Welcoming a baby within the first year of marriage
14 May 2019
Following the arrival of Baby Sussex, we chat to seven other couples who had a child within their first year of marriage
Every couple's first year of marriage can be exciting for many reasons - whether they decide to travel to a far-flung destination together or buy their first home, there are various ways you can keep the flame burning after the wedding day.
For many couples, their thoughts turn to family. Bringing a child into the world is one of life's greatest adventures and for this reason - when all consumed by the post-wedding blues - it is no wonder that a happily married couple will want to set off on this exciting journey as soon as the big day is over.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are prime examples, welcoming their own bundle of joy within their first year of marriage.
When the birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was announced, the world rejoiced. Archie was born on 6th May 2019, just 13 days before Harry and Meghan's first wedding anniversary. The timing couldn't have been more apt as the couple get set to celebrate their first year of marriage as a family of three.
From newlywed couples extending their existing family to those just beginning their brood, we meet six couples who have welcomed a new addition in their first year of marriage. They share their baby stories and offer their tips to engaged couples planning to conceive after the wedding.
Amy and Spencer Phillips, parents to Harry Grant Andrew Phillips
Devon couple Amy and Spencer married at Silstone House, Modbury on 18th May 2018 before welcoming their first child, Harry, on 6th February 2019.
"Since the start of our relationship Spencer and I always said that we'd like to have children young (he's 25 and im 24) so we could enjoy life with them and enjoy our own time when they are grown up. We'd witnessed people close to us struggle to conceive so we decided to not put pressure on ourselves and say we were 'trying' in case we found ourselves in similar situations...we would just let things happen.
"We waited until the month we were getting married to 'let things happen' and clearly the distraction of a wedding and honeymoon worked too well as I think we conceived the week of our wedding. The idea that I could be pregnant didn't even cross our minds as we enjoyed our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. I even went deep sea diving. It wasn't until the day after we got home that I did a test and the screen flashed up positive. I was in shock as I had subconsciously convinced myself that we wouldn't be lucky enough to conceive straight away. After I calmed down I was obviously over the moon, and so was my husband when I told him.
"Having Harry has been the most life-changing experience and I wouldn't change any of it for the world, even the sleepless nights and dirty nappies. There's been times when it's been hard and tensions have been fraught between me and Spencer, but one smile from Harry and everything is forgiven. Nothing else seems important but him.
"In this past year I've got to love Spencer as my husband and now as the father of my child, and there honestly isn't a love like it. I can't thank him enough for giving me the best year of my life as a wife and now a mum. Seeing him and Harry together makes my heart burst and I'm so thankful we were lucky enough to not have to wait to start our family, and I'm so glad Harry gets to grow with us as a married couple (and any other babies that come along)."
My advice: "Anyone out there wanting to have a baby straight after marriage, go for it. Don't worry about what people will think, it's down to you and your other half. There's no right or wrong time to have a baby and you'll never be 100% ready. Being married for longer doesn't make you better or more ready to be parents, or stronger as a couple. If it's what you both want then do it. Anyone who is currently pregnant, get ready for the most emotional, stressful, uncertain, amazing ride of your life. Every day is different but every day is so amazing. Just enjoy it."
Baby shoot image: Lucy Wilson Photography
Michelle and Tom Collin, parents to Charlie and Harry Collin
Born on 2nd March 2018, twins Charlie and Harry have brought double the fun to Michelle and Tom's lives since getting married at Bateman's Barn in Suffolk on 3rd June 2017.
"Tom and I were both pretty set on having children. Neither of us were particularly experienced when it came to kids, but having a family of our own was very much on our radar. As you can imagine the lead up to the wedding was fairly hectic and the year before that we’d moved into our house which needed quite a bit of renovation. On top of all that, the idea of adding children to the mix felt a bit too daunting, so we decided the best time for us to start a family was some time after the wedding.
"I knew very well from the experience of some friends of mine that having a child is a blessing so random that not everyone who wants it are fortunate enough to have it. Just because we wanted children didn’t mean we’d be able to have them, so I was well prepared for it to take some time. However, about six weeks after our wedding, I had a positive pregnancy test. It felt very surreal and took many weeks to sink in – we had convinced ourselves it would take much longer than that. We weren’t anticipating having children quite so soon into our marriage but couldn’t really believe our luck.
"We went nervously to our 12-week scan only to be told by the sonographer that there were two – we were having twins. Charlie and Harry were born almost exactly nine months after our wedding day – although they were three weeks early.
"Having children so soon after our wedding meant we had to forfeit some things. Our honeymoon was spent on an unseasonably drizzly and windy Isle of Wight – Tom was ill and we were both completely exhausted so as nice as it was, it wasn’t your typical idyllic honeymoon. We planned for that to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Canada a year or two after the wedding. Once we discovered the news of our imminent arrivals these plans were immediately put on hold. We’ve actually spoken recently about how having a trip with the boys to Disney World in five or so years' time would perhaps be a more suitable once-in-a-lifetime trip – our priorities having now significantly altered. It may mean that we don’t actually get to take our dream honeymoon until the boys grow up and move out.
"We also missed out on some of the ‘us’ time you have as a newlywed couple. I would say to people that nothing really changes between you once you’re married, and it honestly doesn’t, but having children definitely changes your relationship dynamic. So to have that change so soon after marriage is intense. You see each other at your worst and take your frustrations and exhaustion out on each other – sleep deprivation is an absolute killer. You need to be tight with your partner and incredibly adaptable, flexible and forgiving to get through the tougher times."
My advice: "If you are expecting or planning a baby so soon after marriage I would advise you to make the most of those days together before the little one arrives – go to the cinema, go out for dinner, have days where you just stay in bed and have breakfast and coffee in your pyjamas and just indulge. Be selfish and lazy together while you can. We made sure we got plenty of this time in together before the boys arrived. It’s not been easy at all but we do now get to enjoy marriage with two little people along for the ride."
Read more in Michelle's blog: www.thismamma.co.uk
Katie and David Hagger, parents to Bobby John Hagger
Following several miscarriages, Katie and David were ecstatic to discover Katie was pregnant again after their Bedfordshire wedding which resulted in their beautiful rainbow baby Bobby.
"We had been trying for a baby since 2015, but unfortunately we suffered our sixth miscarriage in June 2015 which was awful. However, we both knew we had to plough on with planning our wedding and got married on 24th September 2016 with all our family and friends around us.
"We continued to think that it would happen when the time was right. We went on our honeymoon to Iceland at the beginning of December 2016 and on returning home, I just did not feel myself. On 29th December 2016 we did a test and found out that I was pregnant. We were so excited.
"The next 12 weeks were scary but everything was fine when we went to the first scan. As the pregnancy progressed I was admitted into hospital countless times, but my husband was always by my side which I am forever grateful for. Bobby was delivered by emergency C-section on the 11th August 2017.
"Going through this experience with my husband has definitely made our relationship stronger. Parenthood has definitely exceeded my expectations; as soon as I saw my baby I fell in love all over again."
My advice: "Never stress, things are sent to try us and everything happens for a reason but when this miracle does happen it is the best feeling in the world."
Stephanie and Mitchel Bonsra, parents to Milan Rai Bonsra
Norfolk couple Stephanie and Mitchel tied the knot on the same day as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and announced their pregnancy a month later.
"We both wanted a baby for many years and then several weeks after we got married I fell pregnant. We didn’t think I would fall pregnant that quick and were completely over the moon. We couldn't have been happier. Getting married was special but finding out we were having a baby was literally the icing on the cake.
"Parenthood is the best feeling in the world, it meets every expectation and more. The feeling is indescribable and priceless. Our relationship is about creating the most beautiful life for our beautiful baby girl and showing her the love we have for each other and more."
My advice: "For couples that are currently expecting or who want a baby straight after marriage, my advice would be to just go for it. You cannot put into words the feeling you have once the baby arrives. Enjoy every second because it’s the best feeling ever."
Hollie and Michael Godden, parents to Frankie Jack Godden
Hollie and Michael held their wedding at White Dove Barns in Suffolk on 1st April 2017 and added to their family the following February with the arrival of their son, Frankie.
"We always loved the thought of having a baby after we were married and were lucky enough to find out we were expecting a couple of months after our amazing honeymoon in South Africa.
"Parenthood is amazing, watching Frankie grow and learn new things every day is incredible. We love being a family."
My advice: "Take every moment in as it’s all so precious, they grow up so quickly into amazing little human beings."
Sam and Leslie Wright, parents-to-be
Also married on the same day as Harry and Meghan, Sam and Leslie Wright are celebrating their first anniversary on Sunday 19th May and the imminent arrival of their little girl.
"We were trying for a baby just before we got married as we were so excited to become a family. It took a few months before we fell pregnant and caught us by surprise. I thought I was just really hormonal and was 98% sure I was not pregnant. We went food shopping and I cried over not buying bananas (I don’t even like them!).
"I had a nice alcoholic beverage to help with my PMT but took a test just in case so I could enjoy it guilt-free and the alcohol is still sat there to this day. We went straight to tell my folks the news, followed by the shop to buy more tests as we didn’t quite believe it.
"We have just started to get the nursery ready which has been really fun but a bigger task than we imagined. I think it has brought us even closer as we are so excited. Les often gets beaten up by the baby in his sleep if he tries to have a cuddle. We are just playing the waiting game now."
Hannah and Simon Goodrum, parents to George Goodrum
Hannah and Simon held their wedding day at The Assembly House in Norwich on 7th July 2017 and the following month, discovered they were expecting.
"We had always talked about trying for a baby once we were married. We thought we would just let nature take its course and prepared ourselves for the fact that it could take months or even years to fall pregnant. So once we found out we were expecting just a month and a half after the wedding we were over the moon.
"Parenthood has been full of ups and downs, it hasn’t always been easy but it is the most amazing, wonderful and rewarding experience in the world.
"Becoming parents hasn’t impacted our relationship it has only made us closer as a family."
My advice: "Make time for one another to spend as a couple, and get those date nights in."