Jennifer Love Hewitt told Peoplemagazine that she’s delaying wedding plans until after she gives birth and loses the baby weight. Putting “carriage before marriage” seems to be a new trend, especially in Hollywood. Jessica Simpson and fiancé Eric Johnson still haven’t said “I do” and they now have two kids—Max, 15 months, and Ace, nearly 2 months old. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have been engaged for four years, now have 5-month-old daughter Lincoln, and still haven’t tied the knot. Kristin Cavallari wed Jay Cutler 10 months after baby Camden was born.
But celebrities aren’t the only ones who are choosing to have babies without a marriage certificate. As of 2012, more than half of the babies born to American women under 30 are born out of wedlock. Is marriage a thing of generations past?
Lots of couples —young and old—now think, Why do you need the piece of paper to have a commitment? And with marriage failure rates being so high anyway, many feel that living together and having a family only gets more complicated—and more expensive—if you get married and end up splitting.
I think it’s a very personal choice, and don’t think having kids without being married should be looked down upon like it once was (though I was admittedly married before getting pregnant myself). I was surprised to read that there do seem to be downsides to these new, modern families. According to the New York Times, “researchers have consistently found that children born outside of marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.”
So are married couples who have kids more committed to their families? Do the kids feel more secure and stable knowing that mom and dad are married? This reminds me of another celebrity pair: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have been together over eight years and have always said that marriage wasn’t a priority for them. That is, until their kids started asking why they weren’t married, and encouraging them to wed. So it will be interesting to see If they ever do walk down that aisle, and it will be interesting for me to hear if you think you should be married before you bring kids into this world.
TELL US: Do you think it matters if family comes first—literally—before marriage?
Let’s face it—while some women wear their stretch marks as a badge of honor, which is awesome (check out Jade Beall’s book, A Beautiful Body!), not all of us are secure enough to be able to embrace them, even though we love what they represent—the ability to bring life into this world!
“Women love being moms, but no woman wants stretch marks!” exclaims Ali Landry, 39, who just gave birth to her third child, son Valentine Francesco. As an actress, TV host and model, Ali’s job pretty much depends on looking amazing all the time, so she totally gets the fear of stretch marks that most women have.
That said? In the nearly seven years of motherhood and three pregnancies, Ali hasn’t had a single stretch mark. It’s okay to hate her just a little bit for that (if only we could all be that blessed!), but she’s way too sweet to hate her a lot! And even though there is sadly no miracle cream that can stop you from getting stretch marks (it’s mostly hereditary and about 90 percent of women will get them during one of their pregnancies), Ali swears by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, which she used while pregnant with Estela (now six), before she became a Spokesbelly for Palmer’s products with Marcelo (now 21 months), and Valentine (born yesterday!).
Ali took time out of her insane schedule to share how pregnancy has affected her self-esteem, how she told daughter Estela she was going to be a big sister again, and why you won’t be seeing her in a bikini on a magazine cover anytime soon.
How did you tell Estela about the new baby? Andre and I told her on Christmas. We had a video camera going as we told her together because we wanted to capture this big, exciting moment, and she acted like she already knew! She was like, “OK, another one’s coming.”
Was she disappointed she wasn’t getting a baby sister? At first she really wanted another brother, but now that Marcelo’s bigger and getting more aggressive she’s realizing two brothers mean double the trouble!
Not to scare you, but there was a recent study that said women with three kids are more stressed out than women with any other number of children. My friend with four kids told me that three was really hard, but that four was really great. So I told my husband, maybe we should hurry up and have a fourth!
What advice would you give a mom who’s pregnant with another baby? The same advice I’d give first-time moms: When the baby sleeps, you sleep! Otherwise, you’ll never get any rest.
Did you go on a babymoon with this pregnancy? We did! We did a double babymoon, actually. We had a trip to Rome, where we had a private meeting with the pope and he blessed the baby. That was really special! Then we went to Mexico to relax on the beach. I think it’s important to take time as a couple to stay connected.
Did any of the old wives’ tales ring true for you in predicting whether you were having a boy or girl? I hadn’t thought about it until now, but both of my sons did sit much lower than my daughter. Wow, what they say is actually true!
You’re such a sex symbol. Do you feel sexy when you’re pregnant? I don’t ever see myself as sexy, but hopefully my husband does! I will say I feel feminine and confident when I’m pregnant. You really just have no choice but to release any sort of insecurities you have about your body because it is what it is. So you either go with it, embrace it, and love it, like I do, or you’ll be miserable.
So much has been made about how big (Kim Kardashian) or small (Kate Middleton) women are when they’re pregnant. How do you feel about all of that body scrutiny? I think it’s horrible. Both myself, Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian were all due at the same time (before Kim went into labor early!). I felt like I was going through that with them and it would frustrate me so much to see the media rip them apart because this really is a beautiful time in a woman’s life and everybody is trying to figure it out. I really wish people would have given Kim a break and let her enjoy her pregnancy.
Are you worried about losing the baby weight? I do feel the pressure, but it’s more for myself than the pressures from the industry. I feel better when I’m in shape, and I really love to exercise. Plus, working out gives me energy, and I’m going to need a lot of it since I have three children to run around after! That said, it really frustrates me when I see someone in a swimsuit on the cover of a magazine three weeks after giving birth. That’s impossible to live up to! I look at it this way—it took nine months to put the weight on, it’s going to take nine months to take it off. It’s a process. Give yourself a break and really enjoy that gorgeous baby of yours!
TELL US: Are you worried about getting stretch marks? If you already have them, do you cherish or hate them?
Image of Ali Landry and her kids courtesy of Palmer’s.
Ok, so it’s not exactly on the market, but Huggies has developed a “pregnancy belt” that has given some dads-to-be the ultimate Father’s Day present: the ability to feel his baby kick—not by putting his hands on his baby mama’s bump, but in the dad’s own belly! It took four months to create the belt that “replicates in real time the movements and the baby’s kicks, from mom’s belly to dad’s belly.” (If this thing were at Brookstone, I’m sure it would sell out way faster than those massage chairs!)
As you can see from the video, the dads are overcome with emotion when they feel their babies kick—as was I. I wish my husband had been able to experience that overwhelming love I felt each time our son kicked. After of course I realized that’s what was happening—it took a few times before I knew what I was actually feeling. Early on the sensation felt like butterflies in my stomach, but as my son got bigger and stronger his kicks and elbow jabs were unmistakable. I’m pretty sure he was dancing nonstop—kind of like his mom and dad. While it wasn’t always the most comfortable feeling, every tap brought a smile to my face, knowing that my little one was somehow communicating with me as if to say, “Hi, mom!”
As much as we moms say we wish our guys knew all that we had to go through while pregnant, I was really surprised when my hubby came down with a bad case of sympathy pains. I had morning sickness for months, and there were days when my husband felt nauseous too without any real explanation. His back and knees were also hurting right along with me—and I admit I was not sympathetic at all. Puh-lease! There’s no way what he was feeling could ever compare to my sharp-as-glass pains. Or so I thought.
And while I gained 20 pounds of baby weight with my pregnancy, my husband gained 15. Who could blame him, if he was going on a donut run for me, why not get one—or two, or three—for himself? But getting the post-baby pounds off has proven to be just as hard for him as for me.
So it’s fair to say that my pregnancy wasn’t easy on him either (and I didn’t even mention my emotional mood swings he had to endure!). If he had to suffer right alongside me with pains and belly fat, I wish he had experienced the good stuff too, and nothing beats the warm-and-cozy feeling you get when you feel your baby inside you. All men should feel what these lucky few got to. Come on Huggies, get this belt in stores stat!