Turns Out, Living With Your MIL May Affect How Many Kids You Have

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Living with your mother-in-law might not seem like the ideal situation for a lot of people. Turns out, it can also affect how many children you end up having. Who knew? A new study suggests that living with your mother-in-law may result in having fewer children. Maybe a live-in grandma isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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The study, conducted by the University of Vienna in Austria, suggests that living with your mother-in-law may mean you end up having fewer children.

Researchers studied over 2.5 million medical records of women around the world between the ages of 15-34. They considered a few different factors, like how many kids the woman already had, her age, and how much longer she would be of reproductive age. They also looked at whether or not the MIL was living in the home during the reproductive period.

Almost across the board, the “absence of any mother in the household has a significant positive effect on a woman’s number of children”. No mother-in-law meant more children. In the majority of homes, the spouse was present.

Why living with your mother-in-law affects fertility is a little unclear, however. Researchers surmise that mother who live with their adult children tend to be younger. They may even have children of their own, or jobs, so they may not be available to help with childcare. The study suggests that women may not feel supported enough to have more children in these cases. Or, the “full-house” feeling can make adding another baby to the mix undesirable.

It could also come down to stress. A study from 2008 showed that more than 60% of women believed that dealing with their mother-in-law caused long-term stress. Being a wife, mom, and daughter-in-law isn’t easy!

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The impact of this study may not seem particularly important here in the US, where roughly 1.7% of women live with their extended families. But in countries like Iraq, that statistic jumps up to 53%. So you can see how these findings can greatly impact fertility around the world. If you’re considering moving your mother-in-law into your home, maybe have all the babies you wanted to have before she starts living with you.

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