Expecting your first baby? Parenthood will change your life, but not necessarily your outlook on it. In fact, for the vast majority of parents, having a baby has a minimal long-term effect on their sense of well-being. That’s among the findings of a research team at Teachers College, Columbia University.
According to a new study based on a survey of thousands of new parents, those who reported high levels of well-being before childbirth said they continued to feel that way four years after giving birth. Those who didn’t feel an abundance of well-being before having a child didn’t improve much in their outlook after four years of parenthood. Interestingly, those whose sense of well-being remained basically unchanged after childbirth had more education, and were wealthier and more likely to be married. The new data counter decades of psychological studies showing that first-time parents are no happier, and in some cases less so, than their childless peers.
Further, although more women reported carrying the burden of childcare, no distinction was detected between the responses of men and women. “This might indicate that men and women are equally equipped to become parents,” the study finds.