If you have a bunch of baby names all planned out, you better pick your two favorites: Having one or two children can boost your happiness. But when you pop out a third one? Not so much, according to a new study in which researchers assessed the happiness of British and German parents before and after the births of their children.
That's not to say third, fourth, and fifth children are loved any less than their older siblings, as any member of a five-plus family will confirm. It's just that parenthood becomes a bit less novel after you've seen the miracle of life (twice!) and changed about a billion diapers. And after you have two children, extra kids could cause financial strain, according to the researchers. Another theory: In larger families, the youngest children may be unplanned, which can open a whole other can of worms in the stress department.
For what it's worth, the mood boost you get from growing your family isn't particularly long-lasting—even after your first child is born. The research suggests that babies boost your happiness the year before their birth, and the year after. But after that, you'll probably revert back to whatever emotional state you were in before kids entered the picture.
If your goal is to live happily ever after though, stick with birth control for a bit. The research also suggests that the older you are when you have your first kid, the happier you'll become, and the longer that happiness will last. *~ThE eNd~*.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.