Children are awesome and a blessing, but the hard truth is, not everyone intends or wants to be a parent. Not everyone is cut out for it, and some are so overwhelmed with their own problems that they can’t imagine making room for a child who needs so much from them, too.

Those people end up with children for all sorts of reasons anyway, and if you’re curious what life is like living with a child that wasn’t wanted, these 13 people are ready to spill.

13. A sad state of affairs.

Friend had to get married before turning in 30, then figured out her ovulation cycle to the t.

Had the first kid after moving to a new town because her husband was offered the best job of his career.

Ended up moving closer to family because she hated living where they were to a job she hates, a job he despises, just to quickly find a house that is too expensive (but it fits within the life goals right?), and then they had their second kid.

Now both kids are still in diapers, she works from home and has to be the typical “housewife” (this isn’t meant to sound derogatory, this is repeating her own sentiments towards her life) routine that she hates.

Her and her husband also physically go after each other, and she tells me every time we talk on the phone to never end up like her, to never have kids, to never feel this way.

It makes me sad because I always knew she would be the one to advance and move forward education wise because she’s extremely determined and smart. I just never saw her in our social circle being the first to try and make so many things happen at once because of some “age stipulation” she put on herself.

12. It’s not at all fun.

I don’t know if I fall into that category, but sometimes I feel like I do. I love my kids, and I’m told I’m a pretty good dad, and sometimes I enjoy it… but most of the time it’s just draining. I explain it as being like an introvert at a party full of strangers — it’s not that caring for kids is painful or whatnot, just like talking to strangers isn’t painful. It’s just draining.

It sucks the energy out of you, whether you’re good at it or not. At a party, my goal is that the people I talk with feel heard and cared about and have fun, and that no one knows I’m secretly watching the clock waiting to leave — and with kids my goal is that they’re happy and engaged and feel loved and wanted and cared for, and don’t think I’m counting the seconds to bedtime. But accomplishing that drains me. I understand that there are people out there who enjoy spending time with kids, just like there are people who enjoy talking to strangers — and suffice it to say I’m just not one of them.

So I guess I want my kids, but what I really want is for my kids to magically be old enough that they’re no longer draining, and for me to get my life back a little. I mean, I love them and I want them to be happy and if anyone ever tried to take them from me I would go to hell and back to prevent it. But when was the last time I took a bike ride? When was the last time I looked forward to the weekend rather than seeing it as an exhausting slog? When was the last time I went into Monday a little rested, rather than just beaten down and exhausted? And, as importantly, when’s the next time I’ll get to do so? Five years from now? Ten? Will I be young enough to even enjoy it?

So, I don’t know if I’m in this category — probably not. But I definitely do feel that way a lot more than I’d like.

11. It’s not always how you imagine.

This is kinda crazy because I was just thinking about this today. I’m not gonna use a throw away or anything. Not that I think anyone on here would actually know me…

When you have a kid you kinda get this idea in your head on how things are gonna be. How you’re going to teach them things, share special moments as they learn and have this cool amazing bond. Then your kid comes into this world and is not at all what you expect.

My kid is special needs and has major developmental delays. He’s 2 and basically just lives in his own world. Doesn’t communicate, doesn’t respond to his name and has basically missed every single milestone out there. So you feel regret, despair, and a whole bunch of other negative stuff. Especially guilt.

It wasn’t his fault he came into the world this way. He didn’t ask to be here. So there’s a lot of complex emotions going on. However bad it makes me feel though – I just kind of wish he didn’t exist. For instance, as I was writing this, I went to the bathroom and in the 3 minutes I was gone he took a dump forced both his hands into his diaper and smeared shit all over his face and pin and everywhere else. Now my whole apartment reeks and I had a half hour of clean up because I left my toddler alone for all of 3 minutes.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. I just can’t connect with him and it has me feeling like I’m just his caretaker rather than his dad.

10. What’s best for you.

I had genetic testing done during very early pregnancy to screen for congenital problems and mentioned I would abort if they were present.

I had friends severely upset with me about this. I know I couldn’t handle a disabled child financially or emotionally, I had to be honest with myself.

9. This man is truly horrible.

I was a nanny for a lady who really didn’t want children but needed up having 5 because she loved her husband. Each of her pregnancies her medical condition go worse, with her youngest she had to be in the hospital for two months because she had so many kidney stones.

Part of her condition is she produces kidney stones at a crazy rate, and they are rare stones that have a hook on them. Her kidneys are also more like a sponge looking organ than kidney, that aren’t functioning over 25%. She would give her life for those kids even though she never wanted them.

Sh%tty part, when the youngest was 2, her health was declining alot. And her husband, left her for a chick he just met because, and I quote “I’m sick of you being sick”. I miss those kids so much and I miss her

She got full custody and has even better insurance now that her ex left her. And he pays huge in child support and alimony every month.

8. She does it because she’s suppose to.

I have spoken with a woman who feels nothing towards her kids. She had them because that is what the church requires and her husband wants them. But I don’t think it’s just the kids.

Even though she says she loves her husband I don’t think that’s what she feels for him. She was picked on severely growing up and he is really good to her. I think it’s “thankfulness ” that she feels and confuses it with love.

Anyways she knows that it’s wrong (her words) to not love her kids and decided to view parenting as a project with the best possible outcome is have her children grow into healthy, happy and well adjusted adults.

She did clarify that she doesn’t hate them or resent them. After all they were part of her life plan. So she made up a way following all the best parenting advice and making sure she follows through. For example, keeps track of how often she cuddles them (by minutes noted in her journal) and if she notices that she hasn’t been doing it a lot she tries to correct it.

She also leaves discipline up to her husband because she doesn’t want them to associate any negative feelings towards her. She knows they’ll eventually be able to recognize her lack of feelings towards them and will think her discipline came from a bad place.

From what she told me she has never explained any of this to her husband and he has no clue how she feels.

This conversation lasted about 4 hours and was the moment I realized that you can CHOOSE to be a good parent or a bad one. Regardless of how you feel it’s never the child’s fault and an adult is responsible for making up for what they lack.

7. A lack of connection.

I have three (a girl and twin boys). I really thought I wanted kids because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do…. be a wife and have kids.

I love them, and I want the best for them. But I don’t have the same connection to them that other moms seem to have. I don’t miss them when I have to go on a long trip, I just feel relief. Having them home because of the pandemic has been really hard for me. I have a lot of guilt about it.

I don’t withhold affection or anything, but I’m not a naturally affectionate person. My husband is. I feel pretty lonely and left out when they’re playing together, I feel like I don’t belong. It’s a weird dichotomy.

I don’t really know. Even though I’m surrounded by family, it feels pretty damn lonely. I don’t feel like I belong in my own life. I fantasize about taking off alone and living somewhere by myself. But I don’t want to mess them up like that, they’re innocent and don’t deserve it. So I do my best, and hope I’ll be alive in 10 years to be alone again.

6. Work is more important.

I remember having to stop at my dad’s work, the receptionist leading me back to his office, and her gushing about what a great guy he is and what a diligent worker to put in so much overtime.

Just listening to this woman fail to realize she was describing an absent father, and a mean one at that.

5. Kids eventually figure it out.

My mother point blank told us she didn’t want children and my father had begged and begged her for me. Then my younger sister was an accident. It’s always been an awkward, very strained and very tainted relationship. For a long time I held a ton of resentment and disgust for her. It’s made me into what I consider to be a pretty great parent though- I wanted children and even knowing I’d be giving up sleep and freedoms I knew I wanted them to KNOW they were wanted, planned for, adored.

My dad remarried and adopted two children of his second wife’s then they had one together, making us a family of 5. Now I get so much in way of a rich childhood for my children with all their cousins and aunt and uncles to love them. It’s not always completely life ruining I suppose but it did have a profound affect on how the first half of my life went for sure, how I felt about myself

4. Appearances are often wrong.

Whenever I’d run into a friend’s of my dad’s they’d always be like “oh my God we love your dad so much what a great guy he is” yet only so few knew what happened behind closed doors.

Being manipulative and having the emotional range to go from “peaceful daisy in a field” to “hell gates have opened” in .4 seconds flat are the only few things I learned from him.

3. It’s an obligation.

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. It’s depressing.

I hate myself because I feel this way. I wish it was just my children a lot of the times. My brother’s kids put a strain on my marital relationship, because they act out so much. My brother is homeless and addicted to drugs, with really no hope of him getting better. Heroin sucks. I just wish it would go back to a family of three. 7 is just too much for most things.

Want a regular sized vehicle with smaller monthly payments and lower insurance? Nope, gotta have something that seats 7 or more. Holidays? Gotta plan on a family size of 7 instead of three. It’s frustrating. I try so hard to not let my nieces and nephews see that I struggle with this. But kids are smart and I know they pick up on this.

I hate that I can’t just be happy with this. At least for their sake. Can’t talk to family about it. I’m this hero who took the kids so they wouldn’t end up in foster care or group homes. But I’m really not a hero. I stepped up because no one else would, but I don’t think I’m cut out for it.

2. I don’t think you can give a baby back.

I girl I worked with had a five year plan. Get a designer man, have a massive wedding, travel to fancy hotels and have a baby. She managed it all except the baby.

Two years of IVF later and still no baby.

After a long adoption process they get a 6 month old. Three months later they give him back and divorce.

She realised that she had only wanted a baby because that what people did and that meant she was successful! She had never thought about what having a baby meant and what it would do to her ‘perfect’ life.

The husband couldn’t live with what she had decided so left. At least the baby went to a couple who did want him eventually, instead of staying with her.

1. It’s just too hard.

He was abused as a kid (violence and mentally, by both parents), and was scared of ever even getting close to kids, in a fear he would hurt them in some way. He is generally a really meek, but caring person, like a total opposite of what he got at home – this was his just coping mechanism, as kids literally clung to him. Then he met a loving woman and they married. She slowly warmed him up to being around younglings (it helped she works in preschool/daycare), and finally they (both) decided it’s okay to go.

Two attempts (sadly) and little over year later he was holding small baby in his arms – his eyes, his hair, her face, her smile.

He told me, during the pregnancy he was super happy, and did everything he could for his wife and future junior. He started loving it truly, and when he felt it kicking, he was internally overflowed with happiness, that a small human was growing there, and he, or she will have dreams, laughs and hurdles. Yet, standing there, he felt nothing. Like no spark, no love, no happiness, no resentment, no joy, nothing. He was holding small, hot, moving piece of meat which he had absolutely no attachment to. It crushed him. Talk with wife crushed him even more. He did everything he could to care for her in hope he will grow to love… but it never came. As soon as time allowed, he went into therapy, and after three years heard that sometimes… this just happens.

His daughter is now 6, is healthy and happy, as far as I can tell, but I heard my share of his pain. He feels inferior as a human, for deceiving his daughter, and he powers trough it by sheer willpower and effort. ‘If I can’t love her, at least I will still try to give her something I couldn’t have – caring home’. He told me exactly once, that he really, really regrets agreeing to have a kid, but I could feel his shame.

His wife is wonderful person enough to accept him, like this. She told us (my fiance is more of her support than I am), she wanted more kids, but she is really afraid to put more on him. Raising one will be enough of a challenge for them, that’s for sure. I know he will keep all his promises and words, but it already takes a toll on him.

It’s always good to step into someone else’s shoes, you know?

If you can answer this question from your own experience, please share with us in the comments.