Parents Who Regret Having Kids Explain What They Wish They Knew Beforehand

Not everyone is meant to be a parent. The societal pressure to have kids is something that leads a lot of people to reproduce, whether or not they like it. It may seem impossible to some to full-on regret having kids, but these Redditors do. Here are there stories.

u/Lemonlemongo asked: Parents who regretted having kids, what do you wish you had known before?

Lots of good advice.

I regret not doing/knowing the following before I had kids:

1.) Travel, a lot. Everywhere, the farther the better. Spend your money on it, use your time.

2.) Don't brush off school districts and schools when you buy a house, it may not matter now but it may be the things that changes your entire world in a few years, don't be selfish because it's a great price and you love the location now, but the schools are sh! t, Don't. Don't do that. You will be in a bad place later.

3.) Make sure your spouse will really, truly, co-parent with you. My cousins husband would change her sons diapers but not their daughters because "ew, that's weird" ... Figure it out before you're like 10 years into marriage and decide it's the right time.

4.) Consider your family dynamic - maybe you're just fine on your own with little help as an adult, but when you have kids, you need a village more than you'd like. Working with kids that constantly get sent home sick and need to go to the doctor, special half days at school and long school breaks. If it is just up to you and your spouse to take time away for all of that, you better have an understanding job that provides ample time and/or very close family and friends that are willing to take kids, pick them up, do overnights, the whole deal. My parents are in florida half the year and my in laws work full time. It's way more tough than I thought. I constantly feel like I'm going to get fired because I'm taking another unexpected day off because my kid can't go to daycare because they're sick.

5.) If you really want to have kids you better consider the fact that even though you feel pretty rich as a single person, or a maybe a two income household, that your area better have good, affordable daycare, or you or your spouse better be planning to stay home, in order to afford a kid or more. I know lots of people who make good money who were shocked to figure out that basically they can only afford to have one kid because the cost of childcare or the cost of staying home was so great that they could barely afford it. I live in a place where daycare is very affordable, I have three kids and we pay over $30,000 a year for daycare, and that's just the tuition. This is not your parents time - it's different out there now.

6.) This one got me the most - how independent/selfish/lazy are you... really. I'm what I considered to be a relatively well adjusted only child. I'm used to my space, my own time, being independent. I'm also pretty lazy. When I come home on a weekday, I like to rest, watch a lot of tv, hang out. When I had kids, it was a HUGE change. Someone needs you all the damn time, it is UNRELENTING. You never have your own anything anymore. You spend almost all of your waking time that your children are there tending to your childrens' needs. You beat yourself up for not being good enough at it, for being pissed about how miserable it is sometimes. For hating it. You will hate it sometimes. You need to very very very seriously consider your stamina for caring for others and putting everyone else before yourself. All the time.


Don't make these jokes.


My mother made it clear to my sister and I that she hadn't wanted us, that I was the product of my dad's unrelenting badgering and that my sister had been an ooops. She wasn't a good mom, at all. She screamed about everything, you never knew what would set her off, my parents divorced and we went on to be raised by my stepmom (not without her faults but she's a saint)- this woman didn't technically want us either, she hadn't chosen to get pregnant with us but she treated us just like her own. She planned (and paid for, with my dad) my wedding.

Things got better and my real mom is a good grandma now but let me tell you- hearing you're not wanted as a child, even in passing, even "as a joke" can shape someone's entire life and self worth. If this is you parents, don't you dare ever say it where they can hear you.


That's a messed-up family.

I always knew from a young age that I didn't want children. My family is all very strict Catholic Hispanics and basically picked who I was going to marry from a young age. Fortunately I liked the guy so we did end up married at 19.

I was very honest about not wanting kids. He was okay with that. Our families were not. I ended up pregnant even though I was taking birth control (more on that in a minute). Didn't noticed the missed periods because the type of birth control I took let you skip periods.

By the time I knew I was pregnant I was 5 months along which is too late for an abortion.

Had the baby, found out while in the hospital I ended up pregnant because our families ordered fake birth control online and replaced my pills with the fakes.

Needless to say my husband and I were pissed. I also had horrific postpartum depression but did the best I could. My husband took up drinking heavily to deal with the stress and one day he just never came home. Haven't heard from him since.

The baby was still an infant at that point (4 months) and I made the decision to put her up for adoption and move away.

Everyone says it's different when it's your own kid. Everyone says the first time you hold your baby you have an instant bond. Everyone says it's the most amazing/important thing a woman will ever do. None of that was true for me.

I'm in my mid 30s now and my daughter and her family made contact with me about 7 years ago. We talk regularly and I go visit for her birthday and some holidays. She knows the whole story and while I'm sure she doesn't really understand (she's only 13) she at least gets it a little.

If you know you don't want children, and have never wanted children, don't listen to people who tell you that you're wrong and will change your mind.

I'm trying to get my tubes tied to make sure it never happens again but haven't had luck finding a doctor whose willing to since I'm unmarried and under 40. Filled for divorce years ago and since nobody could find him it went through the same way it does for a missing person. We really need to stop acting like women don't understand their own bodies and wants.


It can ruin relationships.

This f*cking dilemma destroyed my relationship with what I considered to be "the one", she wanted kids, I didn't. I decided to break up with her. It's better than regretting having kids, but the last time I felt genuinely happy was 3 years ago and that also sucks a lot.


A good point.


Don't have kids when you struggle with mental illness.


I upvoted this, because my depression is one of the main reasons I choose to not have them. I don't think I can handle the stress while going through non functioning times nor would I want them to inherit the gene.


Maturity is everything.

My only regret about having kids is that I wasn't mature enough to handle that type of responsibility.

When my first came, I was determined that I can handle whatever comes our way, I was wrong, I was selfish and stressed my wife out a lot. I didn't want to spend any time with anyone else besides myself and became an alcoholic. I was really sad all the time, and was feeling a lot of negative emotions about my social group, my plans for the future, everything seemed to be out of reach. My wife and I argued a lot, but always worked things out for the sake that neither of us wanted our children in a separated family.

When the second one came, I had stopped drinking as much, and spent a lot of time working and saving money. I missed a lot of the milestones for both my children. It made me feel like I was alone and I felt like a terrible father, and felt a distance growing in my relationship with my wife. At some points I deeply resented the 3 of them, and I thought about leaving on more than one occasion for various situations we were in.

I eventually hit a point where I felt my soul being crushed, and I figured, "it's fine, whatever, I can be miserable as long as they're happy". And I stayed that way for a good 2 years.

Gradually I started to bond with my kids again, and just stuck around for them. Then I started bonding with my wife again. Now our family is functioning on all fronts.

It took 6 years for me to grow up and become a better father and husband...I regret that it took so long, and feel ashamed of how I screwed up at the beginning.

My first doesn't like me as much as my second, and my relationship with my wife is nothing like it was before having kids.

I wish I had known how kids not only change your perspective, they also change your future, and the relationships you have with others. If you try to fight it, you will lose in one way or another. Selfishness is a quality which only makes parenting harder than it has to be.


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It's exhausting.

For anyone now childless and is on the fence about having kids... if you have doubts, having kids is not for you.

I have 3 kids. I've always wanted kids. I love my kids dearly and wouldn't change a thing... but they are a F*CK TON of work and as exhausting as you could ever imagine.

Parenting sucks the life out of you.. but it's also amazing and rewarding. IMO, you should only have them if you know for certain that you really, really want them.


This happens a lot.


I don't regret having them, but I'm not as great at being a mum as I thought I would be. My kids are still every bit as huge arseholes as all other kids. And I do all the lazy bad parenting things I swore I wouldn't do.

I think I just wished I had been more realistic so I didn't feel like such a let down.


The identity crisis is real.

Everything about babies and children and pregnancy. Last time I was near an infant I was 5 years old and it was my baby brother.

Also, other women don't warn you. The whole time I was pregnant they would just congratulate me and tell me how excited, happy, and fulfilled I must be.

Parenthood sucks. There's no you anymore, only mommy or daddy. You have a identity crisis because you literally lose yourself in taking care of the child and responsibilities. Three years later I'm still struggling with post partum depression, it's not like how they explain it on the internet. "Give it time for the hormones to regulate". No.


Always worried.

I feel awful saying I regret my kids. They're here and teens now. It's pure selfishness on my part. Now that they're nearly 17 and 15, I find myself super scared about their safety and future and the stress is hard on me. I worry about them driving, I worry about them dating, going off to college, living independently, etc. I just don't want them to be in danger or get hurt and the worry is weighing heavily on me.


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