Having been brought up in a deeply religious Catholic family, I was taught that premarital sex was a sin. My mother, in particular, gave me regular lectures on staying a good girl.
I never questioned this until I was 18 and fell in love with Jonathan, a fellow uni student. Jonathan was very loving towards me and one night when we were alone our hormones overcame us. Instead of feeling shame, it deepened our bond. We discussed moving in together, but being full-time students we couldn't afford a place of our own. In any case, as I said to Jonathan, my mother would never agree, she was a virgin when she got married.
That's when Jonathan asked, "Are you sure about that? That story she told you about you being a honeymoon baby always sounded suspicious to me. Maybe they had to get married."
I had always believed my mother simply because she was so vocal in her condemnation of premarital sex. But I started to wonder.
That night I nervously approached my mother. "Mum, I need to ask you something."
She looked up from her sewing. "Yes?"
I took a deep breath. "Mum, were you pregnant when you got married?"
She went very pale and I knew the truth. But then she recovered herself and screeched, "How dare you suggest such a thing?"
Calmly I said, "It's okay Mum, it's nothing to be ashamed of."
This enraged her even more. Soon she was screaming at me and I lost my temper too. "You're lying to me, you're a hypocrite, telling me to stay a virgin till I get married!" I screamed. She slapped me.
That's when I became really furious. "Well guess what, hypocrite," I yelled, "I've slept with Jonathan and I don't think there's anything wrong with it! And I'm going to move in with him!"
"Over my dead body!" she yelled, "You won't be seeing that boy ever again!"
I went to my room and slammed the door, but the next day I realised how difficult she was going to make my life. My parents were screening all of Jonathan's calls and wouldn't let me go to uni. This went on for a few days and with no money of my own I had nowhere to go. I eventually managed to sneak a call to Jonathan and he asked his parents if I could move in with him there, but they were reluctant to get involved.
Jonathan suggested, "Maybe we should get married, then they'd have to let us live together!"
As much as I loved Jonathan, I didn't want us to be forced into marriage because of my parents. That's when I had an idea. A few days later I snuck out early and met Jonathan and we bought the cheapest wedding rings we could find.
Late that evening I arrived home with Jonathan in tow. My parents had been beside themselves trying to find me and started screaming at the two of us.
I yelled back, "We just got married, so you can't stop us seeing each other now!"
When my parents saw the rings on our fingers, they looked very shocked, but then my mother said, "Was it a Catholic wedding?"
"No, it was in a registry office," I lied.
"Well then, it isn't a real marriage!"
"It is to us and the law!" I retorted.
With that, I grabbed the bags I had secretly packed and we went straight to Jonathan's place. His parents were shocked too but could hardly refuse to have me stay there now that I was his "wife".
I told Jonathan that one day when we had a place of our own I'd tell my parents about our bogus marriage and I couldn't wait to see the shock on their faces!
For a long time I didn't speak to my parents. Jonathan and I got jobs and got a place of our own. One day, to my surprise, my mother dropped by. Despite our falling out I was happy to see her, as she was still my mum and I missed her.
We were having a cuppa together when Mum said to me, "I need to tell you something you weren't a honeymoon baby."
Her face reddened with shame. "Your grandpa would have killed me if he had known, so we got married quickly, but a lot of the family suspected. I didn't even enjoy my wedding day because I was suffering from morning sickness, but I had to pretend to be fine. And the way they gossiped about me when I had you was awful. I just didn't want you to make the same mistake I had made, that's why I used to lecture you."
Mum started to cry. "The things I used to say about loose girls, when I was no better, I'm so ashamed."
That's when I realised all the moralistic things my mum had said were to cover up her own supposed crime. Suddenly I felt very sorry for her. I reached over and gave her a hug. "You and Dad were in love. It's the people who gossiped about you who should be ashamed," I told her.
Since then my mother and I have got on very well and in fact, months later when we were at a family barbecue and someone mentioned young people and their lack of morals, my conservative mum shocked everyone by saying, "Well they're just doing what comes naturally and I don't see anything wrong with it!"
So while everything is going well now, my dilemma is that Jonathan and I want to get married for real, but if I tell my mother about my bogus marriage, she'll be really hurt.
Should Jonathan and I continue the pretence?
Image: Getty / Picture posed by model