I Don’t Like Being A Mother

702 Comments

I Don't Like Being A Mother

I read posts all the time – on this site as well as others – about how tough motherhood is.

Posts about how it’s hardest job in the world, that it’s thankless, that it’s exhausting, etc. As it is.

But they all seem to begin or end with the same little caveat: That the author wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. That she loves her children to the moon and back despite the hell that they put her through. That motherhood, even with its many flaws, is still the best experience of her life. That she wouldn’t change a damn thing if she could.

But, here’s the thing I’ve never admitted out loud before… I would. I would change it all. Because, in my heart of hearts, I don’t like being a mother.

I love my children, I do, and I write these words anonymously so they never find out the horrible feelings I feel. But I have to get them off of my chest somehow; the burden has become too much to bear. Ever since becoming a mother 12 years ago, and every day since, I haven’t been able to escape the sinking feeling that I shouldn’t be one.

It’s not the trivial things that people complain about like peeing with an audience or having to drive to endless lacrosse games. It’s the fact that I truly liked my life better before I was a parent. I liked who I was better, and I spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming of those days.

I take good care of my children and they have an adoring father, grandparents and aunts and uncles. They are well adjusted, happy human beings. They are fine It’s me who’s the problem. Me who feels like I’m playing a role I wasn’t meant to play every single day of my life. Me who must be missing some chain of DNA that all mothers are supposed to possess.

I’m not sure what I want from putting this out there.

I’m sure I’ll be called a bad parent and people will suggest I just leave home; that my kids would be better off without me. But I won’t, because I don’t think I can ever truly be happy again, whether I’m at home with two kids or living on my own somewhere far away. Guilt would consume me either way, so I may as well be the only one to suffer and not bring the whole family down with me.

And there’s always nighttime, when the kids are soundly sleeping and I can dream of the days before motherhood; the days that should have lasted forever.

Comments

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    • 3

      Anonymous says

      Being pregnant now at 43 with my first child, I completely understand this woman’s feeling and also respect her honesty and opening the door for other’s of us to be honest.
      No. Motherhood is not for everyone. Sometimes, it is a strange oddity you wind up in finally after one’s life has been taking care of your parents (like mine has) and finding that once they pass (like my mother just did in February) – where do you go from here? My anguish and grieving the loss of a mother who had me at 40 btw, and who was someone who made it clear to me she lost her dreams after I was born and then turned inward my whole life while I tried to make her happy, really sucked. As a result I never found the ability to find happiness for me. The times I tasted it and it was taken away, I felt a complete failure. And now here I am with a little alien-wonder growing inside of me. Did I really ever want kids? Only because I thought it was progression of time and it is “what comes next” I am part of a generation that was caught between a rock and really messed up place of not being nurtured to find me and concentrate on my happiness. I only pray that I do not make the mistakes psychologically my mother did. Do I look forward to the special moments with my child? Yes. Do I look forward to the times that are draining and reminding me I haven’t achieved in my life what I want yet? No. Do I look forward to trying to figure out how to completely be a working , strong and independent woman and show my child what my mother tried, but failed over and over again at? No. Again I admire this woman for opening a taboo conversation. I also hope I find support groups that help me find me through the process and learn what it is to be accomplished at more than changing a diaper, breast feeding, and teaching my child to use the toilet. If I have a boy, yea! the world is kinder to men and I know how to raise a gentleman. If it is a girl- dear god help me have a relationship where she feels strong and respects me and I give her something to admire. Amen.

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      • 4

        says

        You are better off & your child will be, too, b/c you’re aware of the perils and what you do and don’t want for your child. It won’t be easy, but the caring in your voice shows you’ll do a good job. Although I didn’t want to be a mother at first (still undecided), there ARE good moments. I hope you have a boy too. I have one of each & boys are so much easier.

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    • 5

      Kerri says

      I thought I was the only one too. How unbelievably relatable this post was. I’ve felt that way for several years, ever since my husband moved out and I was left with three close in age boys, ages 3, 4, &6. I hear story after story of single moms doing it all, going to school, working two jobs, all while being supermom and I know that isn’t (and never will be) me. I’m also severely depressed and even though im bring treated there are still some days where all I can do is chain smoke and nap the entire day. I love my children so much and I take good care of them, I care about their general welfare but I clearly am not cut out to raise kids.

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    • 6

      k. says

      There are a lot of women that never wanted to be a mother! It doesn’t mean a woman is a bad mother just because she didn’t get baby hungry and little baby shoes still make her get gooey eyed.

      I was in that place, I loved who I was, and then found out I was pregnant. That baby sucked my whole life and identity away. Other mothers made me feel horrible when I mourned my life before, as I tried to find joy in my new found prison of being a mother.
      It wasn’t easy to admit I had a right to my own life outside of being a mother, but my husband is a wonderful man. He could see I needed more then just being mom. We have worked it out over the years, we share the time with child caring so that it is not all on my shoulders and I still am allowed to pursue my dreams.
      What do my kids think about this? My 4 daughters aims are high for they don’t see a limit on what they can do. My oldest is in medical school, next one down is pursuing engineering, and so on…all the way to my littlest one that excels in math and science just like her big sisters. I am still mom that never did change, I am the one they still run too.
      To this mother I say, no one ever said you have to give up your life to be a mother, your children will be better off to have a strong mother who didn’t give up on her dreams, then a sad mother who is sacrificing her life because she thinks that is what a mom is.
      -Just a warning- mother-in-laws are really good for a good guilt trip about making her perfect son watch the kids.

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    • 7

      Ebie says

      I can totally relate! I’m often heard saying, “I suck at this mom thing!” Thanks for being brave and sharing your feelings. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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    • 8

      Melissa says

      You’re the majority! I find it interesting that people are saying they feel alone when I see the majority of mothers feeling this way. The problem lies in not embracing your new life. You want your old life, and regardless of these comments supporting your regret, that’s a very sad way to live. Your children will grow up, and you will have your selfish life back before you know. Yes, you are selfish. You can try to deny it, but that’s what it’s called when you hate the responsibility you have as a mother. No, you’re not alone, and the news has endless stories of other selfish parents who feel exactly the same. And I see them every time I take my children to the park! Here’s a solution: team up with other parents and trade baby sitting so you can all have selfish time. Just remember, you never get this time back. Love your children with all your heart because nothing you’ll ever do in life compares to how you love your children. Parenting is the most important thing you’ll ever do. Take time to be good to yourself so you can be the best parent! Nothing matters more than this!

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  1. 9

    Melissa says

    I admire your strength, courage and honesty. Motherhood isn’t for everyone. Despite that, you love your children and are caring for them the best you can. I’m thinking good thoughts for you.

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    • 10

      Jaden says

      Totally 100% agree with this comment, I was having the same thoughts… I’m hoping for this author that she finds some kind of peace and that someday, when her well-adjusted kids grow up (because she did her best despite how she felt about being a Mom) she can let go of the guilt of today and be proud of how she stuck around and did the right thing. And also hoping that when that day comes that her children are grown, she is able to reclaim a bit of that freedom and happiness of her youth. <3 hugs to you, Mama.

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      • 11

        Rachel says

        I agree with both of you, and Jaden, I could not have said it better. This article is heart wrenching for so many reasons, and hopefully the author can one day find some of the inner peace that she so obviously deserves.
        Hats off to the author for being willing to say what a lot of women actually feel, but are made to think is abnormal.

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      • 12

        Nicky says

        I admire your honesty and I completely understand what you are feeling. I am relieved that I am not the only one who feels like this. I love my kids more than anything but I always wonder if I was really ready. I feel like I am two people, a monotone auto pilot mother at home just meeting their needs and then when I am out in public I have to pretend to be happy and playful and interested in other people and their children when all I want to do is go have a nap. It’s a struggle, but there are those glimpses of love and silliness that help make it bearable. Not having help, family, friends, support, being depressed, having severe anxiety, etc. all contribute to me feeling this way I am sure but I take it day by day and try to make happy memories for them even if I am not.

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        • 13

          Destinee says

          Omg! Y’all said a mouthful then. I’m so glad I’m not alone. I look at moms who absolutely can’t live without their kids. As for me, I always feel like I would rather be doing something else.

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    • 15

      Camellia says

      No. Please stop ‘wishing’ she would fall into line like you did. Not everyone is made to be a mother, and many times people feel this way and that’s okay. She loves her kids, and she’s raising those kids well, but you desiring her to give up her dreams of who she is, hell, to give up who she is, so she can become Perfect Mommy Dearest is kind of disgusting and arrogant. Stop trying to tell her that motherhood has to be joyful when it actually has deprived her of the joy in her life. You’re no better than these people who say women HAVE to be wives and mothers to matter.

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      • 16

        Desiree says

        She said she hopes the author finds joy in her role. Why wouldn’t you hope someone else would find joy? I think you read a little bit too much into that comment. The author of this article has chosen to stay and take care of her children despite being unhappy, to save them pain. Would you rather her unhappiness continue or would you rather she be able to find joy? If you’re offended by the idea the author seek counseling; we are hardwired to feel a certain way regarding our children, if the author doesn’t feel those things there is a very real probability that she may be suffering from some form of depression and not even realize it.

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    • 21

      fushia fairy says

      I agree. I wanted to be a mom and it was hard at times. I can’t imagine doing it if you never wanted to or having more after realizing you don’t like being a mom. It is okay to not want to be a mom.

      I am so confused why any of these moms went on to have more children???????

      Glad she is getting support here and advice.

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      • 22

        Melissa says

        I, too, feel exactly the same way the author feels. I only have one daughter, but did marry a man who has full custody of his son. I never wanted more children, and I do take complete responsibility for adding another child to my life through marriage. And if I’m being perfectly honest, like another reader stated earlier, I am selfish. I am selfish for the life that I want, which is not the life I have. I was a young mom, again my doing not anyone else’s, and I long for a life where I have the freedom to be exactly who I want to be. I’m a good mom, my kids (both are 12) are smart and respectful, but I dont want to be a mom. We take amazing family vacations, sit down to dinner together every night, pray together and spend tons of time together. But I count the days til my kids go to college, truly believing that my life will be better then. When my husband and I go out, or hang out with friends, we rarely talk about our
        kids cause lets be honest….most of our life revolves around them. I too think that this topic is a huge faux pas and thats why women are so secretive about it. But the emotions are real…just as real as love and hurt. I dont hate my kids…I hate being a mom. If I could change that emotion…I would in a heartbeat. I dont want to hate being a mom. I just accept the fact that I do.

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  2. 23

    says

    There are some things I relate to in this. Feeling this way does not mean you are a bad mom! Somedays I feel like I’m just playing a role that I don’t have the script for. I love my daughter and I’ll do anything for her, but when she’s asleep and I’m all alone, I feel sad as well.

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    • 27

      A Write Relief... (for PND) says

      I completely agree, Sharon… I too have felt perhaps I’m not “made” to be a mother, but also love my kids and don’t seem to reflect on the days before motherhood as much as this author. Society and the stigma attached to speaking openly about motherhood has a great deal to answer for. So very sad that mum’s out there (myself included at times) don’t feel they can truly speak about their feelings. Big hugs to this author. She is most certainly not alone. xx

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  3. 29

    Alissa says

    Oh shit you are not alone. At all. And despite how you feel about it, your kids would not be better off without you. Sorry, but if I am stuck with mine, you are stuck with yours too.

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  4. 30

    says

    I completely understand how she feels. I struggle to find the magic in motherhood that I seem to see everywhere else. Let’s face it in many situations this job is the most under valued profession in the world. No pay, no benefits, minimal praise, no incentives, and the work is hard. Who imagined that they would be cleaning up human excrement for 3 plus years, then all of the other stuff. It’s extremely overwhelming even when there are two of you! I personally am a single mother and struggle every day. I really think that the cookie cutter idea of motherhood isn’t for everyone. Some of us are different and we might be doing things because were supposed that just aren’t the right for us. Who says we all have to be the same? Don’t get me wrong my kids come first, and isn’t that what a mothers love is. Putting someone first even though you may not want to. It’s a struggle for some of us, it’s nothing to be ashamed of or sad for. Some moms need to be a mom differently and are too afraid to because of the pressure of society.

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    • 31

      Anonymous says

      I’m in total agreement of this statement.
      Whether we like being a mother or not, if you love your children which I can absolutely feel through this womans post despite her overall dislike of motherhood is that you simply find your life within your new confounds. You’re not a bad mother and I cry on a daily basis at the end of the day when my well is dry and my back is hurting and my partner comes home with a heavily weighing day. I feel under appreciated and if not that then not really seen even though I know I dont do this for accolades. My life wasn’t better before I had kids, but I also never realized how much freedoms I did hve before children. I wasted a lot of time looking for the right one, the right time, focusing on so much of my lack of things that I never realized how much I really had. Do I regret that wild misperception? Yes. But I realize this is what I chose whether or not I knew what I was getting into it and that I have to stick it through because I have little people that I am responsible for. To raise and if nothing else, to teach compassion and empathy to so that when We all grow up I can hopefully have harnessed a good enough bond with them that they can be their own people and see me for my own person, different or similar and we can love each other and help navigate this world together.
      I have a very confusing relationship with my mother because she shared every feeling and experience of hers throughout my whole life with all the best intention but with no boundaries not ever truly allowing me to have my own experience and my own feelings toward things.

      So maybe you can carve out a place for your own time and life that is just yours. Where you can indulge in your own bliss and breathe your own air away from them. Then come back with a new perspective on your blessings. It’s hard I know. I think I’m damaging my children on a daily basis when I can’t control my anger and frustration. Simply because I’m tapped and exausted.
      Although if we can do that for ourselves, and as I stated earlier help harness their lessons in life for compassion and patience and acceptance in the differences in others… Have you ever taken your envisioning the past and put it toward a vision of the future where you can find self forgiveness and self acceptance, see that your teachings and love for your children will results in future conversations of your experience that they come inquiring about. To help them with adulthood, with shame or guilt of decisions they make that they wish They hadn’t. This is all for something. Don’t ever lose faith in that!!! You will have a beautiful bond with them maybe one day you won’t have to carry this burden alone.

      You HAVE PURPOSE and you ARE NOT ALONE.

      WHETHER YOU LIKE MOTHERHOOD, I can feel that YOU ARE A GOOD MOTHER AND GOOD AT MOTHERHOOD! Mothering simply takes empathy , a discerning mind and selflessness. Where did that selflessness get confused with self neglect. I’m still trying to take back my power gracefully myself.

      I hope this helps. I admire your honesty. No use in giving this power any longer by holding it inside. Let it out to the right people. And fuck em if they can’t take reality. Save yourself as well.

      Much love mama.

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      • 32

        Anonymous Mommy says

        “When did selflessness get confused with self-neglect”. Couldn’t have put it better. I often feel that if I’m not absolutely killing myself, I’m not doing enough as a mother. I have often felt as though I shouldn’t have needs. Mothers are not robots, but our society expects to behave as such. As long as our kids and spouses are taken care of, we don’t matter. Sick? Too bad. Hungry? It can wait. Exhausted? Oh, stop whining, mom. It makes me crazy. It makes me just want to sit down and quit. Becoming a mother doesn’t mean I stopped being a human being.

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      • 34

        farmmama says

        That was a perfect statement that should be in the non-existent parent handbook!! I am printing this and making it the new mantra! It is the perfect explanation of becoming a mother and explains a lot, LOL!
        “You HAVE PURPOSE and you ARE NOT ALONE.
        WHETHER YOU LIKE MOTHERHOOD, I can feel that YOU ARE A GOOD MOTHER AND GOOD AT MOTHERHOOD! Mothering simply takes empathy , a discerning mind and selflessness. Where did that selflessness get confused with self neglect. I’m still trying to take back my power gracefully myself.
        I hope this helps. I admire your honesty. No use in giving this power any longer by holding it inside. Let it out to the right people. And fuck em if they can’t take reality. Save yourself as well.
        Much love mama. “

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    • 36

      Anonymous says

      I, too, think counseling might be in order but not to help this mom ‘find the joy’ in being a mom. I think coming to grips with the guilt and sadness she feels are important, and perhaps finding ways to feel more like the self she wants to be.

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    • 39

      Leslie says

      Not everyone has the same maternal instincts or fondness for motherhood. Some people just don’t like marriage or even wish they hadn’t married the person they did. You may like dogs but hate cats and no amount1 of counseling can make someone form deep feelings that just aren’t there. It’s not fair to compare her to anyone but herself.

      On the other hand, we all miss our old lives and the freedom that came with it, but a lot of it is just part of growing up, even if you never had kids. I miss being in my 20s all the time. It was the most fun time in my life. But even if I didn’t have my kids now, I still couldn’t go back to being in my 20s and live that old life. I don’t know enough about the author to know if that’s part of her issue, but it’s a possibility. I’d be more curious to know what exactly she misses and if it’s really being a mother that’s unsettling to her or if there’s something or someone she’s still holding on to.

      She obviously loves her kids more than herself or she would be gone and she wouldn’t care about whether or not they found this. I’m sure her feelings are true, but she may not realize that we all miss our old lives at times and that could make her feel more guilty, which again makes her feel like a bad parent and it just feeds into a viscious cycle.

      I could be way off, but that’s my feeling on it

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  5. 43

    says

    It’s really hard to handle when you’re facing some form of guilt or disappointment daily regarding the parent you see yourself as. I’m glad this mom posted this because there are lots of women out there who can relate and it’s helpful to know you’re not alone.

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  6. 44

    Kate says

    Actually, you ARE a really good mother, whether you like it or not. By choosing to stay, being brave enough to say this — but not under your name… That’s pretty fucking admirable.

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  7. 50

    says

    I am sure this mom loves her kids. That isn’t the question.

    I hope she finds happiness. I am sorry that society/husband/situation/whatever her specific case was caused her to be in this situation.

    You aren’t alone. Please reach out and find someone to listen to you and find YOURSELF so that you can be a happy woman and mom. You can’t give anything unless you are whole yourself.

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    • 51

      Lonely Mommy says

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. I feel more judged in my role as a mother by other mothers than anyone else so it is nice to hear another mother speak the truth.
      However, after reading comments this leaves me extremely depressed. Where is the solution?
      It was said best when it was stated that she believed most women would tell her to leave her children but she couldn’t because the guilt would consume her then too and she might as well not take the whole family down with her.
      Where is the relief? The answer? What are we to do?
      I know our families can sense how we are feeling. I lost my identity and who I was when I was pregnant. Who am I now? Is my identity the fact that I am a caretaker, a cook, a maid etc? I do not like who I am anymore. I have no personality. I am numb. I used to have so much fire and determination…now my days are filled with yawns, frustrations, irritability and down right being miserable. I want a solution and I do not think it is to be found in a therapists chair or in a bottle of medication that will numb me even more.
      The knowledge that I am responsible for carving someone and being blamed for all the tantrums and screams from my three year old are just too much.
      We need a solution.

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      • 52

        KC says

        Lonely Mommy:

        I can’t say whether therapy or medication is right or wrong for you, but I’d just like you to know that in the experience of everyone I know who’s taken antidepressants (including my mom and myself), it doesn’t numb you. If it does, you need a new medication (and there’s tons, all with different effects based on your body’s chemistry, so odds are you won’t stump modern medicine and there’ll be a cocktail that works for you). What it should do is restore you to a point where you can function and be more like your old self. It’s not a magic fix, which is why I’d never recommend drugs without therapy as well, but I’d look into it as an option, because fixing some of the hurt inside yourself will make all the areas of your life easier.

        I don’t want to give you advice or anything, but this kind of lethargy and lack of self screams depression to me, and trying to go through life without help is like trying to run a race with only one leg; through no fault of your own, through a physical (NOT emotional, spiritual, mental, willpower, etc.) handicap, it’s harder to do what others seem to do so easily. Medication and therapy aren’t miracles that will make your life perfect, but I think talking to a specialist and getting help could be a really, really important thing for you. (Heck, I think therapy is one of those things that everyone should have, but that’s just me.)

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  8. 53

    says

    I got a definite “depression” vibe from this article. I can definitely relate to that. Maybe if she sought professional help she would learn how to enjoy her kids, motherhood, and life again. No judgment here, just sympathy. Not a lot of mothers feel this way, but I definitely don’t think that she is the only one. If you are reading this… Hang in there!

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    • 54

      says

      As someone who wishes she hadn’t bred, no. Just because one regrets one’s decisions does not mean one is depressed about it. Even if she is depressed, that may have nothing to do with her feelings about motherhood. Goodness knows, I do love my son to death, and I take very good care of him, but you can bet that I wish I hadn’t had him (I was too young, and I know for a fact that, if I’d waited until I was old enough, I would’ve decided never to have kids). That does not mean I’m depressed. I have sought professional help, and am happier in my life than I have been in years. I still regret my decision to have a child, though, because I know I would be even happier if I hadn’t.

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      • 55

        rosanne crews says

        I feel the same as you. I had my son when I was 19. I don’t think I was meant to have kids either. But I still loved him more than anything. I just never felt like myself since having him. But now he is 26 and out on is own and I am so proud of who he has become. And glad I hung in there and didn’t run. I was always dreaming of running away when he was a kid. Just gotta hang in there…..someday it will be better. My son and I are very close today and more like friends now. And I am still young enough to enjoy my life!

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      • 56

        brenee says

        Thank you Kristal, and thank you Anonymous. You are not alone, and by writing this you make many of us feel less alone. It is incredibly difficult to own that you don’t want your kids and feel the freedom to not want to change it.

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    • 57

      Camellia says

      Um. no. You wishing she would “learn joy” is tantamount to wishing that she would give up the desire for self, which is horrifying. Not every woman will take joy in having kids, and that’s okay. Not all of us needed little screamers to validate our lives.

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      • 58

        KC says

        Yeah, well she has them now. Would you prefer she spends the rest of her life being miserable? Finding happiness in spending time with her family isn’t “wishing that she would give up the desire for self,” it’s hoping that despite this decision she regrets, she can find a way to still be herself and not be a ball of misery for the rest of her life. It’s absolutely okay to not be thrilled with having kids, and everyone makes mistakes they regret, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to move on with your life and be able to enjoy it anyway. (Besides, selves change. I’m not the same person I was a 15, and I’m sure I’ll continue to become different people. If she can find a way to get to know and like her new self — since it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon — and probably even reconnect it with her older one, how can that be anything but good?)

        And no one’s saying that you need kids to validate yourself. Stop reading into people’s comments when they’re just trying to offer support.

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      • 59

        Eleni says

        Camelia, I think you’re protesting a little too much here, clearly bringing your own baggage. A person has stated that she made choices – irreversible – that make her unhappy. When others wish that she be able to find peace in her life you get confused and start referring to children as “little screamers” that women have in order to validate themselves? Wha? That’s insulting and sophomoric.

        Children are young human beings. Helping them to grow up is a difficult job, and some people are good at it, love it and find it rewarding. Others, not so much. People who make the wrong decision for themselves and are overwhelmed by the consequences need support and compassion and deserve to be heard. But just as we don’t need to shame women who don’t choose to have children (or women who regret and struggle with the choice), you don’t need to lash out at women who do have children (and manage to rock it).

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    • 60

      k says

      I agree about the depression cube. Maybe counselling would not be about ‘learning joy’ exactly but how to find ways to fit some of her old life back in – beliefs and hobbies for example.

      Can family members take a more active role so that you can take some time each week to do something enjoyable from your old life? Unfortunately mine aren’t so my life is simply whatever baby son & husband want/need…. i frequently feel miserable about it so have a lot of sympathy already.

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    • 61

      lisa says

      def. look into depression and don’t overlook ADHD. I struggled for self- acceptance of being a mom for 9 years. then I was diagnosed with adult ADHD and was given Vyvanse for it. it was like turning on a light in a dark room. I actually felt like interacting with my kids. then VOLUNTARILY playing with them, and found how much easier it was to teach them. Now I can see just how distracted I was and how it created guilt and a negative environment for everyone. not saying drugs can cure all disturbances, but it never hurts to ask your doctor for a couple of questionnaires to screen for mental health issues!

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  9. 62

    Jenn says

    These feelings do not make you a bad parent & your children would not be better off without you if they are well cared for, loved, and well adjusted as you say. I’m sorry that the one thing that has brought me & many others the greatest joy of my life has left you in mourning of your past self. I am sure you are not alone. I hope you seek counseling to help you with not only these feelings but the guilt you feel too. I wish you all the best.

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  10. 63

    says

    It’s heartbreaking to read that. But the fact that she wants to be anonymous and work through the feelings show just how good a mother she actually is. It’s a hard and thankless job. I hope that someday she looks back (probably with a grandchild in her lap) and realizes it wasn’t so bad.

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    • 64

      Anonymous says

      Thank you for writing this. It helps so many people to read these words. If you happen to find the way back to joy please write a follow up. Hugs, love and strength to you.

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