NBC
Kit Steinkellner
January 15, 2017 11:01 am
NBC

If you’re a gal of a certain age, you start hearing a certain kind of question all the time. “So are you guys thinking about having kids?” “Do you want kids?” “Seriously, are you EVER going to have kids?” (This last one is a  particular favorite of mothers and mothers-in-law.)

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to have kids, you are by no means alone.

And if you were hoping that science would maybe help a girl out and do a study that supports your ambivalence, you’re in luck!

As Brit & Co reports, Paris School of Economics professor Andrew Clark presented a study at a London conference this week. The study found that a long-term romantic partnership has a markedly positive effect on a person. BUT the whole having kids thing? Not so much. Having children doesn’t make people markedly happier.

Well, apparently babies make couples happier for a hot second. You try watching someone learn to smile and laugh and see if that doesn’t up your “life satisfaction” quotient. However, Clark says that the study found that “having young children brings some satisfaction, but not a lot,” and after about two years, satisfaction levels drop down to where they were pre-baby. He concluded that “having [kids] is a good idea for up to 12 months.”

Okay. Some things to keep in mind here. Clark only studied couples with kids for the first four years of the children’s lives. So he doesn’t know what that statistical life satisfaction is of parents of elementary schoolers. Or college kids. Or parents of people who are all grown up and now have children of their own.

Also, Clark notes, some people might just be more predisposed to parenthood. It would stand to reason your life satisfaction would be higher re: this major life choice if you’re more excited about taking the plunge.

"To a degree, people who want children more get more children, just as people who like classical music are more likely to listen to it. If we compare people with and without children we may be just comparing people with different tastes."

So if this study helps justify your no kids stance, that’s awesome. And if you are all about having kids, don’t let these findings give you pause. As the internet is so fond of saying, you do you.

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