According to a new study of over 2,000 German men and women, having a first child causes a drop in happiness that is greater than going through a divorce, unemployment, or the death of a spouse or partner, likely discouraging them from having more children. Germany has had a consistently low birth rate for more than four decades, and researchers were interested in discerning why, especially since most Germans self-report wanting two children. The results were pretty staggering: only 30% of new parents maintained or increased their previous level of happiness, with the rest experiencing pretty significant drops. This drop in happiness caused many of the new parents to reconsider having another child, citing health concerns, negative and complicated birthing situations, and “the continuous and intense nature of child rearing.” The study followed parents for up to two years after their first child’s birth with data from the parents being surveyed annually, so it will be interesting to see how and if the bumpy transition to parenthood gets better over time.

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