Unbelievers Regret Having Children?

Unbelievers Regret Having Children? August 17, 2018

So if you’ve read Lori Alexander’s book ‘The Power of the Transformed Wife’ or spent much time lurking at her website The Transformed Wife you will notice that occasionally Lori busts out an idea with zero basis in reality.  This idea is one of those! She thinks it is feature of non-Christians , that unbelievers regret having children. While good Quiverfull believers welcome in every single child.

What does she base this idea upon? Some apocryphal story from her short years teaching. From the teachers around her. First, I shudder to think that there are folks teaching small children that regret having small children. Second, a tiny slice of life experience and a few throw away conversations does not translate into a worldwide hard and fast rule!

Do people realize how much easier their lives would be if they had chosen to be child free? Sure, but that does not mean they regret their choices or do not love their children. I think Lori is mistaking temporary parental burnout for some sort of self-invented longing to be childfree.

It’s normal, in or out of Quiverfull, to have those moments when your mind is saying to you ‘If I didn’t have to do x with the kids I could be doing y” I remember the year I was driving my very ill four year old daughter to and from the University of Virginia hospital every few days while making sure my second grader was occupied and my teenage daughter’s needs were being met. I frequently had ‘Calgon, take me away!’ moments where I thought about how it would be awesome if I was childfree on a beach somewhere with a Mai-Tai in one hand and a book in the other with zero responsibilities. That time passed, I loved my children even if I sometimes had thoughts of running away for a few days. Zero guilt about it even now.

That is the real danger of Quiverfull. They demonize normal reactions and thoughts into the ‘Worst Sin EVER!’ instead of acknowledging it’s not all roses and moonlight, endless joy. Let’s face it, slogging along through some parts of parenting isn’t always joyful, Christian or not, and stop shaming each other.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Iain Lovejoy

    One prominent unbeliever had one of those moments, too, when the kids were being a pain:
    “And the LORD saw how abundant was the wickedness of man upon the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil all the day, and the LORD regretted having made man on the earth, and he was grieved to his heart.”
    (Genesis 6:5-6)

  • Jaynie

    I wouldnt be surprised if quiverful mothers were more likely than average to regret having children. As a secular woman I get to decide whether, when, and how many — and none of these are options for dutiful married quiverful women. There are bound to be some who, if raised in a secular environment, would never have chosen to procreate at all. Must be a hell of a thing to feel when you have double digits of empty mouths to feed.

  • Saraquill

    Lori’s a flaming hypocrite. The reason she has the amount of children she does is because she wanted to quit her job. She accomplished this by deceit, rather than discussing the matter like a mature person.

  • Tawreos

    I wonder how many of the posts on that page are just people blowing off steam? There are days when I regret having a dog and I say so, but once the steam is blown off and the mess is cleaned up he is back sitting in my lap, like he is right now trying to keep me from typing. =)

  • Anri

    Notice the apparent lack of concern or curiosity about the children possibly regretting being born into such a family.

    Almost as if the actual lives of the kids were strictly secondary to you being able to brag about numbers.

  • Snowflake

    Yeah, I’m thinking the name of the blog should be, My Kids Are Driving Me Batshit Crazy Today Blog.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    But of course they are happy. They are always smiling and happy whenever I see them: I’d beat them until they were otherwise.
    Look, see, happy!

  • Aloha

    I thought we secular women regretted our abortions. Now we regret our children?

    I think Lori just wants to add “forced adoptions” to the “forced birth” policies in place.

  • Kevin K

    Ann Landers or Dear Abby … one of those … pointed to a survey some number of years ago that claimed that an incredibly high percentage of parents admitted regret in having children. Way more than half.

  • B.E. Miller

    I’ve often thought that high schoolers should have to either help a foster family for a week, or help a puppy/kitten rescuer. Just so they can see how much work goes into caring for a child.

    I’m thinking that people who regret having kids didn’t realize just how much work goes into raising kids. They were brought up with this ‘idea’ of it being happy and shiny, and sold a dream vision.

    I read an article with a woman who regretting having a kid, who said she didn’t realize how much of her identity would end up being consumed by the new baby. She felt trapped. She said that she and her husband didn’t ‘do their homework’ on all that having a kid entailed.

    QF/CP moms probably feel this way too, then feel guilty, and like they are sinners. Or they’re careful not to let themselves thinks such thoughts, because they worried about being sent to hell for such thoughts.

  • B.E. Miller

    I’m also wondering if QF moms might be afraid of such thoughts, because then they believe they’ll go to hell….

  • B.E. Miller

    Yup.

    I’m wondering why didn’t leave off being a school teacher and find a job somewhere else.

  • Storm

    I personally don’t feel it’s okay to invalidate the feelings of those who do actually regret having children. Our society is still very centered around getting married and having children, and there’s a lot of pressure to do so. I’m not surprised that there are people who genuinely regret that decision, and I think it’s possible to love your kids and still regret having them in the first place.

  • SAO

    Yeah, but you get over the baby years, at least if you stop having babies. My brother’s first baby was born blue, nearly killed his mother, and was a cranky, colicky baby for nearly a year. Then he became a smart, interesting, if serious kid.

  • Julia Childress

    Lori’s first mistake is applying her narrow experience to the universe (as you pointed out, Suzanne). Her second problem is her complete lack of ability to analyze and think critically. I have known people, including one of my beloved sisters, who DO regret having children. But it’s not, as Lori supposes, because they hate their children, but because they love their children. My sister’s two sons came into this world predisposed to mental illness. She and her husband have endured over 20 years of hell dealing with them, and chances are good that neither will ever be a fully functional adult. Not a day goes by that my sister doesn’t wonder what will become of her dear children when she and her husband die. Her sons are both college graduates and they both work, and their periods of stability seem to be getting longer as they get older, but at any time they can fail to take their medications, or experience some sort of crisis (like a romantic break-up) and then Sis and BIL have to step in to help them get back on track. Because she loves them so much, there is no way that my sister would have brought these two young men into the world if she could have known that theirs would be lives of suffering.

  • SAO

    I think expressing regret for having kids is a bad thing to do. It means you are concentrating on the minuses, not the pluses of your kids. And if the kid ever hears it, that’s devastating.

  • SAO

    And Lori never complains about us unbelieving patents spoiling our kids with not enough chores, not enough spankings, etc, etc.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Some people genuinely do regret having children, although this doesn’t mean they don’t love their children. It’s complicated and it is an extremely taboo thing to admit, which is why I call bullshit on anyone anywhere ever admitting it to Lori. But it is definitely A Thing and it is distinct from temporary burnout (although I’m guessing Lori is conflating the two). Gosh, it’s almost like we shouldn’t stigmatize the choice to be child-free or tell women that being wives and mothers is their only purpose so that people who do have children are more likely to be doing so because they genuinely want them and not because it’s the socially acceptable choice!

  • TinnyWhistler

    Blowing off steam in that context is infinitely better than doing so in front of the kids. When I was little I overheard someone at a church function talking to my mom about “Well, we have to love them, but they’re such little shits, aren’t they?” and it broke my heart. When I asked Mom about it later, she said that she didn’t say anything back, negative or positive, because she didn’t agree, but I still struggled with that for a long time.

    I understand blowing off steam. Don’t do it when it’s remotely possible that ANY child might overhear.

  • zizania

    I was considering not getting another one when Shio died, but we both really miss having one around the house. Looking for the right one now.

  • Tawreos

    Pounds and shelters always have the best dogs. =)

  • heleninedinburgh

    I don’t know how people can reconcile the two beliefs that god is going to send you to hell if you commit thought-crime and that he loves you.

  • AFo

    I wonder if any of these women didn’t want to have kids, found themselves pregnant, and were pressured into having the baby anyway. In that case, I could see them having a lot of regret and/or resentment.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Absolutely! Those are thoughts that need to stay unspoken or spoken only in safe enviroment, like the therapist office or in your group of friends.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    She would have made a dandy prison guard.

  • smrnda

    Very good rule to follow.

  • smrnda

    Wow, ‘I don’t feel like working?’ was her motivation? My, how privileged of her.

  • smrnda

    It doesn’t surprise me. Having children has been pushed as an obligation, or just ‘what everybody did’ for a long time. Being child-free still isn’t totally accepted in society. No surprise to me that people regret doing something that they were pushed to do by their families and society at large instead of being able to make their own call.

  • texassa

    At least once a week the thought crosses my mind that my life would be easier/more peaceful/less work if I’d not gotten married. This doesn’t mean I don’t love my husband or want a divorce; it is simply a fact.

  • Martin Penwald

    Let’s hope the quiverfull crowd won’t decide to use the same way of dealing with the kids.

  • Hannah

    No one deserves that! That’s a cruel and unusual punishment right there, inflicting Lori on them. It’d be enough to make even the most hardened criminal cry like a baby!

  • persephone

    And Lori still only had four. She should have been able to pump out a dozen, at least, if she was truly a Christian. *eyeroll*

  • persephone

    My story is that my kids are birth control failures. That’s not true. My ex stealthed me and got me pregnant deliberately. At the time, I was suffering from depression and still recovering from the JWs, so I didn’t see abortion as an option, especially since the child would be the first great-grandchild for his family and he’d already told everyone.

    I never told my younger son that his father never wanted him, and instead of being honest and asking me to get an abortion, he blew up our lives. It was after this that the abuse really started.

    I never wanted children. I regret having them, but I do love them and they’re my responsibility.

  • persephone

    Part of this BS is that we have a biological drive (most of us, anyway) to reproduce our genetics; it’s not a god given command or desire or need. Even though I never wanted children, at around 45 there was a sudden desire to have a baby. Thankfully, my tubes were tied by then, but I recognized that it was a last ditch hormonal drive.

    I feel so bad for women who want babies but can’t have them. I wish they could be able to step back and look at the situation clearly.

  • Nightshade

    Do unbelievers regret having children at a higher rate, or are they just (slightly) more honest about it? Childbearing regret is frowned on in most of our society, but that disapproval is much higher among Quiverfull types…’but the Bible says children are a GIFT from GOD! How can you POSSIBLY say you wish you didn’t have any??!’

  • B.E. Miller

    Me neither.

    Growing up, our nuns always said “God would understand” which covers a lot of stuff.

    I’m also thinking of Rebekah Pearl Anast. Remember she used to have that web site 7xSunday or such. Where she’d detail her apocalyptic dreams, and do song videos? I was watching her sing some hymn once. I’ve seen gospel singers and other people singing hymns. They all look so happy, and like they’re having so much fun singing for the Lord.

    Rebekah, OTOH, always looked like she was afraid of something. She never looked like she was in some religious rapture singing.

    Maybe they don’t really believe in God’s love…..

  • B.E. Miller

    “Little pitchers have big ears”. That was something my grandparents always used to say. Good idea. Kids hear stuff, and remember it.

  • Saraquill

    One of the many reasons I despise Autism $peaks is because they filmed a mom saying she wanted to commit murder-suicide with her disabled child, but she loved her non disabled kid too much to go through with it. The disabled child was in the same room as the mother.

  • Storm

    I agree for sure with not telling your kids this! But to say they should be kept unspoken is the same idea that Quiverfull/fungelical people seem to support – that the most important thing is looks and seeming happy and never talking about downsides or how something that’s supposed to be super happy is actually making you feel.

    I guess I just value honesty over repressing oneself to serve others.

  • B.A.

    That’s why it would work! ;p

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Everything is permissable in the right time and place, not near the kids.

  • Zeldacat

    I’ve never been married but have heard this exact sentiment from several women in happy long-term marriages. Marriage can be work. And I’m in my early 40s and pretty happy on my own. It’d be a huge change in my life, I like routine and doing things my way, and if I marry it’ll be for very carefully considered reasons, not “OMG A MAN AT LAST!”

  • heleninedinburgh

    Even when they’ve stopped yowling for food every night, even if they’re able-bodied and don’t require extra care, even if they’re perfectly behaved, and even if you’re physically, emotionally and financially able to take care of them – children still change your life profoundly just by being there; and I can see how people might just want their old life back so they didn’t have to worry. Especially if they didn’t want children (or children at that point, or that many children, or children with that person) in the first place.

  • heleninedinburgh

    I never really want children except for a day or two before I have my period. Other people have premenstrual tension, I have premenstrual broodiness. It’s like my reproductive system is a quiz-show host saying ‘Is that your final answer?’

  • SAO

    I was assuming you’d start with a planned family, which is more likely with ‘unbelievers’ who aren’t inundated with crap about mothering being a woman’s role.

    That said, I’m taking my youngest to college on Monday and not sure what an empty nest will feel like, so I’m so far away from my pre-kid life I’m a bit scared of getting it back.

  • Adamska

    Most of the regretters I’ve encountered have been women who didn’t have access to good information on the effects of pregnancy. It had little to do with the work going into the kids and a lot to do with the damage they had no idea they were going to suffer (for those people).
    It’s almost like informing dfab people with good sex ed would be something quiverfull wouldn’t like…

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Sending you a cyber hug for empty nest. For me it wasn’t the youngest going off that got to me, it was my middle kid that got me and made me cry. Yes, there is life, good life without worrying much about the kids on the other side. I love it!

  • Kathleen

    I don’t suppose someone commented on that particular blog post with THIS….”well, even GOD regretted having children and wiped them out. Is that what you think should happen?” Watch fundy anti-choicers get all tied up in knots.

  • Kathleen

    You know, it’s the HAVE to love them that would bother me the most. If it were “We love them but they’re such little shits” seems like a totally different statement. That’s just me though.

  • TinnyWhistler

    That’s exactly what bothered me as a kid.

  • B.E. Miller

    Andrea Yates….

  • Hannah

    True dat, poor evil criminals!

  • Kathleen

    How do you know that? Is she open about it? I don’t read her blog….

  • katiehippie

    Lori is just mad her facebook page doesn’t have so many people. Psst, Lori, 10K really isn’t that many people.

  • B.A.

    Hi Hannah. Hope all is well. 🙂

  • B.A.

    I found that my parents rather enjoyed being empty-nesters. I mean,sure,they love us dearly and missed us at first,but they married young. Mon was only 20 and Dad was only 23. So they enjoyed being together,just the two of them,because it had been so long since it was that way. And now I’m doubly glad for them that they had that time together now that my father is no longer here…I know Mom is glad,too.

  • Hannah

    Hello B.A.! Yes, I’m now packing (and stressing out about that) although right now I’m sitting on my bed eating chocolate. I’ve still got two and a half weeks to get everything done.

    How’s everything going with you?

  • tatortotcassie

    We’re supposed to regret having any kind of sex with anyone other than our own spouses. And we’re supposed to regret our decision to “reject” Christianity so that we then accept Jesus Christ as our personal etc etc etc.

  • therealcie

    I regret every interaction I’ve ever had with those who believe as Lori does, but I don’t regret having my son.

  • zizania

    We check in frequently with the SPCA, but the one here hasn’t had much. We aren’t in a hurry.

  • B.A.

    Pretty good. Seems to be the season for condo repairs-first the A/C,now the TV-it all happens at the same time. Getting into the rainy season. I’m in Atlanta and we get the leftovers from the tropics.

  • Hannah

    ‘It never rains, it pours’, seems to be appropriate! The UK is slowly coming out of a heatwave (no rain and temperatures hovering around 30°C for two months, not my idea of a good time! We Brits are not used to that kind of weather!) We’ve had rain and it’s a bit cooler now, thank goodness! I’ve never been to Atlanta (never left the UK, sadly) but my father in law is going to be there next month for a music festival, lucky him!

  • Cynthia

    Lori really seems to actively dislike children sometimes, except for when they are being terrorized into silence obedience.

    Meanwhile, my husband and I actually wanted and planned our kids. We’re lucky to have 3 awesome teens (and I admit that some of this is just a combination of luck and genetics, as I found out that one of my kid’s friends is really suffering, so the most that I’ll take credit for is not ruining them). This weekend was a treat, because after being away at school and camp, I actually got to see them all again and spend some real time with them.