“Children do not bring happiness”, a word (which makes people argue) of a mother

“If I could go back I would not have children”, the thesis of the French economist and writer Corinne Maier is debatable. But she is not the only one who thinks so

We struggled to get out of that critical and dominant thinking, which still persists today, which views with suspicion a woman who chooses not to have children. But we have not stopped judging all those mothers who admit that if they went back, they would no longer embrace motherhood.

Because it has been established that when someone dares to say that thought aloud, it is bound to unleash a rain of criticism and dissension that falls heavily on those words. Because it seems so unnatural for a woman not to hear what experts call maternal instincts about her. It seems so strange that after giving birth to a mother she doesn’t feel satisfied with the role she plays, she doesn’t feel happy. Yet it happens.

It also happened to Corinne Maier, a French psychoanalyst, economist and writer who stated in no uncertain terms that children do not bring happiness. Not an absolute truth about her, mind you, how much more an authentic story, albeit naked and raw, of her personal experience.

Children? No thanks

Already in the book No kid. Forty reasons for not having children, the author has opposed the dominant thought according to which a woman must become a mother to feel complete and fulfilled. But Corinne, in reality, has done much more because she has listed a whole series of reasons for unhinging that praise to motherhood that is promoted in the collective imagination.

She, who is also a mother of two children, told bluntly the downside of everything that appears. Starting from the pain of childbirth, which for her is not to be considered the most beautiful experience in the world as the others underline, to continue talking about sleepless nights up to the total renunciation of free time and passions.

Things that perhaps many think, but that they do not dare to say aloud. Instead the writer has done so and also on several occasions. “In my experience, reality is very different from what others tell” – said Corinne Maier in an interview with the BBC – “raising a child is 1% happiness and 99% worry”. “Children do not bring happiness, but fatigue and a broken bank”, she then added referring to the costs and great responsibilities of looking after the children.

Tired and repentant mothers: who has the courage to come forward?

The words of Corinne Maier, which resound yesterday as today, have sparked many dissensions and criticisms in recent years. The thought that a mother declares herself unhappy and in some way repentant of the choice she has made, giving up travel, free time and passions, is still unacceptable to most people.

Yet, the author’s thinking about parenting affects many more people than we can imagine. It was the BBC that collected a series of testimonies from mothers that if they came back, they probably wouldn’t have children.

Saying it out loud, just like Maier did, however, is nearly impossible. Because feelings of guilt devour, because love for children is there and it is immense. And that’s not what is being questioned. But in addition to that idealization of the family that concerns our society, there are many nuances and they are not always understandable.

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