Having a baby is a special, exciting and happy time for most new parents. New research carried out in Germany has revealed that after the initial excitement is over however, most first-time parents experience a decline in overall life satisfaction.
The study, which was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research asked people in various different scenarios to rate their general life satisfaction on a scale of one to 10 every year. Shockingly, the decline in people’s happiness shortly after having their first child was greater than that observed amongst those who had suffered unemployment, divorce or even a bereavement.
It’s thought that all the stresses associated with a newborn baby such as a lack of sleep, having less time to work on your relationship with your partner and financial concerns all contribute to this. The researchers also pointed out that the figures can be partly attributed to the fact that in very early parenthood, people report high levels of happiness which leads to a sharper decline overall.
Unsurprisingly, parents who experienced the biggest drop in happiness were less likely to go on to have a second child which is a big contributing factor towards the number of children per household falling from two in 1971 to 1.7 by 2013. One of the researchers for the study, Professor Myrskyla commented:
“There is more or less a taboo regarding the wellbeing of new parents. The medical profession is starting to acknowledge this and postpartum depression is getting more and more attention but it’s still something that compared to many other events in life, is thought of something that can be and should only be experienced positively.”
If you think that you could be suffering with postnatal depression, please feel free to visit our Knowledge Centre for more information, tips and advice about the treatments available. You can also call us to talk about depression treatment.