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Why birth is a lot like a wedding…

July 12, 2013
Young child wearing a white and pink wedding outfit and trying to remove her itchy headband

I’m writing this on the train on the way to my Aunty’s wedding in Cornwall.  Happy days.

I’m not the first person to make the analogy between weddings and pregnancy, of course, but it got me thinking: there are quite a few similarities…

The date seems to be very important

“Congratulations!  When’s the wedding?” say your friends.

“When’s it due?” asks every random passer-by in the street to a pregnant woman.

We are obsessed by measuring and numbers.  However, unlike a wedding ceremony, a baby doesn’t have a fixed date on which it will definitely arrive.

And it doesn’t come in a pony and trap, festooned with flowers…

Your mother wants to be involved

She needs a special outfit.  You shouldn’t do things like that.  We never had all this fuss when I was young/getting married/having babies/magically saying the wrong thing to make you feel bad.

The groom gets sidelined

Yes, OK, technically you can’t have a traditional wedding without a groom.  But nobody’s really thinking about him.  He’s just a minor detail, right?

Similarly, fathers can feel excluded from pregnancy and birth (and some fathers exclude themselves).  If this is happening to you, check out sites such as DaddyNatal and Beer + Bubs.

(And yes, I know sometimes weddings happen with two women or two men.  I trust you to reread this and replace words to suit your own circumstances.)

The wedding day is a big event

Wedding days are very important.  They mark a new phase of your life and the event will be something you remember in great detail for years to come.  Everyone wants it to be a happy time.

Similarly, the baby’s Birth Day is a big deal.  A new person has joined your family and the memories – good and bad – will be etched in your mind until you die.

No pressure.

Wedding v marriage

It’s all too easy to focus all your energy and attention on the big day itself, and forget the teensy-weensy fact that you will be living with this person for the rest of your life.

How do you want your marriage to work?  Who will be responsible for the finances?  What do you think about different childcare methods?  How do you change a nappy?

You can learn as you go along but a few discussions before you commit might smooth the way.

And just as with having a baby, the memories of those nights without any sleep will soon fade…

You probably don’t need to spend as much money as you think

A marriage ceremony costs around £50.

Giving birth is free.

Yes, you can buy heaps of stuff in matching colours…. But you don’t need to.

It’s more fun with friends

Weddings are a chance to celebrate and gather friends and family around you.

The time after birth is similar.  Although you may not want crowds of people, drawing on your support team can be useful.

Just make sure you give them useful jobs to do rather than letting them come up with their own mad ideas (remember your hen night?  Exactly).

Trivial details suddenly become ma-hoo-sively important

There’s a difference between ivory and cream.  Your baby is 2/5 engaged.  You had no idea that either of these things existed six months ago.  And suddenly, they really matter.

In both cases, your friends don’t want to hear about it.

This will piss you off.

Location, location, location

The place where you get married will be important to you.  Some people will recommend the standard state provision.  Others will suggest that you spend lots of money going somewhere fancy.  And you may have a religious tradition which means the ceremony’s venue is a done deal.

You will probably find that getting to know the person running the ceremony first will make you less nervous, but unfortunately, this option isn’t always available in all wedding settings.

Or birth ones.

Do it your way to have the most fun

As soon as you announce you are getting married, people will start giving you lots of suggestions and telling you things you ‘must’ do.

Not doing some of them will probably mean your partner will die (or so they say).

You may find that getting a copy of Debrett’s (£) and following it step by step rocks your world.

Or that breaking with tradition and having a wedding in water might be more your thing.

Although your family and friends want to support you, the best kinds of weddings are the ones where you and your partner have thought about what you want.  It’s all about you.

You might even write your wishes out into a plan.

You’re only going to do this a few times in your life (unless you are working towards an appearance in a Channel 4 documentary), so go for it!

Body fluids will be involved

It’s a legal requirement (for a non-voidable marriage, at least…)

And hey – what gets a baby in will get a baby out! (£)

Wearing white is a stupid idea

‘Nuff said.

Have I missed anything?  How else is a birth like a wedding?  Please let me know in the comments below (the funnier, the better)!

Thanks to akeg for the gorgeous photo of the wedding baby.

The (£) symbol means I get a small commission if you buy something via the link.  It doesn’t affect what I post.  You can always use this plain link for Debrett’s or this one for Orgasmic Birth instead.

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