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How a second baby can make your marriage more resilient
New research says that even though your happiness dips after having a child, it'll rebound quicker when you have a second child. - photo by Herb Scribner
The secret to a happy marriage is two-fold: First, have a baby. Then, have another.

This is according to a new study from the University of Michigan that found marriages are more resilient after a second child, and that couples are less overwhelmed and stressed after their second childs birth than they were with their first.

The study said that a couples level of happiness after a second child drops for the first four weeks, but will return quicker than it did after the first childs birth.

To find this, researchers looked at more than 200 married couples and tracked them from their third trimester through one, two, eight and 12 months after giving birth. Couples were asked to fill out reports on their marital communication, stress, support from family and friends, and marriage satisfaction.

The researchers noted that there was some decline in marital satisfaction, which was related to marital communication.

Even when there was significant change, it was often short-lived, attesting to family resilience rather than crisis after the birth of a couples second child, Brenda Volling, a psychology professor and the studys lead author said in a news release. What were finding is that it is not who is doing what with respect to childcare, but how couples communicate around childcare.

This study comes days after research from the journal Demography found that a newborn makes parents more depressed than divorce, unemployment or the death of a partner, according to The Washington Post. The studys participants were asked to rate their level of happiness 0 (completely dissatisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied).

"Although this measure does not capture respondents' overall experience of having a child, it is preferable to direct questions about childbearing because it is considered taboo for new parents to say negative things about a new child," the researcher said.

Research has also found that raising a second child can be harder than rearing the first, according to FiveThirtyEight. In fact, a mothers happiness declines more than a fathers after having a second child because of childbearing stresses, FiveThirtyEight reported.

But bigger families have been known to make families happier overall. Research on European statistics earlier this year found that families with three or more children were happier than those with fewer children, The Independent reported. On average, families with three or more children ranked their happiness at 7.4 out of 10, whereas the average person ranks theirs at 7.1, according to the study.

Similarly, Mandy Morgan of Deseret News National reported on a study from Edith Cowan University in Australia that found families with four or more children were more satisfied than overwhelmed with their big families.

The study said bigger families offer more opportunities to find support and fewer opportunities to be bored. Similarly, children learned more about responsibilities from their increased number of siblings.

Parents often seek to have big families so they can reap these benefits, Morgan reported.

"(The parents) usually say they always wanted a large family, it was planned that way and it was a lifestyle they'd chosen," Bronwyn Harman, the studys head researcher, said.