Pregnant and un-married


#1

I have to first say it’s very hard to come out and say these things, as my family and I have always been long devoted Catholics. Although, the only thing I can say now is I created a situation for myself that is against my faith and extremely unexpected. My girlfriend, who I love very much, was told at an early age that she would never have children (due to a medical condition). All these years, she’s faced that fact and it’s eaten her apart inside. Then out of nowhere, something both very special but also unexpected happens. I got her pregnant, and we’re both mid-20s. I’m still in a state of shock, and am not sure quite how to handle it.

Between the mixed emotions of being happy that these was even possible, having to tell my family what we got ourselves into, facing their reaction, and still not yet being married…I am at a total loss and need serious guidance. It weighs on me every second that I am awake, as I feel I’m in a dream.

We have talked a lot, and for many reasons (which would take a lot to list here), we plan on getting married. It has always been my intention, as well as my parents’, that I get married in a traditional Catholic Mass (which I can’t see doing anything other than). We want to get married before the baby comes (Summer 2008), but we both want the big ceremony in which all of our friends and family could be there (maybe 12-18 months from now). I have some ideas but don’t know if they’d be feasible. Before I present them, I’d really like to here everyone’s opinions, because I can’t even explain in words how much help I need right now. I’ve really put myself in a tough position, and I know all I can do is make the best of everything that is put on our plate everyday. You can’t change the past.

Thank you so much in advance.


#2

Personnally, I would not consider a big wedding - especially one that could not occur until after the birth of the baby…

And though you may have done things wrong [sexual relations before marriage] this baby is a gift from God…

Are you a rgular Mass goer? Every Sunday? If not start going…

A simple catholic wedding [as soon as it can be arranged] is probably more important BUT

One thing not to rush is the marriage preparation, pregnancy in and of itself is not a reason to marry. In fact, the old “Shot Gun” wedding, where people were compelled to marry implies coersion and can be a factor in granting an annullment if the marriage fails…[and I am not telling you that to put in your mind as a back up position!]

Marriage is serious and involves so many factors…This is a life long commitment, before witnesses and our Lord [God]. It involves you and your fiance and even already a child…

Tell your family [they will provide much needed support even if they are disappointed, remember this is their grandchild], see your parish priest [He will be able to direct you in the proper direction and aid in Reconcilliation, Marriage preparation and other needed actions]and then seriously work through the marriage preparation requirements…

If you decide to marry, have a catholic wedding that is simple and focused upon the marriage bond with whoever can come on the day selected…save your money for the needs of your family…

If you ultimately do not get married, support your child to the very best of your abilities…and remember all of the feelings [and the consequences] your actions are are causing you right now so you do not repeat the situation…

Big weddings are not the goal, life long unions where two become one flesh are…

I am praying for you, the mother and child…:gopray: May God bless you and provide those who can help yos through this time. I wish the best for all of you…


#3

I personally don’t see anything wrong with you having a big wedding. After all, a marriage is always something to celebrate with family and friends, whether you committed a sin or not. That’s what Confession is for…

But you need to speak to your priest for guidance on when he thinks the big wedding is appropriate. Either way, big wedding or not, I would bet he will advise you to wait until the baby is born to start planning a wedding so that your plans aren’t in any way motivated by the baby.

Best wishes to you all.


#4

I agree, this is what I was attempting to get across…though I read into the “Big Wedding” statement to mean huge costs. Perhaps this was not the OPs intent. My daughter’s wedding for 150 guests including the reception for 150 with food and dancing was less than $3000…I think 150 is big…

It is the marriage preparation that is important…getting married for the correct reasons that is important…it is a celebration and rightly so…however, once a child enters into the picture that child has a right to committed parents…

IF they are going to marry ------- and if marriage does not happen before the child’s arrival ------ for good reasons [that is why I said talk to the priest and seriously perform the marriage preparation] then [AND YES - THIS IS JUST MY OPINION] the marriage should occur as soon as possible after the birth - for the sake of the child…because I do not believe that pregnancy [per se] is a good reason to get married…once the child is here why the delay if that is the desired state [marriage], the child should come before the big party…

Children are such a blessing…:slight_smile: My newest grandson is almost three weeks old! :thumbsup: He joins a sister 20 months old and a brother who turned 10 years old yesterday :smiley: and a tribe of others…


#5

My husband and I were in a similar situation and we had a small wedding and it was ok. We are still married 13 years later. At times I regret not having a bigger wedding but at the time we did what was right. If you can afford it then have your big wedding. I think weddings do not need to take months to organise - people just like to make the planning bit last. Make sure you are prepared for all that marraige involves though because that is the most important thing.


#6

As long as neither of you has ever been married before, a Church wedding is certainly possible, and I think you should go ahead and start to plan with that in mind.

Take the proper amount of time to do that (and this may mean that your child, as nearest relative under the age of six, will be your ring-bearer - don’t worry about that part).

I can fully understand why you’d be embarrassed to tell your family what happened, but soonest is best - don’t wait until you can’t hide it anymore because then it will just be worse.


#7

I would have the wedding before the baby comes. Getting your new family in order and attaining all the graces you can to make it work is more important than having a big wedding, imho. And yes, I think usually getting pregnant is a good enough reason to get married. What were the reasons for not marrying her before she got pregnant? Was it not considered? Were you waiting for some reason? Were there relationship issues? If so, work on those. If it’s just a case of having to bump the “schedule” up to accomodate the baby, then by all means do so.


**Also, guess I’m confused, why would it take 12 - 18 months to have a big wedding? If we’re talking elaborate and expensive, then have a big, SIMPLE wedding instead. All the family and celebration and a lot less headache and bother to make happen. **


**I can see how it would be humbling to have to explain yourself to your families, but you’re adults now. I would be far more upset over not getting married to give that baby a united family than I would by the pregnancy alone.:shrug: **


**congrats on the baby and I hope to pending nuptuals!:thumbsup: **


#8

What Martha said…:slight_smile: Also, why can’t you have a small church wedding before the baby arrives, and then have a big reception with family and friends on your 1 year anniversary? You could have your vows renewed in your Parish with your witnesses present, and even wear the nice wedding garb. My cousin did something like that, and it was very tastefully done. I really think a baby is a VERY good reason to get married, especially since you have been together for awhile and had already talked about getting married.


#9

Hello “distressed” and congratulations! What a miracle! God has given you two this gift and is giving you a push to organise your life together.

I suggest that whatever you do about a wedding you set money aside for the baby’s requirements. I thought that the anniversary big celebration was a great idea. Please choose a wedding option that is least stressful! Keep mum and baby happy and remember what is important.

Best wishes and prayers!


#10

Congratulations on your gift from God.
I understand that this is not when you were looking for the gift but it has come.
Now you get the opportunity to really reorient your thinking. Now you get to filter everything through the lense of what is in the best interest of your new baby.
Getting married now or later?..What is in our baby’s best interest?
A small wedding now or a big wedding later? What is in our baby’s best interest?
All the other concerns get to take second or third or no place. You don’t have to please anyone else (except your wife to be of course) or worry about their take on it. Loving well means working for the good of the other. See how “easy” this has become?
Be the dad your baby needs you to be.
Thanks for being brave and sharing your situation. I know this wasn’t easy.


#11

Get married before the baby comes. Have a Catholic ceremony and throw a nice party and invite all your friends and family.


#12

Many priests will not marry a couple that is currently expecting a child. If they were already engaged and had gone through marriage prep and the pregnancy occured in the last couple of months before the wedding, no problem (happened to our neighbors), but in the case of an engagement resulting from an unexpected pregancy, the Church generally prefers to wait and see that the couple is not facing coercion due to the baby.

**Also, guess I’m confused, why would it take 12 - 18 months to have a big wedding? If we’re talking elaborate and expensive, then have a big, SIMPLE wedding instead. All the family and celebration and a lot less headache and bother to make happen. **


Sometimes the waiting list at the church is that long, not to mention the waiting list for a reception hall, baker, caterer, etc. Every diocese that I have heard of in this country requires at least six months of preparation through the Church before they will marry a couple, as well. Many suggest 10 months or more.

To the OP- congratulations and good luck! I concur with the advice to do what is best for your baby, regardless.


#13

#14

I don’t make the rules, Martha. This is what I have been told and what we encountered in our own archdiocese. There’s a reason for 6+ months of marriage prep. Perhaps the divorce rate would be lower if more couples went through such things.


#15

Distressed1, you and your intended are in your mid-20s. You are not young teenagers. You are going to be a father, so start by telling your parents. Yes, they are going to be disappointed.

SeekerJen is right about the requirements to get married in the Church being held up because of the pregnancy. But you won’t know for sure how long hanging around waiting for somebody to do something! Your second stop, with your fiancee, is the parish priest of either party, whichever you think will be easier to have this conversation. You both need the sacrament of reconcilation in any event. As others have said, concentrate on the preparation for the marriage (rest of your lives) and not the wedding (a one-day event).

As for the reception- You can have a fun event, but don’t put a lot of money into it if you and your fiancee are the ones paying for it. You have a child on the way, and his or her best interest comes first. Get park space in your local community, and have an upscale picnic. Get married in the early afternoon, and serve “high tea” or have desserts and a coffee bar. Make it fun, invite all your friends, but make it inexpensive. A big dress in the closet will not pay for your child’s tuba lessons, soccer uniform, and braces.


#16

I didn’t say it was your fault or that you make the rules. Obviously this couple needs to hightail it asap to their priest to plead their case and get on the right track.


**I could just as easily say that if more couples received the sacraments/graces (provided they make effort to be properly prepared to receive them) neccessary to sustain them the divorce rate would be lower.:shrug: **


#17

Been there. :o

We were able to be married in a nice ceremony, with simple reception for 200 in 3 months. (We had been starting plans to be married in a year, but moved them up.)

I was able to talk to my parish priest (a family friend who knew me well). He went through marriage prep with us, and we were ready.

As far as the wedding- pick an off time or day (like Friday night, or a Saturday afternoon). This will help with church/reception hall availability. GO SIMPLE (everyone doesn’t have to help pick out flowers, cake, etc. Just do it.)

My dh wanted to wait until the baby was born and have a bigger party, but I thought it much more important that she have parents that were married. It’s been almost 12 years, and we don’t regret a thing. :slight_smile:

And, congratulations. Babies are ALWAYS a blessing. :slight_smile:


#18

Hey, just wanted to say that I’ll be praying:)


#19

Dear Brother…
sometimes we project our own fears out on other people and have thoughts like: “they will be so dissapointed in me…” but that is far from always the truth. People that love you dont get dissapointed in you… they feel sorry with you because you are suffering… that is love … unjugdemental pure love.
So many times we fail to run to family and friends because we are terribly fragile and so afraid of meeting harshness wheras all they really want to do is give us a huge big hug.
I think I speak for everyone on this forum when I send a hug to you right this moment and whisper in your ear: “Dont worry dear brother… we all love you no less…” And then I’d raise my voice and shout: “come on everyone… time to celebrate…something so wonderful has happend.”

My sister was in the same situation. She became pregnant before the marriage and was fully aware that she was not living up to the standards she had set for her life and that the whole family would be able to see that the one and only on-fire catholic in the family had now “failed” in the eyes of the world.
That bothered me somewhat in my own pride at the time and I voiced it to her ( I was a big idiot back then because I had not yet been tempted my self… end of story and I learned alot sinsc then) but she told me: "why would I have people think of me as any other person than who I actually am. I did have premarital sex … YES I am rather relieved to be free from the hypocracy…"
I hope you can view this with some healthy humor yourself dear brother and it might help you to lay some distance to your lofty ideals for your self… many of us have had the extremely difficult and painful experience of an identity crisis as a result of a weakness/sin or illness in our selves. … Later on, my sister found out in effect that many of the most pious Christians in her husband’s family had failed in the same area… she was amazed… these were the people she least expected to be able to comfort her in this trial.

You will redefine your worth in this process … your worth in God… who God really is…You are and have always been justified only by Him.

Dont let anyone tell you you ought to be sad. You are a dad… and our heavenly Dad is very terapeutic… He gives you some time to get used to the idea and get prepared.

Jesus bless you and keep you… oh brother… He loves you so so much. Everything is going to be alright…


#20

I’ve personally known two sets of family friends who have been in similar situations… and yes, you can have a beautiful Catholic wedding before the baby arrives. Both couples had beautiful Catholic weddings… one couple is still happily married… the other ended in an annulment.

#1 focus… the pregnancy and the baby… what’s best for this child. If you feel that your relationship with your girlfriend is secure and advanced enough then I highly encourage you to get married before the baby arrives. However, if you forsee any major hinderances or concerns… talk to your priest about them immediately. “Distress weddings” often lead to divorce and you don’t want to cause more harm to a difficult situation.

This will take an enormous amout of prayer. Ask God to guide you to where He wants you to be and make every decision in the light of prayer. Discerning huge decision in moments of distress can be challenging… so prayer is a priority…

God bless you all…


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