Would you still have kids if you could do it all again?

If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, would you still have kids?

Conversely, if you didn’t have kids by choice, and you could do it all over again, would you choose to have kids instead?

Yes, I’d still have her. Without question. Of course, she’s only barely a year old, but I can’t really see time changing that.

I didn’t have nor want kids until I hit ~ 36. (Yes, I know, biological clock jokes, etc.)

Now I’ve spent a lot of money that I don’t really have on trying to get pregnant - and it might never work.

So yeah, I’d go back to myself at least when I was 34 or so and say HEY! YOU! STOP IT WITH THAT PILL!

Our girls were planned (in the sense that we weren’t trying NOT to get pregnant), and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. My two daughters have added something to my life that I never knew I was missing.

People always talk about how much your life changes when you have kids, and it’s true. But it’s the kind of changes you don’t mind.

Absolutely I would.

I don’t have kids, never wanted kids, and if I could go back and do it all over again I’d still choose to not have kids.

I’m curious about what exactly the OP expects to see here. I mean, I have a hard time imagining that anyone with kids who would rather not have had them posting that here, given that their spouse or kid or somebody else could find the post. That shitstorm would be like Shitpocalypse or something in that house.

Absolutely, but I would rather have done it five years earlier. Forty (well, pushing forty) is too old to be running round after a 2-year-old. At least, it is for me.

Well, I’ll be honest. Let the shitstorm begin.

I guess I wondered if I was the only person who would have rethought having kids. I had always heard people talk about how wonderful it is to have children, they’re a lot of work but SO worth it, etc. So, when my biological clock started to tick, I had a child.

And it was infinitely harder than I ever imagined. My son has a disability; not a major disability, he can walk and talk, function in society for the most part, etc. There are a lot of people who have it much much rougher than we do. When he was a baby, people told me “It’ll get a lot easier when he can walk.” When he was a toddler, “It’ll get a lot easier when he is in school.” When he was in school, “It’ll get a lot easier when he is a teenager.” And so on. It has never gotten easier or smoother, it has been a struggle from the beginning, and the rewards have been few and far between.

I love my son with all my heart, but I never imagined it would still be so overwhelming on a daily basis. But it seems that I don’t hear people complain about their kids (except in a joking fashion). It reminds me of those Post Partum Depression commercials, where the new mom is afraid to tell her friends and family how depressed she is, because everyone is telling her how wonderful she should feel.

I can’t believe that I’m the only one in the world who is exhausted from the stress of raising a child, and who questions whether I’m just “not getting it” and there’s some magical phrase that will make the work worth it. So, I asked the question.

I’m ready for the shitstorm.

No shitstorm here, DC. I understand.

I have two kids, and if I had it to do over again, would have stopped at one. For a lot of reasons which I won’t get into here.
Let me just add this: it’s a lot more difficult to deal with a kid who “looks normal” but isn’t; than it would be to deal with a kid who was obviously disabled. People don’t understand.

If I could do it all again, I would still have kids, but I would have done it much differently. For starters my first was born when I was a teenager; I would have been more careful and would have waited at least until after college. Going to school and working with a baby to care for was hard and he missed out on a lot because of it too. I also would probably have a bunch of my own kids as opposed to the kids I am raising now. I feel just awful about it sometimes, and I do love my step-children as if they were my flesh and blood (and in fact usually leave off the “step” when referring to them) but if I had known then what I know now I would not have gotten involved with a man with children at all. It is not their fault nor his, but their birth mother causes all sorts of controversy and her doings and emotional manipulations have put both of my step children into the psyche ward on more than one occasion, with no end in sight. My niece (who is my older “daughter”) I wouldn’t trade for the world, but wish she had been handed a better lot in life. If I had any say in that, she would have been born to parents with the means and desire to care for her and would not have to be part of a family where she has to explain that her “mom and dad” are really “aunt and uncle” etc.

My family is really kind of a mess. I love them with all my being, but wish for so much more for them. They deserve better than what they got. And if I could go back and do it again…well it would be quite different and almost certainly better for everyone.

Your daughter/niece is incredibly lucky to have you in her life. She does have it hard, but she might have been lost without you.

I’d still have kids, but I think I’d have waited one more year to enjoy childless married life a little longer. My kids so far have no problems (well, we’re going through a really rough patch with the one, but it’s behavioral primarily), but raising children is hard, even when they’re normal. Sometimes it downright sucks.

If I could do it over there’d be a couple more. One just isn’t going to be enough.

I wish this thread had an anonymous poll, not that I could vote, but I wonder how many people would answer yes, but not be willing to talk about it.

About thirty years ago, when I was just a baby programmer, my then boyfriend and I used to ask this question of the middle-aged women who were secretaries at our company (it was a different world - there were almost NO older women who were professionals, so presumably these were the women who, had they been born thirty years later, would have been the professionals themselves). Almost without exception, they would say “I love my kids, but if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have children.”

But this was in the early hey-day of women’s lib, and that was then a socially acceptable answer. I’ve noticed in the past decade or so that pop culture emphasis on the desirability of having children has grown enormously. Some of this, I think, is due to a rightward shift in values in the US in general. Some of it may also be due to an enormous increase in the sentimentalism of the way children are viewed. Some of it may have been a deliberate effort to get men more involved in child-rearing. I don’t know; I just recognize it. Thus it is now socially not acceptable for someone to even realize, let alone admit, that they might have been happier without children: that’s tantamount to saying you were a bad parent, which is the next thing to saying you were abusive.

I think DivineComedienne is quite brave in admitting that she would choose otherwise than she did. But note that even there, there are special circumstances that make child-rearing extra difficult for her. I doubt we’ll see anyone whose children do not have special needs come forward and admit that, all in all, they suspect they might have been happier without them. As Omega Glory suggests, this would probably work more honestly as an anonymous poll.

I’m not suggesting that everyone who has kids secretly regrets it. I’m just saying that it’s become such a cultural given that having children is a wondrous and incredibly fulfilling thing that it’s probably very difficult to even recognize, let alone admit publicly, that one might have been happier without them.

But then, I may be biased. Never had them, never wanted them, could never even really understand the appeal.

Yes, I would (kids again).

But you can also sign me up for everything **DivineComedienne ** has to say, as well.

My two were products of a horrible pregnancy (I’m the guy, so it was only realatively horrible for me) and a premature birth, and entered this world at 3 lbs and 1 lb 11 oz, respectively. There followed a seemingly-endless situation where the hospital owned our kids and we were just visitors, there was a growing mountain of debt, and more stress than I can describe. When they eventually came home, we had to restructure our jobs to provide the care they needed, which introduced even more financial pressure. Then their mom had just had enough, and, amid much drama, I found myself doing about 80% of the child care.

This eventually caused the marriage to fall apart.

I did a lot of solo child care for a lot of years, and it almost killed me. It **did **mark me for life.


I have two pretty good early teens who I mostly trust and enjoy being around. The 1 lb 11 oz dude is an athlete who really enjoys team sports and is a “B” student, and the 3 lb girl is a social butterfly and “A” student.

I love them both, and can’t imagine being without them. I can’t imagine a world without them.

But I had NO idea what I was getting into–none.

I understand **DivineComedienne ** completely.

On a related note, I have recently been talking (a lot) with an interesting woman, and the subject of kids has come up, and I find myself, despite all I just said being completely true, wondering if it would be so awful to do it all again…

2 kids. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Yes. I only wish I could have had one more.

But I still understand what DC says and hope there won’t be any shitstorm.

A few years ago I would have said the same, but I’ve changed my mind now: my daughter is also more work than the average child (autism) but she makes my world a better place. It’s not just that I couldn’t imagine my life without her, but that I couldn’t imagine even my most amazing fantasy life without her.

However, having her in different circumstances would have been wonderful, and that’s generally part of my daydream fantasy lives.

But that’s her. And that’s me. Not all situations are the same and you’re not a bad person (DC) for feeling the way you do.

I bet there are quite a few people who also feel that way; they won’t talk about it much not just because of shame (though I’m certain that’s part of it), but because hey, what can you do? You can’t change it now. Talking about it would just be picking at a wound.

When I was feeling at my lowest, parenting-wise, it was because my then-partner made me feel bad about it. She thought that my daughter was incredibly badly-behaved and was always egging me on to send her off to boarding school as soon as possible. This was when my daughter was 3 and, while higher maintenance than other kids, in some ways also easier than the average kid - definitely not care-home level.

An example: my then-partner had lovely home furnishings and was very houseproud. Her (white) sofa still had the plastic cover on the back to protect it. Next to the sofa was a side table with phone, answering machine and a pot of pens. Imagine that house with a three-year-old in it.

My daughter made a pen mark once on that sofa after getting up earlier than usual while we were still asleep; it washed out, but my then-partner was absolutely incensed with rage - and wouldn’t move the pot of pens or let me move them, because it was her house. Instead she tried to make my daughter clean the entire flat. By hand. With a vaccuum cleaner of the type where you had to crawl around the floor, not just push it around. Skirting boards, behing that damn sofa, everything.

At the time I truly believed that my daughter was incredibly naughty and I was a terrible parent, rather than that my then-partner should have just moved the bloody pens.

Splitting up with her made all the difference. Now I have a partner who loves and understands my daughter, but it’s not just the support that helps - it’s the lack of someone constantly telling me how awful my daughter is.

Does that ring any bells at all with you, DC? I kinda hope it does, odd as it sounds, because if so then it means that you might be able to make changes for the better.

Also, I might add that having a child meant that I couldn’t take up my fully-funded PhD (somewhat complicated reasons, but no, there was absolutely no workaround) or get work for years because childcare costs outweighed my wages and employers weren’t interested in someone with commitments, and, well, she couldn’t cope in regular childcare anyway (I did try).

Now that she’s 11, I still can’t work full time. I did work full time for a while but it was unmanageable, what with being called to collect her from school all the time, so many hospital appts, and her really not coping with afterschool clubs and childminders. She regressed like an uphill train that’s suddenly had its fuel supply cut off.

Even given that ‘you never know what could have happened,’ it’s very, very likely that I would have done a lot better job, money, and everything else wise if it weren’t for having my daughter when I did. I’ve sacrificed huge amounts for her. She is worth it. But there have been occasions when I’ve thought she wasn’t.

We didn’t, and wouldn’t. Married 40 years now.