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Q: What are the odds that I will regret having children? ( No Answer,   18 Comments )
Subject: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: questiongrrl-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2004 14:26 PDT
Expires: 24 Nov 2004 13:26 PST
Question ID: 419963
I am a 38-year-old woman struggling with the question of whether to
become a mother. Over the years, I have asked dozens of women friends
with children whether, if they had it to do over, they would have them
again. The vast majority--maybe 85%--have said no. I find this
surprising and at odds with the common wisdom that having children is
one of life's most fulfilling experiences. Obviously, any number of
things can go wrong--a child's mental illness, developmental
disability, physical disability, behavioral problems, or serious drug
use; a "bad fit" between mother and child in terms of temperament;
physical, mental, or financial problems for the mother, etc.  What I
want to know is, what are the odds that something will go wrong for
ME? Of women who have had children, how many would have them again if
they had it to do over? Of women who are past the age of childbearing
who have not had children, how many regret not having had them? I am
not interested in information on the pros and cons of parenthood; what
I'm looking for is numbers.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: kriswrite-ga on 25 Oct 2004 14:52 PDT
Ann Landers once asked her readers, ?If you had to do it over again,
would you have children?? According her column, 70% said no, they
wouldn?t have children. (10,000 parents participated.) The problem
with this ?poll,? however, is that those who were inclined to say ?no?
were much more apt to write in than those who?d answer ?yes.?  In
fact, this statistic is now widely used in Universities to explain the
problems of accumulating ?good? statistics.

Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: hummer-ga on 25 Oct 2004 15:36 PDT
I think the chances of regretting having kids are near zero.
Childrearing is alot of work but just wait - no parent will ever
regret having kids after holding their first grandchild in their arms,
guaranteed. It's the bonus for all of those years of work and it's
worth every minute - trust me.

Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 25 Oct 2004 15:41 PDT
I disagree. As a father of four (ages 6-20) I can tell you with
absolute certainty that your chances of regretting having kids at some
point (even briefly) is 100%.

The question is, "What are the chances you will get over it eventually
(like most people do) and view that momentary regret as a terribly
selfish error?"

Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: byrd-ga on 25 Oct 2004 16:07 PDT
When I was young, I really didn't want to have children.  I wanted a
life of adventure instead.  But I was also foolish, and so ended up
having my first son at age 20.  Years later, my son in school, I then
thought I'd pursue my forgotten adventures, but again! nature (and my
lack of foresight) intervened, and my youngest son was born when I was
30.  Now I'm 54 and there were many times along the way I regretted
them both -- momentarily.  But answering that question, i.e. if I had
it to do over, would I have children, with a "no," would mean wishing
away the children I did have, and so the answer is yes, knowing my
sons, abolutely I would wholeheartedly have them again, in a
heartbeat!!! And that's without even mentioning my two dear
grandchildren. My life may not have been what I'd wished in my younger
days, but few people's lives really are.  I have no regrets - not
about having my children anyway!  :-)
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Oct 2004 16:46 PDT
Most people, as they grow older, go through periods of regretting the
paths not taken.

Sometimes I miss the carefree days when I was single and unattached.
Does that mean that I'm sorry I got married? Nope. It's human nature
to yearn for the grass on the other side of the fence, I think.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: bluegerbil-ga on 26 Oct 2004 02:47 PDT
I concur with Kriswrite.  Statistical analysis of the 'question' is problematic.
The 'survey' of your friends should include those who do not have
children.  It should also include those who are not your friends as
they may be tempted to evaluate whether YOU should have children.

Ask some older people, they know more stuff.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: mr4698-ga on 30 Oct 2004 22:53 PDT
I am the mother of 5 children - two boys and three girls - I was
married at 19 years of age, had my first child at 20 years old.  He
was born one year nearly to the day of our first wedding anniversary. 
Our second child came the following year again almost one year to the
day of our second wedding anniversary.  22 months later we had our
third, 26 months later we had our fourth and five years later we had
our fifth child.

Our children are all grown now and we have 10 of the most wonderful
grandchildren.  Our children and their families still living nearby
and they come over to our house at least once a week - we get together
and have dinner and just have a great time playing games or just
talking and laughing. We celebrate birthdays and holidays and just
about anything we can think of. My daugther-in-law remarked recently
that she can't believe how we never run out of things to talk about!

One of my favorite thoughts in life is, if there is a heaven and I get
there, I want God to say, "you have one wish - what would you like"  I
would tell Him/Her that I would like to do it all over again!

You can't buy happiness like children give you.  You can never know
the unbelievable and unconditional love that you receive from your
children.  Are they a lot of work?  As they say in the ad for the
Peace Corps, "it is the hardest job you will ever love!"   Have you
ever worked on a project, a project that took all of your energies but
at the end of the day you said, wow that was a lot of work but I
enjoyed it so much!  That's parenting.

And the very hardest part of having children, is when they open the
door for the last time as a child and walk out as an adult -  to live
their lives.  Watching them leave is the most bittersweet moment in
your life.  You are so happy for them but you know that their
childhood is over and that is so hard to deal with.

Statistics, questions about having children, should I or shouldn't I,
will it be a lot of work, what kind of children will I raise, all of
these things melt away when you hold your child in your arms, when you
kiss away the hurt from a fall, when they look at you and say, I love
you, mommy and when you go into their room at night and have the
blessing of looking at a sleeping angel.

Having a child is like having a little piece of heaven - you only get
to hold it for a little while - enjoy!!!

The only way you will ever regret having children is if you don't love
them unconditionally because the love you give to them is given back
to you a hundredfold.

Children are a gift - don't miss the gift!  I wish I would have had 10 of them!
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: mybabyangel-ga on 26 Nov 2004 09:08 PST
This is a question only you can answer.  You can't derive a conclusive
"yes" or "no" based on the experiences of others.  I think most people
answer "no" to having children again mainly because of the worry that
is involved in the entire process.  Having a child is a decision based
solely on how you feel about it not others.  What if everyone said
YES, I would do it again and even have more so you conclude that you'd
better have some kids and quick and then the experience is terrible
for you?  Then What?  Its too late at that point, you can't give them
back.  You have to decide if you are up to your life no longer being
YOUR LIFE for the rest of your life.  Personally, I would do it over
and over and over.  I love my kids.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: londonmom-ga on 28 Dec 2004 02:49 PST
I think that you would suffer more regret about not having children
than having children.  I have twin daughters and sometimes I don't
regret having children because I remember how much I longed for
children, I just regret having my particular kids.  Figure it out?  I
think at times as parents we all think that our kids must be the
hardest to control, the most disobedient, the most demanding, even the
ugliest etc.  Then we wish we had better kids.  But that feeling alway
passes.  Usually after the kids have gone to sleep.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: gentle_parent-ga on 21 Feb 2005 11:34 PST
There are many reasons to have children, but I find that many people
choose to have them for their own gratification.  When speaking of
their decision, they tell me that they want someone to care for them
in their old age, etc.  Your question seemed to have an element of
that, as well.  You are wondering if having a child might prevent some
future regret on your part.  People who choose to remain childless are
often labeled as selfish, but the arguments for having kids seem
selfish as well.

I once certified an adoptive couple who decided to adopt as they
approached retirement age (they'd been married 30 years, and were
childless by choice).  He was already 60.  They wanted to adopt a
troubled teenager, because they had taken in a teenage girl for two
years, and she put them through hell.  In the end, they realized that
there was nothing in it for them, yet were compelled to do it all over
again.  These people had the most unselfish of motives, and were
willing to endure an extremely difficult teen, because they knew they
could make a difference for her.  They were some of the least selfish
parents I've known.

Many of the parents I've known seem to be seeking gratification on
some level.  This is a dangerous concept, as you are placing a burden
on the child, to fulfill needs of yours that they can't begin to
comprehend.  Remember, you exist for your children's benefit, not the
other way around.

No one on this forum can make this decision for you.  You asked for
numbers, but statistics mean nothing.  If YOU find parenting
worthwhile, then the number is 100% favoralble.  If not, it's 100%

I work in Social Services, and I've known some of the best, and some
of the worst parents you can imagine.  Often, the best parents have
the most regrets... because they've had to work so hard.  Many unfit
parents think of parenting as a piece of cake, because it's no work at
all.  I'm simplifying here, but remember, statistics have no bearing
on whether you will have regrets.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: emilyliz-ga on 01 Mar 2005 12:26 PST
Actually, the percentage of people who regret having children is low. 
According to a Gallup poll, 10% of parents did.  Some surveys have
found an even lower number.  The Ann Landers survey is not
scientifically valid (to find out why search under "Ann Landers" and
"statistics" and "bias"), so it is about as useful as two mammary
glands on a male bovine for answering your question.

However...  I suspect the 10% of parents who did regret their choice
were either ambivalent in the first place or became parents
unwillingly (i.e. child was an accident, etc.).  So if you don't want
children or are not sure, don't let anybody convince you to do so
against your better judgement.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: lynn2317-ga on 29 Mar 2005 20:55 PST
I'm 42, never had children, don't regret it for a minute.  And please
consider that the poster who said "only 10% of parents regret having
children" has no way of knowing that.  Only 10% admit to it (in
certain studies).  It's a hard thing for people to admit.  Not that
what other people think should have any bearing on you.  If you are
"struggling" with the choice that doesn't exactly say you're dying to
do it.  You should only do it if you have a real desire to.  Think
about this- would you rather regret having children, and still be
stuck with them, or regret not having them, and still be able to do
other enjoyable things with your life?
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: romanaround-ga on 03 Apr 2005 17:28 PDT
I am 37 and struggling with this question myself.  Currently we're
having problems conceiving, but I can't seem to take that next step
involving fertility treatments because I'm just not sure that this is
something I want.  Most parents I see, although they tell you how
wonderful it is, are stressed, tired, frustrated and broke, with no
life of their own.  I've been told by many parents that they envy my
freedom and can't wait to get their old life back.  I think it's
better to not have children and regret then to have children and
regret it.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: uraihsky-ga on 24 Apr 2005 03:31 PDT
I think it depends on who you are and what kind of family you come
from and who the father is.  If you come from a loving family and are
well balanced with no major health factors then maybe yes.  But if
your childhood and your relationship with your parents was not good.
And you have issues with drugs, mental health problems, having enough
income, the law and physical health issues that may get passed on etc.
 Then I would think twice.  Would you want someone to live the life
you have lived? With the thoughts and feelings and experiences you
had? Can you afford to give your kids an education so they have a
fighting chance in the world?  Do you have some talents, intelligence,
physical abilities that you may pass on that can help in-rich their
lives? Most of my adult life has been terrible.  Mental Health issues
have plagued all of my sisters and myself. It comes from both sides of
the family.  My parents shouldn't have had kids.  My father even told
me that if he had to do it all over he would just get a dog.  I don't
blame him in the least.  We were the most difficult kids and made our
parents lives miserable.  But I have known plenty of families that I
wish I had been a part of and had been born in to.  I think more
people need to consider these factors. Not think of themselves and if
they will be happy. But think of your kids. If you can give them a
strong family support stucture, healthy genes, and something that will
give them a chance at an enjoyable life, then the odds are better that
you won't regret it.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: loudrock-ga on 10 May 2005 22:22 PDT
just when you are sure that you should never have had children, they
will do some little thing, some big thing, some crazy thing or
something they didnt even know they did to make you glad you have
them. you can substitute "child" here for husband, wife, dog, friend,
a partifular job, car, dress...(you get the idea). degrees vary, but
it is still true.
aksi for romanaround, who said ""Most parents I see, although they tell you how
wonderful it is, are stressed, tired, frustrated and broke, with no
life of their own.  I've been told by many parents that they envy my
freedom and can't wait to get their old life back.""
the same basic principle applies here: when i was home while my kids
were very small i wanted an exciting job, but when they got older and
i went back to work i wanted to be home with them. people always want
what they dont have, not that thats so bad, it moves them forward.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: emilyliz-ga on 08 Jun 2005 17:57 PDT
To Lynn2317.  The 10% figure is from professional statisticians. 
Perhaps some of the 90% who said they don't regret having children
actually do, but unsubstantiated evidence is no evidence at all.  As
well, in a study of 25 women who did have children, none regretted
having children, but some said if they could do it over again, they
might have waited, might have been less strict with their kids, etc. 
So it seems that if they were willing to admit they would change
certain things, they would also be willing to admit they would not
have had children at all, yet they didn't.  So that casts doubt on the
hypothesis that the 90% were unwilling to admit the "truth." 
Furthermore, in the same study 25 childless by choice women were asked
if they would have children if they could do it over again.  Only 4%
said they would.  This to me proves two things.  First, most women are
capable of making choices about their lives.  Second, if the 90% in
the Gallup poll who said they would have children again were only
saying that because of "social pressure," wouldn't one expect that if
voluntary childlessness is so stigmatized in society, more than 4% of
the "childfree" women would have claimed to wish they had had
children?  So I believe the 10% is a fairly accurate figure,
especially as it's been replicated.  (By the way, the recent Dr. Phil
survey in which 40% of people said they wouldn't have children again
suffers from the same flaws as Ann Landers' - it's useless.)
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: naunga-ga on 20 Jul 2005 12:55 PDT
This is one of the most controversial topics known to modern man. Will
you personally regret children? Maybe, maybe not. That's a decision
you have to make for yourself. Are you an awful person for regretting
having children? Absolutely not. There are very few decisions that
people make that they don't regret at least a little bit. Sometimes
you get a burger, but regret that you didn't get a salad. Sometimes
you wish you had left earlier for work, but choose to sleep later.
It's all relative. My guess is that all parents regret having children
at some point. This is only natural, but as a parent you cannot hold
onto the regret, because then you risk damaging your children.

On the flip side you should be 100% certain that you want children
BEFORE you have them. Children can't be returned if 6 months into
parenthood you decide you don't want to do it. Sure you can always put
it up for adoption, but you then hurt that child, because eventually
they will want to know why you put them up for adoption. This is why I
will never have children. I may regret, someday (I'm 30 BTW), not
having them, but I would rather regret not having them, than to spend
my life resenting my child. Regret if held, will turn into resentment.
I am not a big enough person to be able to push aside missing my
freedom, my wife's pristine body, our free time, etc.

A lot of people throw out religion (especially Christians). I'm a
Christian and take a rather strict interpretation of the Bible and my
faith. In my marriage vows I was vowed to love my wife forsaking ALL
OTHERS. To me "all others" means just that. My mother (because a man
will LEAVE his mother and cleve to his wife), any other women,
everyone else, but my wife. This includes children. To have children I
would have to take my focus away from my wife, and I vowed not to do

So in the end you need to make the choice. But as I said children are
FOREVER. Even after they move out of the house and have their own
families you're responsible for them.
Subject: Re: What are the odds that I will regret having children?
From: meredoo-ga on 05 Aug 2005 14:44 PDT
I am a 43 year old woman, and I am very happy that I have never had
children! The way we approach motherhood and child-rearing in this
country, it seems it is ALL the mother's job to come out with a well
adjusted adult, and she gets practically no help. Mothers run around
trying to take care of kids, clean the house, make money, ferry the
kids around, sounds overwhelming and way too stressful to
me! Not to mention exorbitantly expensive! How on earth would I pay
for college?

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