Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids by S. Treleaven

Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids by S. Treleaven

(Link):  Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids


It’s unthinkable, and it’s definitely unspeakable, but women all over the world are coming forward to say it: I regret having my children.

The movement got its (arguable) start nearly 10 years ago when Corinne Maier, a French psychoanalyst, writer, and mother of two in Brussels, wrote candidly about her own regret in (Link): No Kids: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children. (Among them: being forced to adopt the “idiot language” of children and inevitably being disappointed by your offspring.) The book was described by reviewers as “a selfish and cathartic display” and “incredibly distasteful.”

But as often happens when one person gives sudden voice to your secret inner turmoil, more women began to—timidly or boldly or both—step up to the mic.

..Not surprisingly, the movement has gained most of its traction on the internet, in anonymous chat rooms and on buried message boards, vestiges of safe spaces for women online. There are sub-communities on (Link): Quora and (Link): Reddit—even a Facebook group called (Link):  “I Regret Having Children”—with mothers tapping out desperate messages of shame, disappointment, and fear.

… Despite the fact that we have officially entered the age of oversharing—documenting anything and everything on social media from children’s births to family deaths—there are still things women are not supposed to feel, and certainly not to openly discuss. Regretting motherhood is the biggest to date.

… When author Ayelet Waldman declared in (Link): The New York Times in 2005 that she loves her husband (fellow author Michael Chabon) more than her four children, she was promptly flamed and even booed by an audience full of mothers when she (Link): went on Oprah to defend herself.

But Waldman stirred controversy for the sake of expressing one of the fundamental frustrations across women who regret having children, and even those who don’t: motherhood should be your primary identity above all others.

Do we expect the same of men? Of course not. Fathers, Susan Rohwer wrote for (Link): The Los Angeles Times in 2014, are permitted “multifaceted identities, and are even patted on the back for being involved parents.” With mothers, it’s simply expected that you will be an attentive, highly-involved caretaker, and there is no praise when you are.

…Society’s decisive discomfort with these mothers gets at a larger discomfort with women overall—that we won’t do our fundamental jobs. And that even if we do, we may change our minds.

“This is allegedly dangerous for a culture that depends on women’s collaboration to ‘make children their life’ without questioning it,” observes Orna Donath, an Israeli sociologist and author of (Link): Regretting Motherhood

And Donath is right: For many countries, raising a family still constitutes a vast landscape of unpaid work that falls almost wholly on women’s shoulders. It’s a societal infrastructure that innately depends on women cheerfully embracing the experience, even if every impulse tells them otherwise.

(( read the rest here ))

Related Posts:

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Is The Church Failing Childless Women? by Diane Paddison

(Link):   A Woman’s Fertility is Her Own Business, not Everyone Else’s by L. Bates

(Link):  Why Being a Childless Woman is Rarely a Simple Case of Choice or Infertility – Childless by Circumstance by J. Day 

(Link):  Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world, by Catherine Deveny

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):   Marriage, Parenthood, Judgment by Christians and Non Christians – You Can’t Win No Matter What Choice You Make

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Mommy Blogger Confesses in Blog Post that Mommy Blogging is a Bunch of Fake, Happy-Clappy B.S. – Kind of Like Most Christian Adult Singleness Blogs

(Link):  Remaining childless can be wise and meaningful. The pope should know Gaby Hinsliff

(Link): Baby Making Fixation at Christianity Today Magazine Online – Shaming Women For Not Procreating, or For Delaying Motherhood, or For Limiting the Number of Children

(Link): Dear Prudence: “Help! My Sister Thinks I Should Give Up a Promotion to Continue Being Her Free Babysitter.”

(Link): The Gross, Shaming Natalism Propaganda on Gab Platform by Its Rude Members, Including By Roman Catholics and Other Conservatives

3 thoughts on “Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids by S. Treleaven”

  1. Women are not the only gender who choose to be childfree. The author reveals her inherent sexism in the title of the piece. I am one such male. The blinkered ignorance of the mere existence of men by the author is duly noted by myself. In fact it is more difficult for men to be childfree because everyone is telling men to “grow up”, “man up”, “take responsibility” ad infinitum. All of which means that men should conform and fulfil society’s expectations of them. In addition it is easy for men to be tricked into parenthood against their consent. Society celebrates women’s choices but derides men’s choices.

    The author continues the grand tradition of ignoring men. Well done.

    1. @ etmalthusianism.
      I’m sorry you feel you are overlooked. However, both secular and religious culture places ten times more emphasis upon women to marry and be a parent than it does men.

      This is one reason why the vast majority of editorials you see on this topic are written by women, for women, and about women, because society has ten times more prejudice and hostility against women who do not marry and do not have children. People assume all women should be maternal and pop out a kid, and if we women do not, we are assumed to be selfish, un-natural, evil, etc.

      In a limited number of contexts – such as a gender complementarian, Mark Driscoll-ian churches, yes, the young men might get screamed at from the pulpit to hurry up, marry, and crank out a kid.

      However, men who remain single and childless don’t receive near same amount of scorn or hostility as women who remain single and/or childless (or child free). Society and religious cultures expect that because women are biologically capable of carrying a baby, that we should be putting those body parts to use and cranking them out.

      If you are a childless and single, right wing, conservative woman such as myself, you are automatically assumed to be a left wing, man hating feminist. I regularly run into conservatives on other sites who ASSUME the reason I am over 40 and have never married or had a kid is that I am a frothing at the mouth feminist who supports abortion.

      I don’t think most childfree bachelors get mistaken for being a secular, left wing feminist that often. I find myself having to defend or explain or justify my life to Christians or other conservatives. I just don’t see AS MUCH pressure or bias against men who stay single and childless as I do against women.

      Women over 40 who are single are thought of as being desperate or as “crazy cat ladies” and other such derogatory stereotypes, but men in your position are usually thought of as “confirmed bachelor,” which is not as insulting.

  2. All this makes me glad I raised my child before the internet. Too much information out there it seems like, and too much opportunity to air one’s dirty laundry. I won’t lie there are times when parenting can be tough, and one may feel let down. Maybe due to unrealistic expectations, maybe due to pressure from others in the mommiverse? Who knows? I just know that if one is going to blog on parenting, they really need to be careful about indulging in what is basically selfish confessions. What you feel about having kids needs to be told to three people: yourself, God, and maybe a psychologist if it’s causing emotional problems. Who doesn’t need to know? YOUR KIDS! Why lay that trip on them? They didn’t ask to be born and so blaming children for any issues or resentments is a big time cop out. That’s how I see it.

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