It’s a surprising revelation – still – that some people don’t want kids.

We’ve been so brainwashed for so long about the “normal” progression of life that we can’t even admit that the same life is never going to fit every single human being (or even most of them).

Because of this, I think there are more people than we suspect who are living with kids they either never wanted, or realized after the fact weren’t in their best interests.

Here are 12 of their stories.

12. She feels like they held her back.

It set the tone for the rest of my life, one of those hindsight is 20/20 things. I honestly believe if I’d never had a kid, particularly as young and alone as I was in a very socially backwards area, I’d have made a lot more of myself.

I know that could be taken as self-rationalization for lack of trying and failures. But I also know how I felt, how I have never bonded with my kid, and how both our lives could have been a lot better had I either waited to have her, or let another couple adopt her like I wanted but was forced out of the choice.

11. It doesn’t mean you can’t still show up.

I think this is what happened with my dad. Luckily “fake it til you make it” seems to work well enough. Now that I’m an independent adult, he has expressed that “of course you’re my kid, but honestly I just enjoy hanging out with you”.

I can respect that even if he didn’t feel ~love~ he helped me grow and supports me. And if a friendship-level of respect is all he can muster, I know that’s not my fault. I think your friend and his kid will probably be ok.

10. Change the way you think.

I read this Reddit story once that I have never been able to forget. It was a confession I think- can’t remember the subreddit. This woman had a kid she didn’t want, I can’t remember the circumstance of whether if was hers or a dead siblings. Anyway, she talked about how she felt so guilty for not loving him that she worked extra hard to give him a good life- all her money went toward his education and things he wanted. But the part I can’t forget is that she had set an alarm on her phone to go off everyday to remind her to tell him that she loved him, because it didn’t come naturally to tell him that and she was afraid of him not feeling loved.

That story is an amazing reminder that love comes in so many forms and looks different for everyone. She doesn’t love him, but is so worried about his well being that she goes to lengths many, many people with kids would never consider to go to to make him feel wanted and happy. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

9. It’s not the same for everyone.

Love isn’t a light switch that you suddenly feel. Love is a process. It takes time and work. He’s doing that work.

Media and hype around kids is built up to stupid levels and leaves many parents with feelings of inadequacy. Lots of parents (especially Dads) struggle with this. Pregnant mothers have a bit more time to come to terms with the fact they have a child, and hormones to back it up. It often doesn’t feel “real” for dads many parents until months or sometimes even a couple years after their kid is born.

Sometimes you just need to get out of your head and stop worrying about what you’re “supposed” to feel. Take care of your child. Make them feel loved. That’s all that you need to do.

8. Not to put too fine a point on it.

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.

7. This has to be incredibly tough.

I had a perfect pregnancy. I was super cautious, took my prenatal vitamin every day, never drank, walked away if someone was smoking near me, etc.

My child is severely special needs. She’s autistic, but on the severe end with “global developmental delay” which is just a nice way of saying “mentally disabled.” She is six but is now just learning to potty train. She is non-verbal but thankfully understands simple directions. She screams for hours off and on at a time every day and when she isn’t screaming she is making noises. She doesn’t interact like a normal child and treats other people more like inanimate objects rather than people- no affection, no emotion, no interaction aside from pulling me to the fridge to get her food or handing me her toy so I can fix something on it.

I don’t feel like a mom, I feel like a caregiver. I get little joy in taking care of her and I am constantly worn down. I’m exhausted. This pandemic has destroyed what little sanity I had left as I can’t even get a small break because there is no school.

This is going to sound absolutely terrible and this is why I’m using an alt. but raising her is not like raising a child. You raise a child to be a decent adult- you teach them manners, respect, education and kindness and you hope that as they grow up they will make friends, get good grades in school and go on to have a fulfilling life. This feels like I am raising a very high maintenance pet that will not evolve into anything more.

For me, I am just keeping her alive- I am keeping her fed, clothed, warm, safe and happy. It feels like I have been taking care of a baby for the past six years. She progresses very slowly and very little. I am hoping by the time she is in her twenties we can maybe have a simple one or two sentence conversation or maybe she can have the attention span to watch and understand a movie. I still talk to her and play with her but it’s so discouraging after years of not getting anything back. I mainly just snuggle with her on the couch while she plays with her tablet, it’s one of the few ways we really bond. She likes toys and simple games on her tablet, so I buy her lots of them to keep her busy and hope that they keep her content so she isn’t screaming and hitting herself.

I see children much younger than her having full conversations with their parents and I get so jealous. I see them telling their parents they want burgers for lunch, or talking about a fun thing they want to do or whatever, and I can’t even imagine how easy my life would be if she could just communicate simple things like that.

It’s so tough. I take her to the playground and the other kids ask why she won’t talk or play with them (pre-covid days), we go out to the grocery store and she has a full meltdown and we have to leave our cart behind. We go out to eat and she can’t sit still and wants to get up and run around the restaurant so we have to leave. She’s only getting bigger and taller and she’s getting harder to manage.

She hits herself and others. Sometimes she smears her poop all over the wall. She slams her head into the wall and furniture when she’s frustrated (which is often, like multiple times a day). She broke a window with her head a few weeks ago and I was scared shitless she was going to need stitches, but luckily she somehow came out unharmed aside from a bruised forehead. I don’t know how I am going to handle her when she is a teen and as big as me. I don’t like to think about it.

If I knew this was going to be my life, I would’ve never had her. When I was pregnant, my husband and I agreed that if we found out the fetus was going to have down syndrome or some other special needs we would abort. You cannot detect autism in the womb.

My husband and I have aged 20 years, we’re overweight from stress eating, we’re constantly on edge that she’s going to give herself a concussion because she self harms and we cannot stop it every time, we’re sleep deprived, no sex life, our brains are fried from all the screaming and constant noise. We argue and are short tempered with each other. We are empty shells of what we used to be. Imagine having a monkey on your back 24/7 that just screamed and hit you. It breaks a person.

We’ve been in weekly therapy for years and I probably break down at least once a month during a session.

I never ever thought we’d have a special needs kid. There’s no family history, and like I said I took amazing care of myself while pregnant. She was planned, my husband and I waited until we were financially stable to have her, we did everything right. We wanted more children but now have decided not to have any more because it would be too much stress. I mourn what could have been. I wonder all the time how my life would be if she was a typical kid.

If you want to put yourself in the headspace of a parent who has a profoundly special needs child, watch the movie “Vivarium.” It’s about a couple who get stuck in this weird suburb that they cannot escape and are forced to raise this strange alien child-like being until they die of exhaustion. It’s an odd, science fiction alien/monster type of movie that’s meant to be pure fantasy but for me it was the realist movie I have ever watched.

But even after all of that, I still love her so much and won’t put her in a care center or in foster care (I’d be worried sick that she was being neglected or abused). When she’s an adult we’re either going to turn our basement into a living space for her and hire an aid to help her or we’ll put her in an adult special needs home and visit her frequently to make sure she is okay. I just hate that it has to be this way. None of us deserved this life.

If you see parents with special needs kids out at the store or mall or wherever, please just be patient and kind.

6. I don’t think that worked out.

My mom just forgot we existed and had another baby to keep her happy. I have 10 siblings.

my oldest sister was responsible for raising each and every one of us, to this day she resents our mom for stealing her childhood. My sister has told us stories where as newborns we’d cry and my mom refused to get up and get us, she waited until my sister who was a full time student, to get up and take care of us while my mom just continued to lay in bed.

My mom knew she could continue to collect welfare as long as she had children in the house so she prolonged her welfare dependence by having so many children.

5. This will break your heart.

When my daughter was a year and a half old I unexpectedly got pregnant a second time (it was unexpected because I have pretty substantial infertility issues). I was not ready. I was exhausted as shit from my daughter being a typical toddler and a dog we rescued that needed constant emotional coddling.

And hindsight makes it easier to see my depression was wildly out of control but I didn’t realize it because my panic attacks were not. I would lay awake at night, in pain, wanting to vomit from heartburn, exhausted because my daughter decided sleeping through the night was no longer a thing and would think “ya know… if I miscarried I’d probably feel relieved” and other things along those lines.

And this went on for the whole pregnancy…. right up until 32 weeks when I went into labor… and my son was dead. Gone for at least three days before I went into labor.

Despite all the expected mental anguish and trauma, for just one single moment when we were driving home with empty arms and an empty car seat, I felt relieved. I have yet to forgive myself for that.

4. It’s not always simple.

I love my son more than anything else in the world.

But he wasn’t my idea.

My (now ex-)wife was dealing with mental health issues I still don’t understand. It was one of the causes of intense stress in our relationship. Eventually she “decided” the “solution” was to have a child right away.

I told her we weren’t ready, emotionally or financially, but I loved her so much (and still do) that I gave in. After all, I did want to be a father someday, so if starting a little too early could help bring us closer together, it would be worth it, right?


Now we have split custody, I’m at the lowest point in my life so far, our toddler son is struggling with the new reality of his broken family, and she’s “doing great.” At least that’s what she says when she says anything to me at all.

I love him so much, he’s the best kid in the whole world. He’s the only good thing in my life. But I wonder every single day what life would be like if we had never had him.

And if I had never met her.

Whoever said “‘Tis better to have loved and lost…” never met my lovely wife.

3. Sometimes there’s no happy ending.

I was conceived to replace a baby boy that died. My mom was so disappointed I was a girl, she forgot my name for a while, and now I have 2 middle names. I had a brother growing up who was favored by both my parents, but he really was amazing. He was my favorite too. He died 5 years ago in a motorcycle wreck, and I’m the least favorite (my mom admitted this freely), also I am the last remaining child. ***

Also, I don’t care that my parents are disappointed that I was the one that survived. I’ve made myself who I want to be. I only talk to my dad occasionally, and my mom became an alcoholic, because 2 of her kids died. I don’t talk to her. Shrug.

My life is separated from theirs, and I encourage other people to cut off the cancerous people, even if it’s your parents. It’s liberating.

2. Sometimes it does work out.

Ex girlfriend baby trapped me. She stopped taking her birth control and didn’t tell me. Then cheated on me while pregnant. (She was, and still is a shitty person) At that point I wanted nothing to do with her and was not prepared to be a father. I was young and dumb and still learning who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. She gave me the option to walk away and never see the kid again. I thought about it but couldn’t bring myself to, knowing my kid was out there was going to weigh heavily on my conscience.

It was difficult at times. While my friends were studying, partying, traveling I was working and learning to be a father. I didn’t want this kid but here I was and I was going to make the best of the situation.

My daughter is 13 now and I have full custody. Her mother is a piece of shit and my daughter is old enough to know the difference. She’s with me now and I couldn’t be happier. My daughter is a driving force in my life. I need to be responsible, I need to be accountable, I need to be financially successful. It keeps me going forward and has really made the man I am today. Having a kid when you’re barely 20 has ways of making or breaking someone. My daughter was the child I didn’t want but ended up being what I needed.

1. Yes, let’s discuss.

I think this is a conversation that more women (especially), should have. You are close to being burnt at the stake if you confess that actually if you could turn back the clock, you wouldn’t have children.

I feel that these conversations may stop perpetuating this idea that 1)if you’re a woman you will automatically adore your children 2) you have more options than just having children. Women do also go through things such at PND, and maybe others talking about it won’t make them feel so guilty and alienated.

I think it’s so important that we take the time to listen to people whose experiences are different, so we don’t force people into making mistakes in our own lives.

If you’ve got a story along these lines, our comments are open.