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15 Parents Shared Why They Regret Having Kids, And Their Reasons Why Are 100% Valid

"I love my kids but..."

For many people, their children bring them so much joy and fulfillment. But I wanted to hear from parents whose experiences have been quite the opposite.

I asked parents in the BuzzFeed community, "Do you regret having kids, and if so, why?" and their responses are very important:

1. "I graduated college, decided to have kids shortly after. Figured I could start my career afterward. I instead am a SAHM to three kids, one who has a disability..."

A mother holding her child in her lap while multitasking
Momo Productions / Getty Images

"I will probably never get a chance to go back to getting a job in my field, especially during a pandemic where I have to keep him safe and don't feel comfortable putting him in daycare or preschool. There are times that I long for a life without kids to go back to the life I had before, where things felt simpler and I'm not on the phone, driving to appointments, trying to figure out dinner for six people, etc."

toomanykidsnotenoughtime

2. "I often regret having him because we are poor, in massive crippling debt, and living with an inconsiderate family member because can't afford to move. I have crippling anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, and my son has witnessed at a young age his mother's frequent episodes..."

"Lately he is mean and tells me he hates me when I tell him no. I'm scared for him to go back to school because I fear he will be a bully. He hasn't played or interacted with other kids his age in person for almost two years now because of the pandemic. We have frequent shouting matches where I simply break down and dissociate. I regret having him more than I'm grateful for him."

shortp

3. "I had my kids at 22 and 24, and while I don't regret them, if I could go back in time and make a different choice I would. I don't think I had finished growing up, and it's so much harder to handle the stress and responsibility of being a parent when you don't know who you are yet..."

An Asian man holding his baby while his other kid plays
Momo Productions / Getty Images

"I'm just trying to survive each day, and it feels like I'm treading water. I lost nearly all of my friends because we became too different; I'm so isolated that I don't feel like a whole person outside of being a parent."

bronyraur

4. "I grew up in an abusive household and have experienced significant trauma. I struggle with mental health issues and so does my ex..."

An illustration of a rainy cloud inside someone's head
Malte Mueller / Getty Images/fStop

"I regret placing that burden on my children, as I don’t feel like I am properly equipped to handle two children who now also suffer from mental health issues (genetically) as a single parent. They didn’t ask for this and have dealt with so much being so young. I lost my job during [the COVID-19 pandemic] and struggled to find a job for months as well. It hasn’t been easy, and I regret deciding to have kids."

—Anonymous

5. "I essentially raised my younger sister, and that was a nightmare. She relied on me for everything — from cooking meals, to helping with homework, to bedtime routines. I had no time for myself to focus on my own education or interests. I made the decision at a young age to never have children..."

"I tried for several years to be a mom and do what was expected of me, but I was absolutely miserable. I hated the expectations, the constant neediness, all the responsibilities. I felt like a shell of myself. I did seek treatment, but I never felt relief until I allowed her father to be her main caregiver. Afterward, I felt like a huge weight was lifted. I pursued my education, established my career, did things that made me happy. I’m still in her life. I call regularly, see her often, and support her. But I am a much better parent when I am hands-off."

—Anonymous

6. "I had them with the wrong person. Men get a biological clock, too, and when I was pushing 30, my junk said, 'That'll do,' and I landed with someone I had zero common interests with and two children..."

A tired dad on a couch while his daughter plays
Jgi / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

"We fucking hated each other by the end, and she went behind my back for the attention she wasn't getting from me. She gave me an ultimatum to sort it out or fuck off, so I fucked off.

The relationship with my daughter is fine, but my son (15) has become a bully and a liar who wants nothing to do with me — which breaks my heart every day, as we were so close when he was small and I was a stay-at-home dad.

If you're going to have kids, do it with someone you love and expect to grow old with, not because you're under some (self-imposed) illusion you'll be too old at 32."

thedeleted73

7. "I’m infertile, and we adopted and she was very wanted, but when she was 3, my mental health [got worse], and it’s been a five-year journey of multiple things being diagnosed, hospitalizations (all self-admit), and a lot of work on my end..."

"I have so much guilt for not being the mother she deserved. I’m stable now and doing well, but I still have rough days. If I had known, I don’t know if I would have pursued adoption."

krystina1

8. "I didn't see it at the time, but I was young and consumed by my depression. I didn't think I was ready to have a kid, but talking with my husband and my mom about it made me feel like I didn't want a kid because I didn't trust God enough..."

A woman sitting on a couch across from a therapist
Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

"And then I got pregnant and moved to a suburb far away. I didn't have a car or any friends or any work that fulfilled me. My mother passed away. I hit rock bottom, but because of that I started going to therapy finally and got diagnosed with ADHD. For me, the takeaway is that I should've believed myself when I said I wasn't ready to have kids."

—Anonymous

9. "I was always ambivalent about having kids, but my husband really wanted to. I decided we could just try...literally two weeks later I was pregnant. Having a child changed my life completely..."

"Having a toddler has tested my patience like nothing else, and I struggle with my anger. I feel like having a child was the worst decision I ever made. I had a truly fulfilling life before, traveling the world and working in a job I loved that tested me intellectually every day. I secretly wonder if the people who claim their children made their lives better really had that great of a life to begin with. I think I knew that I didn’t have the personal aspects that would make a great mother, but I went along with someone else’s choice. And now we’re all paying the price."

—Anonymous

10. "I was Mormon and was taught that literally my purpose as a woman is to have as many children as possible, as soon as possible. I love my kids to death, but I was not ready to be a mom at 20. I wish I had finished college first, because going to school with young kids is very difficult."

A mother on her laptop speaking to someone with her children at her side
Marko Geber / Getty Images

—Anonymous

11. "Seems the previous generation could afford kids. But it’s humiliating that I can’t provide even though I’m working much harder. We’re sinking."

—Anonymous

12. "I do not regret my daughter, but I definitely have moments when I regret bringing a child into this world. This is for two reasons..."

A man and his daughter looking out at glaciers
Stockstudiox / Getty Images

"1) The world is a really fucked-up place, and people are just awful to each other, and 2) we have fucked this planet up enough already, and we just keep bringing more and more humans into it, completely draining our resources and polluting the environment. If I didn't already have a kid, I wouldn't have any! This is why I am completely content with not having any more."

irishcream412

13. "As humans continue to ruin the Earth, I fear for [my adult children] as conditions get much worse. They know I hope they don't have babies because I don't want my own children to have to worry about their children when it comes to an unlivable planet. If I knew what the Earth would be like today 29 years ago, I would have never started a family."

—Anonymous

14. "If I would have known how much fear I would have surrounding my kids, I don't believe I would have had children. Racism alone would have made me think twice. As a Black mother, I fear for my children every single day. The reality that I can't protect them forever is terrifying."

A Black mother holding her son who looks sad
Skynesher / Getty Images

—Anonymous

15. And finally, "Love my kids but don’t like them as people. I made them but can’t wait for them to leave. So messed up."

—Anonymous

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.