My husband and I got married on December 29, 2007.
Our daughter was born on May 17, 2008.
What’s that, you say? Those numbers don’t exactly add up, unless I gave birth to a five-month old premie? Congratulations, you can do math! Hooray!
So, yes. It’s no secret on here that my husband and I had a earlier start into marriage and parenthood than most and I have to admit, in the midst of many a late-night fight or another day that ended when we collapse on the couch, too exhausted to even search for yet another outdated movie on Netflix, when I wonder, what the heck are we doing?
I see pictures of glamorous weddings popping up on my Facebook feed, pictures that aren’t strategically positioned to hide a baby bump, or couples writing blogs on home improvement and fun travel trips they take together, and I think, did we hurt our marriage by having kids right away?
Is it completely bad that we never spent time alone as a married couple?
Sometimes I worry that we aren’t as strong of a parental unit simply because never got to be a married couple first. You know, the whole build-the-career-buy-a-house-do-nothing-but-lay-around-naked-all-day phase? I’ve heard people talk about why they are so glad that they waited to have kids and that they had that time together as a couple before their children barged in on the scene and sometimes, I do feel a pang, wondering if we did things wrong.
But there are two sides to every story. As Your Tango points out, on the flip side of my worrying that we had children too soon into our marriage, some couples are in the boat of worrying that they missed their chance to have children – if they can have them at all. Relationship expert Marla writes, “If you are single and want to have a family, become proactive before you get to your mid-thirties and make finding a life partner a priority. That way, you won’t find yourself heartbroken at forty-plus when you realize that the egg timer has rung!”
I have to say that I’ve never really thought about the fact that our marriage could have very easily gone the other way. Although family has been very important to both of us, there simply wasn’t a guarantee that we would have children. And in our world of competitive parenting, there can be pressure to feel like your life has to be perfect before you usher kids into it.
So, it really comes down to this: I’m glad we had kids early in our marriage.
Not because I think that having kids early in a marriage is the best way or even because I think having kids later on in marriage is the best way.
But simply because I think that marriage, any marriage, takes work, love, and commitment.
It takes whispered, “I’m sorry’s” in the dark, a hand slipped into another in the middle of the grocery store, smiles shared over inside jokes.
And if our marriage happens to include a few extra bodies to tuck into bed at night, well then, that’s all the more for us to be grateful for.
Image via J & J Brusie Photography