Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cheerfully Childless no longer just a book title . . it's a statistical fact.

Study shows moms, dads more depressed than other adults

A few weeks ago, a study revealed what most childfree people already suspected. Of course, they had to get in their dig about how it must be because parents aren't getting enough benfits (at the cost of childfree taxpayers and coworkers, of course)

I long for the day when a plan like Xerox's becomes the norm.
Hey, you moms and dads out there showing off the latest photos of your kids and ragging about their recent achievements. You might not want to be quite so smug: Parents are more depressed than adults without kids. Despite the joys you think parenthood may bring, a study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior reports that having children does not make you happier.

‘‘We believe the costs associated with the role overshadow those benefits,’’ said Robin Simon, co-author of the study published in December in the journal published by the American Sociological Association. ‘‘We romanticize parenthood. It’s difficult and it is expensive.’’

This depressing statistic — depressing that is, if you’ve already ventured down the procreation road yourself — includes everyone from parents still changing diapers to, more surprisingly, those who sent their kids to college long ago. The finding runs counter to those on other social roles in the United States, such as marriage and employment, that do help your emotional well being, the study said.
Along these lines, I've noticed an odd trend among those parents trying to engage in a debate about childfreedom. Out of one side of their mouths they discuss how offensive it is to do a cost-benefit analysis of having children, and out the other side they gush about how the rewards of children outweigh the drawbacks. Ummm. . . that's a cost-benefit analysis. Why is it such a stretch to think that those of us who would not realize those same rewards would not undertake all those burdens?


Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between doing something that you had no choice in, and doing something you chose to do.

Back in the days before reliable birth control, people just had kids. Now, it's a choice: you either have them, or you don't. Even if factors like lack of sleep and constant worry have the same impact on parents as they did in years past, there's the added level of self-criticism of "I chose this". And then the inevitable guilt of admitting to one's self that parenthood isn't always a bed of roses.

Stefani said...

My hubbie and I have been married 18 years and we are "childless" by choice. We love the freedom. The benefits didn't outweigh the drawbacks in our case, so we chose not to have kids. I think more people should sit down and think about it before they have kids... it is a choice in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I knew it!!


Anonymous said...

Maybe the romanticizing is a big part of why parenting is depressing. The parents think it's supposed to be filled with Kodak Moments and never-ending good times. Then, when they realize it's hard, they think it's their own fault or they were gypped in some way. Parents who go in more clear-eyed are probably less likely to be unhappy when it's not all rainbows and sunshine.