I Regret Having Children”- Why Do I Feel This Way?

Last Update on May 3, 2024 : Published on May 5, 2024

When I conceived my daughter, every evening I struggled with thoughts such as “Will I be able to raise my child or not, will I be able to fulfill all needs of my child, or will I be able to balance my work or parenting.” As a result, the postpartum phase hit me hard and I ended up regretting having a child!

Little did I know that when a child is born, it’s quite a normal thing to have concerns about their future, however, regret about having children is something I couldn’t handle! I connected with my mental health provider and got a proper diagnosis. 

My mental health provider connected us with other parents struggling with the same issues. One thing I concluded from the sessions is that every parent goes through their own struggles with having children; sadly no one talks about it, maybe because we parents are obliged to take care of our children no matter what situation we’re in! 

In this blog, I have compiled why parents struggle with feelings like, “I regret having children” and what to do. So, let’s get started! 

Why do Parents Feel Like- “I Regret Having Children”? 

I connected with a fellow parent and they directly mentioned, “Having kids ruined my life.” Later I understood why they gave such a harsh statement. Research shows that parents are cloaked with shame. Do we parents get to feel that way? According to society, it’s a big no!

Research also shows that it’s a common phenomenon among parents but there’s limited research because most parents are not comfortable talking about their regrets, shame, guilt, and other associated issues. Coming back to our question…why do parents feel this way?

Women are expected to become mothers, but have you ever asked women if they really want to become one? Their choice matters right? Having kids at the age wherein you want to succeed in careers or goals or simply don’t want them directly impacts mental health resulting in regret or shame.

I have seen women still searching for their own identity even after three years of giving birth! Apart from this, below listed are some other factors associated with regret having children: 

1. Unplanned pregnancy:

Unplanned pregnancy is one of the most common issues leading to regret having children. This issue can be faced by the mother and father. Herein, it is important to maintain emotional maturity. 

2. History of trauma or negative childhood experiences:

Negative childhood experiences such as abuse, rejection, neglect, or violence may lead to regret after having children as the impact of the negative parenting style offered by primary caregivers passes on genetically. 

3. History of mental health-related issues:

A history of mental health-related issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and others may have a direct impact on parenting and regret associated with having children.  

4. History of physical health issues:

Chronic physical health issues such as cancer, heart disease, renal diseases, and others may lead to regret having children as a primary caregiver is not able to fulfill the needs of children. 

5. Financial issues:

Financial struggles are among the most common issues leading to regret in mothers and fathers. 

6. Infidelity or marital struggles:

Infidelity or other marital struggles such as abuse, neglect, addiction, and others may result in the regret of having children with one partner as the other partner is emotionally unavailable. As a result, it becomes difficult for one parent to look after the needs of children which apparently results in regret. 

7. Having a child with special needs:

Most parents will not approve of this, but it’s a fact that having a child with special needs results in stress, anxiety, and regret. 

8. Codependency:

Codependency can lead to an array of mental health issues and regret is one of them. 

9. Postpartum depression:

Right after giving birth to a baby, a mother’s body goes through mental and physical changes which apparently results in regret having children. 

10. Work-life balance:

When a parent is not able to maintain a work-life balance, the feelings often result in regret as they start feeling unworthy of everything. 

As a parent, it’s quite common to feel regret. If you’re not able to handle or manage such feelings, the Calm Sage team strongly recommends seeking proper diagnosis and support through an experienced and certified mental health professional. 

To connect with a mental health professional through online platforms, click below: 


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What to do when you feel like- “I Regret Having Children”

After working on your whys, let’s work on what’s next. In this section, we will be taking a look at strategies to overcome feelings like: “I regret having children”, “Having kids ruined my life”, “Do you regret having kids young”, “Fathers who regret having a child”, and more. 

1. Work on your mental health struggles

Regret about having children can be connected with the presence of mental health issues such as postpartum depression, stress, anxiety, personality disorders, addiction, negative childhood experiences, history of abuse or trauma, and others.

Therefore, connect with a mental health professional today, learn about your root causes, and seek the right help. A mental health professional will help you overcome feelings of regret with the right set of strategies; make you learn positive parenting techniques, and more. 

2. Understand the difference between regret and burnout 

Parenting is one of the most difficult journeys to take on; it can be overwhelming, stressful, or regretting sometimes. Therefore, avoid comparing your burnout with regret as these feelings can instantly turn into guilt and shame. Understand your emotions and work on them with the help of a mental health provider. 

3. Open up about your feelings and ask for support

As I said, I could not find the exact prevalence data because most parents are uncomfortable because of societal expectations. Well, it’s high time that we must start raising awareness regarding parent’s mental health struggles.

Therefore, open up about your feelings and struggles without feeling any shame or guilt. Connect with your loved ones or with the people who support you and ask them for support. 

4. Set healthier expectations 

Sometimes, we set high expectations and we end up struggling with burnout or regret having children. Unlearn to meet all societal expectations, and know that it’s okay to provide some screen time to your children, serve them fast foods instead of healthy dishes, or not be able to look after them for some time. It’s okay to enjoy your “me-time”, involve yourself in self-love or self-care, and work on your goals to find mental stability. 

5. Connect with other parents

One of the best ways to overcome regret after having children is to connect with other parents and learn effective strategies from them. 

I hope this blog helps you understand why parents regret having children and how to find the right help. Comment down and share your views on the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage. 

For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms. 

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Michael Vallejo
Michael Vallejo

Michael received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Portland State University in 2010. He is a licensed clinical social worker with a private therapy practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He specializes in helping children and teens with mental health concerns. Michael is passionate about providing effective and compassionate care. He is an advocate for mental health awareness, and is the founder of Mental Health Center Kids, a website that provides resources and support for parents, teachers, and mental health professionals who care for children and teens.

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