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Before meeting her husband Jeremy, Megan Maldonado’s dating history was so sparse that her family actually thought she was a closeted lesbian.

“I never really saw any value in being in a relationship.”

This view didn’t change immediately when she met Jeremy, working at the same restaurant. They started hanging out thanks to some mutual friends from work. Once they discovered how much they had in common, they quickly became best friends. But still, pursuing a romantic relationship wasn’t on Megan’s mind. “I was actually on a bit of a mission to find him the perfect girl.”

It wasn’t until Megan was planning a move to London that she began to understand her true feelings for Jeremy.

“I was unhappy with where I was going in life and truly thought that moving far away where no one else knew me would help me begin again.” She’d gone as far as applying to schools when she realized that being with Jeremy already made her feel brand new. It was his blanket acceptance of her, flaws and all, that helped her see she was falling for him. Luckily, he felt the same way.

“He came to me one day saying that he was having girl problems because he liked a girl who was moving far away. I told him I liked him too.” Prepare for some shocking news: She never moved.

Thanks to Jeremy, Megan has come into a sense of self-confidence she’d never had. The fact that he believes in her has pushed her to believe in herself. With his support, she’s following a dream she’d given up on: getting a business degree.

Almost three years into their relationship, Jeremy, who now works in computer software, showed Megan a website he’d built—one that was only accessible from her computer. Within the site was a letter to her and photos of the couple. There was also a link that said “Will you…?” When she clicked on it, it led to a page that said “I’m sure you can guess what’s next.” And sure enough, he was on one knee.

“He proposed in the most ‘Jeremy’ way possible.”

Taken at this face value, their relationship seems pretty standard—almost a fairy tale.

But, anyone who’s more old fashioned would have many things to oppose. The couple is multicultural, with Jeremy being Latino and Megan being biracial, which would set off the more bigoted traditionalists. Then, there’s the fact that they lived together before getting married. Despite this being the norm these days (66 percent of married people lived together before tying the knot), many God-fearing women still clutch their pearls at the thought. And the cherry on top of the conservative’s nightmare: Megan was pregnant with their first child three weeks before their wedding date.

“In the words of the beloved Bob Ross, ‘We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.’ Our daughter was definitely our happy little accident.” While the couple had looked forward to having a family, they weren’t planning on starting for a few years. So, even though they were thrilled by the news, they faced a tough and unexpected situation.

“The financial aspect and newness of it all really freaked us out for a while,” she said. Early on, Megan experienced serious doubts about being a good mom, and her ensuing depression was hard on both her and Jeremy. Surely being newlyweds and new parents would be the most difficult thing they’d ever faced—and let’s not forget, Megan is also in school.

Here’s where we return, happily, to the fairy tale.

Thanks to the overwhelming support of their families, Megan and Jeremy are knocking the parenting game out of the park. But beyond their deep bench of support, they’re just naturals. “Almost everything seemed really organic for the both of us since the moment we were left alone with our daughter.”

It helped that they’d already been sharing so much of their life prior to getting married. Transitioning from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife was much smoother than she anticipated, giving them the ability to focus on parenthood. Megan’s fears that having less alone time would strain her relationship proved unfounded—and not just because babies are pretty much always sleeping!

“It has made us so much closer and more appreciative of one another, and I couldn’t be more in love with him now.”

N. Alysha Lewis

N. Alysha Lewis is an editor and blogger with author aspirations whose love can absolutely be bought with french fries.

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