As I've mentioned here and on my new Parenting.com column, the Interwebs are in a tizzy over young unwed moms. I got pregnant before there was a ring on my finger, I know a lot of my readers did too, and apparently MOST 20-somethings have the same experience.
I was a Sophomore in college. I had just transferred out to Colorado, 700 miles away from my family, to be with my boyfriend. We were young, in love, having fun, dreaming about studying abroad and even talking about out future.
Then I got pregnant and things changed quickly.
All of a sudden I was questioning that future we had been talking about for months.
The day after we found I was pregnant, we met for lunch. No one but my best friend knew. As I was trying to force myself to eat he blurted out, "Well, should we get married? Let's get married?"
I snorted and water came out my nose.
This was not the way I imagined being proposed to. And this was not the way I imagined getting married.
I immediately said no way, and I could almost see the look of relief on his face. He wasn't ready either. But he would have married me the next day if I would have wanted to.
I knew I loved him, even knew — or thought I knew — that I wanted to spend my life with him. But getting married at 20 because we were having a baby is not what I wanted for myself, Drew, or our baby.
Would it have been easier if we would have gotten married then? Probably.
Would we be happily married today? Probably.
But I didn't want to get married not knowing for sure if we were supposed to be together.
I didn't want to question years down the line, maybe my entire life, if we would have gotten married if we hadn't gotten pregnant.
The beginning of our pregnancy was extremely hard on our relationship. Moving in together, being completely broke college students, being pregnant, me having to rely on him for everything — I wasn't used to that. It was tough on us. Sometimes I'm amazed we survived.
Then Jasper came and things didn't get any easier. Not for a while. All of a sudden I had this newborn to take care of, 700 miles away from family and friends, with a boyfriend who went to school 20 hours a week and worked another 50 hours a week. I'm amazed our relationship survived that as well.
But we did.
We began to depend on each other. We became a family. Not because we had to, but because we worked hard, stayed, and fought for it. We wanted it more than anything.
When Drew proposed for real, almost 2 and a half years after his first semi proposal, I didn't have to think about it. I knew I wanted to be with him. Because I loved him. Because he was an amazing father. Because we, as a family, belonged together.
The following fall we got married in front of over 200 of our friends and family — with Jasper by our side. Jasper still talks to this day about the day "we got married." And we did, it wasn't just Drew and I, it was the three of us. And having Jasper there with us on our wedding day is something I wouldn't have changed for the world. He got to be a part of his parents' wedding — how amazing is that?
I still can't say for certainty that we would be together if we hadn't gotten pregnant. We were 20 with very different futures planned out. But that doesn't matter to me anymore. What matters is that this is what we both chose.
Did you get pregnant before marriage? What did YOU decide to do?