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What do you remember most vividly about the first year of becoming a parent? The joy of seeing your baby born? Gazing at him or her for hours? Or perhaps it’s the stress–sleep deprivation to the point of craziness, loads of diapers, a baby that won’t stop crying.
If you are like most parents, the first year of your child’s life is probably a mixture of all these things. In our society we tend to romanticize the newborn phase, but in reality we all know it’s a mix of joys and challenges.
A recent study out of Germany tends to support this idea. The study examined the life satisfaction ratings among people prior to and after the birth of their first child. Not surprisingly, most people experienced an uptick in happiness in the months prior to their child’s birth–the anticipation of a new child was joy-inducing.
After the birth of their child, however, the statistics looks different:
– about one-third of people rated their happiness about the same,
– an equal amount (37%) noted a one-unit drop in happiness.
– Another 19% dropped in happiness by two units and
–17% said their happiness dropped three units.
This may sound hard to believe, but this degree of happiness drop is equal to other dramatic life events like divorce or unemployment. Yikes!
It is important to note that this survey was conducted in Germany where the fertility rate is lower than here in the U.S. Still, these statistics are still pretty surprising.
One factor that seems to be at play is that this post-baby drop in happiness seems to be more common among parents who are older than 30 years of age at the time of the birth and those who are more highly educated. The researchers contend that these factors might make the transition to parenthood more difficult because these folks are more accustomed to having control over their schedule, lifestyle, and free time. Childrearing, in contrast, means having control over your life decreased by the demands of a little human who has constant needs.
Does this sound familiar? I think many of us can relate to these study results, but it is often not discussed in our culture. One thing I think we can do to ease this transition is to talk more about these issues with friends that are new parents. If you have friends who just had their first child, it might be helpful to be open to discussing the challenges along with the joys.
In honor of all those new parents out their who are managing the transition to parenthood, let’s briefly discuss what can often be the bane of new parent existence–the diaper bag. We all need them, but let’s be honest–they can be a pain to carry around.
I was sent the Jesse Diaper Backpack from Cheeky Tummy to take a look at and discuss. With two boys, I have been through several diaper bags already. As a new mom, I got the large, carry-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink diaper bag at first. I soon realized this was not practical for most day-to-day outings. The Jesse Diaper Backpack seems like a nice middle-of-the-road option. It is large enough to carry the usual needed items like diapers, wipes, extra clothes and toys, but it’s not so huge that you can’t carry it to the park or festival.
It’s made with very sturdy material, including heavy-duty zippers and even has added features like an insulated bottle pouch, diaper changing pad, and lots of pockets.
Another smart idea with the backpack is that it is not black inside. Brilliant! Until you are a parent, you don’t realize how hard it can be to find items in a bag that is dark inside. This one has a cool yellow interior so you can actually find the pacifier or toy quickly when your baby is crying.
**Cheeky Tummy provided me with a product for the purpose of reviewing them on this site.