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When your Facebook feed is full of birth announcements and gender reveals, it can sometimes seem like there is only one path to motherhood. But the viral wedding video of a little boy breaking down during his stepmom’s vows is reminding the world that there’s more than one way to become a mama.


In the video that has people around the world reaching for the Kleenex, U.S. Marines Emily and Joshua Newville were joined at the altar by Joshua’s four-year-old son, Gage. As Emily read the vows she wrote to her new stepson, Gage was overcome with emotion and buried his face in his new stepmom’s wedding dress as he cried.

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“I may not have given you the gift of life, but life surely gave me the gift of you,” Emily told the boy, who she says helped shape her into the woman she is.

The video demonstrates something many non-biological parents already know: The path to parenthood doesn’t always lead into a maternity ward. Sometimes, you get there by walking down the aisle or into the courthouse.

According to the Pew Research Center, by 2015 less than half of American kids were living in so-called traditional families and 16 percent of American children had a stepparent. There is no longer only one dominant form of family, and there are plenty of ways to become a mother without giving birth.

These days, women are becoming mothers through adoption, surrogacy, step parenthood and a whole host of other ways that one can build and blend a family in 2017.

In another viral video making the social rounds this week, a couple from Pennsylvania surprised their 10 and 12-year-old foster kids with a special announcement: Not only were they meeting Mickey Mouse, they were also getting adopted.

“We became a family,” mom Courtney Gilmour wrote in a Facebook post.

Perhaps most heartwarming of all about the viral wedding video is that Gage, his dad and new stepmom aren’t the only ones who consider themselves lucky: In a Facebook comment, Käli Nuckols, who identifies herself as Gage’s mother, called Emily an amazing stepmother.

“I couldn't have picked someone better. Gage is lucky to have her and I'm so thankful I can trust her to be there when I cannot be,” she wrote.

And, in response to the praise, Emily said, “It means the world to me that we have such an awesome relationship!”

We love this proof that there is more than enough love to go around—and more than one way to become a parent. ?

I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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