Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happiness

I am always bugged by these sorts of studies...

"Scientific studies have found that having children does not increase happiness. In fact, experts say it has the opposite effect. The more children you have the less happy you are." -Deseret News Article

I have heard this so many times! Studies say that having children makes you unhappy. It just never sits well with me. It is so opposite of what I believe. So opposite of the life I want to have. So opposite of God's plan.

I don't know why I let it bug me so much every time I hear it, but I do. I just want to scream at them with clear and perfect reasoning...convince the world that families and children are part of God's plan. And God wants us to be happy.

But, after having a child of my own, I can see why studies find this. I feel like having a baby multiplies stress. In our case...I stay home to take care of Megan and bring in no income. Stress. We live in my in-laws basement. Stress. Patrick has to work full-time and go to school. Stress. There are sleepless nights. Stress. You have to pack your entire house to go anywhere. Stress. Babies cry in public and people stare. Stress. The list could go on and on. Having a baby brings added stress and multiplies the stress that's already there.

But, do these studies say anything about the feeling you get the first time your baby smiles at you? Or how close to heaven you feel when you watch your husband gently rock your unsettled baby to sleep? Or the joy of family cuddles and naps on Sunday? Or how excited you are every time your baby does something new? Or how the world stops when your baby giggles? Or how at peace you feel when you hold a sleeping baby in your arms?

Is having a baby hard? Yes. Stressful? Yes. Does it require sacrifice? Yes. Would I ever take it back? Absolutely not! Nothing has brought me greater joy. Nothing has brought me closer to God.

Sure, life would be easier if everyone just took care of themselves. If people didn't care for or worry about anyone else. But it would have so much less meaning. Be so much farther from heaven.

What do you all think? Are these studies correct? Or are families really the way to find true happiness?

5 comments:

Tyler, BreAnne, and Luke said...

I completely agree with you! there are stressful days when I just want Luke to take a nap so I can have a good cry for a minute but then I go over to him and he gets the biggest smile and his eyes light up and my heart melts and I cry for a different reason. Hey, I'm pregnant so I can't help that everything makes me want to cry. But I agree that we were intended to be happy and as we learn to deal with the stresses they aren't as bad and that helps us enjoy the happy parts that much more. We learn patience and it enriches our lives in every area as well. Children bring stress and trials and frustration, but they bring so much more happiness and joy and blessings!

Jasmine said...

Families are definitely the way to go! And you put it so articulately. Hard, but the best!

aubrie said...

I definitely agree with you! In fact, we must be on the same wavelength because I wrote a very similar post yesterday!

Sharla said...

I don't know if you saw my post on that very study a couple of weeks ago, but I saw a Mormon Message that countered it perfectly. It was titled "Unselfish Service." I've been thinking a lot about this same issue. With child #4 on the way, I feel overwhelmed a lot of the time! You are right on with your assessment on the connection between kids and stress. It is harder than I ever expected, yet it is also more rewarding than I ever expected. I think that what the study shows reflects on society's tendency toward self-centeredness. Parenting is a sacrifice that can bring joy. When I find myself feeling down wondering if this is all worth it, I need to look at myself and see where my priorities are off. I wish I wasn't influenced by the world's priorities, but I do slip at times. God's plan does bring happiness.

KristOlby Manscill :) said...

Dear Alisha,
It's been forever since you posted pictures of that little piece of heaven. Must see Megan.
Please fix this.
Sincerely, Kristina