Becoming a parent and having a child is a massive change in anyone’s life.
While some people are certainly more prepared to have a kid, that doesn’t exclude them from having post-birth regrets.
Having a baby can be an exciting time throughout the birthing process – you get to plan outfits, design nurseries, and prepare for the future with your new family member.
However, once the baby is born, everything becomes quite a bit more real. There’s now this human in your care that you’re entirely responsible for, and your independence is gone for the next 18 years.
There are plenty of factors that can lead a parent to regret their decision to have a baby. But don’t worry, that’s entirely normal!
You’re not alone in having regrets as a parent.
Regret Having Children? You’re Not Alone
While it’s statistically less common to have these regrets, they still plague thousands of parents each year. There are many other parents out there who, if given a chance, would not have had kids in the first place. Many of these parents are experiencing the fear of a newborn baby, but plenty still has these fears long into the baby’s life.
Some parents begin to experience these regrets once the child becomes a toddler.
Regardless of when your regret sets in, it can be pretty alarming once you’ve accepted that these fears are present. Once you’ve accepted that you’re regretting becoming a parent for whatever reason, you can work to alleviate these regrets and address the root of the issues.
Just know that you’re not the only parent experiencing these feelings and that there are plenty of sources online for help.
Before we can look at solutions, let’s try to understand why you’re experiencing regret.
Reasons Behind the Regret
There are many different reasons that parents regret having children.
Some might be labeled as more “selfish” reasons, but it’s important to remember that your mental well-being is essential for your child.
If you feel like your regret is selfish, it’s not.
You do need to take care of and address your feelings as a parent, as well as your child’s. Here are some of the most common roots of parenting regret.
One of the most common reasons for regret is the dependence this new child will have on you. It can be scary to think that your life now must revolve around someone else.
Many parents begin to fear the commitment of this new relationship and become saddened that their life as they knew it is changed forever.
For some parents, this manifests as regret and resentment for the child.
Sometimes parents will receive more children than they want. Many parents will go into pregnancy wholly prepared and ready for one kid, only to have two come out.
When you’ve done the work and prepared for a specific outcome only to have double the work thrust upon you in an instant, regret can be pretty standard.
The same can be said for having triplets instead of twins or even having fewer kids than you intended for whatever reason.
If you don’t have twins, think of the poor folks who do, AND they might feel double the regret you do.
Many parents might have had a child with someone they didn’t intend to bind their life with.
One of the most common regrets of becoming a parent is due to the partner. This can be one of the most traumatic causes of parental regret and challenging to overcome.
Luckily, experts recommend some mechanisms to help you parent even when the partner is someone you don’t want in your life.
There is also regret caused by the impact it has on your relationship. Not only do you have less time for each other, but you are both too tired for intimacy, which is a common reason for drifting apart as a couple.
The impact on intimacy is one of the biggest reasons men might regret fatherhood.
One reason for this regret that seems to be growing in popularity is due to the circumstances of life.
Whether you’re afraid of politics, growing unrest and war, or do not have the financial backing to support a comfortable life for you and your child, your circumstances can play a significant part in your parental regret.
This might be the number one cause for modern couples to swear off having kids at all.
How to Alleviate these Feelings of Regret
Just because you have these feelings of regret doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with them.
There are ways to address and alleviate these feelings so that you can focus on parenting your child. Here are a few steps that you can take to rid yourself of these feelings of regret, or at least turn their energy away from impacting your children.
Accept that the Regret is Present
The first step to any recovery is accepting that there is a problem.
Once you accept that these feelings are genuinely affecting you and are present in your life as a parent, you can work to address them and solve them.
By working to address your regret, you’re already taking a step to become a fantastic parent.
Be Kind to Yourself and Your Family
Please don’t beat yourself up about having these feelings. It’s completely acceptable to be scared of a massive change in your life, no matter how far down the road they manifest.
It’s okay to have regrets, and it’s essential to take care of yourself mentally.
When you’re kind to yourself, it’s easier to be kind to your child and any partner that may or may not be present.
Beating yourself up can lead to resentment and disdain.
Address the Root Cause
Once you’ve discovered what led to your feelings of regret, address it and work to make it better.
For example, if you are scared of independence moving forward in life, give yourself some time once your baby has gone to bed.
Treat yourself and make the fear of dependence less critical in your mind.
Remember the Good Times and Live in Them
No matter how much regret you’re experiencing, there are still little joys that come now and then. Remember those moments and try to live in them.
When there’s something that both you and your child enjoy or find fun, try to bring that into the usual folds of your life and replicate the joy.
The hard times are hard, but the good times are excellent.
There are friends and family in your life that want the best for you and are willing to help you out of even your darkest moments.
Open up to them and ask for their help – your parents might have even experienced the same feelings early in their parenting days and could know how to help.
Seeking Help For Parental Regret
If you are struggling and depression and anxiety are setting in, it is time to speak with a qualified medical professional.
Do not rely on searching the internet for answers. Just book some time with a medical practitioner and let them help you.
Is it normal to regret having a baby? It can be, but it’s not all that common, despite what new parents tell you!
I don’t think there is anything to regret about having children, but I understand why some people might feel that way.
If you genuinely regret having children, then there are some steps you can take. Maybe you want to consider adoption? Or perhaps you want to ride it out until they are old enough to leave home.
Please ensure that no negative feelings are put onto your child or children. Research has shown that a negative upbringing will impact your child’s family in the future.
Look after your mental health, and look after your child’s mental health too.