Most people have been raised to anticipate their lives following a set number of milestones. You go to college, get a job, get married, have a child. The first two steps may be optional, but starting a family has historically been seen as the correct life trajectory for just about all people to be on, whether they want it or not.
Thankfully, that’s all shifting, but not quickly enough for people who have already found themselves in situations where they’ve followed the Life Plan and realized it was somebody else’s plan all along.
To that end, SniperGlizzy made a post asking Redditors how it feels to have children they don’t actually want.
While some were horrified by the question, plenty of people answered sincerely, sharing everything from their failures to connect with their child to encountering unexpected struggles in their specific parenting journeys to simply realizing that they never should have had a kid when they weren’t sure they wanted one.
It’s a sobering look into a world that expects adults to devote their lives to raising up children but often provides minimal support to make that possible, and far too often looks down on people who can’t pull off the perfect parenting. At the same time, it’s equally startling to see how many kids are likely being raised by parents who wish they were doing anything else with their lives.
You hate them, and you hate yourself for hating them.Whalesftw123
Its like having some guests at your house that never never get around to leave for years, but you must take care of them to avoid getting into trouble and judged by others.deepstatetraitor
The good old “Its like taking care of a drunk midget for 12 years, then a hungover guy for 6 more years and (hopefully) he goes to rehab and gains independence.”D0ng3r1nn0
My girlfriend had a 2 year old when I met her. He’s 5 now. I didn’t plan to have kids, but I love her. I’m pretty much used to it, I teach him stuff and he’s attached to my hip when he’s here (joint custody with the father) but ideally I’d have preferred to not have a kid around.Dewy_Wanna_Go_There
I have two sons who (despite loving them very much and wanting the best for them) my life would be much better if I hadn’t had them. My whole life growing up I expressed doubts that I wanted kids, because kids freak me out. Everyone always said that it would be different when it’s your own kids. I’m sure for some people it is, but for me it’s not.ChameleonSting
I have custody of my brothers kids. I didn’t want them. I already have one of my own. My brother’s kids are not as well behaved as my children. It is very frustrating. I love them. I will protect them and take care of them. I find myself very upset by the fact that I just can’t seem to love them as much as my children.throwthisaway712
Awful. I had my son at 18. I wish I’d never had him. He’s all grown up now, but resents me for not giving him the childhood he wanted. I couldn’t afford the childhood he wanted- I was working over 80 hours a week to keep food on the table.oh-hot-baby-jesus
I know someone who was diagnosed with MS and had 5 kids because each pregnancy her MS got better. She was a terrible mother. No involvement with her kids. Imagine growing up and at some point you figure out you were a medical treatment your mother was using to not have MS episodes.PiratesAndPinaColada
I love my son, I would die for him, I’d kill for him if I had to. Yet, if I could go back in time and not have children then I would. I was not prepared for a child, even though I worked, we planned this pregnancy. I was not prepared for how much I’d lose myself and my whole identity.dontwantanaccount
I never wanted to have kids. It seemed like way to much responsibility for someone like me. I work, I pay bills, I am responsible, but I can only handle so much responsibility. I felt like kids would push me over that line where happiness would disappear, and to be honest, I was right. It did in fact disappear.frizzhf