Babies

Babies before marriage? These days it's no longer shocking

March 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM ET

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Susie with the baby carriage."

This old playground rhyme pretty much sums up the way life works – or at least the way it used to work. Today’s couples are no longer sticking to the rules of generations past and getting married before becoming parents.

Our grandmothers would probably recoil in shock - just look at the scandal an unwed and pregnant housemaid caused on "Downton Abbey." But these days, does anyone actually care if a woman is pushing a carriage without a ring on her finger?

Take a look around your child's class or playgroup and there's bound to be at least one - if not more - family that is less than traditional and no one bats an eyelash. What mom would forbid their kid playing with a friend because his parents aren't married? Or better yet, not speaking to that child's parents?

Lest one think that unmarried parents are no good for the kids, it seems that marital status is not too much of an issue.

“For kids it’s about warmth, it’s about are we being taken care of,” said Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist at Columbia University at Harlem Hospital, on TODAY. "They aren’t so much concerned with whether their parents are married, but are mom and dad both here and do they care about me."

And yet, despite the openness of our society, bucking tradition isn't always as easy as it seems or feels from the outset.

Some, like Amy, a reality TV producer who blogs at Carriage Before Marriage, have chronicled their experiences for all to see. She writes in one post:

“When I first realized I was going to be an unmarried mom, I relished the opportunity to flout society’s conventions a little bit. I grew up in Connecticut. I barely ever got to flout! Plus, my technically single status reflected my personal belief that marriage, while nice work if you can get it, is not essential to happiness, love or successful parenting. But once Dave and I had Viv, this dormant east coast conventionality of mine woke up cringing, and I became unexpectedly self conscious.”

This self consciousness hasn't stopped Amy from telling readers about her 2013 wedding plans, and openly discussing her efforts to get pregnant with a second child.

What do you think? Do you care about the marital status of your friends? Or if you’re a never-married mom, do you think people mind the lack of a ring on your finger?

Related TODAY Moms stories:

Crib notes: Is an unwed, pregnant teacher a bad influence?

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