Parents happier in period around birth of first child

12/03/2013 12:06

People experience a fairly short period of happiness when they become first-time parents. This feeling of happiness is most intense during pregnancy. After the baby is born, the feeling of happiness gradually fades and 1 to 2 years after childbirth it appears to be back at the pre-pregnancy level. The phenomenon is only found among first-time parents. In the period surrounding the birth of the second and third child, the feeling of euphoria is no longer manifest.

The feeling of happiness becomes more intense in both men and women in the period prior to childbirth, but is most intense in women. After the baby is born, the feeling tends to drop back to its former level. This applies to both parents.

Happiness first-time mothers, 1998/2009

Happiness first-time mothers, 1998/2009

Karolijne van der Houwen and Linda Moonen