Mother of Two Who Admits Children Are Her Biggest Regret Is Still a Good Mom

Mom Moment 139

A mother of two is causing quite a stir for admitting the unadmittable -- that she wishes she'd never had her two children and believes that her life would have been much better without them. Woah, lady, this is not something you admit in print -- and use your real name and face -- unless you want to get stoned to death, hopefully just figuratively. But 57-year-old Isabella Dutton is ready to take on her haters. I'm not sure there's any reason to confess in a hugely public forum that you never wanted your two now-grown children, and in fact, still feel that way. But she's also pretty brave, because she's just voicing what lots of other mothers feel.

Isabella says she was never the maternal type, however, she met the love of her life, got married very young, and he wanted four kids. Despite the fact she never wanted even one, she decided to give it a try.

But after first son Stuart was born, she realized her mistake. She says:

I felt no bond. No warm rush of maternal affection. I felt completely detached from this alien being who had encroached upon my settled married life and changed it, irrevocably, for the worse.

She doesn't blame post-partum for these feelings. She says she never wanted kids, and that feeling continued throughout her life. However, she went ahead and had a second child anyway, this time a girl, Jo.

Despite not wanting her kids, she says she grew to love them, and she was always a responsible and involved mother. Well, there was that one time she forgot baby Stuart and the family dog at the store. She only realized they were missing once she got home and looked around for the DOG. She writes: "I believe I was a good mum, but never a doting one." (She got the kid and dog back.)

About now, sanctimommies might be gearing up to inflict all manner of torture on Isabella, but look at what she does rather than what she says. Isabella is such a good mother that her adult daughter, who has multiple sclerosis, lives with her full time and always will.

If you set aside your judgments, you can see that Isabella's essay makes a great point: A good mother doesn't necessarily have to be one who wanted kids with every fiber of her being. In fact, there are plenty of mothers who had intense baby fever but who make lousy mothers. Just because you want something really, really badly doesn't make you good at it. (If only I had a dime for all of the people who told me they really, really wanted to be a writer but who never write anything other than their grocery list -- and even manage to misspell that.)

Says Isabella:

I am a conscientious and caring parent -- yet perhaps I would have resented my children less had I not been.

If you talk to women, really talk to them, you hear a lot of what Isabella is saying. Ask any woman, in private, if she is glad she had kids, and there's often a long hesitation, a disclaimer ("I love them, of course") and out comes and the wishy-washy answer: Life would have been easier ... Sometimes I wish I hadn't ... Well, there's nothing I can do about it now ... I wonder about that all the time ... etc. (I'm always surprised at the amount of women -- and even men -- who complain incessantly about parenthood but then choose to have another baby.)

So Isabella isn't saying anything new. Not every woman has baby fever in her bones. But for eons those women have had kids anyway. And most still manage to do a good job of it. In fact, maybe not being obsessed with her children made Isabella a better mother. She let them be their own individuals instead of trying to make them extensions of herself. She didn't helicopter over them and insist on fighting all their battles. And she and her children are still incredibly close today.

Now if only she'd stop telling them how much she regrets having them. Nothing she can do about it now!


What do you think about what Isabella says?

Image via WickerFurniture/Flickr



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bills... billsfan1104

I have to admit that I wish I had kids later. Meaning, that I wished that I completed college, traveled, did whatever I wanted at age 20. They I look at my kids who are older and can take care of themselves when I am sick or at work, I thank God that I am not just starting out

nonmember avatar Kimber

Exactly why I'm afraid to have kids! I don't want to regret it and screw up their life. I'm 36 so I think I would have an overwhelming desire to have kids by now...

nonmember avatar Allie

As a woman who never wanted children and, obviously, had no interest in being pregnant, I too agreed to have a child with my spouse. Not going to lie, motherhood has been overwhelming and challenging, but I can say I was fortunate to develop a connection with my child during pregnancy and it deepened after the delivery. In addition, it forced us as adults, parents, and partners to find the tools strengthen our communication skills, as well as our personal relationship. It is likely, that without our child, we may have not stayed together because the communication had become so poor and distancing. Thank you for sharing, I appreciate the woman's honesty and courage.

Coles... Coles_mom

I'm the opposite of the above poster. It took over a decade and lots of fertility treatments and now I'm an older mom. I wish I could've had mine sooner so that I'd have a fun middle age to look forward to. I'm middle aged and just had my third baby in 6 years. Everyone thinks I'm his grandmother.

Setsuki Setsuki

I love my daughter no hesitation, but it didn't start out that way since I was planning adoption. While pregnant I looked at it as a thing for someone else but once she came I found that my love for her was too much to give away. I am a single mother who can't get enough of my child and hate leaving her

nonmember avatar kaerae

I find no fault with her except using her real name, that's not right, no matter how old your kids are. In any case, a lot of people feel this way, which is why you don't nag childless people about when they're having kids! I always wanted to be a mother and love it, but other people love tattoos, drinking, other things I can't stand and they don't nag me about having a drink or getting a tattoo, I would never hassle anyone to have kids, including hassling my own kids about grandchildren!

nonmember avatar Trish

she may not be a bad mother, but she certainly isn't a great one if she resents her children and tells them that she regrets having them. Even if you feel it, you don't say that to them. It's not their fault that you chose to bring them into this world.

Texas... TexasSonrisa

I absolutely appreciate her honesty. She says what a lot of parents feel or have felt at one point. However, what really annoys me is that she bashes working mothers. She didn't want kids, had them because her husband wanted them, continues to regret the choice, yet she wants to judge other moms for their choices in raising children? While I also don't fault her for the general message, some of it sounded super sanctimonious to me.  

ZamEnt25 ZamEnt25

I don't know how you can say that they are a good mother. This is what's wrong with the world. Kids aren't stupid and know if they are unwanted. I'd like to talk to her kids and see what their feelings are.

Madam... MadameGarlic

I appreciate her honesty, but I wonder why she made this public and used her real name. Poor kids! I was a lucky one... had my kids at 38 and 40, and have always been thrilled that I did. Why so late? Didn't meet their dad til I was 36.

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