So much has changed in the past decade or so regarding marriage and childbirth. In years past, it was frowned upon to have a baby out of wedlock; and now, that stigma has lifted considerably. According to a 2011 study done by the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for unmarried women was 46 out of every 1000 births, and the total percent of all births to unmarried women was 40.7%.
Why Are People Waiting to Marry After Baby?
There are many reasons why people are waiting to get hitched nowadays. Some common reasons are:
They have seen their own parents’ marriage fail and don’t want to make the same mistake.
Women have elevated their socioeconomic status in the workforce.
It is taking longer to finish an education and secure employment.
The stigma of being unwed has diminished considerably.
What Are Some of the Costs of Waiting?
Though there are some benefits to waiting, there are also some drawbacks. Many studies have proven that some scenarios are more likely to happen to children of unwed parents, such as:
Children born out of wedlock are more likely to have low birth weights, or are born prematurely.
Children have a higher chance of experiencing family instability and/or see their parents break up.
Children are at a higher risk for emotional problems and/or school failure.
Children may have limited social and financial resources.
Unmarried parents are also prone to have more difficult life circumstances, including depression, substance abuse habits, and lower levels of life satisfaction.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether or Not You Should Get Married
Love: Do you really love this person? Can you see yourself living a lifetime with him/her, or does the idea turn your stomach? Think about why you want to marry this person. If it’s only for the child, or to please other people, odds will lean toward the marriage feeling like a hindrance to you.
Reliability: Do you enjoy the person as is, or do you think you can change him/her? If you are banking on your partner changing, it might not be a good idea to get married. Typically, most people don’t change; and going into a union with hopes of the other person becoming someone else is not healthy for anyone involved, especially your child.
Money: What are your and your partner’s financial situations like? Can you provide for the child on your own? If you had to rely on another, would you feel trapped? Do either of you have gigantic amounts of debt? If you get married and your partner defaults on that debt, then you may be held accountable.
Religion: Would not getting married affect your religious beliefs?
Your Feelings: There are a lot of hormones that come with being pregnant and delivering a child. Be sure you can handle all of the things that are changing in your life, before adding more change into the mix.
Obviously, there are many factors to consider when deciding to get married. And they become even more complicated when a baby is involved! It’s important to make your decision based on what is best for you, as well as your child. Chances are a lot of people will want to weigh in on this decision, but stand firm on whatever you decide.