Getting married after having a baby: why I’m glad I did things the ‘wrong way round’

Anyone else feel the same?

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There’s been a growing trend over the last few years for people to put off getting married – probably because they simply can’t afford it yet – until after having kids.

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In fact, the ONS (Office for National Statistics) numbers reveal that the average age for a woman to have her first child is 28, compared with her first marriage, at just over 30.

I do know people who want to do things in the traditional order. Take my friend Jen, who says that, as the child of a single mum, she wants a man to show a commitment to her – by marriage – before she even thinks about having kids with him.

Or another of my friends who got married ‘quickly’ when she found out she was pregnant, so the baby would be born within marriage and she’d have the same name as her husband.

In contrast, when I finally got around to marrying for the 2nd time, I’d been with my partner for 8 years and my daughter, Bodhi Rae, was nearly 4 years old. And you know what? The wedding day was made SO much more special by the fact she was there.

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As with many families these days, my siblings are dispersed around the world. I have one herein the UK, but two are in the US, and all of my husband’s family live in Ireland.

Had I waited until after the wedding to have a baby, sure, family and friends would probably all have come over to meet her and visited sporadically.

But I’m not convinced there’d be another occasion – and such a happy one at that – when we’d all get to be together and that Bodhi Rae would be able to share in.

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The proud-as-punch face my daughter had as walked down the aisle before me, and the fact she saw her Daddy’s look of love as he clocked me at the altar, made the fact she was there worth it.

The day was a celebration of our little family, not just me and her dad. And the vows I made to him, to love, honour and look after him until death us do part, I made in my head to her, too.

And every part of the ceremony and the day were designed for us 3, not just 2.

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Though it took place last summer (a lifetime ago when you’re 4), Bodhi Rae still talks about our wedding as though it were last week.

She really wants to try my dress on, although I’ve told her she needs to wait until she’s bigger, but I do let her borrow my shoes. Mainly, however, what she talks about is all the people who were there – and when she’ll see her US cousins again.

And that’s the thing. These rites of passage don’t come along too often in life. So making our kids part of them if we can is a pretty cool thing.

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