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Single mums just as happy as mothers in relationships

A New York city park in the spring. Sunshine and cherry blossom. A mother and son posing for a picture taken using a smart phoneGetty

New research has confirmed that, despite the many challenges they face, single mums are just as happy as mothers in relationships. This study comes days after research which also showed that children in single parent homes are as happy as those with two parents.

Researchers looked at women in Poland who had babies when they were single.

The women studied had money problems, lack of partner support and were even disapproved of socially.

But according to the study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, having a child did not lead to a decline in their happiness and in fact made some happier because of the bond forged by facing the challenges together.

Study co-author Anna Baranowska-Rataj, of Umea University in Sweden, said: "An arrival of a child either had no impact or even increased the happiness of the single mothers."

The researchers suggested that challenges faced by single mothers might somehow strengthen the bonds with their children.

Study co-author Monika Mynarska, of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Poland, said: "Despite all of the difficulties and problems – or maybe because of them – the children are moved to the absolute centre of the woman's universe and they are the brightest aspect of their lives.

"Moreover, children often give women the power to make decisions they had not been able to make before pregnancy."

For example, the researchers found that being responsible for a child's care helped many single women escape unhappy or harmful relationships, and made them tread more carefully when starting a new relationship.

So, becoming a mother might help single women move their lives onto a 'better track', according to Mynarska.

Another co-author Anna Matysiak, of the Wittgenstein Centre in Austria, added: "All in all, we found no evidence to support the assumption that the lives of women who became single mothers would have turned out better if they had not given birth and had not decided to raise on their own."

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