OK…so my title is a bit of a misnomer. I have three beautiful children. I deal with headaches from the father of two of them regularly. But I would NEVER, EVER wish them away because I don’t want to deal with them. All three of them are a spectacular gift. Two of them from a man who has so many issues with “giving” that I should be thankful to have them.
And that is why I’d never say I should have never had children.
I have however met two people who have said that to me. The first was a very sour, bitter woman who was almost sixty when I met her. She had a son and a daughter. And the daughter had a child. This was was a very interesting woman – she’d come of age in a time when women weren’t as likely to go to school. She obtained a very advanced maths degree from a premium university. At a time when women weren’t as welcome in the field of math. A very smart lady. At least when it came to math.
She’d told me about her children. And the only time I ever saw her light up was when she talked about her granddaughter. I gather daughter made an effort (even though they lived a couple of hours apart) to bring the granddaughter up at least once a month for a visit with her mother.
I never heard much about the son. I gather he’d pulled himself up by his bootstraps, finished university on his own dime (mom was very clear that she’d had to pay her own way and she expected her children to do the same). He’d struck out on his own. He lived not that far away, but his mother rarely saw him. Or maybe he rarely saw her.
We had a conversation one day, although she didn’t know it at the time, it was shortly after my second miscarriage. During the conversation she told me that her children never spoke to her, that she was worried what would happen to her in old age, and that she wished she’d never had them.
Now folks – those are words you can’t take back. Ever. I was horrified that she’d said that to me. And I really, truly hope that she never said it to her children. Because I can remember my own father uttering those words once. In his own way. He wished he never married my mother. Which in effect, wished me and my sister out of existence. (In case you’re wondering, my father and I no longer have a relationship – I don’t need someone like that in my life).
Similarly, I can’t disagree that it sounds like it probably would have been better for the daughter not to have had such a nasty, bitter old woman in her life. But to wish your children had never existed?
The second time happened just recently. A man in his forties. He had one child of his own, and had kind of adopted two others after moving in with their mother. Same idea. Wished he never had children. Not because they were terrible children. They (all three of them) sounded like they were very nice boys. Who all were in touch with him regularly. But he wished he never had children. Because he wished he’d traveled more. Wished he’d buckled down and had more money put aside for his retirement. Wished he’d gone to school and had a better job. Selfish reason after selfish reason.
I don’t feel sorry for either the woman or the man. I don’t believe that you should live a life with regrets. I don’t think that having children in any way directed their life path. I think they’re just not taking responsibility for their own actions.
My own life took a turn different than I ever expected. But I wouldn’t wish it away. I value each and every moment I spend with each of them. Maybe even more so – because I only get to spend 182/365 days with them. Each moment is precious.
And I can’t understand why you’d rather have a ton of money going into retirement – instead of a ton of family and love. Seriously – if I had to choose, I’d pick the latter any day.
|Image Credit: (Edited) “Happy Family Of Five Having Outdoors” by photostock / freedigitalphotos.net|