'I love my kids but': The parents who regret having children

Talking about the regret of having children is still a taboo topic in most societies, but affected parents have found support in online communities.

Some societies across the world are slowly but steadily coming to terms with the fact that not everyone wishes to have children. But the one thing that is still taboo when it comes to having children is the discussion around the regret some parents have after their children are born. Because they can’t talk about their regrets with family or friends, most of these parents have turned to online forums to vent.

Regretful parents

Forums like r/regretfulparents on Reddit offer a safe space for parents and children alike to navigate the challenges of living with the decision to have kids. According to the moderators of the subreddit, it is:

A safe place for parents who think they shouldn’t have become parents to rant, confess, get off their chest about their kids, significant others, families, whatever.

Most of the posts are from parents who seem constantly exhausted by the day-to-day performance of parenting. For instance, one Redditor who regrets having his 17-month-old baby recently posted:

I am curious for those of you who regretted your child at this age, did it ever get less or more manageable as they aged?
Getty/ ljubaphoto

People are generally empathetic and supportive in their responses while sharing their own frustrations. There are also stories of parents who started off with regret but have evolved to enjoy parenting.

Why do people regret having kids?

A good chunk of the posts on this platform are from people whose children have special needs. They lament the toll of having to take care of them probably for the rest of their lives.

For others, they never wanted to have kids in the first place but felt pressured into doing it and are now resentful of that choice. Often, these people feel they have sacrificed a lot of who they were to have a kid and are disappointed to be not be enjoying the process of parenting.

For some, the financial drain of raising a child is causing them to regret having one in the first place. A recent post asked:

If you were a millionaire/had much more financial stability, would you still regret having children?

Most of the responses were of people saying having money would mean getting more help and freedom to live their own lives.

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