It’s unthinkable, and it’s definitely unspeakable, but women all over the world are coming forward to say it: I regret having my children.
Here’s the thing about realising that you shouldn’t have had kids,” says Laura*, 37, a journalist based in Los Angeles. “You can’t take the decision back.”
Laura once believed that she wanted to be a mother. She had little direct experience with children—no siblings young enough to need tending to, no babysitting jobs—and when she and her husband decided to start a family, she wondered if she knew enough about what that meant. “I asked some friends if we could get the basics from them and they ran us through the general infant care stuff in maybe 45 minutes,” she says. “In retrospect, it was laughably insufficient. I really didn’t know what I was in for.”
Laura got pregnant easily. But once her son was born, she was overwhelmed and frustrated, prone to lengthy crying jags, and consumed by boredom and dissatisfaction.
Some might call this postpartum depression, but the cloud never lifted. Laura knew there was a different force at work. “The regret hit me when the grandmas went home and my husband went back to the office and I was on my own with him,” she says. “I realized that this was my life now—and it was unbearable.”
As the r-strategy rises, the drive of women to rear children will diminish. As that shift occurs in either direction, women will see their brains spontaneously rewire to either love or reject everything about their babies. In a study, conservative women actually preferred the smell of babies to the smell of coffee, while liberal women preferred the smell of coffee to the smell of babies. This is all very deeply wired in the brain.
These are women who are programmed by the resource glut to be repulsed by their children. They will rear them, but in a state of nature, as soon as that child could be kicked out they would be, allowing the mother to begin mating again, and producing another offspring. This is what is meant by diminishing the investment in rearing, so one can maximize their investment in mating.
That every facet of r/K parallels the traits of political ideologues is just too coincidental to be by chance. Politics is r/K selection Theory.