It’s a hot topic these days with equal parts excitement that someone finally said something about this ultimate-taboo subject and (of course) mommy-shaming for daring to mention publicly, dare I even write it, regretting having your children.
So, I’m here to bare all and fess up that I have regretted having my daughter for the last year (she’s only ten months – the regret started two months before she made her debut). If you have read any of my articles here on The Rebel Mama, or watched any of my videos on our Youtube Channel then you are probably stunned to hear this news. But we look so happy? But she is such a natural mama! WTF?!
I didn’t plan to have my daughter. I was not in a happily ever after anything. I was also living abroad and my family dynamic is really fractured, with a sparse nucleus dispersed across Canada; if it takes a village, how was I going to do it alone? This was my thinking for most of my pregnancy and for months after she was born.
I love my daughter to the moon and back. She is the coolest, most loving, wonderful little cherub that anyone could ask for. And I am aware that I am so blessed since there are oodles of people trying to conceive a gift like her and getting nowhere at all. But that is just it, there are SO MANY people out there who could give her everything and a lot of my regret comes from loving her enough to know that she will just not have all that with me. Naysayers think that people regret having their kids out of rejection, but it’s definitely coming from a place of love for me.
I meet her needs, I’m a “good mom”. I have great instincts and I have a lifestyle with a lot of room for a kid. I also live in a cheaper, more kid-friendly part of the world that allows me even more freedom to be with her. It’s not that I’m not good at being a parent, it’s just that I didn’t want to be one. And at the risk that my beautiful cherub will read this one day, if I had my time back, I would have made a different decision.
There, I said it.
She has taught me so much about perseverance, she has forced me to look at my own issues and deal with them instead of run away from them. But surely, there was a way for all this to happen without bringing an innocent into the mess I made? I had a baby with a stranger to get the family I never had, not to be a mom. And that is both liberating and shameful to admit, but it’s the truth.
I have the rest of my life to make some bitchin’ lemonade out of these sour lemons and I plan on making the best I can. I am committed deeply to doing the best job I can for her and to taking on my responsibility to her fully, but it does not change the root of it all. Making lemonade is not the same as celebrating your gift from the universe.
I have heard “she’s just a baby and she needs you” like that is supposed to change how I feel. Or “it’s not her fault”, did anyone say it was? There are also the never-ending bumper stickers about kids: “she was a pleasant surprise,” “it was all worth it”, and many others like these that end up making regretful parents feel even more detached, and guilty.
Nobody wants to be a single parent, especially if the biological other-parent-not-in-the-picture is/was abusive. No one wants to be tied to their abuser by blood for life. And most definitely nobody wants to tie their kids to an abuser either. This, along with the guilt of making this massive life-changing decision without thinking of what was best for her, are the weights that keep me in the space of shoulda-coulda-woulda. But now that people are coming forward and talking about their regrets, I feel a lot better for mine. Turns out it’s more common than I thought (breathes long sigh).
We recently moved from Mexico back to Guatemala. I have a community for the first time since Luna was born. And although it’s only been two weeks, I feel a shift happening. I’m looking ahead, and the future seems bright. People are always saying, “You will look back on this as the best thing that ever happened to you.”
I hope they’re right.
Anna Von Frances can be found on Instagram @annavonfrances
Featured Photo: Kylie Jenner for Paper Magazine, April 2016