More Women Have Babies Without Getting Married but Is That So Bad?

When it comes to love and marriage, millennials, which is what we call those young, spry folks between the ages of 18 and 33, are choosing not to drink that particular, delicious flavor of Kool-Aid. Instead, almost half -- 47 percent -- of millennial women who had babies in 2012 did it without a wedding ring on their finger. Just to give you an idea of how significant a change that is from the generation that preceded it, 35 percent of Generation X moms raised children unmarried when they were that age.

So, why the loss of interest in getting married and raising a family? Many point to the fact that economic issues are getting in the way of tying the knot. Many millennials say they want to get married, but don't feel financially secure enough to do so. Maybe we can look at the fact that most are less religious than young adults were in the past. Whatever the reason: is it such a bad thing that young women are taking charge of their desires to have babies without the help of husbands?

The first thing we need to remember when we see a stat like the one above is that it doesn't provide details about whether young women are actually raising children by themselves, or whether they're choosing to raise them with men who are involved, but not their legal spouses.

As someone who values marriage and really wants my own to work out until the day one of us kicks the bucket, I feel a little sad that these women are not finding the same value in a married partnership that I find. When we signed our marriage certificate, I didn't decide right then and there that I would be faithful or try my damnedest to make things work -- that committment came long before I wore a pretty dress and walked down an aisle. But I'd be lying if I said being married doesn't make me a more committed partner or one that is willing to work even harder than I would if I were single and living with my husband. Different strokes for different folks -- marriage works for me.

With that said, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND why marriage is not for everyone, especially for young people who have probably witnessed the dissolution of so many marriages in their lifetimes. Marriage is treated very lightly in some circles, so why would everyone feel it cements a relationship?

And when it comes to having babies, well, it feels like an understatement to say we send lots of mixed messages to young women. One moment they're hearing older women complain about how they waited a decade for the "perfect" man to come along and how they now can't have children. The next moment, they're being told children need male role models and won't grow up "stable" in a single parent household.

But maybe they're figuring out their own way to do things and, possibly, it isn't as bad as we may think. Perhaps marriage isn't the answer to happiness, in their opinion. Maybe it's enough to have children because they want them and to raise them with partners who are involved, but may (or may not) be their only romantic partners for the rest of their lives. Maybe they just aren't willing to commit so permanently when they've seen so many marriages go belly-up. Can we blame them?

What do you think about the fact that fewer young moms are choosing to get married?


Image via apdk/Flickr


commitment, in the news, marriage, single moms, weddings


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Nelli... NellieAthome

I think if you need a piece of paper from the state to make one *really* committed to one's partner then one's commitment is really rather wishy washy   to begin with

AliPa... AliParker

Exactly what NellieAthome said. I don't believe in marriage. I don't need a piece of paper to tell me that I am committed or that I want to spend the rest of my life with someone. And divorce is as common as water.

SaphireH SaphireH

marriage is over rated, sure i am but it seems to have caused more issues that if we had just stayed dating vs getting married. my first ended because he became a controling ass  and my marriage now has almost ended due to being around each other to much and stuff, had we stayed dating it would be easier to just stay at seperate houses when we got on each others nerves instead of having to kick the other out of bed or going to bed mad

can_c... can_can21

Relationships in general are overrated. I mean who wants to date like 80 guys just so you can have a boyfriend for six months? No thank you! The completely single/relationship-free/drama-free life is the way to go for me.

nonmember avatar andie

Maybe I'm old, or old fashioned, but i don't think I'd ever have a baby out of wedlock. I think a baby needs the stability of a mom and dad who are completely committed to each other and to the child.

Katha... Katharine205

This is what NOW has done to our society.  Women have children so they can "satisfy the urge" and keep them as accessories, not so they can raise stable, loving, two parent families.  If you're committed enough to bring a child into the situation than you should be committed enough to walk down the aisle.  Just because divorce is prevailent doesn't make it right, children need stability and the nurturing environment that two committed parents provide.  We live in a "me" society - I'll have a baby because I want it, I'll tear my marriage and family apart because I want something else.  I've been married for 10 years, some days it's less because you like the person and more because you're committed but hopefully you reach a point where you really do function as a team (even though you have opposing viewpoints sometimes) and you have a mutual trust and respect.  This narcissistic bullshit needs to quit.  We've gotten to a point in society where the only thing that matters is me.  If we start putting one another first and base our actions on what's right instead of what feels good then we'll have a much better society for it. 

tbruc... tbrucemom

Thanks Katharine, I agree with your comments.  I'll never understand why someone thinks that having a baby is less of a commitment than getting married!  It's the biggest commitment you'll ever make! It's also been proven that most children do better in two parent households. I'm not being a prude and think you shouldn't have premarital sex and accidents happen and it doesn't mean you should marry a guy just because it does. I'm talking about women that purposely have children on their own or a man and woman that live together like husband and wife raising their children but aren't married.  Why wouldn't you?

nonmember avatar Keri717

My boyfriend and I have two children together and live together, we aren't in a rush to get married, why WOULD it matter to anyone if we don't have a piece of paper?? It's no one's business but ours if we choose to not get married, our little family is very happy just the way it is!

nonmember avatar Desiree

@Tbrucemom why does it make a difference if mom and dad are living together but not married and raising kids? It's still a loving 2 parent household. Some people just don't want to be married. And once you've lived together for a length of time, you're common law anyway, which is basically the same thing. There are many reasons why people aren't married, and most of them have no bearing on the raising of their kids. Single people should be able to raise kids just fine on their own, it does take a village as well. To each their own, and so long as no child is being abused or neglected, maybe we should keep our judging pants in the closet.

nonmember avatar Theresa

Marriage is nothing compared to the commitment of raising a child. I don't understand the reasoning behind taking having a baby lightly. That's what most men don't understand. Now, I suspect that a great deal of the women poo-pooing marriage here are the ones who are really rationalizing why their man won't marry them. When you have children, a marriage makes emergencies and God-forbid, deaths much easier to deal with from a legal standpoint. There are no questions asked about who does what, and how the children are dealt with. If marriage is just a piece of paper to you ladies, why not just legally secure your family? Eventually, he's going to marry someone else.

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