A new study by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) shows that the birth of a first and a second child briefly increases the level of their parents’ happiness, but a third does not. I read the article several times over the social media platforms. Having just given birth to my third it got me thinking. Am I happy?
My first, second and third pregnancies and births have all been different. They’ve had different circumstance surrounding them and my body has reacted differently to each. With P1 I was just 16, I had school and exams to think about, I had bullying to contend with and parents trying to force me out of school because I was a bad influence. P1 was then born 7 weeks early and so my happiness leading up to her birth was torn apart right at the start of labour. She then spent 27 days in intensive care and after that I endured violence from her dad. I can’t say I was overly happy then.
We move onto P2, and I was in a happy relationship. I had support from not just my family but hubby’s family too. We were both working and therefore could easily get excited about getting bits and bobs for our baby. It was hubby’s first child and so things for him were new. My pregnancy was horrid with horrible morning sickness and pains in my hips but the birth went smoothly and she arrived healthy and without complications. With the love and support surrounding me before and after, I was happy. Happier and more content than I was with P2.
P3 is my third. The one experts say bring no extra happiness. My pregnancy was smooth but I was too busy with the other two to really connect and enjoy my growing bump. I was sick at the start and in pain throughout. I was anxious about spreading my time among three and all of this took over any tiny bit of happiness I felt towards being a mum of three. P3 arrived dramatically, on time, but with complications. She’s also a baby that cries. Far too much. All the time. Literally non-stop. I can’t say I feel much happiness right now.
There is one thing that remains the same throughout and that’s the love I have. No matter how hard the sleepless nights are, the endless crying, the sick matted in my hair, the attitude, disobedience, bedtime wars and never having any time to go to the toilet in private the thing that is always consistent is the love. They bring me joy and happiness by just breathing. By just being there.
I guess it’s hard to measure happiness before and after pregnancy because every single pregnancy is different, even when the mother and father are the same for each child. Over the years situations change. It’s a huge spectrum.
I sit here today with three healthy and constantly adapting daughters. I’m blessed even if I’m not happy all the time. Being a mum, their mum, makes me the happiest person!