Image by 1388843 from Pixabay

Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. There are plenty of people who don't have children by choice. Then there are people who do have children and soldier on despite not being particularly happy with that decision. Circumstances can also change and affect opinions over time. Having a special-needs child, for instance, is remarkably challenging––and society doesn't necessarily prepare you for that reality because the image of the "perfect family" is so idealized.

After Redditor BriquitteLait1 asked the online community, "Parents who regret having kids: why?" people shared their stories.

"While I don't regret rescuing her..."

We adopted a four-year-old who turned out to have severe issues. While I don't regret rescuing her from what could have been a bad life, the first 20 years were rough, especially the first 7 years. Her overwhelming needs blew up my marriage and left my slightly older son saying, "I want my childhood back." She's a lovely 28-year-old, and I love her, but man those years were rough.


"I was never abusive..."

I don't think I was ready at the time for kids, I was still figuring out how to be an adult and a husband.

So my kids' formative years I wasn't a very good father to them. I was never abusive or mean but I was very very career-driven and spent almost all my time working instead of playing with my kids who desperately wanted my attention.


"My mom wouldn't consent..."

I didn't get to make the choice for myself due to my age and state law. My mom wouldn't consent to an abortion after I was assaulted. I love my son dearly, but I never asked for this and I never wanted kids to begin with. I haven't gone to college, I have severe depression, no friends or support system to lean on, and I'm broke. It has ruined my life and I'm only in my early 20s.


"But the big one..."

Kids are a lot of work. I was never really excited about parenthood but agreed to adopt with my spouse. I miss sleeping in, not worrying about dinner plans. Freedom to do whatever I want, etc.

But the big one is my AM. We have a 1 and 3-year-old so diapers potty time and getting them dressed has ruined the morning for me. No more leisurely shower and grooming time.

Oh and I'm introverted and generally hate most conversations. Talking with children is brutal and leaves me drained.


"We romanticize families way too much..."

Because no one prepares you for those situations that are not perfect: special needs children, mentally ill children. We romanticize families way too much and downplay the difficulties and emotional pain that come with them. And no one talks about this before you have them— I was totally unprepared even though I was married and stable with a college degree. Yeah, you might get great kids that do really well, and you might not. I did not have the temperament to be a good parent and should have been encouraged to explore that before I had them.


This is true.

I am constantly in awe of my friends with special needs children. They are strong people. They are also unflinchingly honest about their struggles while striving to do the best they can for their kids.

"I miss the ability..."

I don't regret having my son, but sometimes I miss my life before I had him. I miss the ability to just do whatever I want whenever I want. Now I have to do it based on his schedule. I know one day it won't be as hard, but right now I miss my freedom.


This is a big one.

It's probably one of the major reasons why I wouldn't want to deal with children. I actually really like children––they're awesome and it's great to see them learn and grow. But I also know that I'm selfish with my time. I like to give children back.

"If I had known..."

I have two kids and they're an endless series of PTSD triggers. If I had known the extent and nature of my mental health situation I would have never had children. I love my kids but it is what it is.


"My oldest son..."

I caved when my wife got baby fever entirely too soon after our first. My oldest son had just been diagnosed with autism and I just kind of thought that everyone with very young children were miserable until they were 4 or 5 years old. I repeatedly told her that not at all ready to have another child but gave in. We weren't doing well financially or personally but I just wanted to make her happy.

She asked for a divorce soon after our youngest turned 1. It's becoming more and more obvious just how self-centered and selfish my ex-wife has always been.

I'm trying not to be bitter but I hate a lot of being a single dad of two young children without any help. I eat what I'd like to say often because I realize it wouldn't be productive. I grew up with parents who had a terrible divorce and I'm trying to make sure my kids don't live the same fate.

I'm lonely and terribly depressed, it feels like my life consists entirely of working and being a dad. It feels like no one will ever love me again and everything about dating sucks.

I don't blame my children. I love them more than they might ever know. My life would be infinitely easier without kids but I hope they'll never know how I feel.


"The only reason..."

I adore my children. The only reason that I regret having them is that I'm not very optimistic about the future in general. I don't want them to suffer through the decline of our nation/world.


More and more parents...

...are expressing concern about climate change and the impact it will have on their children and their futures. News outlets have reported for some time that climate change is shaping family planning.

"I still love him to death..."

My son has autism and I sometimes regret having him. I still love him to death but when I see that he's not like other kids and doesn't really socially interact, it breaks my heart. I worry about his future and what would happen when my husband and I die. Will he be independent and take care of himself? I worry a lot.


More and more people––particularly mothers, who bear much of the work that comes with child-raising––are speaking out.

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.

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