The decision to have a child is a complexed commitment. There are women who have known they have always wanted to be a mother from early on, and then there are women who have the same strength of conviction that they never want to have children. It's the woman's body — it's her choice. But then there are women who are on the fence about becoming a mom. Some days they think that it would be great and other days, they don't feel ready. This little internal tennis match can go on for quite some time, and as many people say, we're never truly ready for motherhood until it happens.
Parenthood is wonderful in its own right but also comes with many hardships. Even mothers who have always wanted children say how tough being a mother is. (It's not like we took Motherhood 101 in high school!) Would they trade the experience for the world though? Absolutely not. Parenthood changes a person and can teach so many valuable lessons; lessons that could never be replaced.
From mothers who thought they'd enjoy parenthood more to mothers who ended up taking it in strides, these are 20 stories from moms who are making it work.
20 "I like my kids, I don’t like mom-ing."
Every mom would agree that they absolutely love their children. However, not every mom actually loves the whole 'being a mom' thing, though. It sounds complicated, but it's the way that one mom phrased it.
In a Reddit thread that asks, "Do you ever regret having kids and why?"; a mom responded, "Several times a day. I also swell with love for them several times a day. I like my kids, I don’t like mom-ing."
There are so many tough things about motherhood, from sleepless nights to changing diapers to figuring out how to juggle the everyday to-do list... We love our kids but do we really like parenthood?
19 "Far too often there is nothing left for me."
It's not every day we hear moms say they wish they never became a mom. That kind of speech is bound for some judgmental glances from onlookers.
This beautifully written piece in Today's Parent sheds light on what many moms feel: parenthood really isn't all that fun. As this mom says, "Far too often there is nothing left for me. Nothing. And that feeling of utter depletion is so frustrating, so overwhelming, I find myself sobbing late at night in the bathtub or when I’m out walking the dogs — pretty much the only times I have for myself in this life I wanted so badly and now find myself trapped in." She continued, "I know I’m not alone. But admitting that parenting is hard, or that there are parts of it we don’t like, is still something of a taboo."
18 "I loved my old life."
It's one of the most difficult conversations a couple will have: do they want to have children? If one partner wants to be a parent and the other one doesn't, that can be really sad and it can make them wonder if they should take their relationship in another direction.
For this mom who regrets having a baby, she had one because her husband wanted one, and things didn't get any better. She said, "Does anyone else regret having your child? I loved my old life. My husband really wanted a child and I put it off for so long, just knowing that it's not my calling. I gave in after so many rows thinking I would adjust. It was either that or leave my husband whom I loved very much. My son is 2 years old and it has been such a lonely and desperate struggle."
17 "The boredom of being a parent is mind-numbing."
Every mom knows that there are days when you are exhausted, don't know what day it is, and wish that you could take a nice nap or get a full night's sleep. Your love for your children keeps you going throughout the day, but what if you regretted having those children?
For a mom of a 12-year-old girl, motherhood never got easier. Her experience was, "Of course I love her with every fibre of my being, but it's been so hard and the boredom of being a parent is mind-numbing. The homework, cooking, cleaning, and all that rubbish, most of the time I feel like I am a zombie just going through the motions waiting until she leaves home."
16 "I love my babies but..."
There's no doubt about it, life before starting a family can feel a lot simpler. A child-free couple can come home from work on a Friday night, order a pizza, open up a bottle of wine, and watch as much Netflix as they want. Parents know that life changes but they're ready and they love it.
If a mom regrets having children, it makes sense that she would say life was simpler before. That's what this mom posted on Reddit, "Yes. I love my babies but life was easier when I only had one. I had two more."
15 "Everybody else's needs and wants came first."
Do you become a stay-at-home mom or continue climbing the career ladder? It's a question that is just as crucial as wondering if you and your partner are ready to start a family.
The BBC interviewed anonymous women who regret starting a family and one said that it's because she didn't follow her own dreams and felt motherhood made that difficult. She said, "Everybody else's needs and wants came first. The mantra for the last two decades has been 'if everybody else is happy then I'm happy,' which is a bit galling sometimes. I could have had a better career. I did the school run for 15 years, that is very limiting on a career."
14 "Turns out that for me, on the fence means no."
For this mom who posted on Reddit, she doesn't regret having her children anymore, but this is the way she used to feel. She realized that when she wasn't sure if she wanted to have kids, that actually meant that she was leaning toward not having them: "Not regret anymore, but for a long time, I did. Turns out that for me, on the fence means no. I did the best I could and he's a pretty great person, but I would have been far happier being child-free."
It's interesting to think about what being "on the fence" means when talking about children. One might think that it means you'll change your mind later on and say yes, but maybe being on the fence means you're trying to convince yourself instead of listening to your gut.
13 "I feel guilty all the time"
Mom guilt is a real thing. There really doesn't seem to be one mother who doesn't feel guilty for taking some time to themselves or spending even a few minutes doing something that doesn't involve their child.
This mom feels a lot of guilt for feeling like she regrets becoming a parent. She wrote on Scary Mommy, "I feel guilty all the time that I’m not the parent she deserves. Even if I’ve done everything right and she’s a great person and I’ve been a good parent to her (I believe all of those things to be true), I still feel loads of guilt because I regret being a parent, not because I failed as a parent (I don’t believe I have) but because I don’t want to be a parent. I can’t even really explain why I feel that way—I just do."
12 "I feel time-sucked and thread worn."
One mom wrote a story for Your Tango called "I Think I Would Be A Happier Person If I Never Had Kids." This is one topic I'm sure many parents would like to talk about more but feel compelled to stay silent since it's so controversial.
She wrote, "Instead, here I am in the smack-dab middle of motherhood and I feel lost. I feel time-sucked and thread worn. I feel like I'm responsible for carrying the world. And on so many days, I long for the simplicity of focusing on just one thing: me."
11 "My spouse is not as helpful as I thought he would be"
"I didn’t realize how much I would struggle with parenting. And my spouse is not as helpful as I thought he would be with parenting," wrote this mom on Reddit. She continued that she loves kids but was honest about something else: "However, I really wish I knew myself better before deciding to be a parent."
Many parents would agree that parenting is so much more difficult than they imagined because, well, you can't really know what it's going to be like until you experience it yourself. Even having friends or siblings with kids wouldn't be enough to show you what it's really like.
10 "I took a gamble"
We often hear parents talking about how they didn't even know what love was until they had their baby and looked into their eyes. It's sweet and heartwarming. It also seems like, for some women, they don't think that they want to be moms, but when they become one, they're all in. They love their kid so much.
That was this woman's experience on Reddit, "I wasn't completely opposed and I took a gamble. It paid off; I love my daughter more than words can express and I love being her mom and it scares me to think how close I came to not having her."
9 "For me, it hasn't been nearly as hard as I was expecting"
In a Reddit thread about not wanting to be a mom and then deciding that you want kids, a mom shed light on that decision.
She loves being a mom and it's been a positive experience for her: "I absolutely love being a mother. I find it incredibly fun, enjoyable, entertaining, precious and sweet. I love the euphoric love I feel for my boy. I love watching him change and awaken to the world. I love the feeling of nurturing him. I love having a little buddy to take places. I love sharing all of it with my husband. For me, it hasn't been nearly as hard as I was expecting."
8 "Changed everything knowing we were in it together."
Many couples feel that having kids made their relationship even better and they loved their partner more than they did before. It makes you realize that you're a team and you're doing this amazing thing together. How could you not think that it's just the coolest thing ever?
For this mom who posted in a Reddit thread about changing your mind about starting a family, that's exactly what happened to her. She wrote, "I found someone I actually imagined I could be a parent with! Changed everything knowing we were in it together."
7 "...but then hormones..."
Sometimes you don't think that you want to have children and then you go through quite the journey because it's not that you want them or don't... you're just on the fence. Many women accidentally find out that they're expecting, decide to have the baby, and realize that it's a truly amazing, positive experience.
That was this mom's journey on Reddit, "I never wanted kids, but then hormones (ovarian baby clock) and sense of life stability (married, happy, job, healthy) turned the negative into a neutral. Then I ended up oops! Pregnant at 30." She continued, "So we went with it and now we have a delightful baby boy."
6 "I don't plan on having another"
This woman's experience, which she explained on Reddit, went like this: she found out that she was expecting a baby when she was 30 years old. She wasn't planning on having kids but had the baby, and as it turns out, it was a very happy story.
She wrote, "I'm happy about the choice I made, I am so madly in love with my son. I've never loved anyone as much as I love my little guy. I don't plan on having another, though." It seems like many moms who didn't plan on having kids—but ended up getting pregnant and had the kid—can relate to that. The love for your child has no bounds
5 "Being my son's mom is the thing I am most proud of"
Many women can go from not wanting kids to having the greatest time ever being a mom. It might seem impossible when you're on the fence about the whole thing, but you'd be surprised how fast your mind can change.
That was this mom's experience: "We had our son at 32 and he's just the best. He learns something new every day and the same is true for me. Just watching him grow teaches me something new about him, about myself, and about people in general, every day. Being my son's mom is the thing I am most proud of."
4 "Always had a VERY small part of me that wasn't 100% sure"
It's fascinating to hear from women who were totally convinced that motherhood wasn't in the cards for them but then they changed their minds. Thanks to Reddit, we know this woman's story: when she was approaching her 40th birthday, she realized that it was time to explore the idea of becoming a mom.
She wrote, "Always had a VERY small part of me that wasn't 100% sure I didn't want kids and afraid I'd regret it. One day, had the thought 'I might regret not having kids... But I know I won't regret it if I do.' Talked to husband, agreed to try for three months & at least say we tried. Third month, pregnant, now a mom to a healthy, happy 16-month-old. It's way harder than I thought and way better than I thought too."
3 Inspired By Other Parents' Happiness
You know how sometimes you're totally sure of something and then you change your mind quickly? We might not think that applies to parenthood but it really does, and there are real stories out there to prove it. You might be so sure that you won't be a mom and then you change your mind, creating a different yet positive experience
As this dad and husband shared on Reddit, he and his wife decided to have a baby when they went to a birthday party for a little one and realized that they wanted to be parents, too. He wrote, "We now have a tiny baby boy who is currently obsessed with butterflies and our Chihuahua."
2 "we were struck by how sad we felt."
Miscarriages are heartbreaking, and they show a person how they really feel about pregnancy.
That happened to this mom on Reddit who said she got pregnant because her "birth control failed," had a miscarriage, and that experience changed her mind. She wrote, "After that, we were struck by how sad we felt. We did some thinking on our own (so we wouldn't influence each other) and when we sat down to hash it out, we had both changed our minds. I'm pregnant with our second now. I wish people had told me how fun and hilarious toddlers are, even with all the work."
1 "Become one"
It's a common experience for women to be unsure about motherhood or think "Nope, that's not for me," and then fall in love with the idea of it and change their mind.
It's a beautiful thing to be so in love with someone that you want to have a family with them. This mom shared on Reddit, "That's when I realized I wanted to have children with him, I realized the only way that we could 'become one' was to literally become one AKA have a child. Now looking at my son, it's hard to believe he is a mixture of my husband and I. It is a beautiful and amazing feeling, I can't imagine my life any other way."
Sources: Reddit.com, Whimn.com.au, Thestir.cafemom.com, Scarymommy.com, Yourtango.com, Reddit.com