Last week, a single and childfree woman on TikTok received violent threats from triggered people when she innocently shared her fun day as a woman who doesn’t have children: some of these activities included waking up late, attending a Beyonce concert and learning how to make shakshuka. I sense some serious jealousy and misogyny in the air. While there are certainly rewarding aspects to parenthood, not every woman wants to be a mother, and we shouldn’t be threatening innocent people for daring to live their best lives based on what they genuinely want to do and not what society tells them they should do. It’s clear there’s a nefarious reason and a hidden agenda on why people don’t want others to share the benefits of a different lifestyle that challenges their way of life. But it’s also clear we need to continue to speak about both sides of parenthood in honest ways if we want to prepare young women for making decisions that truly speak to their authentic desires.
There’s a benefit to all when we speak about the harsh realities of parenthood. Yet we often overemphasize the rewards of parenthood without also acknowledging these brutal realities. Mothers who really want to be mothers should be aware of these so they can best arm themselves with knowledge and tools when raising their children. Women still on the fence can access the information they need to make a fully informed decision, knowing both the benefits and the risks. Here are mothers and childfree women speaking on motherhood in a brutally honest way that can help you have a more nuanced perspective in a way that a society invested in you becoming a mother will never tell you:
A mother who always wanted to be a mother advises: don’t do it if you’re on the fence.
“While I know most people here have kids and regret it, I know some people roaming this thread don’t have kids yet and are on the fence looking for insight about the other side. To them, I just want to say: don’t do it.
I’ve always loved kids. Always been great around them. Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me endlessly that I would make a great mother. I babysat kids as my first job. I have a bachelor in psychology with a lot of experience and courses on child development. Before becoming pregnant, I was happily married with an eager father and financially stable. Bottom line: I was seemingly the perfect candidate to be a parent.
Now, to survive my days, I delegate most of the parenting to my husband who, thank goodness, loves being a dad. I can be a good mom in 1-to-2 hour bursts only. More than that and I get intrusive thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I never let my daughter get a sense of my dissatisfaction, I do my utmost to give her the best childhood I can, but man do I regret the bygone days of freedom.
Babysitting is just not the same. You can leave. You are well-rested. You don’t have to parent. It doesn’t give you a proper sense of what parenting truly is. Plus, all of that difficulty and my daughter is a great baby. She smiles, laughs, eats well, grows, plays, develops properly. I can’t IMAGINE the pain of it when your child is even slightly challenged. The judgment, the fear, the constant effort to make something of their childhood. It’s just plain awful.
So please. Listen to someone who got cocky and thought she could do better just because, on the surface, she had everything going for her: don’t do it.” – babinskibabinsku
A mother of two who loves her kids says to normalize childless marriages.
“Women are fed with narratives on Hollywood, K-drama, Bollywood, Tollywood, etc. on what defines a good woman and what women should aspire to be. Women should learn to cook, take care of her husband (excuse me – he should take care of himself?), do housework, get a full time job, and most importantly, have kids.
The narrative focuses on women as being the main caregiver to the child. Feeding, fulfilling their wants and needs, teaching them manners and all the main how-tos of carrying themselves in this world, outfit coordination, teaching them abc’s, walk, talk, homework, the list is endless.
Stop. Just no.
I have two children whom I love to the moon and back. They’re the best gift I’ve given this world – you’re all welcome. I raised them to have empathy, be good human beings who care about others, and they’re intelligent too. Cool. I applaud their hard work and achievements.
If I could go back to my younger self, I’d tell myself to not have kids, ever. I gave up everything to raise these two kids. No, I’m not being selfish. This sacrifice should not be asked of anyone.
It takes a HUGE toll on a mom’s mental and physical health to be a parent every single day of your life. Every single day till the day you die.
You can’t sleep peacefully, you can’t do anything without having to be physically and mentally present for your child. Outwardly, I look like one of the better parents (I know there are bad parents who don’t deserve to be put on a pedestal).
I love my kids to death. Why the contradiction then? Having kids is not something that you can undo. That’s why. As simple as that. I wish society normalized a childless lifestyle. It’s a life sentence, a harsh punishment to women designed by a patriarchal society to keep women in their place as a lesser contributor in society. You are stuck financially in a black hole forever. Have you seen childcare cost let alone domestic helper cost?
You have to do it all by yourself for life. You set aside your career aspirations at the cost of your cushy paycheck because let’s face it, who has to pick up the kids from school for the fifth time in two months when they throw up/get sick? No time off policy is that lenient. You shoot yourself in the foot professionally speaking. I spent a minimum of 60+ days in a year trying to leave work early or gosh, on time even or during work for every little reason in the world that seems paramount to the kids/school/after school meetings/events/etc.
Zero chance of professional advancement. You’re extremely fortunate to even keep the job you have. Ladies, please. Live your best life by yourself or with a partner. That’s all one needs actually. Get a pet if you’re lonely and want to know what it feels like to raise a child (it’ll give you a 0.000000000000001% first hand experience). I didn’t even speak of the personal toll yet. You don’t ever sleep well again even when your kids become adults as mine have. Your phone’s ringer is always switched on by your bedside. They’re very responsible, thank goodness but you’ll still get the 2 am health emergency call.
Sleep, peace of mind, rest – throw them out the window. They meet wrong partners who mistreat them taking advantage of their kind nature. You’re now the therapist showing them the warning signs ever so gently so as to enable them to walk away on their own accord.
I’m tired. So very tired. Endless cooking, cleaning, and caring while working full time. They say you have a partner who will share the burden. Ladies – don’t be so gullible. No sane person will take on the burden as much as you’ll end up doing. You will not win this sparring match ever. Life is a game of chess. Make yourself the priority as you only have one of you. Take care and love yourself. Don’t sacrifice your health, sanity, success, and happiness over having kids. Kids is the very definition of sacrifice.
Regret is the word. Who wants to admit that they regret having kids? Us women have been fed with patriarchal BS to shame moms who speak up to warn others to not have children into labeling them as crazy women who must be mentally challenged or have gone through rough times. Surely, something must be wrong with them because that’s not what is depicted in fairy tales and movies. By the way, who writes, produces, and directs these rom-coms? Men.
Fear is a driving force in control and obedience. Women are told that they’ll grow old as spinsters with cats and no man will love them if they choose to be childless. Think about it for half a second. Do we say any of this to men? No. They don’t sacrifice their priorities but want to ensure their comfort at your expense. Any man worth his salt will love you for you. When it becomes conditional upon you bearing him a child, remember that you are signing away your life as this relationship is no longer the unconditional love that you once thought it was.
Stop obeying societal norms and your partner’s selfish wants without putting yourself first. Your priorities are as important as his. Never give in when it comes to compromising your future. Ever heard of divorce? He’s not going to look out for you financially when you divorce. That career you put on the back burner while he went forward will translate into you living a worse lifestyle than you ever expected. What happens when you grow old without a child? No different than when you have a child. You’re responsible for your own health. You’ll pay a caregiver to look after you and then you die.
Is this the quality of life you wish upon yourself in your old age after having sacrificed all your life, and now, you babysit your grandchildren to help ease your children’s financial burden? It never ends. We came into this world alone and we exit it alone. Stop buying into the bs you’re sold. Am I a bitter old woman complaining online? Hardly! I worked very, very hard to be the perfect wife and mom. Reflecting back, I am advising women against making the mistakes I made. Be forewarned – giving life is the endgame of your own life. There is no joy whatsoever in that. You are happy being the best version of yourself. You do not need to procreate to extend that happiness as that is a lie. The biggest lie that’s ever been told in history of mankind. Women need to look out for each other. I’ve never expressed my opinion online before. This is my one and only time doing so and I’ll leave it at that.” –xyzbabha
Mothers not prepared for parenthood miss their freedom deeply and feel like they were sold a lie, especially when they have a partner that doesn’t share the labor.
“The painful realization that I could be living my childfree friend’s life if I didn’t give in to marriage and kids. I miss my freedom so much. I have a long-time friend that I’ll call “Maria,” not her real name of course. We have known each other for years now. She chose to be childfree. I chose motherhood after an unplanned pregnancy.
I regret it every day. I have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old and everything is hell. I try and put on a brave face, but every day, I wish I was Maria. She travels. She sleeps in. She’s always getting her nails and hair and lashes done. She’s retraining to get a different career because she hated her field. She travels abroad annually, sometimes even more than once a year. She has a maid that keeps her city apartment nice and clean.
I hate everything about parenthood. I even regret my husband because he promised to be an equal parent but I’ve been doing almost ALL of it. I hate my career but am stuck because of the kids. I don’t find this fulfilling at all, and am on Zoloft for PPD but it’s not helping. I love them but I wish I wasn’t a mother. I hate it. I’m sick of meltdowns, fights over iPads and putting on shoes, cleaning, and living in the suburbs to have enough space for them. I feel like I was sold a lie.
This week is my last straw. We are both fans of BTS, and one of the members is doing solo concerts and Maria has flown from our home country to a foreign country TWICE to go to his shows and she even had the front row one night which would have cost a fortune, and this was after she went to Los Angeles for their 2021 concerts too and went to Korea last year. I just want to cry.
I’m so jealous of her and her freedom and what’s worse is that I had it and gave it up for these kids that just take take take take everything and leave me with nothing. Why did I do this? Why did I throw my freedom away? I would give anything to have it back. And what’s worse is that if I tell anyone, they’ll remind me I wanted this.” – ayoiregretitall
A mother who never wanted to be a mom shares how difficult parenthood is
One TikTok mother confesses, “So I never wanted to be a mom because I thought that’s too freaking hard, I can’t do it. Then I accidentally became a mom and I was correct. This is too freaking hard, thank you.” TikTok user PinkOptics chimes in, thanking this mother for her transparent honesty – “the whole truth and nothing but the truth about parenthood.”
The Free Birth Control Series
TikTok user @z00mie hosts a “free birth control” series which lists the common and uncommon reasons why women remain childfree and also exposes some harsh truths about motherhood so women can make choices about parenthood with informed consent.
The Girl With the List
Made famous on TikTok, “The Girl with the List” is a woman who has curated hundreds of reasons why women might decide not to become a mother, based on reasons given from the experiences of mothers themselves! We applaud her for taking the time to help women know the risks that are rarely talked about. It includes horrifying health risks and long-term physical consequences that are normally not disclosed to women who may assume that pregnancy and childbirth will be easier than they think. Here’s an example below.
The incentive to become a mom is diminished – and here’s why.
Parenthood will require numerous sacrifices which you may not be aware of until you’re finally a parent. Be aware of these sacrifices before you become a mother and if you decide to be a mother. You’re not benefiting anyone by bringing a child into this world unless you’re prepared, and unfortunately, doing it with the wrong partner can have lifelong consequences. Evaluate not only the perceived rewards but also the long-term effects and risks. You deserve the agency, knowledge, and freedom to make the best decision for your life. Parenthood can certainly be rewarding for some, but it is not for everyone – and that is perfectly okay.