Lately everyone seems to be in a tizzy over this article where a mother declares that her children are her biggest regret.
Gasp! Oh the horror! How could a mother say such a thing?!?!?
Having a baby is probably the biggest change that can happen to someones life. Now that I’m a mother I know that I really had no clue what being a mom entailed. None. Yes there’s smiles and giggles, hugs and tears, messy diapers and food everywhere. However, there is so much more. Being a parent, but especially a mom, can be incredibly taxing on your mental and emotional state.
Imagine having a baby that is colicky from birth. There’s nothing you can do to soothe him/her. They cry and cry and cry. They are a fussy eater refusing to latch onto your breast for milk, refusing formula and barely sleeping for more than an hour at a time. Yes, there are two of you in the home to help out, but no one is really getting any sleep with a screaming baby in the house. You’re worn out and can barely function because you’re human and you need sleep. People tell you it gets better, except in your case, it doesn’t. For the next 3 years your child is hell on Earth, but it’s your child. You love him/her, but you sure wish you would’ve thought more than twice before deciding to have a child. That child has turned your life (and your marriage) on it’s head so much that you regret the day they were born.
That up there is a true story. It’s not my story, but that of a friend. I felt bad for her. I still feel bad for her. I don’t know how she’s making it. Life with her kid has been anything but beautiful. I can clearly see how she can love her kid, but regret that he was born. My friend has changed for the worse. She’s bitter and mean, the complete opposite of the carefree, always smiling gypsy that she formerly was.
When you have a baby, your life changes. We all know that. But I bet you no one ever told you about the mourning period that you may go through.
When Johanna turned one, that’s when the mourning really got to me. I was a stay at home mom in the house with her everyday. I was always trying to find something for her to do, eat, see, etc. My life was now completely about her. I couldn’t take a nap unless she did. I couldn’t make a move unless she did. I could not do anything unless Johanna did. And lets not forget about friends. When most of your friends are single with no kids, they tend to leave you high and dry after having a baby. Suddenly invitations for me to go out dwindled. The phone calls stopped rolling in. This social butterfly was now a caged bird. I cried. I cried so hard. I missed my former life. I missed work! I missed coming home from work and flopping on the couch to watch tv. I missed going to happy hour. I missed enjoying my husband. This introvert missed being inside of her own head. My life had completely changed and I was angry! I was angry at my friends and I questioned their position in my life. I was angry at my husband for not being able to be a mom and have our daughter respond to him the way she responds to me. I was angry at myself for not having it together as a mother and being able to do it all. It sucked. It was truly a depressing period. While I never wanted Johanna to go away, I missed the time when all I had to think about was me. Now every decision I made I had to think for 2 or 3. Me and Johanna, or me, johanna and the husband. It was a lonely period. Incredibly lonely.
I am just now coming to the end of that mourning period.I decided months ago to stop chasing friends that didn’t chase me. If they didn’t understand that me being a mother and wife didn’t mean that all I wanted to do was be a mother and wife, then forget them. It was truly ok. I started going out to happy hour by myself and doing things for myself. Slowly but surely some of my friends came around. In August I got a job, and I tell you it is one of the best things to happen for me and Johanna. We needed some separation. I love that girl with my whole heart. I never knew my heart could be so full. But when they say absence makes the heart grow fonder they never lied. Going to work is like a vacation for me. It’s me time! Cooking in the kitchen while *dh looks after the kid? Me time! People in the grocery store laugh at me as I’m singing and dancing down the aisles. They don’t even know how freeing grocery shopping is for me now. Me time!
However, I can truly say that even in my mourning period I did not regret Johanna. She is my special gift from God. But she was also the model baby. She only woke up once every three hours to be fed and changed. She started sleeping through the night by 6 months. She used to be a really good eater (I miss those days) and although she has more sass than any adult I know, she also has incredibly sweet moments. She says Please and thank you, she gives hugs and kisses (when she wants to) and she lets me cuddle her. I love her. I’m thankful for her. She’s made it really easy to love her.
I just want the mom of that article to know – I get it. People have kids for all of the wrong reasons all the time. There are plenty of women out there that regret having their kids. Yes, regret. That strong word, and they mean every single syllable of it. But they love their kids. It is possible for the two to coexist and those that say it isn’t are wrong. How dare you say someone else’s truth is false? I have regretted plenty of people in my life and my mother was one of them. For a moment in time that lasted almost 3 years I regretted that I was born to her. I’m so thankful that that period didn’t last and by the time she passed we were best friends. But I regretted God giving her to me for a time, I did. But I loved her fiercely too.
Being a mom is hard. Let me say it again – it is H A R D! I could only imagine how much harder it is when you never bonded with your child. It took me 6 days to bond with Johanna. I bonded with her the Tuesday after she was born. That Wednesday my mom passed away. I know deep down in my very soul that my mother waited for me to form that bond before she left this Earth and I’m so thankful for that. Bonding doesn’t happen immediately after a baby is born for all women. Bonding is not the same as loving. I held Johanna all the time when I was in the hospital (whenever I wasn’t in the ICU) and whenever they removed her from my room to bathe her I got antsy. I loved her, but we weren’t bonded yet. This woman never bonded with her child. I don’t think she would choose for things to be that way, but they were. I bet that was really painful for her as well. I have sympathy for her and her kids.
To be clear, I would never write an article saying I regretted my child if that’s how I felt. I just couldn’t. But a lot of mothers live with that truth every day of their life and that article was probably very comforting for them.
Have you ever regretted having your child(ren)? Do you know anyone that has?