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‘I regret pouring my life energy into raising her’: Mothers reveal how it really feels to wish their children had NEVER been born

  • Parents asked to share their regrets on question site Quora
  • Woman admitted she wasn’t cut out for motherhood despite loving child
  • A father revealed that he ‘hates’ and loathes being a parent
  • Mum estranged from her daughter feels like she wasted her time

It’s one of the last taboos, that very few people will every openly admit to.

But mothers – and a disgruntled father – have taken to the questions site Quora to explain how it really feels to regret having children. 

An anonymous user posed the question: ‘What is it like to regret having children? Some people had kids and looking back wish they had never done it. What is that like?’ and the responses have been viewed more than 300,000 times.


Victoria was the first to reply, saying that she’d been so desperate to have a baby that she married the first man who was interested in having a child with her.

‘The biological urge was that strong,’ she said. ‘Strong enough to make me ignore glaring red flags that my now ex-husband was throwing at me constantly, as well as ignoring that I had spent the previous 27 plus years insisting that I didn’t want children.

‘I was the cool older cousin that my much younger cousins adored. I was the awesome aunt to my nephews, who still tell me they wish I’d been their mother.

‘I thought that would carry over into being a parent. I was wrong.’

Victoria said that almost immediately after the birth she realised she’d made grave mistakes.

‘I was married to someone I didn’t love who was a compulsive liar, abusive, and controlling and a complete idiot I had almost nothing in common with,’ she said.

‘And now I was the mother of this tiny girl and whose great idea was that? I wasn’t cut out to be a mother. I thought I knew what I was doing.

‘I really had no idea until her gorgeous blue eyes, my blue eyes, were staring back at me full of expectations and adoration and dependency.’

Over the years Victoria struggled financially, but she said her problems went deeper than that.

‘I’m sure there are plenty of people in this world who have children they suddenly can’t afford who never feel like having their children was a mistake.

‘I felt like, and still feel like, I made a mistake,’ she admitted.

Despite her feelings, she loves her daughter and has tried to be a good parent to her. But she’s never been able to shake off the feeling of regret.

‘I love my daughter. If anything were to happen to her, I would be inconsolable. I would want to die with her if she died,’ she said.

‘I feel guilty all the time that I’m not the parent she deserves. Even if I’ve done everything right and she’s a great person and I’ve been a good parent to her, I still feel loads of guilt because I regret being a parent.

Not because I failed as a parent, because I don’t believe I have, but because I don’t want to be a parent. I can’t even really explain why I feel that way, I just do

‘Not because I failed as a parent, because I don’t believe I have, but because I don’t want to be a parent. I can’t even really explain why I feel that way, I just do.’

Victoria said her daughter has no idea how she feels as she’s been careful to cover it up.

‘I have actively done everything I can to keep her from feeling unwanted or unloved, even ignoring my strong introvert tendencies because she needed me to let her be touchy feely when I wasn’t that person.

‘It was a struggle for me and still is to be her parent, and there is still that guilt, but there is also love and responsibility.’

A dad added his story, saying the birth of his son plunged him into ‘resentment and depression’.

Before having his own child, he loved being around children and was always ‘the guy playing with all the kids at any party’.

However, he had no interest in having children of his own, and his wife felt the same until she started nearing 40 and found an ‘unquenchable desire’ for motherhood.

After several rounds of IVF and lots of expense, she conceived and gave birth to a healthy and ‘quite adorable’ son.

‘I was immediately plunged into a seemingly endless spiral of resentment and depression,’ he said.

The depression was so severe he had to see a psychiatrist and go on medication.



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