Pregnancy Vs Wedding Planning

It’s probably something to do with the whole writing a wedding blog at the same time as being pregnant thing, but it’s become increasingly obvious to me recently how being pregnant and planning a wedding have a certain symmetry.

Bear with me here. I know you’re wondering how on earth growing bones inside you is similar to planning your nuptials, but I promise, I’m not making it up.

To start with, there’s the thing about the ‘big day’. As soon as the ring is on your finger, people start asking when the big day will be, yes? Well FYI, it’s the same as soon as the bump has grown to the extent that people can be sure of asking you without possibly causing offence and/or tears. I am continually asked when the ‘big day’ is or how long I’ve got left. And like when wedding planning,  there seems to be such a focus on the ‘big day’ that it can be really hard to rationalise that this isn’t just about one day – this is about the rest of your life.

There is a date in your diary (admittedly the due date is a tad more likely to change than your wedding date I suppose) that you spend a lot of your time thinking about, imagining how it will be, and putting all of your energy into making as wonderful as possible, and yet it’s really easy to forget about the bit that comes after. Whether that’s working out a cleaning schedule so you don’t want to ram your new husband’s head down the toilet, or working out how your life is going to have to morph and change to fit a baby into it, it’s something that can get overlooked with all of the excitement about planning for the BIG DAY.

It takes a conscious decision to step away from the hype and really focus on what comes after. The life changing thing you are about to do isn’t all about that one day. 

The other thing about that ‘big day’ is that despite all of the planning and organising and hours spent online researching veil types/pain relief, you really can’t control it. You can do what you can in advance to help things go the way you want them to, but ultimately, a wedding or a birth is a dynamic thing, with so many different factors at play that you just can’t plan for. For a person who is used to having control over pretty much every aspect of their life, that there is some scary shit. I found it with the wedding, and I’m finding it again as I approach the birth. I’ve read the books, I’ve downloaded the apps, I’ve been to antenatal hypnobirthing classes. I’ve even been doing my pelvic floor exercises like a good girl. But when that day comes, what will be will be. Same with your wedding. And that’s scary. I had to let go with my wedding, and that turned out ok – I’ll have to do the same with my birth.

Another thing? Things. Things that are rammed down your throat by magazines, blogs and even facebook as soon as the word wedding or baby is mentioned. Things you apparently need to have a baby or have a wedding. Things like chair sashes, or the latest baby swing. You think that after planning your wedding you’ll never have to deal with the rabid consumerism again. Wrong. And the best part is that now it’s not just that if you don’t have the said item your wedding will be awful, it’s  that without this item YOUR BABY’S LIFE WILL BE RUINED. Do you wan’t that on your conscience? DO YOU? 

Oh, and another similarity?  You think it’s annoying when people have opinions on your wedding day? When they tell you that you should provide favours/have a cake/have a church ceremony/invite Aunt Dotty?

Wait until people start having opinions on how you should get a baby out of your uterus.

Or what you should do with your breasts once said baby has arrived.

Slightly more unnerving I can tell you. Particularly when these people are perfect strangers who you happen to be stood next to in a supermarket queue.

Or are your mother-in-law.

I have no wish to discuss my birth-canal with any of these people normally, so I’m not quite sure why my feelings on that should change just because I have a baby inside me. Fortunately I learnt from my wedding planning experience that the less information I give out, the less people can have opinions. Nodding and smiling at all suggestions and then doing what you were planning anyway also works wonders. And after the day, once it’s done? It takes a pretty tough person to tell you you’ve done it the wrong way.

And finally – Tom’s post a couple of weeks ago really made us focus on the fact that we still have so far to go with making wedding planning equal. Suppliers automatically turn to women to talk to them about wedding plans, and friends and family never ask if the man is excited. And the same is true with pregnancy.  I know that I am carrying the baby, but we were both involved in it from the beginning *ahem* if you know what I mean, and we will both be parents to this baby. Andy is equally as excited, if not more, to have this baby here with us,  so why is it that I’m the only one that’s ever asked if I’m excited/scared/ready? Next time you see a couple where the woman is pregnant, or they are planning a wedding, can we all please vow to ask the MAN how he’s feeling about it all. It’s only fair.

So you see – although there will likely be less bodily fluids at your wedding,  and unfortunately apparently it’s still frowned upon to have a hair and make-up artist at your birth - pregnancy and wedding planning do have their similarities. 

*Exciting News!* Due to the ridiculous number of utterly fabulous guest posts we’ve been getting recently, as of today, Tuesdays on AOW will forever be known as Two Post Tuesdays. Yes, that’s right, at 1pm, we will be posting the second post of the day. As we will do Every. Single. Tuesday. You’re welcome.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Wedding Planning
16 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Sarah
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Wah! Just as I was getting over the wedding Clare, I realise I may (if we're lucky, obvs) have all this to come.

    Seriously, the thought of people commenting on breasts and birth canals is. just. weird. Much worse than favours!

  2. Mahj
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Hmm, considering how much of an opinion my overly large and slightly interfering pakistani family had when I was getting wed, I think I may have to move to outer Mongolia or somewhere to avoid all the pregnancy chat!

    Clare this really made me chuckle this morning, though by the sounds of it, you and Andy are doing a grand job of prepping for AOW's First Baby. And I'm also feeling quite pleased as when two of our friends were recently pregnant with their first, I always also asked James if he was feeling excited. Yay me!


    PS. Will there be piccies when the baby arrives? Pretty please say there will be piccies?!

  3. Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    When pregnant, if anyone asks me about my uterus, I'm just going to ask them about theirs in return. It's only fair.

    C, this post made me laugh out loud on the tube. I hope you have given as much thought to your birthing outfit as you did your wedding dress!

  4. Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Ah yes; isnt it delightful when everyone has lots of opinions to share; lots of I couldnt live without this or you dont need to bother with one of them.

    I tend to just say this is what im planning and ill see how I go from there, probably with lots of drugs!

    Now I really need to go and order a pram & cot and maybe actually attempt some pelvic floor exercises!

  5. Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Gaynor, your second para was my standard response to wedding planning!

  6. Posted October 4, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Clare, my last few weeks of pregnancy saw me lock myself in the house and switching my mobile phone off. I had just had it with the 'cor look at the size of you' comments and the subsequent 'have you had the baby yet?' phone calls.

    I think you have the perfect attitude for child birth, I had the same attitude and it saw me through. I'm a little envious of you actually, getting to go through something so life changing, so beautiful (despite the bodily fluids) and getting to meet your little one after so long. I wish you all the luck in the world for a speedy labour and birth, and please let us have pics of your baby so we can gush over them.

    Sending love

    Jen x

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Great post Clare.

    Regular poster but going anonymous for this. Just incase a real life friend, finds this site.

    Husband and I have started talking children, and agreed a fast approaching date to start trying, and it really is ever so nerve racking. Its the financial implications too, can we afford it? If we delayed children till we could afford them, we'd probably never have children.

    Getting married was a much easier decision, as we already lived together, it did not seem life changing in the slightest.

    We have autism in my family. I have a brother who is autistic, along with a cousin, and a first cousin of my mothers. They are all different extents on the autism spectrum, with my brother being the most severe, and cousin high functioning. I'm sure it'll be fine, and I adore my brother, but it does play on me, just a little bit. xx

  8. Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I KNEW IT!!!

    I had a horrible premonition half way thought wedding planning. I was suddenly struck by the realisation that it WOULDN'T STOP THERE. If people had this many opinions about flowers and music and where people should sit, if people felt that it was ok to tell me I was doing it wrong when all I was doing was throwing a bit of a party, then what the hell would they be like when there was literally a life on the line?

    I have, once or twice, caught an inadvertent glimpse into the world of mommyblogs, and ladies – I did not like what I saw. For every sane, practical, honest woman speaking frankly about the joys and the trials of motherhood, there are a hundred screeching voices telling us exactly what we should and shouldn't do and how any variance from The Rules will result in our children becoming sickly, monosyllabic grunts and most likely ending up in prison. Eff that.

    Thank you, Clare, for being one of those normal, honest, sane people. I can only hope that the amazing community of grounded women that exists here will continue to exist as some of those women become mothers (or not, because hey, guess what mommyblogs and mothers-in-law? That's ok too!).

    Um, so, that turned into a bit of a mammoth comment slash rant. I guess all I really wanted to say was, Go Clare!

  9. Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The best thing for me about this post is imagining your poor, indignant, bewildered face as you process 'Did that person *actually* just ask me about my womb…?!'

    You've put it all so eloquently-the paragraph about 'things' is my favourite, weddings and babies can be such a massive black hole of 'stuff I NEED' and most of it's nonsense! Bravo, Mama C.


  10. Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Clare this post made me laugh out loud…well actually more like snort…

    Although i have no plan to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet any time soon you will be happy to know people have already begun to give me advice!

    I dread to think what it will actually be like when I get pregnant…hopefully you will be around with your wise words!

  11. Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Oh this is SO true. Every single word. I'd like to add in the elaborately detailed birth stories women like to share. Why is that? I've had to ask a woman to stop talking as she was practically drawing me a sketch of her stitches on a napkin.
    Oh and I've also done a natal hypno course. It's worked so far for me although I haven't actually gven birth yet….that's due in 4 days :-0
    And as your wedding makeup artist, I'd happily doll you up for your next 'big day'! X

  12. Posted October 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Dont get me started on the people who ask 'was it planned?'

    As if thats a standard thing to ask just after you have announced you are pregnant, basically did you mean for it to happen instead of just congratulations!

    Can you imagine if I had started telling them exactly how it was planned, launching into stories of ovulation kits & timings etc etc

  13. Fee
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Hee hee – Clare, you are going to be a fabtabulous mama, if only because you will be able to present the tiny one with these posts as a memento when it is older!

    I'm not even expecting and I was recently treated to a lecture on the importance of a routine in raising a calm and placid child by one lady at a chirstening – just as her scoundrel of a child bit me on the leg. Hmph.

  14. Posted October 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Makeupbykaty – the birth stories! Dear god. And I don't know about you, but my hypnobirthing course tells me that I shouldn't listen to other people's negative brith stories, but how on earth do you stop someone half way through their description of tearing with being rude?!

    And 4 days for you – you must be SO ready!

    Gaynor – oh yes – the 'trying' question. Its not normally acceptable to ask casual acquaintances whether they are having regular sex, and if so, whether they are using contraception, but the moment there is a baby inside you? Bam – ask away!

  15. Posted October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I was curious as to why people wrote birth stories myself… then I gave birth, and I realised why. It was my proudest moment, my biggest achievement,I had to get it down on paper so I could remember all 48 hours of it! I draw the line at diagrams though :o )

  16. Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this. I've had an idea of this post in my drafts for a while and now I don't need to finish it off. I thought maybe I was just being a bit weird as I'm not pregnant or at the child bit of my life yet. It is a life event that is so full of such huge emotions and that includes family input just like a wedding.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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