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'I got married at 6 months pregnant. Here's what I wish someone told me.'

When I weed on a little stick and saw two lines emerge within seconds, I had about a dozen thoughts in very quick succession.

They weren't entirely coherent, but in among them was the word "whoops". I'd been with my partner for six or so years, I was engaged, we had talked about kids, but we weren't planning on any at this precise moment. That is to say, our pregnancy was a delightful surprise.

While I probably should have been taken by the miracle of human life, instead my brain began to rapidly recalibrate the next nine months. 

Book deadline. I could just meet it. The baby would be... how many months old when the book is released? Nevermind, that's future Jessie's problem. 

Christmas. New Year. It was November so they were around the corner. No alcohol for me. Dammit. 

Fuck. Our wedding. We'd pencilled it in for March. I'd be six months pregnant. A wedding without champagne? But also, how would I feel? With a changing body and changing hormones, would I really be in the mood to be a bride on the cusp of my third trimester of pregnancy? 

At some point I panic ate half a block of chocolate and when my fiancé, Luca, finally walked in the door, he clocked the pregnancy test before I could finish my mouthful. We were having a baby, and with that came excitement, terror, anxiety, overwhelm, and what felt like a deadline.  

For a month or so, we toyed with the idea of postponing the wedding until after our little girl was here. The advantages would be we wouldn't be organising a wedding at the same time as preparing for a baby, I'd likely feel more myself, I could drink and dance and wear a dress I felt comfortable in. Given it was my first pregnancy, I didn't know if I'd be one of those pregnant people who could barely stand by six months, struck by pelvic or back pain. Or maybe I'd have hyperemesis gravidarum and vomit right up until the minute the baby was born. 

But delaying the wedding posed its own problems. How long did we want to delay? What if I was still breastfeeding? Who would watch our baby, with everyone we love in one room? Luca made the point that this would be the last opportunity to have a wedding that would be just us. For the rest of our lives, we'd be at least a three. 

I became obsessed with making the right decision. I'd go to sleep one night, sure we'd postpone, and by morning have changed my mind. I started madly googling 'celebrities who were pregnant at their wedding' for inspiration. This was a low point. 

Eventually, we reminded ourselves why we wanted to get married in the first place. More than anything, it was so we could have everyone we loved, everyone who mattered to us, in the same room together. Life doesn't present too many opportunities for that. If we didn't get married now, would we just put it off indefinitely? And if we did end up getting married years from now, who might be missing? 

And so, we locked it in. We would be getting married in March. 

I began looking at wedding dresses, explaining to the lovely women who presented me with dress options, that I'd probably just need a little extra space around my middle. They were polite, but eventually, a lovely woman at Kyha Studios in Sydney gave me the gift of honesty. 

She had dressed plenty of pregnant brides and explained that my ribs would expand, my chest would grow, my waist would change and my hips would likely widen. I pointed out dresses and she would shake her head. 

"I'm just going to speak to you as though you were my sister," she said matter-of-factly. "Not that one." 

At the same time, I explained, I didn't want a 'maternity' dress. I still wanted to feel somewhat like myself. 

Together, we settled on a dress that I loved, that had an alterable waistline and bustline. She ordered it two sizes bigger than I was at the time. The instructions were to see the alterations team a month before, then a week before. There wouldn't be any point going before then.

While I'd imagined that the dress would be one of the hardest things about getting married at six months pregnant, it ended up being one of the easiest. 

Along with doctor's appointments and decisions about what hospital I'd birth at and how I'd birth and the never-ending list of Items We Need For Baby, I was quickly confronted with the admin of being pregnant. This was on top of working full-time, travelling every week, and finishing my manuscript. 

In the four months we'd given ourselves to organise our wedding (and I'll credit my partner and partner's family for doing 90 per cent of it) we were also looking for somewhere to live and a family car. As exciting as it all was, it was also one of the most stressful periods of my life. 

With the gift of hindsight, I can see that coming into March I was completely burnt out. Friends and family politely assured us that we didn't need to squeeze several enormous life events into the first half of 2023, but alas we persisted. Our obstetrician rolled his eyes affectionately; we were not the only couple trying to move house and get married before our baby was born. 

As the week of my wedding approached, it occurred to me how much I hadn't been feeling like myself. I'd been on autopilot, ticking things off an endless to-do list, suffocating under Significant Life Events and a kind of numbness had crept in. The "not feeling like myself" symptom of pregnancy was not something I'd expected and was a departure from the bliss I'd felt early in my second trimester. Fatigue had crept into my bones, and a blood test confirmed I was very low in iron. I needed an iron infusion, but the effects wouldn't be felt immediately. In fact, some people feel worse before they feel better. I made the decision to wait until after the wedding. 

And so came our wedding day. 

It was beyond anything I could have imagined. 

The weather was perfect. Our little girl kicked all the way through the ceremony. It felt so much more meaningful, knowing how soon we would be a family of three. 

Of course, there were crises. There always are. My twin sister woke up with gastro so severe she never made it to the reception and couldn't deliver her speech. My grandfather was in hospital and so couldn't be there. I wish I could have danced more, but I was a little uncomfortable. 

The day was also magical in ways I hadn't anticipated. Not drinking meant I remembered everything. It was the most beautiful reminder of how many people we have around us, just as we were entering into what can be a really isolating period. I love that when we look back at our wedding photos, our little girl will know she was there. 

So, what do I wish someone had told me about getting married at six months pregnant?

It won't be easy – but I'm not sure weddings ever are. 

Many women describe not quite feeling themselves throughout pregnancy. Hormones are unpredictable. Anxiety and uncertainty creeps in. Antenatal depression has certainly made an appearance for me. I wish I'd been more prepared for that. 

I've heard many pregnant women trying to decide whether to postpone, worry about what they're going to look like on the day. To that I'd say, it matters more how you feel. I'd tell myself you will feel a little more tired. It'll take you several days to recover from the intensity of it all. You'll wish you could have danced more and had a cocktail and eaten from the sushi station. 

But you've also got the rest of your life to do that. 

There is no such thing as the perfect day, just as there is no such thing as the perfect choice. 

I'll look back though, and know I wouldn't have had it any other way. Ultimately, marrying the person I did is the best decision I've ever made. 

Image: Supplied. 

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