Didn’t Want Kids, but Had Them Anyway & Now You’re Unhappy?

Some time ago, I conducted an interview with six childfree men for the website DINKlife.com. That interview was later re-published by The Good Men Project, and every now and then, I’ll receive notifications of new comments posted on that article in my in-box. The following comment (posted at The Good Men Project) arrived this morning:

I never wanted a child and have one now. Love the baby more than anything but I’m totally overwhelmed and deeply deeply unhappy about my situation. I feel caged, I have so many plans in my life and so little interest for diaper baby talk. There is not only all the work with the baby, suddenly the whole fucking kin shows an annoying interest in my pathetic little life, calling all the time demanding to see the little brat. Fuck that, divorce is on the horizon. Take this warning from me: never, I repeat NEVER agree to having a baby if you don’t want it, whatever pressure might come from whomever asshole out there, don’t listen to them. Just listen to yourself and if you want to stay free and careless and did I mention FREE by all means say NO! Here’s another thought: if men would really have a say in having babies or not I predict that world population would be 50% smaller. C’mon which guy really thrives on baby birthday parties, baby showers and all that crap, that’s de finitely for chicks only. And it’s definitely not for me, I’m sooo stupid that I haven’t really thought about that before.

The commenter, who calls himself “Bart,” is in a sticky situation, and I sincerely feel for him. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t think about how permanent the decision is, how much their lives will change, and how every decision thereafter will (for the most part) involve the effect it will have on the child.

I appreciate Bart’s honesty (it takes courage, I think, to admit to being an unhappy parent), and I think he has a few good pointers for others who might feel pressured to have kids.

1. If you don’t want kids, say NO!

2. Understand that your life will change and that you, like Bart, could end up feeling overwhelmed (especially if you never wanted kids in the first place and had one [or more] as a sort of “compromise,” which is a misnomer, because there’s no “compromising” when it comes to having kids).

3. If you have extended family you don’t want to see all the time, prepare for them to come around more to see the baby.

I do, however, take issue with this:

Here’s another thought: if men would really have a say in having babies or not I predict that world population would be 50% smaller.

Dear Bart (and anyone else who believes this),

You really did have a say. No one strapped you down and forced you to impregnate the baby’s mother. Every man has a say in whether he willingly, knowingly creates babies. Blaming your partner for pressuring you, blaming society, blaming anyone but yourself is a shameless attempt to shift responsibility and deny your role (and, in this case, your own weakness).

Bart also implies that women (rather, “chicks”) are the only ones interested in baby stuff:

C’mon which guy really thrives on baby birthday parties, baby showers and all that crap, that’s de finitely for chicks only.

No, it’s for people. It’s for men and women who, before having children, gave the decision the serious consideration it deserves and determined that they truly wanted to be parents (which is a lot more difficult and involved than simply having children).

I’m sorry you’re in this spot, Bart, but it was your decision and your willful, physical act that resulted in a child. Leave the marriage if you have to, but understand that you intentionally and consciously created another person, and that it’s now your responsibility to be the best father you can be, whether or not you’re living in the house with your child.

Like it or not, it’s not all about you, anymore, and anything and everything you do as it affects that child will shape that child’s impression of you and your worth as a father. It will also shape how that child feels about him- or herself growing up. What should be of some comfort to you is that all it takes to be a good father is for you to be there whenever you can, to love your child, and to put true effort into showing that love (never putting your own “I want to have fun and be FREEEE!” desires before your child’s needs).

I have no doubt you already know, and plan, to do that. Best of luck,

- Syl

RELATED POST: Mom who says kids are her biggest regret – courageous or cruel?

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38 thoughts on “Didn’t Want Kids, but Had Them Anyway & Now You’re Unhappy?

  1. “if men would really have a say in having babies or not I predict that world population would be 50% smaller” … “Fuck that, divorce is on the horizon.”

    Men have been using that “it’s the woman you gave to me” line of bullshit since Adam. Take some responsibility for your decision, asshole. (And yes…it was a decision.)

    • screw you! If you choose to have sex with a women you should fully understand that no matter what birth control you use there is a chance of creating a baby! Sex is not just recreational fun.

  2. Lately I’ve been reading a LOT of comments from unhappy men and women who had children largely due to pressure from family and/or religious community and now deeply regret that decision, and I think “what a shame.” I really wish that people who are either undecided about or just plain unwilling to have kids would be a lot stronger and tell relatives or friends who keep pushing the “have a baby” mindset to back off and mind their own business. I really don’t think it’s that hard, but I guess it’s easier for some to do than others.

    I was often pressured by family (ex-spouse and inlaws) to have another child after DS, but I flat-out refused to do it. Even though my refusal to have another child resulted in ending the marriage, I have no regrets whatsoever about being what I call “done after one.” I WOULD have regretted having another child and then being utterly miserable just to keep a dying marriage going longer. Thank goodness I’m NOT one of those statistics of regretful parents!

    It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century, there are still those who believe the ancient nonsense that women should be content to be wives and mothers only. Unfortunately, the bronze-age neanderthals are still around and pushing the pronatalist mentality.

      • lol Me too. I especially liked your point #1: “If you don’t want kids, say NO!” If women or men know they don’t want kids, it is a serious mistake NOT to be honest about it, even if it causes friction in family/friend relationships. The post by “Bart” is a perfect example of why HE should have said NO.

  3. Grown adults are fully responsible for their conduct,that is not fair to blame and fault innocent children for the mess that adults creat; it is a crying damn shame that children had to pay and no we all didn’t ask to be born and yes I am one of those children who was badly affected because of irresponsible adults.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, Charl1010. And you’re right – children should never be blamed for the conduct of adults. The choices we make are ours to manage, and we should manage them in a way that doesn’t negatively impact those we bring into the world. There is always a choice involved in having children.

    • Exactly! If you don’t want kids, have the snip for crying out loud! If you change your mind down the track, it is reversibe. It will save you from bringing and unwanted child into the world.

  4. always a choice having children sylvia … unless your a man .-
    you as a woman have the choice to have the kid or not .. me as a man despite my hatred of kids , my continued use of contraceptive – when the worst happens , has to hope the woman is reasonable. i have always told my partner i dont want kids – she falls pregnant despite my use of condom , and she is going to have it – no choice in it for me at all –
    dont talk crap sylvia – besides not having sex , a man really has no choice .

    • Men and women have the choice to be sterilized if they are certain that they don’t want to be parents. Guy, if you hate children, consider permanently ending the possibility of reproduction for yourself; then tell your partner that you have done so.

    • The choice for men is a vasectomy!!! If you still manage to impregnate a woman after the snip, you can sue and the compensation can pay for the child’s upbringing – you won’t have to do it.

      • Not true on being able to sue the company. My honey and I are about to have our one and done…despite both my taking the pill and his vasectomy. His snip is, however, 11 years old. We have been together 8. We both didn’t want kids and yet find a serious side to accept that sometimes life is out of your control. I love him too damned much to abort his child. He loves me too damned much to walk away. We are probably crazy for not putting him up for adoption, yet we see that there are things about US the world needs more of. Neither one of us wanted him. It doesn’t mean we won’t love him.

  5. I’m sorry people, but not all of us WANT kids. Sometimes shit just happens, a broken condom, the god damn pill decides to not work who the fuck knows. The point is that no it is not ALWAYS a choice to have children but then comes values as in pro-abortion or against it. Whatever choice you make think let it be a choice that even if it takes 7 months of the pregnancy or 8 months for you to make let it be a choice you will stick to. Men, get the fudge over you over rated vision of I NEED TO BE FREE, jebus. As far as I know women have those too, they also lose their freedom, some also fear becoming a mother, some don’t plan on it but if things happen they deal with it and men, if you chose to stay DEAL WITH IT. Grow up and if you decide to stay understand that you will lose something YES, but don’t underestimate what you will be able to learn from this experience and how you will hopefully gain an eternal lover.

    • If a women gets pregnant by accident for whatever reason, she has a choice to abort that pregnancy, a man has NO say whatsoever, so wtf are we to do, if you decide to keep the child you better damn well have the means to have it, and not bitch about child support if the man wants no part of it. I’m sorry but women today are just fckng oblivious.

    • Yeah, I think what your saying us BS. Your value in abortion is pretty much your choice. I have a great idea, we should force others to live a confined life based on our values that We call decisions. My wife refused to talk to me about it and refused to get an abortion. I didn’t ask for that and if the situation were reversed I wouldn’t subject someone to life they don’t want just because I feel wrong about it. That’s wrong in itself and abortion is a very viable option, especially early on!

  6. oblivious isn’t the word, fckng stupid is more like it, if you get pregnant by accident, and the man doesn’t want the child, nor do you have means to care for one , get a goddamn abortion, don’t go ahead make your own decision to have it, then bitch and moan when he doesn’t stick around. Too much females these days are disillusioned on the whole matter and think its cool or something to have a kid, kids aren’t some trial run you can try out to see if you like it, they are a fckng LIFETIME responsibility, and an annoying one at that, the ones that piss me off the most are those that refuse to get an abortion but then drops their kid off at their mother every chance they get.
    if you want to stay FREE and avoid all the bulllshit that comes with the lil buggers, stick a morning after pill in her orange juice, because leave it up to them and you’ll be up the creek without a paddle.

    • To be honest, I am SO relieved that lots of men do not want children. I have always been so worried that if i ever got married, there would some sort of pressure of having a child, and i truly do not want one (I am a woman by the way) so yeah, reading this article almost makes me feel relieved that lots of men do not want kids either.

  7. If I was a man, I would get a vasectomy, then you can’t get “oopsed”. Sadly, there are *some* women who would still do this to trap a man. But if she does become pregnant, you know it wasn’t you!
    Luckily, both me and my OH feel the same and are definitely child-free!

  8. To all my male “brothers” out there, masturbation can lower the chances that you will make a testosterone-laced decision that will leave you going to Chuck-E-F_ing-Cheese’s every Saturday for what seems like an eternity. In fact, if you have a chance to hang out with friends or relatives when they take their kids to Chuck-Es, go along. It might be the best birth control ever.

  9. Late to the thread, but I’d like to add that I believe that Bart’s feelings are much more common than we believe. Most parents will generally not verbally say they regret having children, but actions speak louder than words. Look at the high number of deadbeat and absentee parents, in addition to the flaky ones who maybe call their kids a couple of times a year but don’t really get involved. Their apathy conveys that parenthood wasn’t for them. You probably can’t get most of them to verbalize that, but they don’t need to.

    It appears that Bart is seeking divorce because he doesn’t like the full-time parental lifestyle; there’s no mention of problems with the actual marriage. I believe this is also more common than admitted. I recall a study cited in the book Women and Their Fathers that researched absentee fathers who claimed they weren’t close to their kids due to maternal obstruction. Of the fathers claiming that, only a tiny percentage–a low single-digit percentage, I recall– were telling the truth.

  10. Well we had two kids, neither of which I wanted. But we made a really good job of it. They are fine lads. Then my partner decides to fuck off with another bloke. Now separated; we have the kids half the time. I’m not happy; it’s not fair on the kids as I can’t father them in the way I want to any longer (as I don’t have enough time). I’m now feeling resentment towards them that I had seemingly repressed for 15 or so years. Most distressing. I think I’m breaking down.

    • Bob, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I sincerely hope you find a professional you can speak with. The resentment you’re feeling obviously isn’t toward your children, who had no choice in the matter of their birth, but toward the decision you made (twice) that led to a life you may not have considered ideal. Talking it out with someone might help you straighten things out emotionally and help you enjoy your kids as well as the life you’re living now (and the years to come). I wish you the absolute best. – Syl

  11. I’m in the same position didn’t want kids, told my partner dozens of times. Her friend persuaded her to stop taking the pill and say nothing. She got pregnant and said it was an accident. I found out from her friend that it wasn’t. Had a vasectomy before the kid was born. We live apart in the same house waiting for the kid to be old enough for us to split. She’s desperate for another but can’t have one while she’s with me, will be too old by the time I leave. She can’t afford to live on her own and mind the kid. We were both really happy before, now both miserable. It’s the most stupid thing a woman can do. You should only have kids when you both agree to have them, not for your own gratification.

      • Her friend’s attitude is she that it was her right to have a baby and I was being selfish not wanting one. She convinced her that I would come to terms with it after a while, like people who have cancer or are raped. I’ll never come to terms with it. There can be no relationship without trust.
        There is no happiness or family photos because we aren’t a family, just two strangers with a kid. I always refuse to be in the same photo as her.
        I told her for ten years after we met if she wanted kids I was happy for her to leave me and find someone who wanted them. Even introduced her to my single mates who might want kids . She only wanted to be with me so wouldn’t leave.
        I’ve heard girls say their partner doesn’t want kids so they’re going to get pregnant and say it’s an accident. It’s so stupid, you can’t live with a lie forever.

  12. What am I supposed to do? I didn’t want kids. My wife got accidentally pregnant and when she told me I told her that I didn’t want kids and to get an early abortion. She said she doesn’t “believe” in that and refused. She took away my choice because she wouldn’t even listen to why would we shouldn’t have a child. I have really tried to warm up to the idea but she is almost due and I know, deep down, I don’t want a child. I’m really angry and frustrated with my wife and honestly want a divorce. The problem I have is we were not trying to get pregnant and when we did it seemed like this is what my wife was always after all along. I’m done before I even started and I’m afraid I’m not going to be good for this kid. I already have a hard time getting emotionally attached to anything.

    • First get a vasectomy, so it can’t happen again, don’t tell her you did it, same as she did to you. You have two choices. Stay do your best for the kid and leave as soon as you think it’s old enough. Make a plan for when you leave. don’t have any joint finances or bank accounts. The only way to get through it is if there is something to look forward to. Second choice. Leave before it’s born if you stay you’ll make three people miserable. Every time the kid is a problem you’ll blame her. Don’t hang around, cut all ties, make a new life somewhere else.

      • He said his wife “accidentally got pregnant.” It could be that she did it on purpose and then lied about it, but we don’t know that. If it was an accident, it was an accident on both of their parts. Women can’t get pregnant without sperm.

        That said, I’m sorry the decision was one that you disagreed with. Whether a woman chooses to get an abortion or have the baby, the guy is kind of left to deal with the decision (as it should be, since she’s the carrier). I probably will get in trouble for this, but I think in a situation like this, if there’s truly been an understanding that one doesn’t want a child and the other chooses to have one, anyway, that the one who chooses to have it should do it expecting to take care of the child on her own. (Conversely, if a man somehow manages to coerce a female who doesn’t want children into getting pregnant and then having a child, he should be prepared for her to leave him with the child and to take care of it by himself.)

        There’s no reason to lie to her about getting a vasectomy. Yes, get one if you don’t want more kids, but tell her you’re doing it if you’re still married.

        Your child has probably been born by now. If you happen to come back, I’d be interested to know how you’re doing and what decisions you’ve made.

  13. Lovely beautiful women are just as capable of committing to something they didn’t really want to commit to for the sake of staying in/landing a relationship as a guy is, especially when the seeker is desperate or has low self esteem or doesn’t really know oneself to begin with. You are just as capable, women, of being dishonest with yourselves as any other person, whether it be male/female. It’s taking everything in my being to not write off the entire lot of you that’s posted on this as a bunch of damaged, delusional, little minded, selfish twits. Where does your lop ass rhetoric fit in with same sex couples, specifically lesbian couples? Hmmm? No guy in involved in that scenario. See, this isn’t necessarily about unwanted kids as much as it is about people not being honest about their own desires and the undesired and unhealthy compromises they make to satisfy his or her own agenda. It’s funny how this article doesn’t factor brain health or anything… “booo hooo, bad men”. All I get from this article is the same old banal rhetoric of yet another successful sociopath.

    • Just for clarity purposes – the same thing that drives a person to have a child they didn’t really want is the same thing that drives them to agree to anything else they didn’t really want to do… women aren’t immune from this. Having a child one didn’t really want to have is merely an example to a bigger and deeper issue… keep it real.

      • No one said women are immune. You’re turning a response to one person (and a warning to others to not give in) into some kind of assault on all men.

        The problem with full-time fighters (whether feminists or MRAs) is that they deal in absolutes. They (you) have a very hard time isolating incidents and seeing things for what they are, choosing instead to turn everything into an attack that must be defended.

        If it will make you feel better, I’ll say this: “Women, too, get pregnant when they don’t want kids. So, please read the above post as either sex and consider my advice the same: if you don’t want kids, don’t have them. Anything else you might do that you don’t want to affects only you, but don’t let your personal weakness create, and then potentially negatively impact, a whole new life.”

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