Parents who regret having children

Parents who regret having children February 22, 2017

8667992858_ef623594a5_zA new category of victims has emerged in feminist and other progressive circles:  “regretful parents.”  These are mothers and fathers (but mostly mothers) who are coming out about regretting that they had children.

This “breaking of a taboo” against admitting the feeling seems related to the attempt to normalize abortion.  Not wanting a child is portrayed as valid and liberating, even after the child is born.

Ironically, regretful parents insist that they still love the child.  Even as they wish that he or she didn’t exist.

As Alexandra DeSanctis points out, this movement shows profound confusion about parenthood, love, and life in general.  As if “having a child is valuable only as long as it is rewarding.”

From Alexandra DeSanctis, ‘Regretful Mothers’ Misunderstand Both Motherhood and Love | National Review:

. . . .Parents, but mostly mothers, who regret having had their children are staking out space on the battleground of parenthood and sexuality. (I first wrote about this trend in the fall.) Ending the “stigma” against regretful mothers is being enveloped into the progressive family-policy agenda — a natural corollary to the campaign for government-funded abortion, which renounces the inherent value of children. . . .

Reporter Stefanie Marsh in recent feature piece in the Guardian — “‘It’s the breaking of a taboo’: the parents who regret having children” — explored this concept further, interviewing a number of women who had planned to become mothers but began to regret their decision after their children had been born. In most cases, the women explained that the myriad difficulties of being a parent made them regret their choice. . . .

Yet at the same time, all of these women were adamant that their regret of motherhood was separate from their actual children; they all expressed love for their children, whom they seemingly wished had never existed at all. These contradictory claims point to the real problem underlying the crusade to abolish the stigma against regretful mothers.

The central issue isn’t whether these women deserve to be “shamed” for lamenting the paths their lives took as the result of their children, or even whether their regrets are understandable. The problem with articles such as this one — and with the movement that they fuel — is that they imply either that children have little value outside of the emotional satisfaction they bring to their parents or that the value of children is necessarily diminished by the hardship that comes along with caring for them.

This is particularly evident in the implication that these mothers can both love their children and wish that those children didn’t exist. At the very least, that suggests a fundamental misinterpretation of the nature of love, which ought to be understood as more than emotional affection for another person. Authentic love, self-sacrificial and focused on the good of the other above one’s own needs, would never wish away the very life of the beloved.

To read the various pieces on this topic is to grasp that the drivers against the “taboo” believe that having a child is valuable only as long as it is rewarding, or as long as one is always successful at being a parent.

[Keep reading. . .]

Illustration by Alma Ayon, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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