pregnant bellySingle moms don't get enough respect. There are whispers and assumptions and far too much talk about a woman who has a child before marriage -- even when she is with the father of the child. Most of us have sex before we get married. Is it really that big of a deal if a woman decides to have a baby should she get pregnant before saying "I do"? Her life, her choice (along with the daddy).

A new report shows that more people are having kids before marriage -- so hopefully people change their views. And this has nothing to do with the teen pregnancy rate, which has actually decreased. The group that shows a jump in having a baby is couples that live together but haven't tied the knot. Just like Brad and Angie. Only without the fame and fortune, which apparently is necessary to avoid scorn.

I get it. I do. My own mother made it clear she thought I should be married before I had kids. And ultimately that's how it worked out for me, but if I had gotten pregnant before my now-husband and I walked down the aisle, we would have had that baby (or babies, we ended up having twins). And I know my mom would have loved the babies just the same. (She probably would have pressured us to tie the knot soon after though.)

The study showed that first births for unwed parents between the ages of 15 and 44 rose from 12 percent in 2002 to 22 percent. More couples are living together before marriage and pregnancy is more likely to happen.

Still nothing like a baby out of wedlock to get people all riled up. Maybe some are too rooted in tradition or worry about the stability of un-marrieds. I'm not sure why some people think that just because two people are married that means they will stay married, and they must be the most stable people ever. 

Things have changed since "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage" -- and people's mindsets need to change along with it.

Was it important for you to be married before you had a baby? Do you think it matters?

 

Image via Joe Shalabotnik/Flickr