Do You Regret Having Children?
A recent Daily Mail story sparked a controversy when a mum stated how she regretted having kids. Find out why she called her kids 'parasites' and why she didn't like having children!
The headlines screamed controversy from the pages of the Daily Mail: “The mother who says having these two children is the biggest regret of her life”. The story is put together by contributor Isabella Dutton, a mother of two. She shares her personal experience and confesses to regretting having had children.
The 57-year old talks about how she resented all the time that her children consumed, “like parasites”, and how she was bitter that her children “took from (her) and didn’t give back”.
Difficult to comprehend?
As a parent, was your reaction outrage and shock that a mother could say such things? If you read the entire account, the story clearly seems like it is meant to infuriate. Dutton claims that though she has regret and has never felt any maternal affection for either of her children, she has still performed her duties responsibly. She also says that she doesn’t understand why she feels the way she does.
However, if you think about it — parenthood is hard. For so many parents who find it rewarding despite its ardours, there must be a few who are miserable and regret it.
Are all women born to be domestic and maternal?
We all assume that women are all born maternal, naturals at nursing the sick and caring for babies. But while much of this tendency may be rooted in genetics, it simply isn’t true for everyone.
Growing up, it was my father who was a natural at soothing feverish babies and wiping vomit while my mother gagged. He also sewed the curtains for my house and hemmed our school uniforms. My mum was a loving mother, but not terribly domestic at all.
Today, I have many friends who are married but have no desire at all to have children. Their answer was they didn’t feel a maternal instinct at all. This suggests that in all probability, not all women have to have children as a matter of course. The difference is that women now have a choice not to have children, whereas in the days before birth control, they didn’t have a choice. They had to accept children as part of their fate whether they did or didn't have any regrets.
And even among my friends with kids, quite a few have confessed that they can’t wait until their children are old enough for childcare so they can 'escape back to work'. Even loving mums may not want to spend all day and night with their demanding toddlers.
The responsibility of parenthood
Dutton’s article ended with something surprising, however. She revealed that although she still does not enjoy babies or does not want to become a grandmother, she willingly became a full-time carer to her now 31-year-old daughter who developed multiple sclerosis and that she would “cut off her right arm” if her daughter needed it.
In the end, perhaps, the question is not whether we regret having children, but whether we face up to our responsibilities towards them once we have them.
What about you? Do you have a secret regret about having children? If so, what are they and have you ever shared them with anyone?