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But once her son was born, she was overwhelmed and frustrated, prone to lengthy crying jags, and consumed by boredom and dissatisfaction.
Some might call this postpartum depression, but the cloud never lifted. "The regret hit me when the grandmas went home and my husband went back to the office and I was on my own with him," she says.
"I like to say I tried my best, but the truth is I didn't," she admits.
"My daughter was left to raise herself in many ways.
There are sub-communities on Quora and Reddit—even a Facebook group called "I Regret Having Children"—with mothers tapping out desperate messages of shame, disappointment, and fear.
"I don't regret her, I regret the fact that I never should have been a mother at all," she says.
"I wonder if my accomplishments would be more spectacular," says Ananya, a 38-year-old freelance writer and editor who divides her time between the United States and Singapore. Would I be able to travel to chase that elusive story?
I feel motherhood has slowed me down so much." She envies friends not for their spontaneous vacations and naps, but for the time and space they have to think.
(Among them: being forced to adopt the "idiot language" of children and inevitably being disappointed by your offspring.) The book was described by reviewers as "a selfish and cathartic display" and "incredibly distasteful."But as often happens when one person gives sudden voice to your secret inner turmoil, more women began to—timidly or boldly or both—step up to the mic.
In the United Kingdom, Isabella Dutton, 60, declared in in 2013 that having her two children was the biggest regret of her life, noting that though she diligently cared for and loved both, "I know my life would have been much happier and more fulfilled without children." In Germany, novelist Sarah Fischer's recent book Not surprisingly, the movement has gained most of its traction on the internet, in anonymous chat rooms and on buried message boards, vestiges of safe spaces for women online.
"I realized that this was my life now—and it was unbearable." As more time passed, Laura felt convinced that she had made a life-altering mistake.