pregnant on wedding day

My Surprise, Planned, Unwed Pregnancy

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It was a gloriously sunny summer day. The weather was mild for summertime, and thankfully so.  I was ridden with morning sickness. At just ten weeks, I felt like a mutated fraction of myself. I could barely keep anything down. I was lethargic, drained, wanted coffee, couldn’t even stomach the smell of coffee, and was oh so sensitive. I had just got together with a bunch of girlfriends for the first time after finding out I was pregnant. The date had been scheduled to catch up on everyone’s lives, but mainly to talk about my wedding. Oh yes, I was a Catholic girl, about to get married in the Catholic Church, and had recently found out I was expecting three months before the Big Day. Whoops! Despite what the clergy might say, I thought amongst my peers, family, and associates, my martial status would be perceived as redundant. Sadly, I was wrong. The Church was fine; some of the people in my life weren’t so much. As my girlfriends and I sat at a spot by the river, they were abuzz with my news. They asked all sorts of questions about the details of the pregnancy: When did it happen? How did I feel? Was I showing?  Ya. They could see something. Maybe. Then the question I’m sure each of the girls wanted to ask came, Was it planned? 

In my early stages of pregnancy, I’d already been asked this several times. In theory, I was fine with the question. In reality, despite the words being the same, the intonation of the question ended up coming in two forms. The first was matter of fact. Did we plan the pregnancy? The timing? I would get the question and answer with a chuckle, “Ummm… No! The plan was to be able to have a stiff drink to calm my nerves, not to be 13 weeks pregnant on my wedding day!” They would laugh too and we would move onto something else. Totally fine. The second type of delivery was a hard one to digest, as it was laden with judgement. I knew I was getting married. I had passed high school biology. The undertone was, What was I thinking? With this same undertone, I was also told that in this day and age, there is no such thing as surprise pregnancies, and was recommended that I maybe I not talk about my pregnancy too much as it might upset some people.

The judgement cut deep. Unlike some girls who dreamt of their wedding day since a young age, my wedding only became a big deal when I met my husband. Before meeting him, I didn’t know if marriage would be in the cards for me. However, I had spent my life from before preschool onward dreaming of motherhood. My life had been spent playing house, then babysitting, volunteering with younger kids, and tutoring. As an adult, I took any chance I could to helping my friends with their kids. If I wasn’t able find a way to adopt, foster, or have my own children, my vocation in life would not be filled. Why was the worth of my news being met with such strain and reservation?

The timing was not planned. We did understand how babies were made. Nevertheless at the time it happened, we weren’t thinking that maybe nine months later I’d be waddling around town desperate to have one sign baby was on its way. Sure, throwing up on my wedding day was not my favourite. And, I sure would have liked that stiff drink I’d previously laughed about. But my unexpected pregnancy had been very, very much planned. It was all my husband and I wanted in our future. When our daughter was born, fortunately I never heard another utterance of negativity. She was beyond celebrated and welcomed with such unconditional love by everyone in my life. What’s funny though is that when we got pregnant with our second only six months after our first, the reception was totally different. I no longer qualified for maternity leave, I was still nursing, my daughter very infrequently slept through the night, I hadn’t lost the baby weight, and had just began to take time for myself. But, the news was harolded with immediate excitement and showered with approval. In many ways, I felt less ready. Still, we unequivocally wanted a second child. So we were very happy, albeit tired.

In the case of both our kids, the timing was far from planned, but our children absolutely were. On the day of my wedding, my dress was a bit tight; I fatigued easily; and my dancing was certainly less frivolous and carefree as it may have been otherwise. None of that ended up mattering. What I will always remember is the introspection that came with carrying my baby that day. Saying my vows with my little girl growing inside of me was one of the most beautiful gifts ever given to me. As I stood at the foot of the altar, I carried inside of me a profound sense of how rich our marriage would be. As the day went on, I no longer cared about linens, or centrepieces, if the music was to everyone’s liking. It was almost as if all the busyness of frivalities faded away. And all was left was the love and anticipation for my husband, baby, and me <3

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28 thoughts on “My Surprise, Planned, Unwed Pregnancy

  1. It is amazing the judgement that other people can display. I am glad that people were more accepting of the baby than they were of the unplanned pregnancy.

  2. What a sweet story to share! My husband and I waited forever to start trying to have kids…and I wish we would have started sooner.

  3. I still marvel at how judgemental “religious” people can be. If you were getting married anyway, who cares? And if you weren’t, who cares? Only you and your love can determine your love story. Kiss your kids and remember this lesson when teaching them about judging others.

    1. You’re right, Jen. This is a lesson for my kids. Seeing the comments under the articles about the referendum in Ireland for gay marriage is another example of how far we have to go still. Many hide their fear behind religion, and it’s sad. Thank you for your comment, it is true marriage or no marriage, it didn’t matter.

  4. Oh I love this story. I cannot believe “in this day and age” people still have judgement over this type of thing. Ugh! We were sort of the same as you. My husband and I were necessary “trying” for our son at the time, but we weren’t really preventing it either. haha We were a little surprised when I became pregnant so fast. He was born on our first anniversary! I guess you just have to ignore all the judge-y people.

    1. Thank you so much for your empathy, Tricia! It means a lot. That is pretty incredible that your son was born on your first anniversary!!! That’s so meaningful <3

  5. LOVE. My first daughters are 14 months apart. My first was born 3 months before we wed.

    I could have written this myself. Love to you.

    An unplanned child is not an unwanted child, and I love your way of differentiating the timing versus the planning to illustrate the point. Because, yes. Exactly.

    1. I love that you were in such a similar situation. Hopefully yours was devoid of judgement and negative commentary though. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and heartfelt commentary! It means a lot!

  6. It is amazing how people feel the need to judge each and every situation and decision we make or don’t make as if it effects their life directly or they get a horse in the race. I had similar judgments when I became pregnant…the first time because we weren’t married yet and the second because the twins were only 9 months old and “isn’t 2 enough!?!?!???” so I get this very much. But you said it beautifully. The timing may not have been planned but the children certainly were and what matters is the love for them and your husband that you so clearly have. Great post Alana, as always!

    1. I wondered if you had encountered similar judgement, Rachael! I really (as always) appreciate your heart, ability to relate, and thoughtfulness. Your encouragement in publishing this post went a long way. I get that getting pregnant with a third with 9 month-old twins isn’t optimal timing. At the end of the day though, he was meant to be, and having extra time with him is all the better! Having my son earlier (I would have waited at least another year) meant I got an extra year with him. An extra sleep deprived year, but an extra year full of his full-throttle, joyous personality nonetheless. Love you and always appreciate what you have to say! xo

  7. I really like how you say the timing wasn’t planned but the pregnancy was. I think no one is really every ready for a baby, but that doesn’t make you want to have one any less. Thank you for your honest, insightful post. And congrats on your babies!

  8. This is just so lovely! What a sweet story! I’m teared up and everything. People will judge no matter our choices. I’m happy that you were able to see the incredible gift you had to be able to marry the man you love while carrying your first child.

    1. Thank you so much for your heart and encouragement. I wouldn’t have been able to post it without you, Melissa, and Rachael!
      Thanks again for everyhung you said <3

  9. Love this. My husband and I were in a very similar, almost exact same situation. I also never thought or knew if I even wanted to get married then I met my now husband. We’d been engaged for 6 months when we found out I was “surprise, planned” pregnant. Of course, after getting engaged, we both knew we eventually wanted to have kids, so it’s not like having kids was much of a road bump–more just the surprise timing. It is amazing how differently people react to you when you’re already married versus when you’re not though, as I also noticed with my second. So much judgment in the world. So ridiculous. Like 90% of people who didn’t get pregnant before their marriage weren’t already having sex. There’s no shame and no reason to judge from my viewpoint. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. I really appreciate you sharing your story! It seems that many in our situations had similar experiences. Planned surprises end up being so incredibly fantastic, it’s really too bad they’re not simply received with a ton of excitement! Thank you so much for your comment. Loved reading your story!

  10. Dear Alana,

    My name is Ashlee. I’m co-founder of the Youshare Project, with the mission to connect people around the world through true, personal stories. I recently stumbled across your blog and read the above post entitled “My Surprised, Planned, Unwed Pregnancy.” It’s beautifully written and compelling with a wonderful message about judging others. I think it would make a wonderful youshare, because hopefully it would make others stop and think twice before judging.

    If this sounds interesting to you, I would love to email you directly with more information and formally invite you to share your story with the project. You have my email address and website. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best,
    Ashlee
    http://www.youshareproject.com
    ashlee@youshareproject.com

    1. Thank you for reading Ashlee, and for receiving my story so well. I would love the opportunity to be featured in your site (which has incredible stories and moving content). I emailed you. Thanks again for stopping by!

  11. I got chills reading this! I have a VERY, VERY similar story. Eerily similar, actually! Your ability to put into words made me very emotional….

  12. I don’t know why people feel the need to ask if a pregnancy was ‘planned’. Sorry you had to deal with this judgement but glad you were able to rise above it. Beautiful post.

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