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Source: (consider it) Thread: regret having children?
Jemima the 9th
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I don't regret having them, but by God it's been hard. I know lots of things are hard, and if it wasn't having the children it would probably be something else.

I've spent a lot of the past 2 years with a mentally ill teenager and a non sleeping toddler - and I only have 3 kids! I have spent a lot of that time consciously feeling unable to cope with what I need to do to be their mum. It's been awful. (Oh, and I think I also had PND after the first 2 kids but it got missed).

We are just (I hope) starting to climb out of that now, and occasionally there are even moments of fun. I almost relax sometimes.

There doesn't seem to me to be much point in regretting having them - but that's just my way of dealing with things. There are things I have lost as a result of their being here though, and I do grieve for those. My career was never stellar, but it certainly won't be now! And my brain. I really miss my brain.

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Mudfrog
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I'm sorry?

I'm sure she would make her own response admirably - I can tell you that she loves our sons and is as proud of them as a mother could ever be.

She would likewise have no regrets whatsoever.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mr cheesy
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OK team, let's not get too lost in the weeds here - I'm sure it is perfectly possible to be a parent without any regrets at all.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Jemima the 9th
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Bother, I meant to add that I think anoesis makes an excellent point about parenthood supposed to be coming naturally. There are lots of things that are "supposed" to happen, and they just don't, for everybody.

I think that has a big impact on regret - on missing things that might have been, if not regretting having the children themselves.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I'm sorry?

I'm sure she would make her own response admirably - I can tell you that she loves our sons and is as proud of them as a mother could ever be.

She would likewise have no regrets whatsoever.

That's two - three - different things. I love both my kids. I'm very proud of them both. But I - and I'm sure Mrs Mudfrog has - sacrificed a great deal to bring them up.

I'm not saying that the sacrifice wasn't worth it. But it still doesn't mean I can't consider the path not taken. I don't love my kids any less for that.

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Get your arse to Mars

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Jack the Lass

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I've tried two or three times to compose an answer to this thread, only to delete it because I couldn't quite come out with anything that sounded coherent. Anoesis' and Jemima the 9th's posts have both resonated a lot with me, even though my situation is different (older mum with an only child who is 3 - she's even an amazing sleeper!). I think though I've figured out why I was struggling with the right words - it's because although I feel *something*, it's not regret, I'm just finding it quite hard to name whatever it is.

I don't regret having my daughter, not for a minute. I do though absolutely relate to not feeling like parenting is coming naturally, and I worry that I am letting her down by not being good enough. That is exacerbated by postnatal anxiety, which is now mostly OK (or at least manageable) but does still rear its ugly head from time to time. I also feel bad sometimes that because we are older parents she is always going to be an only child. I feel bad that sometimes I find parenting boring. I feel bad that I sometimes can't face doing fun things with her because I'm too tired. My career feels like it's regressing, and whilst I'm not a career-minded person particularly I nodded scarily enthusiastically at Jemima's "I miss my brain". I feel so selfish, and I hate that.

I still feel like I'm constantly aware of everything around us and prepared for everything (although that is much less intense now than it was in the first year). I do feel like my identity, which felt pretty much lost and buried in the first year, is re-emerging, but do I like it as much? I don't know, I'm too tired to think about it too deeply.

I think a lot of what I'm looking to express here is guilt, mixed in with being knackered. But regret, no.

[Edit: apologies Jemima for mis-attributing your posts elsewhere. Baby brain [Smile] ]

[ 13. February 2017, 20:50: Message edited by: Jack the Lass ]

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
I've tried two or three times to compose an answer to this thread, only to delete it because I couldn't quite come out with anything that sounded coherent.

Me too.
Parenthood isn't zero-sum. Negative emotion and thought can exist without diminishing the love and joy of a child. One can long for what is lost without diminishing that love.
Still, thinking too much on what could have been isn't too healthy, IMO. Better to think on what can be, and that is a lot.
Full disclosure:
I do not have a child, but I did help raise my nephew* from 0-13 and continue to be involved, though remotely.

*Full-time, parental substitute, not merely helpful sibling.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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rolyn
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Maybe some of what we are talking about here are misgivings as opposed to regret. Regret has implications of a deep sense of pain going on. I do not think anyone, female or male, who has brought a child into the world could equate that event with such a feeling.

Misgivings tend to be retrospective and living in society the way is today, with it's many choices and artificial freedoms, could give rise to a different kind of misgiving to which our ancestors had. For many of them it was often simply a case of mouths to feed.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Maybe some of what we are talking about here are misgivings as opposed to regret. Regret has implications of a deep sense of pain going on. I do not think anyone, female or male, who has brought a child into the world could equate that event with such a feeling.

You do not know enough people. There are selfish, horrible people who are parents. And every horrible waste of carbon you have ever encountered is someone's child.
And there is everything in between that and wonderful selfless parents of fantastic children. Most people are somewhere in between.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Misgivings tend to be retrospective [...]

Not in ordinary usage: "a feeling of doubt or suspicion, especially concerning a future event."
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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Maybe some of what we are talking about here are misgivings as opposed to regret. Regret has implications of a deep sense of pain going on. I do not think anyone, female or male, who has brought a child into the world could equate that event with such a feeling.

You don't think there can be any deep sense of pain going on? Then let me introduce you to my good friend, or at least companion of many years, post-natal depression. And don't tell me whether I have felt, or am feeling, pain or not. It's only a hairsbreadth away from that to implying that people should quit whining and snap out of it.

[ 14. February 2017, 02:01: Message edited by: anoesis ]

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Mudfrog
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The question was 'do you regret having children, not 'do you still love your children even though there have been difficult times?'

re·gret  (rĭ-grĕt′)
v. re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, re·grets
v.tr.
1. To feel sorry, disappointed, distressed, or remorseful about.

Despite spending huge amounts of money that I could have kept to myself for my wife and I to have a luxurious lifestyle! (not), I do not feel sorry, disappointed or distressed for having those boys in our life.

I guess I'm abnormal then??

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


Despite spending huge amounts of money that I could have kept to myself for my wife and I to have a luxurious lifestyle! (not), I do not feel sorry, disappointed or distressed for having those boys in our life.

I guess I'm abnormal then??

You misunderstand. This is nothing about being sorry for having individuals in our lives who are our children, it is about a deep sense of regret about the way our lives have gone and the things we've had to give up.

I'm not sure there is an abnormal/normal in this situation, you either experience these feelings or you don't.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Boogie

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What if? is a very human question.

But I'm grateful that having children was, for me, a choice.

100 years ago I would have been popping them out one after another with little or no choice.

Yes, we were very unprepared - but isn't everybody?

I know plenty of people who get a new puppy and are amazed at how much time they need to give up and just how 'on watch' they need to be. You can't wrap a puppy in a nappy and pop it in a cot [Razz]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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mr cheesy
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I do think it is more than that, though.

Oversimplifying the problem: modern life is very binary, the expectation is that people are only fully human if they're engaged in worthwhile careers. Parenting is desirable as long as it doesn't get in the way.

Unlike in the past, economic pressures today mean that an increasing number of parents are completely disengaged from careers and other social outlets - in order to allow another partner to progress in career (or for economic reasons, if that's different).

Which, I think, makes many people unhappy. The parents who work fulltime may well regret a lack of family time. The parent who works part-time may well experience a lack of worthwhile career. The parent who doesn't work may well experience isolation and forms of depression.

Other people from different generations experienced these things differently. For one thing they tended to remain in one place for longer, for another it was much easier to find a less demanding job which paid the bills. Of course, those other generations experienced different kinds of problems.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Erroneous Monk
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((Bib and son)) - wish there was something helpful I could say, but I don't think there is.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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Erroneous Monk
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I wasn't sure I wanted children. The Old Man was much more sure. But no regrets at all about them - they are absolutely the lights of my life.

However, they have tied me into my marriage. But then, as I'm RC, and believe there's no way out of my marriage anyway, I suppose that is a good thing and not a regret. Sigh.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
you don't think there can be any deep sense of pain going on? Then let me introduce you to my good friend, or at least companion of many years, post-natal depression. And don't tell me whether I have felt, or am feeling, pain or not. It's only a hairsbreadth away from that to implying that people should quit whining and snap out of it.

Nothing of that sort was intended by my post.
Sincere apologies to yourself, or anyone else, if that is how it came across.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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The etiology and treatment of childhood, an article which may be of some use. Childhood being a disorder present from birth, with conventional treatment approaches being fruitless (or vegetable-less, given the ubiquitous childhood symptom of "legume anorexia" [refusal to eat vegetables]).

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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anoesis
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NP, that is extremely funny. Even down to the Newman and Baddiel style insult-fest tucked away in the refs...

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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I enjoyed that very much - thanks NP

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Moo

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I have a strong maternal instinct, and I enjoyed my children a good part of the time. I was aware before I had them that there would be moments when I felt infuriated.

When both girls were teenagers, my husband died unexpectedly. The fact that my daughters needed me more than ever, gave me a principle I could order my life around. Otherwise I would have floundered.

Moo

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
You do not know enough people. There are selfish, horrible people who are parents. And every horrible waste of carbon you have ever encountered is someone's child.
And there is everything in between that and wonderful selfless parents of fantastic children. Most people are somewhere in between.

We apprend these children as "in need of protection, place them with foster parents. The biological parents get assessed and these assessments are reviewed by family court. After 2 years we get a permanent order and they may be adopted, either outright of in a supported adoption. I am still in contact several times per year with a fellow who was so placed in the 1980s, a wonderful parent himself. The shame is the 2 year timeframe. Should be faster in many cases.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Tukai
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
[snip]

Even if one did regret having children, that, like all feelings of regret at anything thought, felt or done in the past, would be a waste of time because the past cannot be changed. We can only hope that our experiences can possibly help someone younger to avoid our mistakes, but then of course, they will make a whole new set of their own.

I agree. "No regrets" is my general philosophy in life. But perhaps we have been lucky. Apart from one who died in infancy ( a life lesson in itself), all of our children have turned out healthy , active and intelligent, and the same is true of our 4 (so far) grandchildren. BUt there is no doubt that having a family changes one's life path, even when (as in my case) my ever-loving wife gave up her career (temporarily as it turned out) when our children were young.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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