Study: having a baby sucks more than divorce, unemployment, and death of a partner
According to a new study, having children really sucks. It sucks even more than getting divorced, being unemployed, and the experiencing the death of a partner.
Researchers in Germany followed 2,016 people who were childless when the study began until at least two years after they had their first child. Subjects were asked to answer the question, "How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?" The researchers preferred this general question over a more specific one about child rearing due to the taboos associated with speaking negatively about parenthood.
The study found that about 30% of the participants remained as happy or even more happy after having a child as they did before having a child. But of those who reported that their happiness went down, 37% reported a one-unit drop, 18% a two-unit drop and 17% a three-unit drop. This averaged out to a 1.4 unit drop in happiness, which is considered very severe. Having a child accounts for a larger drop in happiness than divorce, unemployment, and death of a partner.
Facts about having a baby:
In Germany, most (childless) people say they want two children, but the national average is 1.4, which researchers suggest is a consequence of people having bad experiences with their first child.
The most common reasons for unhappiness after childbirth are exhaustion due to trouble breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, depression, domestic isolation and relationship breakdown.
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression which affects women after childbirth. Hormonal change is considered one cause of postpartum depression. Its effects can include sleep deprivation, anxiety about parenthood and caring for an infant, identity crisis, a feeling of loss of control over life, and lack of support from a romantic or sexual partner.
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