Yes, Women Do Regret Having Children Sometimes

And we need to be able to talk about it

Sharon Alger

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2 humans sit on a colourful earth globe against a dark blue sky.
Image created by author on Canva

I see people talking on social media constantly about women, children, & regret. Specifically, people making presumptuous predictions about things women will regret & would definitely never regret.

It goes like this: women will always feel guilt & regret after having an abortion. If we don’t have children, one day it’ll be too late & we’ll be devastated for the rest of our lives for missing our big opportunity. And if you live your life as a single woman, especially if you never married? Your life will be empty & meaningless.

But what about the flip side: the taboo? I’m in my forties, & I speak to lots of women my age & older. Plenty have regrets that are vastly different to the ones younger women are warned about.

So many women, behind closed doors & in compassionate spaces confess dangerous things: how they wish they’d never had children. All these women love their children, mind you. Sometimes, the regret is fleeting, temporary; usually when the mum is struggling with one or more children & feels like a failure, wracked with guilt. For many, the feeling passes when tough situations improve, & their confidence returns.

And some genuinely regret it all the time. Lots of women have had children in the past, because it was expected of them, or they didn’t know other options existed. Put simply, they were raised to believe that having kids is just what you do.

There are plenty of women who wish they’d never married, or had married someone else instead. It seems to me that as a collective, people try to frighten women into marriage & raising kids (you know, before they ‘miss out’), that women are rushed into making these decisions before they’ve taken the time to think about what they actually want. Too many people place an excessive amount of value on women, based on whether they’ve married or popped out some kids. I’m glad that’s changing.

I’m in a very long-term relationship with 3 kids. It has worked out well for me. Ever since I was 16, I have put a lot of thought into my future choices. With each passing year, I re-assessed my desires, with consideration for the life stage I was in.

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Sharon Alger

I’m an Aussie mother, carer, dog-lover and feminist. I write about feminism, humor, opinion pieces, and whatever else I feel like.