The thing about regrets is that you can really never know what’s going to cause one until after you make a decision or choose one road in your life over another.

And when it comes to decisions like having kids, some regrets aren’t easily undone.

These 14 parents are getting real about how it feels to make the choice to have a baby and later regret it.

14. Life is full of tough choices.

I had my first child at 16, only a month prior to his birth I married my 15 year old boyfriend. I loved him more then life itself. I also grew up in abuse, poverty, and in the system for some background.

I’m now 27 with two children from him, and divorced. We didn’t make it for clear reasons. He moved on a remarried with children. He doesn’t have contact with our two. I reach out monthly ( I don’t ask child support, I only reach out to check on him and ask about him talking to his kids) the answers always no. But I try.

I remarried and my current Husband who wanted children of his own. In all I have four kids now.

I see my oldest two as more of siblings more so then my own children. It’s an odd relationship but I do my best as their mother. My younger two I did not want to have, however I felt my husband was such a good father to my oldest two I needed to make the marriage work for them.

I want to be filing for divorce this year. I now have four children and the hardest choice to make. My youngest is only a few months old and I keep telling myself “any day now the antidepressants will kick in and PPD will go away” but I know deep down that’s not true. I never stopped them to begin with.

My children are wonderful little creatures. They are so smart and sensitive. My oldest especially is like me, cry’s over everything. I still today feel as if, if I had made the right choice of adoption they would be better off then with me. They would have more, more things, more love, more understanding.

But every day is a new day. I won’t give up, I will keep trying. It’s to late to go back.. adoption at this age would ruin their lives. I can’t do that to them.

Tharapy is key. So much therapy.

13. It doesn’t have to be something you do.

My mom had told me “I wish not having kids was normalized back when I was younger. Back then it was just something you did.” While I know she loves me, I also know if she could go back and not have kids, she would.

12. Life will come at you in weird ways.

My husband and I have been raising my niece for 3.5 years. We also had my teenage nephew for a year before we had her, but growing up with my sister as a mom had done more damage to him than we could handle. My niece is almost 16 now. I’m 29 and I feel like I gave up my fun and careless years to raise my sister’s kids. I’ve always dreamed of having my own children and now that I’m struggling to conceive I can’t help but feel resentful that I’m raising one of my junkie sister’s 6 healthy children.

Overall my niece is a good kid. I love her and I want her to do well in life, but she doesn’t feel like she’s our kid and she doesn’t think of us when she thinks about who her parents are. She experienced a lot of trauma while living with my sister and it’s a lot to handle. She was cutting for awhile and recently admitted to bulimia and has had suicidal thoughts. Her counselor keeps advising us to do more stuff with her and spend more time with her to pull her out of her dark moods. I feel like my mental energy is already 90% devoted to her and the thought of giving up even more of the 10% reserved for me and my husband is incredibly daunting.

It doesn’t help that I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional household and my niece is one of my biggest triggers that brings those issues back up for me. I was just starting therapy to work on my past traumas when my niece started having a bunch of issues so all of my sessions became about managing her issues instead of dealing with my own. All I wanted when I was her age was somebody to save me from the dysfunction I was growing up in.

I feel like I’m giving her exactly what I wanted as a teen but it’s not enough for her and she doesn’t appreciate it. I’ve also witnessed all of my siblings and my nephew go totally off the rails and into addiction and bad life choices at 15/16 years old, so my niece developing a bunch of issues at this age triggered the hell out of me and made me feel like I was fighting against her inevitable downfall.

Add that in with my complicated relationship with my sister and the resentment I feel towards her for placing this burden on me, the family I have to maintain contact with so that I’m not keeping my niece from them, and the fact that I’m not my niece’s legal guardian so every medical thing is a huge hassle and it’s all just too much. I feel trapped and like I’m sacrificing my own future children on the slim chance that my niece might overcome my family’s generational dysfunction.

11. Think about what you’ll do to the kids.

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.

10. That’s certainly a valid feeling.

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.

9. Trauma can be passed down.

I appreciate this comment. I don’t think my parents “regretted” having me, but they conceived me without learning how to make their marriage work, or addressing their psychological problems – and with expectations of me taking care of them when they got old. They are both very unstable and my childhood was riddled with hatred and abuse, but I still feel guilty about resenting them because I sympathise with their trauma.

It’s very hard to fully cut them off for that reason despite knowing they have caused me a lot of trauma too. But moving out was a good step forward and extremely freeing. I’m glad you made a better life for yourself without them, it’s pretty inspiring.

8. Make sure you want to take care of your kids.

I grew up #8 of 9 kids, 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.

7. Being able to talk about it would help so many.

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.

6. Remember that babies grow up.

I weirdly know a number of women who’ve done this, kept having babies because they like BABIES, without regard to their ability to care for an entire child for years and years in the future.

I’m sorry you were raised that way, it’s abuse.

I’m the oldest of six, and my mom was raised in a religious cult that glorified large families, so she planned it that way even though her mental health wasn’t that strong.

I’m in my 30s and just starting to notice that some of the stuff from my childhood wasn’t ok, or wasn’t how things should be.

5. There are good reasons everyone should be able to make their own choices.

I’m 27F. I told people who asked me, including my own MIL and mom, that me and husband are not thinking about having kids— when they asked. At first they said “oh no need to hurry” and couple months later everyone’s back— harassing me (never my husband), “when will you guys have kids?” Or “do you guys want kids or what?” But then proceeded to tell how rewarding and beautiful it is the experience of having kids, repeatedly, even after I said no. This had happened 2-3 times within the span of 1 year.

Note that I don’t hate kids. My husband’s relatives also got in touch and told the story of how their kid was a nice surprise and that we’ll never be ready regardless. I appreciate everyone’s trying to convince us but I think we also have the right to make our own decision; we have contemplated for so long and made conscious judgement about how we don’t wanna deal with kids stuff and that we might not be good parents since we both value our independence and relationship.

What’s worse is it seems abnormal when the woman is the one saying ‘we don’t want kids’ rather than the guys. I was told “well if you tell husband you want a baby, he’ll compromise, I promise”

4. There are a lot of things to consider.

Man it’s not like I dont want them let’s get that out of the way. Would I have chose a different woman to have children with? Yes. She has a genetic thing that means she will have disabled girls no matter what and it’s a 50/50 whether a boy will be disabled. We didnt know it was her until after our 2nd child.

So it goes disabled boy, disabled girl then a regular normal boy. She booted me to the curb about 2 yrs ago and I had custody of the kids within 3 months. I’ve had 0 help from her or any of my family or hers. She is off on meth having a blast of a life while I spend every moment changing diapers on an 8 yr old and a 5 yr old, going to therapies and just doing what I thought any dad would do in my situation.

I have moments that i hate my life yeah but those pass and then the smiles my littles give me fix it all, sorry I know it doesnt fit your question exactly but I wanted to give a happier response than some on here have.

3. You think about what might have been.

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.

2. You make adjustments, but…

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 terrible 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. Why is it, though?

Now this is a taboo subject.

People want to say anal s^x is taboo, or drugs, or that sort of thing.

No, this is the kind of topic that is actually taboo in our culture.

This is such a taboo topic, but I think it’s important to realize that some people’s experiences are so different from our own.

If you’ve regretted having kids, share your experiences with us down in the comments!