​Your Second Baby Might Make You Miserable​

mom dad babyMany moms say that going from one kid to two is a shock. A big one. In fact, some say that going from two to three, or three to four is significantly less jarring than the change that happens when they go from being a mom of one to being a mom of more than one. Heather Kraus, a statistician who works with nonprofits, recently put numbers to this seemingly universal sentiment, and as it turns out, it's true. Well, sort of.

Kraus' findings, which also took age, gender, and level of income into account, found that moms have a harder time than dads when a second baby is brought into the picture. According to her research, 60 percent of both men and women experience a change in happiness after the birth of their first kid in the first year or two. Of this percentage, half report feeling more happy, while the other half report feeling less happy. But when it comes to baby number two, men and women have drastically different experiences.

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Kraus found that, out of the group of parents who experienced a change in their happiness, 40 percent of men were likely to be less happy after a subsequent child while 65 percent of women were apt to feel that way, again, in the first year or two. That's a big difference! (And no, postpartum depression doesn't appear to be more common with a second.)

The cause? It hasn't been investigated by Kraus, but one could surmise that since moms are traditionally the primary caretakers, the birth of a second child affects them more than fathers who, typically, are out of the house at work. IE, that two- to three-hour period of time they used to have to themselves or to get chores done when their only kid was napping? Sayonara.

It also would be interesting to see how happiness levels are affected for different situations. For instance, do moms who work and who don't get nap time to accomplish household tasks or do something for themselves experience the same change in morale as their stay-at-home-counterparts? Or do the majority of moms who experience a change in their happiness level after another baby wind up feeling more stressed out and anxious, regardless of their everyday situation? You would think no, but research obviously would have to be done in these subsets to prove it.

The good news of this not-so-cheering-sounding study? There's a significant amount of research that shows that kids make married couples happier than they would have been if they remained childless in the long-run -- moms possibly even more so than dads. So the moral? Don't let these findings scare you off of baby number two. It might be harder in the short-term, but like anything that's worth having, when all is said and done, it's totally worth it.

Did you experience a change in happiness when you had your second kid?

 

Image via © Brooklyn Production/Corbis

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