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Why Motherhood Is Good for You

We get a lot of gifts from our kids -- finger paintings, dandelion bouquets, and, believe it or not, better health. Here's how:

Bonus: Decreased risk of ovarian cancer

Women who've given birth are 20 percent less likely to get it than those who haven't, in part due to fewer ovulation cycles, researchers theorize.

Bonus: Brain boost

Animal studies show that hormonal changes surrounding birth may make the areas of the brain that control learning and memory larger. The same is suspected for human mothers, especially when their kids are older (over 2) and they've gained "mom" experience.

Bonus: Reduced risk of diabetes

Breastfeeding alters metabolism and may help keep blood sugar levels stable, lowering the risk of Type 2 by 15 percent per year of nursing.

Bonus: Decreased risk of breast cancer

Multiple pregnancies lower the risk of breast cancer, most likely because of breast-tissue changes; breastfeeding may also help protect you.

Bonus: Longer life span

Research shows that people who seek out support from friends and have stronger social ties tend to live longer than those who don't. Another benefit of playdates and mom groups!