to others.
While these women consistently report their “love” for their children they also go into great detail about their distress in their role as “mothers”.
I listen without judgement and with empathy. These women are not inhumane monsters but people in pain. I try to create a safe space for them to explore all their negative thoughts, feelings about being a mother which generate such guilt, shame, grief and isolation.
I explain that they are not alone in their experience, there are other mothers that have similar thoughts and feelings. I try to provide hope that the work we do together can bring relief, despite the fact they are confronted with the unchanging and overwhelming job of being a mother every day.
I explore the possible reasons for their loathing of motherhood.
The experience of depression and or anxiety before and or while pregnant and or after the birth of their child(ren), unrealistic expectations, isolation and lack of social support, not ever wanting to have children or being uncertain and felt pressured into have them, or negative changes in the relationship with your adult partner after having children.