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A study released in March 2011 revealed that younger mothers are significantly less happy than midlife moms.

The results of a study spanning 86 countries, released by the University of Pennsylvania (see links below), also determined that the happiness of parents over 40 increased with additional children, while those under 30 became less so.

Of course, peel away the thin veneer of scientific jargon and the bare sinew of the situation is that women having children under 30 are more miserable than we are.

Now, why would that be?

A review of the study by Pamela Paul in the New York Times (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2011/04/10/fashion/10Studied NULL.html?_r=2) last month took pains to point out that the study didn’t account for the age of the children—whether they were babies or “adultescents” (which are a whole other story, so stay tuned for the next blog).

The writer postulated that older parents might be happier because they had grown up children to power their wheelchairs.  Ergo, with more children to fight over who gets to push, older parents quaintly acquire sunnier dispositions.

Isn’t there something a little odd with that notion isn’t there? Anantediluvian attitude manifesting as a brush stroke of sadism perhaps?

Not only that, these days—with women over 40 representing the only growth market in fertility in the USA—it’s a tad linear to make such simple assumptions.

In the same month as this study was released, the CDC released its own data revealing that birth rates for women over 40 had risen by 6% while all other age groups were down.

How about some alternative interpretations for the exuberance of older parents and the misery of the younger?

Three top hits for being a happy parent after 40:

  1. You’ve done your partying, globe-trotting and soul-searching at the local Buddhist monastery and know you won’t be missing anything.
  2. You’re becoming a mom because you WANT to, not because anyone else thinks you should.
  3. You have a full-on missile lock with your maternal urge—it’s the be all and end all of your existence.

Three all time lows for becoming a parent before 30:

  1. You have no idea what you want to do with your life or what the meaning of it is.
  2. You’ve never had the chance to spend your money on yourself.
  3. You’re never going to know the real meaning of personal independence or freedom as an adult.

Bottom line is that there’s a good chance that at least some women are happier becoming parents after 40 because they’ve reached the point of readiness.

And, given how much more challenging it can be as their 40’s go by, it’s equally possible that their happiness increases because they feel blessed beyond measure to have a second child.

Notes for this blog:

New York Times feature: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/fashion/10Studied.html (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2011/04/10/fashion/10Studied NULL.html)

Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1728-4457.2011.00389.x/abstract (http://onlinelibrary NULL.wiley NULL.com/doi/10 NULL.1111/j NULL.1728-4457 NULL.2011 NULL.00389 NULL.x/abstract)

CDC study shows that, between 2007 and 2009, women over 40 were the only age group to show a “baby boom”, with birth rates rising by 6%. In all other age groups, birth rates were down. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/01/cdc.births.decline/index.html (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2011/HEALTH/04/01/cdc NULL.births NULL.decline/index NULL.html)

One Response to Laughin’ All The Way To The Nursery

  1. Carolyn and Wendy (http://toohotmamas NULL.wordpress NULL.com) says:

    Laughter is key to survival for the older mom! It’s why we started our blog: Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause, how to juggle all three and stay out of prison! We are toohotmamas.wordpress.com join us for giggles for the more seasoned mom!

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