“Did He Propose Because He Loved Me Or Because I Was Pregnant?”

I paced my boyfriend’s apartment, wringing my hands and wondering how on earth I’m going to tell my parents that I’m pregnant.

“Can you please sit down?” he asked me, motioning to sit next to him. “They’ll be here in a minute. We’ll tell them and then it’s over. You have to calm down.”

(Even eight years later, I’m still stunned at how calm he was throughout the whole process. Like we were going to tell them they had lint on their collar or something.)

My parents and my sisters came up for their semi-monthly visit, this time meeting me at my boyfriend’s apartment instead of my dorm. We chatted for a minute and then I cleared my throat.

“Okay, well, I have an announcement to make. Well, we have an announcement to make.” I took a breath and looked at my boyfriend. I closed my eyes tight and said, ” We’re pregnant.”

I thought I’d pass out once the words were out of my mouth. My mom clapped her hands together and cheered, while my dad? Well, it looked like someone had punched him in the gut. He squared his jaw and asked, “So what other announcement do you have to make?”

He meant: When in the hell are you two getting married?

Now it was my boyfriend’s turn to get nervous. “Well…yes, we do plan to get married,” he said.

A week later, my boyfriend proposed.

We got married roughly 15 months later, with our chubby cheeked daughter serving as a baby flower girl.


In the years that followed, I often felt like I had to tell people that yes, we were planning to get married anyway, we got married because we loved each other, etc. But once we found out I was pregnant, things got real and we were faced with some major decisions. Do we get married before the baby? After?

By choosing “after,” I was met with whispers that the marriage wouldn’t last. “You know,” a well-meaning family member told me, “you don’t HAVE to get married. It’s not the ’50s.”

And I know that I didn’t have to get married. My husband didn’t have to propose. We didn’t have to do anything but raise our daughter to the best of our ability. It took me years to shed the “shame” of getting knocked up. I wanted that perfect proposal, where the guy plans for months and months to pull off the perfect surprise. Not a guy asking me to marry him a week after my dad said he had to.

But I came to realize that even if he did propose because I was pregnant, it doesn’t lessen his feelings for me. He wanted us to be a big, married, happy family. Who can find fault with that? Love comes in many different forms, in many different ways, in many different times. What works for one couple won’t work for another.


  1. This is candidly honest and I love it!! I too still struggle with guilt (11 years later) from having a child before I was married (whose not by my husband). Even though now I am an “honest” woman, I feel judged when I explain our whole blended family. Especially since my hubby has no children outside of our marriage.

  2. Charlene says:

    You are not alone. I think it’s so normal to have those questions in your mind when you get married after you’ve had the baby. I don’t think he would have married you if he didn’t love you and want to build a life with you. How many people out there have children and never marry but instead choose to co-parent (or parent alone)?

    When we conceived our 1st child, we were married when I was 5 months pregnant. I used to wonder the same thing. Like you, I constantly reminded people that we were going to get married anyway and that he proposed before we found out that I was pregnant (which was completely true), but now I realize it wasn’t even necessary to explain. Part of the reason we married (sooner than planned) was because we were having a baby, but I don’t feel bad about it because we also love each other and have a good thing. It wasn’t a shotgun wedding. I don’t feel bad for wanting to provide what I feel is best for my children and wanting to build a life with my husband. Us getting married was destined to happen no matter when our children were born because we’ve always been great together.