You would think that having the first child makes you the happiest couple on the planet, but it turns out that this is only a social image that has been promoted over and over again to make us think that this is how it should all be. A new study, however, reveals that having a newborn makes people a lot less happy.
The new study, which was published in the Demography journal, has found out that a having a child can bring a lot more sadness than happiness. What is sad is that, on average, people consider that having a baby is worse than unemployment, a divorce, or worse than the death of a partner.
Research was conducted on 2,016 Germans who did not have a child when the study commenced and lasted until their offspring were two years old. Respondents had to declare their happiness from 0 (completely dissatisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied), a response to the question “How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?”
Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskylä mentioned that the study’s question does have a solid limit: it cannot capture all the details required in order to properly measure whether the child is the main cause of negative emotions in the family or not. However, the researchers preferred this question because child-directed questions can be taboo, so they didn’t want the results affected.
One of the study’s primary goals was to identify the contradiction in between how many children couples say they want to have and how many they actually do have. In Germany, for instance, most couples declare via surveys that they want two children, but the country’s birthrate has been stagnating at 1.5 children per woman in the last 40 years.
The study showed that the majority of couples started out happy when they started thinking of having a baby. The happiness even spiked as they had to anticipate, but everything changed after the baby was born.
Around 30 percent of respondents remained as happy or happier once their newborn arrived in the world while the rest of the 70 percent’s happiness dropped within a year or two after delivering. Among the new mothers and fathers whose happiness decreased, 37 percent reported a one unit drop, 19 percent a two unit drop and 17 percent a three-unit drop.
While the result of the study shows a severe situation, it is imperative that more in-depth studies are undergone to ensure what the real issues is. The main problem with questionnaires is that they are very non-personal, non-human.
A better, more effective way to undergo research of this type would be via interviews. While it would take a lot more time for the study to be concluded, the facts would be more accurate and the taboo issue could be eliminated, allowing respondents to speak their minds freely and without the impression of being judged.
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