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Regretting Motherhood? A Pro Guide to Learn and Overcome Feelings

by | Motherhood

Willing to have children? It is usual to have some concerns. You may wonder if you can be the best parent or if you can take responsibility for a child. It depends on your financial, physical, and above all, mental stability. These are common concerns that are rarely considered.

regretting motherhood

Regret is an emotion commonly experienced by parents. In case you find yourself regretting the child, it does not make you a bad parent, and don’t worry! Because you are not alone. However, it is necessary to acknowledge the regret and take steps carefully to cope with it.

When you know how to behave and cope with these feelings, you can build better relationships with your one or two children. To cope with this situation, let’s discuss how to decide whether having kids is right for you and what you should do if you regret becoming a parent.

Is Regret of Having Kids after Becoming Parent Common?

The fact that some parents regret having kids is a concept that has been covered in shame. According to society and human being, the parent is not supposed to feel like that. However, most parents do not feel like that, but some parents cannot process the changes coming in their life with their kids. It makes them regret having a kid. Therefore, it is not an uncommon phenomenon.

The survey and exact figures are limited to the number of parents who regret having a kid because it is a controversial topic that many parents do not feel comfortable discussing. Despite that, according to a study published in 2021 analyzing the data from Europe and America. It claimed that 8 to 17% of parents regret that they become parents.

This research study mainly focuses on American parents. In this poll, parents over the age of 45 were questioned that if they get a chance to reset their amazing life how many kids they would like to have, and they said, we would like to have zero kids. It indicates that they might have regretted having the kid.

Why do People Regret Having Kids?

The main reason why most people are not happy having kids greatly varies from family to family, and the reasons are usually complex. However, it is commonly observed that the main reason wraps up around the pressure that many people, especially females, are compelled to have kids.

regret motherhood

In the family, women are supposed to want to become mothers, and the majority of women do not have a choice in this matter. Even if they think that they are not ready to have kids, they are forced. Having kids when you do not want to leads to an intense feeling of loss of identity, violation of the right of choice, and feeling of loss.

Apart from pressure, other factors that play a crucial role in the situation of women regret having a kid include:

    • A history of mental health challenges.

    • The adverse childhood experiences and fear of transferring the behavior.

    • Having a kid with special needs.

    • The history of physical health problems.

    • Financial issues.

    • Unstable marriage.

If you set these problems aside, you will realize that many people do not regret having the child but regret the circumstances surrounding the family. These circumstances can be personal or societal. However, some people also feel insecure that they are not eligible to raise a child very well. Their insecurities come in the way of having a child.

What does Parent Regret about Having Kids

When it comes to comprehending what the main reason for regretting having a child is, it is hard to determine one. It is because all parents and their priorities are different. The parents may wish to have the same amount of time, money, love, and opportunities they had before having a kid. If both partners fail to give the required time, they may start feeling upset about the impact having a kid has on their life, body, and other relationships.

Regretting Circumstances

These kinds of parents usually do not regret having a child but are upset with certain external circumstances. Thus, this expression gives both parents space to be happy being a partner and love their kid, but to take necessary steps to improve situations around them.


Some people look back on their life and regret not having kids sooner or later in their life. These sentiments are common in people who plan unplanned pregnancy. However, their regret mostly revolves around the opportunities they missed, but they consider the educational as well as a financial consideration.

one's life

As a person, he expressed how the kids disturb their series of opportunities. He says he loves his kids, but he wishes to have them one or two decades later. So he can set his career. Now he has been working at the same job for a decade and is afraid to try new places.


Many people also regret having more or less the number of children they have now. Some people regret having many kids, such as three or four. They love them and raise them. The regret fades with time when they grow up. It shows that regret also changes with time. Moreover, it is also a matter of social acceptability.


The other word for Parenthood can be Sacrifice. Parents claim that they had to give up many valuable things in their life with the arrival of new ones, such as time, money as well as education to take care of them. Moreover, they also regret having kids; they steal their leisure, comfort, and time. For instance, people usually have an easier life before the kids. They can travel, sleep or engage in different hobbies and relax on the weekends. But after kids, their weekends are usually surrounded by kids-oriented tasks.


Another major cause of regret is a partner. Some people regret having kids with a particular person. The reasons are of different types, such as physical problems like weight gain, low levels of libido, and more. On the contrary, mothers regret their selection of a partner due to personality and minimal involvement with the child.

On the other hand, fathers usually hate carelessness and some psychological and emotional neglect and consequences of not living with the child.

External World

Some people are afraid of the world, and now it is not a safer place for a kid to live. They claim that the world had become a less safe and positive place as compared to the time when they were children. The example parents usually direct is the incidence of September 2001.

Regret about Children

As you know, some parents are afraid for their children and regret the circumstances. At the same time, there are some parents who regret their children. This form of regret shows a negative attitude of parents toward their children and parenthood. Such parents usually express shame as well as guilt about their feelings.

Difficult Children

regret motherhood

Many parents are irritated by the challenges they have to face with the welcome of a new being. Their main regret stemmed from their child as a person. They disliked their child due to a different or difficult personality. On the contrary, some people regret their children due to their intellectual and physical challenges. Indeed, they love them, but they can do nothing other than regret their situation.

Consider Self as Bad Parent

Insecurities are one of the hurdles in the well-being of every person, whether they are becoming parents or not. Therefore, many parents regret having children because, after the children, they think they are not providing what they deserve. They saw themselves as bad parents.

Some parents state their mental health challenges as the main problem. The social anxiety and depression they are dealing with make it impossible to give children the attention they need for healthy well-being.

Parenthood Disdain

Sometimes parents accept that they are not comfortable with the life they have after their children. They regret the kids because they hate parenthood and the losses. With parenthood, they had to give up a lot of things like careers, hobbies, time, and money. It is especially true in the case of mothers as they have to be more attentive regarding their kids. Mothers are the ones who give up the most.

Childfree desire

Many people like the freedom they have in their lives. They do not want to have children and get stuck with their responsibilities in one place. Some parents never wanted to have a kid, but due to an accident or because of pressure from parents or society, they had to have the kids. When somebody does something against their will, they always live in regret.

How to Decide If You Should Have Kids

The reasons for regretting having kids are usually directly associated with unpreparedness and lack of planning. Instead of regretting having the kids, you are suggested to focus on your life, surroundings, and situation and figure out what you feel. Because what you really want decides what kind of life you are going to have.

Here are some tips you can consider while making the decision.

Accept that it’s Fine not to Know Whether you Want Kids

One of the primary issues about parenthood or motherhood is the assumption that it is somehow wrong to know. There is a visible number of men and women who do not know whether they want kids or not.

regret motherhood

To make the decision, first of all, you need to be convinced that you should know if you want to have kids or not. If you are not certain, avoid having kids. It is rational to consider different factors in making decisions as it will help track the future.

Why Do you Want to Become a Parent

Why is the most powerful question that helps unfold the mysteries and resolve queries? Ask yourself why the question of parenting comes up. Are you ready to own the responsibility of parenthood, and is it just outside pressure?

Sometimes, external factors can be impactful. For instance, if your parents are pressuring you with their desire to become grandparents. It might be a powerful but subtle factor that should not influence your decision.

You must have heard your friends saying, ‘you will understand when you will become a parent.’ It indicates that parenthood is not as simple as it seems to be. It can turn your life upside down.

Therefore, you need to think and sort your own thoughts about parenting without letting the subtle outside factors influence you.

Give Yourself a Break from Thinking

When you keep thinking about the same thing for a long while, it is possible that you will feel burned out so soon. The feeling that time is running out can contribute to stress, which makes the decision even more difficult. You might think to rush to make a decision, but don’t panic and make the right decision.

In all the turmoil, you can decide to put the question aside for a short time. If your mind wanders to your topic, try to move on consciously. Once you are feeling fresh and ready to work again, return to the question. This time you might find it easy to answer these questions.

Focus on Your Feelings about Motherhood

Parenthood and motherhood are life-changing decisions, which is why it is crucial to consider how you feel about them. Understand your fundamental desire before deciding what you want. Once you know what you want, review your decision. For this purpose, introspective writing is the best option to organize thoughts and keep the focus on the goal.

Imagine in life: Imagine what you expect from parenthood. How you have been and write how life would be after becoming a parent and acknowledge your responsibility and role in the future with a baby. Then write about having a relationship with an adult child. Similarly, think about the later stages of life when you will be child-free.

Journaling: Keeping a journal can make It clear to you how you think and feel. It also understands your changing thoughts and priorities. Whenever you think about parenting choice, write it down. When you look back, you will understand how you have been feeling in the past and how you feel now. It will give you the track of your growing interest.

There is no Wrong Decision

When you are choosing if you want to become a parent or not, remember that there is no wrong decision. Many people wonder what if they make the wrong decision. When you make a decision, be certain about it. The courage to make the decision will provide you strength to make it real.

Don’t Draw Conclusion

You should not relate your situation to others as everyone has different problems. If you feel broody on seeing a mother on the bus, you may feel that you should not become a mother and have a life like a woman sitting next to you.

Your first reaction to the lady holding a baby should not be your final decision. You should make the decision from the experience of being around children.

Remember that Your Fears are Irrelevant

I am certain to be worried and skeptical about the decision. Thousands of fears will occupy your mind to make the decision even more difficult. However, when it comes to gaining clarity on whether you should or should not have children, try to cease them from your mind.

Everybody has some fear while making decisions about life, but keep the priority to clear your mind and not let fear cross your mind.

Disassociate Desire from Decision

When you ask people what they want, they will put every thought and feeling on the table. However, if you are trying to get the answer from other people’s thoughts, remember that you are not doing justice to yourself.

Every person is raised in a different environment. So, they surely have different thoughts and values. It will surely affect the decision.

It is Really Regret or Some other Feeling

Many parents deal with the powerful feeling of regret when it comes to having children. This is the feeling that they cannot ignore and shake off. It seems to last longer than the expectations. On the other hand, some parents go through more transient thoughts and regret. Nobody could ignore the fact that a large number of parents must have thoughts at one time or another that they would have been different yet easier if they didn’t think of their kids.

Anyhow, you need to understand your feeling that if you are regretting or simply burnout due to overworking:

Burnout vs. Regret

Parenting is a challenging time, and many people find it tiring and feel burnout. According to APA, burnout during parenthood does not involve depletion as well as exhaustion, but it includes deliberate distancing from the child. You may start to dislike the kid and not want to come near them.

Consequently, these feelings burn out the parents. They may sometimes feel guilty and ashamed over the behavior and feelings they are having for their own kids. These feelings are somewhat similar to the feeling of a parent who regrets having the kid.

In case you feel that you are experiencing parental burnout instead of a complete feeling of regret, here we have mentioned a few things that you can consider to feel better.

Try different ways to manage your stress.

    • Share your emotions with trustworthy family or friends. You can also get in touch with a therapist.

    • Take short breaks in the form of meditation or five minutes walk in the fresh air to destress your mind.

    • You can adopt any reliable way to share your burden and responsibilities. For instance, you can get your partner to contribute more and even hire childcare.

    • Reconsider what it means to be the best parent. Keep in mind no one can reach the level of perfection in parenthood.

Postpartum Stress

Apart from feelings of regret and burnout, stress and sadness can be the result of postpartum depression. If you are always regretting it, it is possible that you are experiencing postpartum mental health instability, which is known as postpartum depression.

It strikes about 1 in every 9 people who are embracing parenthood. Anyhow, it is characterized by sleeplessness, hopelessness, sadness as well as racing thoughts.

The feeling of disconnectedness and detachment from the little baby, feeling like you are a bad mother, you do not love your baby, and being unable to provide him successfully what he deserves are usually symptoms of postpartum depression.

You may start considering yourself the worst mother ever. However, PPD is treatable. It is possible with different combinations of medication as well as therapy. With a bit of technique, the doctors can actually make it possible to feel more connected to the children.

Do Women ever Regret Having Children?

Child-free women feel insecure, fearful, and guilty about their choices. So think about what a woman would be hiding and cannot even imagine elucidating other regrets as well as fear. The concept that your child is not the center of your attention and he is an unlimited source of joy are common sayings and expectations from the parent. This idea leads many parents to deny their feelings of sadness and regret out of fear of being judged by the people in society.

This idea has been elucidated by the research about social and psychological factors influencing parental regret. Many parents who admit that they regret having kids are often considered burnout due to responsibilities and financial restraint. These people love and care for their children, but they find the role of provider and caregiver more demanding than their expectations.

There is no mystery that parenthood is a challenging duration occupied with a bulk of expectations as well as responsibilities that fall on the mother’s side. Therefore, women are always stigmatized for their role in the child’s life. The woman is always judged that if she is struggling with her professional life and responsibilities of children, she is not providing excellently what they deserve.

It does not imply that she has less devotion and care for the children, nor does she lack the skills of being a parent. Every family has a different situation, so no one can bind a woman to the feeling of regret. Only she can determine if she is regretting or just burnout. If a woman feels regret, there is nothing to be ashamed of because anyone can have this sort of feeling.

What to Do in case You Regret Having Kids?

It is easy to look back and regret the wrongdoings. The parents who regret having the children usually keep some distance from their children and do not realize what is wrong they are doing. If you have any feelings of burnout or being distant from your kid, here is what you need to remember to avoid affecting kids’ childhood and upbringing.

Take Care of Yourself

Many people forget about themselves when their kids arrive. Later they regret not considering their own health. To avoid releasing frustration on kids and disturbing them with unnecessary anger, start caring for yourself. You can spend time at a spa or do meditation to come back home in the best of health and mind.

Yell Less

Parents who regret having kids or are burnout and frustrated start yelling at their kids. Instead of regretting in the future for not being so cruel with your kids, avoid yelling and set flexible deadlines. You should be aware of children’s anxiety due to fear of being objected to. Yelling affects their emotions and mental health in the worst form.

Use your Words Carefully

When parents are not happy with their children, they are less likely to be mindful of their criticism. So they regret being insensitive towards the grades and failures. To avoid raising harsh and emotionless children, it is better to control your emotions and watch your words before speaking.

Indeed, you need to tell your children where they are lagging and what is wrong, but carefully choose the words so as not to hurt them and teach them at the same time.

Worry Less

Is it your first child? Take it easy. Do not stress too much about grades, college applications, or anything else. Let the children do the flow and their own speed. Relax and let your child take the next step. If they fall, instead of panicking, tell them courage and try again because everything is not supposed to be perfect.

When you are less worried and panic less, these emotions will be transferred to your kid. They can sense what you feel about them.

Travel More

Traveling is a form of catharsis that provides you with awareness about different cultures and yourself. Therefore, travel as much as you can before the kids are born. If you are financially and physically stable, take your kids with you on short trips. When you spend time with them, you will be able to develop a friendly bond. You will surely love life with kids. Stop living for a mortgage, live for yourself.

Recognize your Kid is Distress and Being Affected

One of the biggest regrets that the average parent has in later life is that they did not recognize the signs of depression at a young age until it turned so acute. Learn about your activities that trigger depression and distance you even more in the dark days. With excessive rude behavior and less understanding surrounding them, the children usually go into darkness at a point where it becomes difficult to revive the best mental health. So be mindful!

Push Less

Let the kid live in freedom. If you let him decide what he wants to do with his life, he will be more concerned about your opinion. Do not fixate on the career and college for your child; instead, show them the right path and give them the freedom to do what they love to do.

8 Tips for Moving Forward for Positive Parenting

Know how you need to handle your kids when you already regret having them. The feeling of regret is a strong emotion that can not be shaken, and it is likely to last longer. To cope with his emotion and take care of your well-being, follow these simple yet valuable tips:

Acknowledge your Feelings

The only way to find a solution and move forward is to accept you are dealing with some conflicting emotions. Usually, mothers experience regret or negative emotions even without realizing them. These feelings are taken from anything else, like irritability, aches, pain as well as sleeping problems.

To acknowledge what is happening with you, take some time alone to understand how exactly you feel about parenthood. You can do this by writing or journaling. Here are some common questions you can ask yourself.

    • What do you dislike?

    • What do you miss about the pre-child period?

    • What do you like about being a parent?

    • How has your life changed after the child?

After answering these questions, take a few hours to notice what comes up. You are likely to experience positive emotions such as happiness, joy, and gratitude or negative feelings like sadness, disappointment, or regret. Let yourself express everything and stay present in this movement. It will help you manifest exactly what you are feeling, and you can enjoy time with your little one more happily.

Don’t Judge Yourself

Now you know what you are going through, avoid making judgments about yourself. It is possible that thoughts like regretting parenthood are making you a bad person, and you should not feel like this may enter your mind. However, remember that you should not let these thoughts bother you.

The fact is that every situation in life has both pros and cons. Similarly, parenthood is not different. You need to permit yourself to have these feelings. When you know how you feel, let yourself manifest these emotions and take steps to deal with them.

Work on Solving the Issues

Your task does not end with addressing the emotions. Problem-solving is good for addressing what is causing you negative emotions. When it comes to dealing with regret, problem-solving can help you figure out what is contributing to these feelings and make changes accordingly.

    • First of all, take some time out to figure out what you regret about having the children:

    • Do you regret parenthood due to the negative emotion and insecurity of being a bad parent?

    • Are you not satisfied with less time and money for yourself?

    • Are you not happy with the impact children have on your marriage and relationship as a couple?

Once you have clear thoughts about what is bothering you, you can take a help, talk honestly or parenting class if you want to take some more time out of your busy life to spend with your kids, brainstorm ways to adjust your schedule, or delegate a few tasks to free up some time. Instead of the negative side, focus on your situation and make necessary changes to manage the bothering thoughts of parenthood.

Make a List of Benefits and Rewards

As you know, there are always both aspects of the situation. It can be positive and negative. When you are going through a tough time, it is convenient to overlook the positive aspects of parenthood. To keep in mind these positive sides, make a list for yourself of the benefits as well as rewards of having kids.

This list should include particularly sweet memories, achievements, and daily events. It can include warm hugs, watching your child learn new kids, and some fun days at the park. Keep the list at hand, and daily refer to it and add more events. Especially when you are feeling down, it will help you lift your morale.

Engage in Self-care

It is an act of caring for yourself physically as well as mentally. Self Care is essential to keep up with parenthood. For physical self-care, remember to attend to your basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, exercising, and getting enough rest. Moreover, take care of your cleanliness and hygiene.

On the contrary, if you are concerned about mental health, you should do some activities to help you feel relaxed and happy. These activities can include your hobbies like reading, writing, and even getting a fresh haircut from the spa.

Find a Hobby to share with Your Child

At this difficult time, you should try to connect with your child as much as you can to overcome feelings of regret. You can find different ways to spend time with the kid to have a positive feeling about parenting. You can find a new task or fun hobby that you both can enjoy together.

There is a wide range of activities that are fun for both kids and parents. It includes hiking, dancing, traveling, or taking a dance class. You can brainstorm to find an indoor fun activity. You can take paper and pen and come up with different ideas. Pen down all and experience them one by one.

Get Support

Even after trying all the tips and tricks, if you are still unable to cope with these feelings, it is the right time to ask for help. You can connect with other families who are struggling with the same situation. It can be beneficial if you set up playdates with other families. You can also join mommy and me classes together to get more supportive friends.

When you surf the internet, you will come across different support groups, both in-person and online, which are particularly intended for the parent dealing with such an issue. These groups are usually led by mental health professionals. Find a group, narrate your story and get the solution by connecting online.

How Therapy can help Mother who Regrets Having Kids

Giving birth is the time of over-rush of different emotions, including negative ones. Negative emotions such as regret are harmful to your mental health. Contacting friends, other couples, and counselors can help you solve the problem. However, it can affect different areas of life, like difficulty in parenting as well as self-care. If it is happening to you, it is possible that you are dealing with depression.

The major depressive symptoms include:

    • Low energy

    • The sadness, which lasts for more than two weeks

    • Increased and decreased sleep, diet, and appetite

    • Difficult to focus on one thing

    • Suicidal thoughts

    • The increased and decreased movement

The specialist and therapist can understand these issues and guide you accordingly. It is better to swim alone in the ocean of regret and sadness, take help and get out of it as soon as possible.

Things to Remember and Avoid if you Stress Having a Kid

People who regret parenthood are usually affected by the sort of parenting they experienced in their children. Moreover, when you go to every extreme, things get unbalanced. Instead of blindly following the therapists, it is better to navigate the true reason for regretting and try to create balance. It will provide you peace in your life.

Child-Centered vs. Family Centered

It is a growing trend that when the baby is born and grows, everything starts revolving around him. Either weekend are spent on the football field or for play dates. After work, parents have to rush to the house for dinner or have dance class afterward.

When the parents start spending such a boring, colorless, and less self-oriented life, they start regretting having a kid. Remember that a child is a part of the family, not an MVP. It is essential to give the extra time but keep the balance between your and your kids’ life.

While raising the kid, also think about what you like to do and surely add that to your schedule. With time, try to add some activities that engage the entire family. It is a great way to develop a great bond with the all other family members and avoid feelings of regret.

Gentle Parenting vs. Passive Parenting

Gentle parenting is a common style of parenting in the entire world. It revolves around skills as well as emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, this type of parenting has been perceived wrongly. Some parents associate never regretting. Moreover, they do not enforce any boundaries as they consider them too stern.

Children are not sensible. They do not know what is right and wrong for them. Instead of unconditional support, they need a leader that can set the routine and rules of their life. Rule enforcement is important for better well-being.

For instance, you can set the timetable. If your kids love to play with water, you can let them get drenched in the basin while washing their hands. This is not gentle parenting, but you are exploiting them. In this situation, gentle parenting means rushing to the bathroom and telling them to stop. Then casually tell them it can be fun, but it is not right to spread water everywhere. Clean in front of them to do the same next time.

Parenting is a Relationship, Not a Job

Many people take parenting as a job. Particularly, they consider it a job in which they are supposed to impress the kids like a boss. Therefore, they regularly read books about parenting, like instruction manuals, and avoid as many mistakes as they can. Such parents usually avoid doing homework when their kids are awake.

Once the child goes to sleep, they run around like a machine to prepare meals and clean the house. Then they finally fall on the bed like their duty is just over. Who wants to get in this situation again? Of course, one. Instead, you should take parenthood as a relationship. Indeed, the kids require attention and first serving, but 100% undivided attention is unnecessary and even unhealthy.

You should be flexible in your parenting style. Set a particular part of the day when you are entirely focusing on them, and also set the time for cleaning and other house jobs even when they are awake.


In case you are feeling regret about motherhood and consider yourself bad parents, remember that you are not alone. Indeed, these feelings can be distressing. There are a few necessary measures that you can take to avoid a negative impact on you and your child’s life.

the regret is also visible by the behavior. those who have not seen positive environment, they disassociate themselves from. they usually tell people to call by only her first name.

When you acknowledge and try to solve the problem, these emotions will not interfere with your life. Now you can enjoy the rewards and benefits of parenthood. Even if it is a challenging time, finding a support system can also make this duration bearable and easily acceptable.

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