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Parenthood Reduces Your Blood Pressure

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:00 AM Comments (14)

This is hard to believe.

Yesterday afternoon, for example, as I typed a blog post in the middle of a toy-strewn living room while two older boys argued over a video game, two younger boys took turns shrieking as they leaped from the couch, the dog barked at the door to be let out, and one girl perfected her rendition of Frère Jacques on the electronic key board she got for Christmas, I never would have guessed it.

But a new study says it’s true:

Being a parent reduces your blood pressure.

“While the finding may provoke guffaws of disbelief among parents, the principle is that parenthood gives people ‘a sense of purpose and meaning’ which helps to reduce stress and put the hassles of life into perspective.”

I’ll buy that.

Sadly, though, it would appear that a lot of people don’t. The comments on the article are surprisingly angry:

“I am a childfree person but my life has quite a lot of purpose and meaning, thanks to friends, activities, hobbies and my pets. I do not need children to feel ‘complete’ or whatever the stupid expression is.”

and

“The effort that you have to put in to have children and the worry and financial stresses it brings just doesn’t seem worth the odd smile you get back. I am more of a dog lover myself.”

and

“As much as I love my children being a parent (my eldest is 25) has been terrible - all it involves is unpleasantness and worry! If I could turn the clock back I’d be childless!”

And, finally, my personal favorite:

“Absolutely rubbish. Parenting my two children literally makes me ill. I have never felt physically and mentally worse trying to raise responsible, respectful human beings out of two lazy, greedy, disrespectful and slovenly teens.”

Wow.

These kinds of reactions demonstrate something I have long suspected—that it is politically incorrect to say anything positive about having children.

You think embracing your vocation to married life and devoting yourself to the care of your offspring gives you peace and purpose in your life? No it doesn’t! You are confused and those bratty kids are just sucking the life out of you ...

Well, I’ll be politically incorrect today and say this much: Becoming a wife and mother is the single most meaningful thing I have ever done. What I do every day—from filling sippy cups with strawberry milk to folding a teetering mountain of laundry—gives me purpose and peace. I give all of it over to God first thing every morning, and He makes sure it all comes out okay in the end. All the way down to my blood pressure.

So thank you God for that. Even if it gets a little wild in the living room now and then.

Filed under children, family, health, marriage, parents, stress

About Danielle Bean

Danielle Bean
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Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.