Millennials are putting off having kids for longer and longer, or are stopping at having only one child. Now research says that decision might be for the best.
A study published last week in the academic journal Demography suggests that being a new parent makes you even more miserable than if your spouse were to die.
The study was carried out in Germany, a country which has recently overtaken Japan as the country with the lowest birth-rate in the world.
"A drop in well-being surrounding first birth predicts a decreased likelihood of having another child," the study's abstract finds.
"The association is particularly strong for older parents and those with higher education."
The study set out to understand the difference between the number of children people want and the number they end up having.
It found that people wanted an average of two children but ended up only having one and a half - suggesting that parents had one and thought: "Never again."
Participants were asked to rate their 'overall well-being' on a scale of 1-10 over the course of roughly five years, taking in three years prior to the birth of their first child and the two years afterwards.
It turned out that new parents' drop in happiness went far beyond what you'd expect from temporarily losing sleep - it didn't start until after the birth, but it was major.
While around 30% of new parents in the study reported feeling just as good or better than they had before, on average, new parents suffered a 1.4 unit drop in happiness.
If you compare the results to similar studies, that suggests that having a child is a more horrible thing to happen to you than getting divorced, losing your job or the death of your partner.
"The continuous and intense nature of child-rearing in the first year was stressful for most parents, especially for those who had limited knowledge of baby care and social support," the study says.
"Other important factors for temporarily or permanently postponing having further children were trouble breast-feeding, sleep deprivation, depression, domestic isolation, and relationship breakdown."
The study only suggests the difficulty of being a new parent, so when your sprogs get older it may well be a lot more fun.
But given how horrendous child-rearing sounds, it's easy to see why people don't think it's an experience worth repeating.Featured Image Credit: PA