Living child free

Sometimes people with children might say things to you like "think of all the money you'll save!", "I envy you – my kids are such a pain", or "at least you don't have to go through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth". These comments are meant to make you feel better, but they can come across as shallow, and often make you feel worse.

Even though "look on the bright side" advice isn't helpful, it is undeniable that there are some advantages to having no (or fewer) children. There is some research into the relationship between happiness and raising children. Some studies claim that parents are angrier and more depressed than their child-free counterparts (article), and they grow angrier and more depressed with each additional child (article). Others conclude that, in general, parenthood has a negative impact on overall well-being (article) and marital satisfaction (article). The financial burden of raising a family takes a heavy toll, and is mentioned in several of these studies.

It should be noted that some of these findings are contested, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. My personal view is that there is so much variation from person to person that we shouldn't read too deeply into results that summarize groups as a whole. However, this does reinforce the message from the previous page: you may feel like you will never be happy if you don't conceive, but there is evidence to the contrary.