Regretting Motherhood: Not Every Woman Wants Rugrats

Illustration for article titled Regretting Motherhood: Not Every Woman Wants Rugrats

"Women who regret having children are the silent minority," writes Lucy Beresford in the Times of London. Beresford is a writer and psychotherapist who says that not all women are cut out to be mothers. "Many go ahead with pregnancy," she writes, "hoping that ambivalence will be annihilated during labor by a love-bomb of hormones." Vicki Glembocki may be one of those women. Her book, The Second Nine Months: One Woman Tells the Real Truth About Becoming a Mom. Finally. is excerpted on Salon. "Wasn't that whole maternal-instinct thing supposed to stick around after that first night in the hospital?" she writes. "Wasn't some maternal gene supposed to switch on and keep me all stoned on bliss and beaming at this child like she is pure light? ... I'm terrified, really. Terrified that [my husband] and I have made a horrible, terrible mistake by having this baby."

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According to the Financial Times, there's a charity in the UK, Oxpip, devoted to helping parents in their relationship with their babies. Researchers believe that early relationships shape an infant's brain and nervous system; babies born to parents with attachment disorders often have emotional and mental health problems later in life. It's enough to make you wonder if you should just skip the mommy thing, especially if you're not naturally a "baby person."

I'm one of those people who doesn't just automatically like babies. I can recognize a cute baby when I see one (Zahara!), but I'm not "into" infants. (My sister, who is in veterinary school, is the same way, and has been known to declare: "I don't like baby humans.") I'm neither married nor at the point in my life where I'm seriously considering having kids, and the lukewarm (at best) feelings I have about babies make me wonder if I even want to have any. Ever. But saying so makes me feel vaguely guilty. Should a woman who is reluctant about motherhood have a baby anyway? And if you have a child and feel a sense of regret, are you a bad mother?

Women Who Aren't Cut Out For Motherhood [Times of London]
Welcome To The Nuthouse [Salon]
When The Magic Of Motherhood Is Missing [Financial Times]
Related: Oxford Parent Infant Project

DISCUSSION

mehblahpfft
MehBlahPfft

In regards to the "When in doubt, have a baby" theory? Any advocate of this needs to have a huge pie slammed in his/her face immediately. And that pie should be made of nails and broken glass. Nail and Broken Glass pie: big in Northern Jersey. It's a BABY not a trendy pet! Sadly, society pushes motherhood on EVERY woman as a default and so women who in a normal circumstance would be 100% uninclined to reproduce go ahead and have a baby they do not want. MANY, I'm sure, go on to love the little sluggy (my nickname for babies: they look and act like little pink slugs. I' love 'em.)

In terms of being a bad mother if you regret having children. Depends on what you mean by regret: Missing your old life/envying those of your friends without children/asking "what if" frequently is one thing. I think that's not only normal and healthy, but indicative of a functioning human being. Just flat out wishing you didn't have a child? Dunno: I think your kid will absolutely pick up on that one. While it doesn't make you a bad person, it doesn't make you a good mom.