In the infinite universe of mothers happy with their role, there are repentant mothers , who carry in their soul the unspeakable secret of the desire to be able to go back and not become parents.

Women in half

Orna Donath has collected, originally in an academic essay only subsequently published as a book, the dissatisfaction of these women and their unspeakable feelings to the rest of society. The search for her started with this simple question: if you could go back, with what you know today and the experiences you have, would you still want to become a mother?

In the book Regretting Motherhood , not yet translated into Italian, you can find many answers from repentant mothers. The writer, who on her side never wanted to have children, made it clear that love for them remains unconditional , but it is the feelings of frustration and above all of regret that grip the lives of these women and mothers in half. Getting rid of such a burden is not easy in a society in which at a universal level one is led to think that it is impossible to make sense of the life of a woman without children. For this reason, no one, or almost none, is yet ready to discover themselves, to reveal the desire to be alone, while worshiping their children, because the fear of not being understoodand very high. They are mothers who, during pregnancy, realized that the parenting role did not belong to them and that this change would no longer allow these women to be fully happy.

The stories

In her book, the author has collected the testimonies of many women who reveal for the first time a feeling that is difficult to accept in our society. Unconditional love for children who, despite being infinite, cannot fill that feeling of regret for a different life . In all the stories, there are no tragedies, family dramas or difficult relationships, none of this, yet the desire to go back is strong, stronger than any other feeling. That youth lost or not fully lived, changing diapers and preparing baby food, none of this, just a lot, a lot of freedom and desire to live. In the words of Atalya, Tirtza and Doreenlet’s read some important reflections. Atalya and Tirtza say with certainty that if they could go back they would not have children. The latter, divorced, mother of two and already a grandmother, says she got married and got pregnant as a sort of natural evolution of marriage, not as a deep desire for her motherhood. She further states: “In hindsight I would not have even made a quarter child. The most painful thing for me is not being able to go back in time : it is a mistake that is impossible to remedy. ”   Finally, Doreen, a young mother of three at 38 and already divorced and repentant of being pregnant. In an ambivalence between love and hate she describes her desire for a different life in this way:“I would love not to have children. None of the three. It hurts me to say it and I will never tell them. They wouldn’t understand. I’d give them up without batting an eye. And it’s hard to admit it because I love them , and a lot “. 

A real paradox if you think that love for children continues to be a constant in the stories of repentant mothers. “ I regret being a mother, but not of my children, of their personality. I love them. Even if I married an idiot I don’t regret it, because if I married someone else I would have other children and I love them instead. I regret having children and becoming a mother, but I love my children. If I don’t like them, I wouldn’t want them to exist. But I want them to be there, I just don’t want to be their mom. “
Strong words full of suffering that underline the love for their children in every moment, recognizing however that, for them it was a real mistake to become a parent, a mistake that will last a lifetime, like love for the family. Because the problem is not the children, but the conflicting feelings of these repentant mothers, hardly accepted by society and by them in the first person.