If your plans to have a new baby also involve a new baby daddy, you are not alone. Approximately 28 percent of all US women with two or more children have children by more than one man, according to a study that was the first of its kind to determine how many moms engage in "multiple partner fertility."
To reach these findings, researchers interviewed 4,000 US women who were interviewed more than 20 times over a period of 27 years. Having children by different fathers was more common among minority women, with 59 percent of African American mothers, 35 percent of Hispanic mothers, and 22 percent of white mothers reporting multiple partner fertility. Women who were not living with a man when they gave birth and those with low income and less education were also more likely to have children by different men.
"We tend to think of women with multiple partner fertility as being only poor single women with little education and money, but in fact at some point, most were married, and working, and going to school, and doing all the things you're supposed to do to live the American Dream," says researcher Cassandra Dorius, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
Taking the plunge with a new man? Be prepared for some changes, including the possibility of feeling really stressed out over family balance, researchers caution. "Juggling all the different needs and demands of fathers in at least two households, four or more pairs of grandparents, and two or more children creates a huge set of chronic stressors that families have to deal with for decades," says Dorius.
In other words, taking steps now to figure out a plan for normal custody arrangements, as well as holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions, is a great way to reduce family stress in the long run.