Study Finds That Birth of First Child Makes Parents More Miserable Than Divorce, Unemployment, or Death

According to researchers, having a baby in modern society quickly leads to profound social isolation because, well, duh.

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

The world didn't listen when leaked footage from Japan revealed children's inherent brutality. The world also didn't listen when local Buffalo, New York hospitals reported an impending (and surely devastating) baby boom due to the homebound tactics of a blizzard just nine convenient months earlier. As if attempting to prove how far a united denial could really go, the world didn't even listen to scientists proclaiming that the universe is now officially (albeit slowly) dying just in time for the global population to skyrocket to an unsustainable 13 billion people.

And now, this: a new study finds that the overall happiness of first-time parents drops dramatically following the birth of their tiny minion. Furthermore, the study reveals that having this much-hyped first baby harms happiness levels far more than former titans of misery including divorce, unemployment, and death of a partner. The study, published in the journal Demography, followed 2,016 initially childless Germans until at least two years after the birth of their first child. 73 percent of participants reported decreased happiness immediately following the birth and during the two-year period of the study.

The main culprit in this self-inflicted misery? Social isolation, predictably. "You get some presents from various friends, and then they just leave you alone because they figure you're too tired and too busy," biological anthropologist Helen FishertellsCBS. "People simply assume that when you are getting a divorce, they're piling in to help you," adds Fisher. "They pile in to help you when you've lost your job, they really pile in to help you when you've lost your partner. But they don't pile in when you've had a child. They figure you're happy."

Or, maybe, they have started to take babies much more seriously.


Latest in Pop Culture