First, remember that this is an academic study so several psychological theories are thrown around throughout the article. I’m going to consider just one, that I think actually helps us look at this finding in a new way.
To me, this means it’s all about expectations. There’s actually some research to back this up. Psychologists studying the relationship between individuals’ life satisfaction and major life changes have found that people often experience an increase in satisfaction in the year prior to the birth of a child, but this often drops within a year of the birth. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they end up less happy than they were when they were childless, it just means that they experience a decline in happiness once the reality of parenthood sets in.
For more interesting information about the focusing illusion and other psychological thoughts, check out this great book by Daniel Gilbert:
"...The Obnoxious SAHM...." says
First of all welcome to MBC! Secondly, Congratulations on your pregnancy. 🙂
To answer your question I can only go by my own experience. After I had my first born, I went through a mixture of feelings because I had to deal with postpartum depression. I wasn’t immediately filled with happiness, but yet I never knew I could love someone so much in life.
I remember wondering where did all this love come from, because it was so overwhelming to me being that I was flooded with emotion when he was born. It was a feeling of fulfillment being a woman that I wished I could describe more eloquently.
I look forward to reading more interesting posts.
Your newest follower!
Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor says
Found you on Entrecard this morning and have been thinking about this post all day. I would not say that I am less happy since we had our daughter 3 years ago, I would say that I have more daily frustrations than when we were sans child. This may be perceived by some as being less happy. The whining, tantrums, bottom wiping, cleaning up, etc., etc.. can bring one down a bit but hopefuly the good moments bring you right back up.
It’s definately the thoughest thing I’ve ever done.
Veronica Lee says
Hi and welcome to MBC!
The Mother says
I read that study. I have to agree. Parenting doesn’t NECESSARILY make you happier.
Let’s face it. Parenting is hard work. It’s an economic nightmare. And rewards are often few and far between.
And like any other job, some people are more suited to it than others.
Hi, Congrats on your pregnancy.
I think happiness is relative subject. My happiness before and after having my children is different. Well parenting two toddlers has it’s ups and downs and worries, but at the same time I get happy beyond measure when they accomplish something. I get satisfaction when my two year old knows how to sing ABC and shows the correct letter to me. This is a kind of happiness and satisfaction I didn’t experience before parenthood.
As a parent I’m tired but happy.