Ask Annie: Regretting having children
Dear Readers: Last month, I posed a question to everyone: “If you had to do it all over again, would you have kids?” Thousands of you responded.
Two days ago, we heard from parents who would gladly have children if given a redo. (They constituted 77 percent of responses overall.) Yesterday’s column was dedicated to people who don’t regret not having children (the second-most common group, at 12 percent). Today we’ll hear from the third-most populous group (9 percent): parents who, if given the chance to start over, would opt not to have children. I appreciate the vulnerability and honesty of these respondents, as it is obviously a difficult subject and calls up some raw emotions.
Read on, and check back tomorrow to hear from the final group: people who regret not having children.
NO NAME, PLEASE: Never! All they do is grow up and hurt you. Take it from a mother whose grown son wants no contact.
IN THE SOUTH: Yes, but not the same ones.
KENTUCKY: I am 69 years old, and I wish I had never had kids. I could write quite a dissertation about what a pain in the rear my son and daughter have been over the years, but I won’t bore you with that. Let’s just say they have screwed up my retirement years, and for that, I am bitter. I would just like some peace so my wife and I could enjoy what years we have left. The only thing worse than being alone is wishing you were alone.
HURTING: I had two children. One died. My daughter, now an adult, has been a heartache over and over. I wish I’d never had a child. I have a niece and a nephew, and I make a great aunt. They love me with all of their hearts. I wish I had stuck to that.
LOUISIANA: Thirty years ago, I was promiscuous and struggling with addiction. My plans did not include children. At age 25, I became ill with what I thought was the flu. After seeing a doctor, I was told I was approaching my fourth month of pregnancy. Talk about a game changer! I had to make a decision, because it was no longer about me. If it hadn’t been for that unexpected pregnancy, I would have eventually died of a drug overdose somewhere down the line. My son was born healthy, and I raised him the best way I knew how. I thank God for my son, my only child. He is the best thing I have ever done with my life, and I thank him for saving mine. But he is now 29 years old and facing some of the same demons I struggled with. So, if I could have prevented his suffering, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t. But no regrets.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Though I love my present two children, after much thinking, I would prefer not to have had any.
DISAPPOINTED: I most definitely would not have children again. I had two children, who are now middle-aged. My son has suffered from mental illness, and life with him has been a roller coaster. He is still pretty much a child, and I have to handle all his affairs. My daughter and grandson moved to the other side of the country, and I haven’t seen them for a few years. Neither of them seems too interested in my welfare, listens to suggestions or takes my advice. I have always tried to be supportive but have let them fail up to a point, to avoid enabling their dysfunction.
BROKENHEARTED: I feel like a bad person for even thinking this, but I would say no.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.
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