A baby becomes a little girl, a little girl becomes a woman, a woman becomes a mum, and so on, and so on.
But what happens when that woman becomes a mum and regrets it?
Writer Sarah Treleaven explores what it’s like to be such a woman in her piece for Marie Claire, “Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids“.
Trevleaven speaks with Laura*, a 37-year-old journalist in Los Angeles who believed she wanted to be a mother, but after her son was born found that the feelings of frustration, boredom and dissatisfaction that are often associated with postpartum depression never lifted.
Listen to our conversation on Mamamia Outloud about women who regret motherhood. (Post continues after audio.)
“The regret hit me when the grandmas went home and my husband went back to the office and I was on my own with him,” she says. “I realized that this was my life now—and it was unbearable.”
As time went on, Laura felt more and more sure she had made a mistake by having a child.
“I hated, hated, hated the situation I found myself in,” she says. “I think the word for what I felt is ‘trapped.’ After I had a kid, I realized I hated being the mother to an infant, but by then it was too late. I couldn’t walk away and still live with myself, but I also couldn’t stand it. I felt like my life was basically a middle-class prison.”
And Laura is not alone.
In a piece for The Daily Mail, Isabella Dutton writes about the regret she felt about having her children. “I know there are millions who will consider me heinously cold-blooded and unnatural, but I believe there will also be those who secretly feel the same,” she says.
Though taboo to speak about, there are many other women who feel the same sense of regret.
For some the regret is simply about missing another part of your life as the aptly named Redditor LoveMyKidsMissMyWife explains,
“I feel like it has destroyed my marriage,” he writes. “Both of us have changed since our child was born and I’m afraid the people we’ve become are not as compatible as the people we used to be. We never talk to each other, we never do anything together, and the very, very infrequent sex is basically her attempt to maintain her ability to claim she makes an effort in our relationship. Any communication that happens between us is about logistics regarding our child. I understand there is a brief period after birth where everyone needs to adjust but it has been over four years now.
"This was not the life I wanted to live."
"I love my child more than anyone else on Earth, save for my wife. But I miss having a companion in life. If I had known it would be like this, I don't think I would have made the same decisions."