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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

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."


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

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

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."


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

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."


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

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."


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

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."


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

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."


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

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."


Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.