My first year as a mother was the most miserable year of my life. I felt scared, lonely and sad. I also felt incredibly ripped off. I’d watched all the movies. I knew that while I would probably be tired and unsure of what I was doing, it would be in a funny, head-slapping kinda way.
Lies. All lies.
Now there’s a new study that has suggested the first year after the birth of the first child is the unhappiest time in new parent’s lives. It’s a bit of a downer, and for those who are pregnant with their first, I want to take the time to assure you that this isn’t the case for all couples.
Just lots and lots of couples.
For every couple who thinks it’s going to be easy, you have to watch this. Post continues after the video.
Researchers Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskylä looked into the experience of becoming a parent and wrote the depressing report which was published in Demography. They found that 73% of those surveyed reported a dip in happiness during that first year. 27% of new parents reported no dip in happiness.
To all expectant parents, I’m sure you’ll be in that 27%. Fingers crossed, hey?
My husband and I firmly fall into the 73% of parents who definitely felt less happy after becoming parents together. Looking back it’s hard to understand how it happened. At the time though, it was pretty serious.
We were pretty disconnected as a couple when we had our first child together. He already had two kids and thought he knew everything. I knew nothing so believed everything he said, much of which was very, very wrong. He told me our baby would be able to hold it’s own bottle at three weeks, so I let go, and it hit him in the face.
We fought over everything. I was tired and hormonal. He struggled to accept that life as he knew it had to change. I needed the volume of the TV turned down while the baby slept. I needed him to pick up dinner. I needed unconditional support and less suggestions of things I should be doing.
The final straw was a fight over our dogs, two big rottweilers thatI loved, but was no longer comfortable having sleep in our bed. The cot was next to our bed and every time the baby stirred or cried they’d both stand up and peer into it. So I kicked them out. My husband lost it and said that if they couldn’t sleep in our bedroom, he wouldn’t either. So he and the dogs slept in the lounge room.
For a year.