I do wonder whether they get asked the same questions as me, but in reverse. Does anyone ask them why they decided to have children? Does anyone ask a woman with a child if she will regret her decision? Does anyone imply that her choices make her selfish? Emotionally unfulfilled? Immature?
Claire J. Harris
THIS! Women have such a hard time admitting they regret having children. You can see women in over their heads with screaming kids, mom is high on Xanax. You see moms hating their lives, giving all of themselves to ungrateful children and detached spouses. You hear the regret in girl talk. Women discussing regrets of marrying their spouses or getting impregnated by their that are causing them financial hardships, causing them to put their lives and dreams on hold, or that their snatched the fun from their lives for a season.
I tell child-free women all they time they are smart. I wish I was as self-aware at your age. I wish I didn’t bow to peer pressure or family members expecting me to have kids I wasn’t ready for. No one tells women the truth about the physical, financial, mental and emotional burdens of parenting. No one tells us how lonely it is, or how much we give with little or no return on our human investments. Even if warned, women really don’t it get until they get into it, by then it’s too late.
It’s culturally not acceptable for women to say anything negative about child-rearing or to admit they regret having children. It’s a huge lifetime commitment, and even after children are grown, parenting just evolves, it never ends. Most women don’t talk about the loss of friends and friendships because they had kids. Kids grow up, go off, get married, and live, leaving their mothers/caregivers behind to look at a spouse they no longer know and to clean a home that’s now too big for the two of them (unless they raised the kid poorly and they don’t leave — then they likely have regrets about their child-rearing). Hell yeah, they have regrets. We all have regrets. We just are too afraid to admit it for fear of backlash or hurting our children.
But regrets are a part of life and we women should be able to say we have regrets without being sent to a therapist. Regretting our decision simply means if we had better information about the topic, we probably would have made a different decision. There should be no shame in that.
It’s okay to be selfish. There is no wrong or right way to live your life. You just do it and figure the shit as you go. Enjoy your life, enjoy your friends, and do it with no regrets. Never allow anyone to bully you into a lifetime of responsibility you already know you don’t want. And if you change your mind, that’s fine. Don’t be forced to make decisions based on the thoughts and beliefs of others. This is the best time of your life. Most women miss it because they chose to have kids too young. My kids are grown and gone. I got divorced, and now I do all the things I couldn’t when my kids were younger. I can’t do it all. I have regrets. It’s time I can never get back.
You only live once. Make it count, and make choices YOU won’t regret. Thanks for sharing this essay. I just wanted to say you are a wise young lady.