By Jane Greer, Ph.D. for

As the news that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are expecting a baby began to spread, so did the chatter about the order in which they’re approaching making a family (since they’re engaged, but not yet married).

In the past there was a very specific sequence: love, marriage, and then children. If things didn’t proceed in that way, it was usually thought to be a problem or a mistake. But times are changing, and the openness and acceptance of doing things in a different succession are a reflection of that.

In fact, this is a trend we’re seeing more and more these days, especially in Hollywood.

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Once the news of a pregnancy is out there, some might choose to get married before the baby arrives, and others might wait so the baby can be at the wedding. That decision, as well as when to get pregnant to begin with, really all comes down to the fact that people are busy, often working two jobs, and they’re choosing to make time to create a family instead of waiting for the right time which might never come.

While this might happen more often with people in the entertainment industry who may be between projects and want to make the most of their time together, it’s also true for other couples as well who may not be able to fit their timing into the traditional path. The fact that couples are having babies before they get married really speaks to the commitment they have to their relationship and to the idea of being partners in parenting and in life.

Something else to consider is the fact that the time between deciding to get pregnant and actually conceiving is a total unknown – it could take one month, it could take years. So when not-yet-married people become pregnant, it might be that it was easier and quicker than they anticipated, initially thinking that they would have time to plan a wedding and maybe even be married before they succeeded.

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How to Decide the Order of Your Commitment

You certainly don’t have to be a movie star to be able to make this choice. Nowadays if you’re working or older or find yourself in a place where the typical route isn’t easy, if you’re in love with your partner and know that you want to share parenting with him or her this can be an option for you that you can make your own judgment call on rather than dealing with what other people think.

If you decide to do so, there are a few things to take into consideration before you move forward: how solid is your commitment? For example, are you already engaged? Do you have enough resources to support a family? Do you live in a place you could envision yourself with a baby? Will you feel you will have had enough time together as a couple before becoming parents? Do you feel comfortable and trust that you can count on your partner to share the responsibility of this very big commitment? Once these questions are answered to your satisfaction, the order of which comes first the aisle or the delivery room may not matter.

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Photo: Daniel Locke / PR Photos

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