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One mother who felt it was her religious duty and ‘divine destiny’ to have children admits she would have been happier WITHOUT them.

Brooke Lark explains that as a youngster growing up as a devout Mormon, she believed that becoming a mother was her ‘divine destiny’.

She wrote a piece for YourTango  describing the moment she got to the point that she actually typed into Google “I wish I’d never had kids.”

“After a particularly exhausting day as a newly single mum and sole wage earner of four teenagers” she turned to Google.

“I wasn’t as much admitting to the ether that I regretted my life. No. I was asking Google to help me find other mothers who felt the same way. Hoping against hope that some other mother woke up in her mid-30s, realised her reality, and shared those shameful feelings: I wish I’d never had children.

Google has long been my crystal ball. I’ve consulted it before in times of distress.

“Do I have melanoma?”

“Do I have Ahlzehiemers?”

“Should I divorce my husband?”

Today, I’m a single mum of four in Utah and I’m surrounded by hundreds of other women walking in my same shoes. Women who thought they were doing right by their woefully-outdated religion, who married too young and had too many children (one of my friends has 9 kids!), and now face a harsh future with little education.

It’s a tough gig, motherhood, and I recognise my post-divorce reality effects my experience and certainly makes parenting even more overwhelming than it already is. I must say: I’ve been lucky. With my own thriving business and a work-from-home career, I’m somehow making it work.

Even still, “making it work” wasn’t what I expected motherhood to be.

I thought I’d be better. I thought I’d be a party-throwing mum. I thought I’d be pretty and kind and Pinterest-y. I thought I’d find myself and fulfillment in my marriage and kids, as so many people had promised.

Instead, here I am in the smack-dab middle of motherhood and I feel lost. I feel time-sucked and threadworn. I feel like I’m responsible for carrying the world. And on so many days, I long for the simplicity of focusing on just one thing: me.

That sentence sounds selfish, but I’m guessing there are a million mums who understand. Here in the middle of motherhood, I’ve spent 15 years living for (and with) my children, and I realise motherhood was as much about welcoming them into my life as it was about sacrificing myself, my time, my autonomy. Because my babies will always be here. And I will always be theirs.

There is no break. There is no quitting. There is no vacation. There is constant guilt. That reality is sobering and exhausting. It’s a reality more of us mums need to share with non-mums. Because understanding the reality is the only way to help non-mums answer the question they’ve been googling: “Will I regret not having kids?”

In my most aware moments, I realise I’m not neccesarily struggling against motherhood.

I’m struggling against all motherhood has become. It is a veritable meritocracy, working most “ideally” for those lucky enough to have money, time, family support, and a devoted partner. Even then, it’s my observation that very, very few couples survive the shift into parenthood over the long-term.

It changes who you are as a woman. You are less a partner and more a caregiver. There is a constant balancing act that will have to be done for the rest of your life. And that balancing act is hard. It tears at your soul. It wears you out.

It occurs to me that  I am not mourning my children as much as I’m mourning my loss of choice. I no longer get to mull over such existentialisms, sipping coffee and philosophising for hours. I no longer get to choose between weight or lightness. I chose children and so I chose weight.

My freedom lost to some degree on the days I birthed four round, pink cherubs–four brilliant  humans who have become my dearest partners in crime. My burden, my reality, my truth.

Do I wish I’d never had children?

Wishing I could go back only makes me frustrated and stuck feeling and angry and resentful. And so, I embrace Life As It Is. I take all the chaos and wonder and wildness that is my Real Life. I let go of heartache, embrace the heaviness, and enjoy the adventures my children’s lives bring into mine.

Would it have been more fun to find myself on a 9-month escape to a Tibetan Monastery instead?

I’ll never know.

Because four kids are waiting downstairs for me to take them swimming.

And this is life.

And it’s mine.

And it’s calling me.”

Honest parenting at its best!  It’s not easy by any means. Share your thoughts below.

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  • Good on her for her honesty but maybe she spends a little too much time on Google when she is distressed.

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  • I like the honesty here. I love being a parent but I was lucky to have a breezy time with my first which I think really helped. But my second is a whole different persona and sometimes it’s very difficult indeed. Parenting is really hard and I think the more you care the harder it is too. Interesting article, thank you.

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  • Good on her for being honest. So many parents can relate and I having four children, I particularly agree that once your a parent you shift from being a partner to a caregiver. Hubby and his ironing, washing and general looking after is just another think and person I need to look after. We are lucky to have supportive family who encourage us to have date nights every so often abd we both jump at opportunity to spend quality time together away from kids (although we spend most of the night speaking about them).

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  • Wow I am 64years old & I still hear you. Do you know that these feelings will change but still go on until you leave this earth. Yes it\’s harder to be alone parenting but sometimes you are more alone when still married. Happier with no kids-NOPE. You would be wondering \”Would I have been happier if I had Married-Had children-Been fulfilled if I married & had children-or sad as I never reached the goals I set as a career woman\”?? Who knows what. Like you said this is your life so start living it. OK-since you can\’t ditch the kids how ever hard it may be you have to find a life for YOU TOO. You are: Too tired-Busy-Poor-House messy-Kids neglected…..yep I know all the excuses I made them myself. Your teens won\’t remember the clean house/laundry or healthy meals & they think you are so old you don\’t need/want a life. Do them & yourself a favour-Find ONE. If that means 30minutes walking alone-having a pedicure-staring at the sky-meeting a friend (ADULT) for a chat-then do it. Build up slowly. If every one of your 4 children gave you 5minutes a day 6 days a week=2 hours for YOU. 5 minutes. Make a small start but make it. Do what you like not what you should. Play sport. Read a book. Find a book you\’d like to read. Your children WILL remember if you were a happy person so give them & yourself that Gift. Find yourself-it might take a while but if you don\’t like what you find then Change a little at a time. Remember a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Best wishes on starting your new life it won\’t easy but it will improve & your kids will be proud as you turn into someone they might like to be friends with one day. Love from a Mum & Grandmother-Find Happy it\’s Delicious & infectious.

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  • Really enjoyed reading this article, I can so relate and can honestly say, I get what your saying and completely agree. Love my children, always will thats not an issue but in another life in a parallel universe….. who knows what could of been. Absorbed into the needs requirements and wants of my precious little people not much time left to self indulge!

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  • I would have been happier richer, with an Adonis for a hubby, for less tummy fat – shoulda, coulda, woulda….. Live life, be happy and embrace your blessings

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  • i haven’t thought this but i haven’t been in her shoes.

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  • Raising children and carrying responsibility for them is indeed a huge thing. Sorry it weights so heavy on your shoulders and you have to do it alone ! Motherhood isn’t indeed for everyone. I so hope you have some dear friends with whom you can share, cry and lean on and who reach out to you in times of need !

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  • How honest! Many of us feel this way at some time or another especially when your four children are pulling at you in different ways. But I’d never be without them and I do enjoy them in adulthood.

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  • Lke ga

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  • Nurturing children to be the best they can be is indeed an incredible reward. There will be many years of ‘freedom’ ahead and I will want those nurturing years back! Children will always need their parents and I love our family bond as it has given me more than it has ever taken away. But I respect the fact that everyone does feel differently about parenting.

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  • Yes she is being honest. It makes me sad that she feels that way. I’m totally opposite. I am blessed to have a daughter. Not once have I thought any different

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  • I have mixed feelings about this article.

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  • Parenting is so rewarding because it is so hard and involves sacrafice. I’ll take the hard work because my kids are the type to make the world a better place. The more people that ensure this, the better we all are.

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  • Personally I found this very depressing and sad and thinking about it I feel that this mum is depressed. Her boys are teenagers and I can assure you that not too far down the road she will have some of her old freedom back. The boys will age and become independent and she will have more spare time on her hands, so for pete’s sake nurture and teach them to be respectful children for now. For someone who regrets having children I am left wondering why you had four.

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