Okay, but let’s talk about Regina Mills, and what an awful parent she is and always has been, and why this show and fandom’s apologism for it has GOT to stop.
First of all, she killed her father for her revenge. She feels alone because she MURDERED HER FATHER IN COLD BLOOD. She, quite literally, stabbed him in the back. If she feels alone, it is of her own doing. I shouldn’t be made to sympathize with someone who expects pity for something she did of her own free will.
So then, she’s lonely because she murdered her father, okay. She decides she wants a kid. So she TRIES TO KIDNAP ONE and kills his father, presumably. That is not how you get a kid.
Moreover, that is not WHY you get a kid. Children are not to fill your own voids, or to make you feel better, or to give you a chance; it is not a child’s responsibility to heal their parent. She says she NEEDS a child, like it’s a play thing that will make her feel better. She never expresses wanting to raise a kid, to love it, to be a mother, just that she wants someone to love HER, who will make her feel better. That’s a pretty fucked up way to go into parenthood.
She adopts Henry. And, first of all, is shitty at it. She thinks that Henry is crying because of someone ELSE when she just needs to learn to comfort him. I’m not blaming her for his crying— no new mother knows exactly how to parent. But most figure it out. Instead she blames his birthmother, who by the way, “abandoned” him because of REGINA’S curse, that SHE cast. She created the circumstances that led to him being adopted. So I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing. But nonetheless, she won’t take responsibility for it, just blame others.
And THEN she discovers who Henry might be, and that it will mess with her revenge. Not that Emma will come back and take her son— that Emma coming back will ruin her sadistic revenge. So she TAKES HIM BACK. Her revenge is more important to her than Henry, in that moment. I don’t think that’s a forgivable moment for her. Even if she decides she loves him, and keeps him.
Once she does keep him, when we see her, she is an emotionally (and later physically) abusive parent. She keeps Henry in a cursed town where no one ages or has any free will- he has no friends, no sense of the actual world around him. Henry remains a doll to her, who gives her pleasure and whose own EMOTIONAL needs aren’t acknowledged. He’s fed, cared for, clothed, but not emotionally provided for.
When he finds Emma, Henry believes Regina to be capable of being an evil murderer. Kids don’t usually think that of their parents. He is scared of her and what she can do. She keeps him from Emma for HERSELF, not for him. She tries to get him into the magic that scares him. She physically makes sure he stays in the house. She curses him to forget what he knows. Her only regard for Henry is where it fits her own needs. She uses his birthparents’ history against him when it’s history SHE CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE. She tries to kill his family multiple times. She accidentally almost kills HIM and later says she has no regrets; she still blames Emma for this. She makes him feel crazy.
I 100% believe that Regina wants Henry, that she loves him as much as she can, that she TRIES to love him, and that she is working towards being the kind of mother he deserves. That doesn’t mean she’s a good mom. Loving your child isn’t enough, let alone TRYING to love him.
I want to see her work towards being a good parent, a good person. But nothing will convince me she is right now. Henry was emotionally abused and every ounce of strength and goodness he has comes from HIM. In spite of her.