Let’s Talk a Bit About the Woman Who Regrets Her Kids

…in the Daily Mail. I know! I know. The Daily Mail is awful, and it likes to showcase people you’ll want to throw rocks at, and yet, here we are. Because I had a lot of feelings about this one. Not even harsh feelings, really? Make sure you read the whole thing, and then loop back into the discussion.

Okay. My first reaction, of course, is that she should not have put her name on this, because of her kids. The piece would have lost a bit of its WHOA factor if it were anonymous, obviously, but this has to be really, really hard for her kids to read. I did temper that initial reaction, though, because, as I’ve mentioned before, my dad has been able to express his own opinion to us (that, had he had a do-over, he would not have gotten married and had kids) in a way that is completely non-scarring, and is in keeping with my parents’ general policy of total honesty with us about themselves and the world. It’s never altered the fact that I know my father is totally crazy about us, adores us, wants to see more of us than he can, and that he’d rather spend time with us than with anyone else. But, you know, the man is kind of hermit-y and likes his solitude. So, it’s entirely possible that she talked to her (adult) children about the piece, asked them how they would feel about it, etc. We don’t know.

She comes off like a real jerk here. I am not going to deny that. How many times did she call them parasites? Too many. And she went on to have a SECOND child, because she thinks it would be “selfish” to have an only child, which is just…something. But I also feel terrible for her. She’s 57 years old. I think, if she were 30 today, she would just not have children. She seems to have always known she didn’t want to have children. Many people do not want to have children. But she did, and it was a mistake. Some people regret having children, and we should be aware of that, I think. If you think you might regret it, do not have children. Find a partner (it can be tough! get online!) who feels similarly. Don’t have children.

The other moment that gave me sympathy for the devil, as it were, was this:

To some, my life before I had the children may have seemed humdrum and my job as a typist was, it’s true, not much of a career. So what was the great sacrifice, you might think?

That’s not nothing. That’s a something. You don’t have to be Sheryl Sandberg to have a life you like. You don’t need to apologize for that.

So, what I’m saying, I guess, is that this is a narrative that belongs in our discourse. It shouldn’t be sidelined to a hate-fest in the Daily Mail. Is she a nice person? Probably not, she sounds like kind of an asshole. But she’s also doing us a favor: we pretend that children are for everyone, and they are not. I don’t know if she felt like she had the option of not having kids. You do. That’s a great thing. Don’t let people tell you differently.