After asking some Nigerian women to share why they do not want children, we asked some that do have children if they regret the decision. These four Nigerian women share why they regret having kids.
Maybe regret might be a strong word because I absolutely adore my children, but since I turned forty, I had found myself asking a lot of “what ifs”. I got married when I was 23. By 25, I had my first child. 28, I had my second. 30, I had my third, and 32, I had my fourth. I spent over a decade of my life birthing and raising infants and toddlers. People say that the twenties are the best time of your life, but I spent mine changing diapers, birthing children, and breastfeeding.
My thirties weren’t any better. I had to deal with those small children, school runs, teething, all the other things. Now, I am in my forties and I am dealing with rebellious teenagers. I wonder if I will ever be free from being a mother, and just be an individual. I wish I had forged a career path, done more than go to the University in terms of my education. and just lived. All I really wish, is that I got the chance to live. If I never had any children, I would have probably been able to do more things for me.
I have just one child, and she almost killed me. I got pregnant three years after marriage, at the age of 30. The entire period through the pregnancy up until the birth of my daughter was hell. My husband tried his best, but he could not take the pain away. Nobody could. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with her. Now? I have type two diabetes. I wonder what my life would be like if I never had her. Being sick for the rest of my life is not something I envisioned for myself. Sometimes when I see my daughter, I feel a type of resentment towards her. I know it is not her fault, but I just get angry and cry. I feel like she stole something from me.
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I had my son when I was 22 years old, as an undergraduate in a school in Nigeria. It was a one night stand, and I forgot to use morning after pills. A month after, I found out I was pregnant. Till now, his dad is nowhere to be found and I’m honestly not bothered. I love my child, but I often wish I didn’t have him. It’s been tough raising him alone with little help from my parents. I often have to split my income into two, with him getting the larger portion. I also haven’t been able to be in a successful relationship for a while now, as most men do not want to be associated with a single mom. Having children in my opinion isn’t really necessary. I can’t make plans without considering him and it’s tiring, exhausting, and painful. I’m at a point in my life where I’m not sure if I’d want to have more kids. Sometimes, I just want him out of my sight and very far away from me. I cry most times and I snap at my son a lot. I often regret doing it, but I can’t help it.
When I got married, all the women in my family spoke about how children are a blessing and I thought so too. What they don’t tell you is how children rob you of your dreams. I did not even realise until my seven-year-old asked me what I wanted to be, and then it dawned on me that I was not even close to achieving that dream. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be an Economics professor. I never got to do my Masters because I became pregnant, then I had to wait for two years to reapply because of breast feeding and nursing. By the time she started school, I got pregnant again. I love my children, but I realised I sacrificed everything for them and that made me resent them just a little bit. I keep wondering what life would have been like without them, and that life sounds more like the dream I had when I was younger. Talking to my husband about it was useless because he could not understand it. He did not have to drop everything in his life to raise children. I did, and I really wish I didn’t.
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