For all the wonderful rays of bright light and beauty children bring into our lives, they also bring plenty of gloom and doom to our days.
Not the nicest thing to say about our precious little ones, but it's true.
A recent British study found parents -- both mothers and fathers -- are at a higher risk of depression than those who don't have children.
The risk is highest during a child's first year of life, but it persists at some level all the way into adolescence ... at least.
That's much after the crazy hormones in our bodies have calmed down, so why? Why are children so depressing to parents?
“We can hypothesize based on existing knowledge that the arrival of a newborn baby is stressful for both parents on account of lack of sleep, change in their responsibilities, and the demands made on the couple’s relationship,” one of the study's authors told The New York Times.
Most parents can do a whole lot more than hypothesize that parenthood is stressful, especially in the earliest days when sleep and feeding issues can paralyze a family's normalcy.
Things do get easier, like people tell you they will ... in some ways.
But in other ways, things continue to get harder and harder.
There are more emotional challenges, scheduling hurdles, and more influences from peers. There are new worries and fears and limits being tested and boundaries broken.
Parenthood comes with an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and no one even gives you a performance review to tell you how you're doing. So there's also a lot of doubt and questioning that comes with the gig.
There's also a big loss that occurs when you become a parent -- a loss of a life you once had and a person you once were to some degree.
For most of us, the joy overshadows any sadness on most days, and we do our best to cope on the days it doesn't.
But as this study shows, there are many parents out there struggling more significantly with the days. Hopefully, research like this will help shine a light on the problem and lead to more discussion and solutions, and, if nothing else, let parents know they're not alone in their struggles.
Do you feel like you're more depressed since having children? If so, why?
Image via dailyinvention/Flickr