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Most parents are willing to acknowledge that their children generate a lot of work, but usually they also feel that the experience is much more good than bad.
To think otherwise is practically unspeakable. But there are also women who regret having become mothers.
BBC brought the testimony of three women who told Jean Mackenzie, of the Victoria Derbyshire program of the BBC, what it is like to secretly wish they had never had children.
“If I could turn back the clock, I would not have children,” confesses Raquel, who is currently in her 50s.
But he has three – the youngest is 17 – and most of the time he has raised them as a single mother , which did not make things easier.
“There were times when I did not feel mature enough to be responsible for someone, for that little person who needed me to live,” sshe says.
“He felt like an eternal circle in which he put a bottle or food in his mouth so that later he would come out on the other side and think: at what moment can something of all that become fun?” She recalls.
“I wanted to scream that reality is not as good as they say, if you’re the motherly type, perfect, you have everything you wanted, but if you do not have the instinct, all you did is catch yourself ,” she says.
Raquel admits that she did not think well how having children could affect her life. If I had known, I would not have had them.
“But I feel guilty saying it, because the truth is that I love my children very much ,” she says.
“You feel that you have not been a good mother and that is a fault that always accompanies you, that never leaves, and you wonder if they know it,” she confesses.
“But life should not force you to give up your life, your freedom, so they can have a life.”
This is something difficult to admit, because “people assume that you are not a good person”.
And Rachel desperately wants women who feel the same to not be vilified.
“I felt very lonely, I felt like there was something wrong with me, but if I could have talked about it and someone had understood me, maybe it would have been easier for me to deal with motherhood,” she concludes.
How common is the feeling?
It is impossible to know how many women feel that way, because very few speak openly about the subject.
But in a survey conducted in 2016 in Germany, 8% of a total of 1,200 surveyedsaid they regretted having become mothers.
And in 2015, Israeli sociologist Orna Donath published a study with women who lamented having children, describing this “desire to reverse motherhood” as “an unexplored maternal experience.”
Women who admit that feeling maintain that it is something very different from postpartum depression .
“I only saw the happy family with the little house and the garden, with the children who were happy to go to school: the fairy tale”.
Alison was adopted and as a child she always dreamed of having her own family.
So it was not until she had her first child that she realized that she was not the maternal type .
And desperate to leave home and escape her new role, she only took six months of subsidy before returning to work.
“Sometimes I took the day off and left with the nanny, to have the day to myself,” she confesses.
“It’s not that I did not want to spend time with him, but I did not know what to do, I was not good at making games, ” she says.
Since she did not want her son to grow up without siblings, Alison and her husband had another child. Both are already in college.
But she admits that if she had known what she knows today, she would never have become a mother.
“The wishes and needs of others are always more important, my mantra for the last two decades has been ‘if the others are happy, then I am happy’, which is sometimes a little irritating,” she explains.
“I could have had a better career, but I had to take them and look for them at school for 15 years, which limits a lot professionally.”
Alison quickly makes clear how much she loves her two children, but admits that she was actually too selfish to have them.
“I resented his intrusion in my time,” she confesses.
For her, many women do not talk about it because they are afraid to be judged. ” They do not want to be seen as selfish, the implication is that if you did not want children, then you’re a bad mother,” she laments.
Joy, who had her daughter 20 years ago, realized early enough that she did not want to be a mother.
“Everyone talks about how they give the child and they feel that fabulous current of love that runs through their bodies, I did not feel any of that, it just seemed an immense responsibility, ” he says.
Joy still has trouble remembering her daughter’s early years with love.
“It was hard, a daily struggle to get ahead,” she recalls.
“I imagine that all mothers have something similar, but in my case I did not find anything that I could say that I really enjoyed.” It was depressing, “she says.
Joy believes that she lacks the maternal instinct to make other mothers enjoy their children.
“For a long time I wondered if (the other mothers) were actually joking that things were as wonderful as they were painted and if they were ever going to be honest with me,” she admits.
“It seemed that I did not have the capacity to be this kind of loving and warm mother “.
“I wanted to go back to work, I wanted to continue my career, with the company I was starting, and this was just a great extra extra,” she confesses.
As a young girl, Joy’s daughter doubted her mother’s love “because I was not dictating the norms of society, ” says Joy.
“I really love her,” she insists, “but the bond is not cloying.”
Joy says that if more women were honest with how they feel, there would be less pressure for them to become mothers. “We are many more than what is said,” she says.
“The great thing would be for women to be deeply honest with themselves, and if having children and a family is really important, then do it from the bottom up,” she says.
“But if inside there is a feeling that says ‘I do not really see what’s special about this,’ do not lie or shame to plant your face and say: ‘I’m someone who does not want to be a mother, I do not want children,'” she concludes. .