There's lots of taboos that go out the window when you become a parent. Dirty nappies, fluids everywhere, and lack of sleep among them - but one thing that remains taboo is the question do you regret having kids?

It's not something often discussed in parenting communities. However a new Reddit thread asking parents if they wished they didn't have kids, and why has spawned some frank responses.

The thread, started by u/DeepDingo, has over 500 responses from parents confessing their regrets surrounding having children. Here are some of the responses.

1. I've never truly been cut out for the job.

You don't really get to try out being a parent to decide if you like it. Once you're a parent, you are one forever.

I'm a good parent. My kids are well adjusted respectful loving people and they've learned that by example, not force.

I had kids young and I've never been sure I was truly cut out for the job

2. I had kids too young, I don't have a life

I had a kid at 16 (say/think whatever you want, it happens) I love my little guy to death, and would do anything for him. But I can agree with the not really having a life thing. It's so hard for me to even go on a date with a girl (if I could even meet one that doesn't care that I have a child) most my male friends are all off at college having lives and I'm still in my parents house struggling to get by. It's life I guess.

Another Reddit user said

Yeah. Me and the mom had our daughter when we were both 14. I'd say there was probably a few years where I wished I never had her.

She means the world to me now though.

3. I envy those that can go on holiday

My oldest is 2 1/2 and I'm pregnant with my last. I definitely envy my friends who can go on week-long vacations on a whim or decide they're going out for the day without consulting someone else on who's watching the kid. I'm hopeful that will change as my kids get older and we can be more on the same page about what we enjoy.

Parenting can be a lonely life, especially if you become a parent at a really young age. I became one at 26 and none of my friends, even at 29, have kids.

4. I wish I had time for myself

I had my first with a one night stand. I wish I didn't have kids sometimes because I'm selfish and want time to myself and there are some many things that I want to do but can't. I'm a single mom of two, so I very very very rarely get to do things I want to do, and sometimes it's really difficult to cope with, especially since my oldest is a handful.

I certainly don't regret having my super awesome babies, but there are times that I wish I did things differently.

5. There have been so many nights where I just wanted to drive away and never come back

My wife and I had been married for 5 years and knew we wanted kids. We wanted them to be close in age. We had our first and then had our second 15 months later. Things were going well until our oldest started regressing. We found out he was autistic and then shortly after found out we were having twins. The twins came 18 months after our second kid.

We now have 4 son's. They are 10, 9, 8, and 8. My oldest is autistic and one of the twins has ADHD. There have been so many nights where I just wanted to drive away and never come back. I love my family, but I hate my life sometimes.

My 4-year-old son is autistic, and that terrifies me. I sometimes think about how much easier life would be for my wife and me if we didn't have to worry about him. I also worry about our 2-year-old daughter (who is neurotypical, as far as we can tell), since our son will likely require the majority of our attention as they get older.

But I love him to death, and I'd be devastated if anything ever happened to him. He's amazing, so smart and clever and affectionate, and he brings so much joy to my life. It's awesome to watch him grow and learn, and to see him discovering life.

Another Reddit user described her struggled with children with ill-health


My daughter was born with 4 heart defects and heterotaxy. She will experience 4 surgeries before she 4. She doesn't have physical signs of downs but we will know when it's time to learn and develop further than her four months of life.

She was so happy at home. You'd never had known. Went for routine immunizations and were immediately whisked to the hospital and are now residents until her surgery.

They didn't catch any of this is in the womb when we did the ultra sounds.

Our original plan was to abort because we were young and stupid. Looking into her eyes now... I'm still not sure that we made the right decision JUST because of all the pain she will go through with her surgeries.

I love her. But yeah, I wish we had found this out earlier so we could have talked to a doctor about what is best.

She may live to 15 years old.. at most.

6. It would be so much easier without them

Yes, I have wished I never had kids. After having them, my health took a nosedive. Sometimes it is impossible to care for myself and them. It would be so much easier if they just weren't here.

On the other hand, if I lost them now I would be devastated. I love my girls. They are both special little human beings.

7. I had instant regret

The second the midwife passed my newborn son to me I felt this total dread come over me, like I'd just made the biggest mistake of my life. I wanted to ask them to take him back. I was ridiculously happy throughout my whole pregnancy and expected to feel that instant rush of love when I saw my wee one for the first time, but unfortunately it took me three months or so to feel that bond.

At a year and a half I still feel slightly resentful towards him at times, being a young single mum and unable to do what I want whenever I want. I know it's selfish and I made the decision to go ahead with the pregnancy, and I wouldn't change him for the world now, but every now and then I look at him and want to cry because my life as I knew it is over.

8. I used to be a person

All the frickin time.

Because every day I think, if I have to clean up the same mess over and over again I will go insane.

Because if I have to keep telling, asking, screaming at everyone to stop dropping their sh*t on the floor for the dog (that my husband foisted upon me and has been swearing he'll housebreak for damn near a year) to piss all over or chew up, I will start strangling people at bus stations in the dead of night.

Because if one more motherf*cker dumps food leftovers in the non-disposal side of the sink again I will set them on fire.

Because my husband keeps telling me to take time for myself, to go get a mani/pedi and massage, go to the gym, reclaim old hobbies, read a book, take a long bath, etc., it's okay, he'll watch the kids and help with housework, I never get to because oops, he's got something to do. Or he's tired. Or he wants to "hang out" with me while he plays games or sits on YouTube for hours.

Because if I get sick, I have to drag my fevered, aching, puking ass around the house and out, either doing what I normally do or doing that and wrangling one or more sick people. If I'm the only one ill? My husband will sit or lay next to me until the house, kids and pets can no longer be ignored. Because he's "taking care of me".

Because I used to be a person

Uncles and Aunts also shared their thoughts on how their siblings reacted to parenthood.

My sister is a great parent and I love her to death. But I always wonder how her life would've been if she didn't get pregnant at a young age. Would our relationship be closer like my other sister and I are? Would we hang out outside of family gatherings? Would I call her to catch up like I do with my other sister?

I wonder about this all the time. She has a different lifestyle than me and we can't really relate anymore. We were close when we were young. My sister who had the baby is a year older than me while my other sister (who I consider one of my best friends) is 6 years older than me.

Another said:

My sister had kids at an average age (27) and her and I have never been close since. It really sucks because she was my best friend my whole life until this and I still feel like I need her but our lives are so different that I feel like she doesn't have time for my nonsense. I miss her and her husband being big parts of my life but I'm happy for them. I just hope that as her kids get older, we can rekindle our friendship.

A third added that she feels for her sister.

This is how my little sister must feel. She's a pretty good parent and she loves my niece and nephew a lot but... I can't help but feel she's jealous of me and my fiance who have indefinitely put off children. Last year we got to travel a ton and she was really sad about it because she'll never be able to do that.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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