‘I wish I’d never had my kids’

"It doesn’t get easier, even now they’re older"

mum who regrets her kids

by Daisy McLure |

Clare Macnaughton, 49, has two children, Ben, 17, and Bella, 14. She’s separated from their father Pete, 50. She says, “I totally understand where Kelly Brook is coming from – I wish I hadn’t had children. I never planned to get married, let alone start a family. My plans were to travel the world. But then I met Pete and fell in love.

“We got married in 2001 and were on holiday in 2002 when I realised I’d missed a period, and a test confirmed the worst – I was pregnant. Our holiday had been wonderful, and I felt that I’d opened the doorway into hell by getting pregnant. It didn’t feel right to have a termination – we were married and could cope financially. And we’d been irresponsible not using contraception. I felt we just had to step up. I presumed that just because I couldn’t hear my biological clock ticking, it would kick in eventually.

mum who regrets having her kids closer magazine story
Clare with her children Bella (left) and Ben (middle)

“But I hated every moment of being pregnant, I felt sick constantly and put on 5st. My labour was horrendous, and it ended with an emergency C-section. Ben was born in June 2003. I loved him immediately, but he didn’t sleep for three years and I was absolutely exhausted.

“I was stuck at home with a screaming baby rather than travelling and enjoying my job in PR and as a writer. From the moment I gave birth, the nurses called me ‘Mum’, not Clare – an illustration of how completely you lose your identity.

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“Despite how I felt, I went on to have Bella. I was an only child and had wished for siblings, so I wanted that for Ben. I also thought, ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ – my life was already a far cry from what I’d always wanted it to be, so I thought I might as well make it a bit worse. This time pregnancy and birth were far easier, and thankfully she slept better so I wasn’t as tired.

“Sadly, Pete and I split up in 2010 – for many reasons, but the kids and the stress they brought upon us did play a part.

“It doesn’t get easier, even now they’re older. I’ve just swapped crying babies for hormonal teens. I’m tied down to routines, which bores me.

“I love my children, but I do regret having them. I’d prefer to have my previous life. I have mentioned that to them, and they think I’m joking!

“Having children is a life-long commitment. You can’t put them back. I wish there was more of an acceptance that motherhood isn’t for everyone.”

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