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I have suffered because I didn’t have children

Being a parent is a life-changing experience that brings with it a special blend of stress and benefits. Social scientists have typically come to the conclusion that the effects for parents’ wellbeing appear to outweigh the costs, at least when children are small. Nevertheless, studies on families in later life have typically come to the conclusion that adult children tend to improve their parents’ quality of life. People who are childless are often used as a reference group for people who have young children and adults, but as their numbers have increased, childlessness has emerged as a significant area of research in and of itself. With more theoretical depth, a focus on diversity, and the use of priceless longitudinal and qualitative data sets, research on the influences of motherhood on well-being has taken new turns during the past decade. In order to organize a review of studies on parenthood and well-being that have been published in the previous ten years and to recommend future prospects for parenthood and well-being research, we adopt a life course framework. The introduction of measures that tap into diverse dimensions of well-being during the past ten years has marked a significant advancement given the long-held belief that parenthood has both costs and advantages for parents’ well-being. It appears that parenthood and parenting may be more pertinent to some qualities of well-being than others at different stages in the life course, which makes this issue particularly essential. A general measure of psychological distress or well-being was used in the majority of studies on parenthood and wellbeing throughout the 2000s, but other aspects of well-being, such as a sense of meaning and purpose in life, self-efficacy, loneliness, health behaviors, and physical health, have also been evaluated.

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