“I Would Give Anything to Not Be Their Mom”: An Interview About Parental Regret

“You’re going to regret not having children.”

Whether this statement is given as a warning or uttered out of ignorance, if you’re childfree, you’ve probably heard this before. In retaliation to parents’ bluntness, some childfree people have been know to reply, “Well, do you regret having children?” This question is, of course, meant to be a conversation stopper. Little did we know though, some actually do regret having children.

Recently, we are seeing more and more brave individuals stepping forward and admitting that having kids isn’t all they thought it would be. The Guardian published an article last month featuring parents who regret having children. One of whom is Victoria Elder. After giving birth to her baby girl, her immediate instinct came by way of this thought:

“‘Oh, no. What have I done? This was a huge mistake.’”

When Colin and I were trying to determine whether or not to have children, regret is a topic that came up often. Our society as a whole seems to be regret-centric.

“…regret in cultures such as the U.S., where individuals have more choice over their life’s course, versus in cultures with arranged marriages, where family have much more control over life choices…regret is much more commonly experienced and reported…”

-Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D of The Psychology of Regret

I suppose it is not unusual, then, that I can quickly call to mind several of my regrets. From eating something unhealthy for dinner last week, to snapping at my boss a year ago, to the purchase of our fixer upper home some eight years ago, I’ve certainly felt my fair share of discomfort from poor life choices- both big and small.

Even though I am no stranger to this feeling, when I think of Elder’s experience of looking into the small eyes of her brand new and totally dependent human and seeing a giant mistake staring back at her, I can’t help but think her feelings are stronger than regret. When reading her story, I myself was overcome with an overwhelming sense of sadness. A sadness that gives way to empathy and helplessness. A sadness that makes me want to travel back in time to wrap my arms around both mother and child and replace remorse with assurance instead.

Shortly after the article on the guardian.com was published, a woman came forward saying she would give anything to not be her children’s mother. She was kind enough to speak with me and gave me permission to publish her words anonymously. Here is our conversation:

Continue Reading

How To Be Bold for Change and Stop Shaming

In just two short days International Women’s Day will be upon us. When I observed the campaign theme for this year, #BeBoldForChange, I started wondering. Just what does it mean to be bold?

We live in a world teeming with of sexism and bigotry, yes, but we also live in a time and place where these prejudices are being combated. From celebrities to Joe Schmoes, everyone is speaking their minds.

A few weekends ago my husband and I watched a comedy special on Netflix in which the male comedian joked about the bravery of plus-sized women. He mentioned how some of these overweight models and actresses pose for the covers of magazines and after doing so, people attribute them with bravery. He claimed using the term “brave” for these women was an overreach, though. He goes on to say,

I know you’re not supposed to make fun of fat people. I don’t know why though.

A quick Google search could have quelled his uncertainty. In fact, if you type in “why you shouldn’t make fun of people”, page after page of results will load with the reasons why you shouldn’t tease not only overweight people, but people with autism, acne, people who dance for a living, it even brought up an article about not making fun of people who make fun of you. So really, if you took the word “fat” out of this comedian’s sentence, it could stand on it’s own.

Continue Reading

Childfree Date Nights – Separating Myth from Truth

Sometimes I get a little sick of dinner-and-a-movie dates. And when I do, I search the interwebs for new ideas.

One time in particular, I stumbled upon the article When You Don’t Have Kids, Every Night is Date Night written by Julia Pelly, a working mom/blogger.

Julia begins her post with “To my childless friends”.

A little background info: I try to keep an open mind in most situations. My goal is to listen to all sides of an argument. Even if I do not personally agree, I look to understand how others might. Even when I read articles addressing the childfree from the prospective of a parent, I do my very best to understand. I want to understand. I would say I’m fairly successful in doing so.

My mindset for this article was no different. After reading though, I did feel the need to separate fact from fiction regarding the childless and childfree. Here goes…

…the thing you might not realize, the thing I sure didn’t realize before I had my son, is that when you don’t have kids, your whole life is a date night.

-Julia Pelly

Is it, though?

Continue Reading

Childfree by Choice: A Generational Gap

If you’re of child-rearing age, many people of the older generation expect you to have children to protect the family’s legacy.  Hearing that you do not intend to produce offspring and fill the imaginary ancestral throne with little heirs and heiresses is often met with accusations of selfishness. After all, their generation had kids so if we just prioritize like they did, we should too.

Settle down, buy a house, it’s never the right time to have kids, these things have a way of working out…

There’s no substitute for experience, and older people obviously have that in spades.  The fact of the matter is that it’s almost always a good idea to seek advice from our elders. Almost. There is a generational gap at play that just may skew their outlook.

Making a Living is Hard(er Than They Might Think)

A recent study based on US Federal Reserve data indicates that millennials have a median household income of some 20% less (after adjustment for inflation) than their baby boomer parents did at the same stage of life. This is despite the younger generation being better educated and more likely to be in a dual income household.  Their net worth is about half that of Boomers, home ownership is lower, and student debt is drastically higher.  With so much financial insecurity, it should come as no surprise that the interest in having offspring has seen a downturn.

Continue Reading

3 Reasons Your Super Bowl Party Sucks and What to Do Instead

Football reigns in our home during the cold months. My husband Colin is a devout New York Giants fan making me, the occasional viewer, a Giants fan by marriage.

After we had been married for some years, I decided I should at least learn the basics of the game. Maybe then I would understand the hype.

Equipped with YouTube and some hand drawn charts, Colin taught me all I’d need to know to get by. After that, I diligently watched the Giants games with him.

After their fourth Super Bowl win, and the first I truly cared about, I decided it was time for me to retire. I ended on a high note, not unlike Michael Strahan circa 2007. I recognized football as infinitely more important to my husband than it was to me and I went back to my days of writing, reading, and just overall relaxing (see also: napping).

To this day we both love our autumn to winter Sundays though we observe them differently. We also both look to the end of football season with the same sense of dread. Soon our fantastic Sundays will come to an end, but not before THE PARTY – the abominable Super Bowl party… Oh, you don’t dread it? Well, you might after reading this.

Sorry in advance, xoxo.

Continue Reading

What to Expect when You’re Expecting…an IUD

Before reading this post, click here to find out why I chose to get an IUD.

As of last June, I am officially a member of the IUD secret society. While I have personally told everyone from my best friend to my hair stylist about this marvelous device, many women simply don’t talk about it. And I think that’s a real shame. Here’s the whole truth about getting my IUD and what to expect when you’re expecting an IUD:

Before the Appointment

My gynecologist didn’t give me any pre-procedure instructions but I wasn’t satisfied with doing nothing to prepare.

I scoured the Internet for pain management tips and learned that taking 800 mg of ibuprofen a half hour before your appointment can reduce discomfort upon insertion of the IUD and quell cramps afterward. I figured it couldn’t hurt and I followed this advice.

I also decided to break my No Sweatpants in Public rule for this occasion…

Continue Reading

IUD: The Everlasting Gobstopper of Reversible Contraception

IUDI wrote this post early last summer but have been hesitant to publish it. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate that there is no shame in talking about ways to maintain your childfree status. In addition, the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare) has caused many to seek out birth control methods while they are still provided at no cost.

The least I can do is share my story.

Why an IUD?

In a little less than one week, I’m having a small, plastic t-shaped device inserted into my uterus, voluntarily I should add. I am ready and even willing to pay for this procedure but as it turns out, it’s completely free. Thanks Obama. No seriously, thank you.

As so many women are busy growing babies in their uteruses- uteri? seriously, what is the plural here?- I am on the quest to keep this womb closed for business.

Here’s why:

Continue Reading

“How I Made a Deliberate Choice Not to Have Children”: My Childfree Story Featured on Nonparents.com

I woke up this morning to quite a wonderful surprise. The post “How I Made a Deliberate Choice Not to Have Children” that I submitted to Nina Steele at nonparents.com was published! I was equal parts excited and nervous as I fired up the webpage to reread my narrative.

This experience has been especially meaningful to me. Soon after I realized a childfree lifestyle was for me, I turned to the internet for like-minded folk. It wasn’t long before I was glued to the screen reading all of the incredibly genuine Readers’ Stories Nina shares on her website.

And Nina’s story? Part of what makes nonparents.com so extraordinary is the reason behind its creation. Nina explains on her website how she and her husband battled infertility for nine years before deciding to move on and begin living childfree. Nonparents.com was launched in 2013 and Nina has been empowering other women (and men) who are still struggling with life sans children, whether by circumstance or by choice.

To find out how I made the choice not to have children, click here.

 

What are your thoughts on my decision? Let me know in the comments section below.

Continue Reading

Why You Shouldn’t Wait for New Year’s to Make Your Childfree Resolution


It’s that time of year again.

Many are starting to think about the year to come.
What things should change? What should stay the same?

New Year’s resolutions are drafted and many look to the year ahead with cautious optimism, despite a dismal 8% success rate.

I made a resolve nearly two years ago to become childfree. It may not have appeared a far leap from the (by chance) childlessness to the (by choice) childfreeness. However, it was.

Continue Reading