Advice badly needed (long post -sorry!)

Aghh. Don't know where to start but it might help with the background:

When I got married my husbands parents pressurised us to get married in a catholic church. They are very staunch catholics. When my husband decided to challenge them on this they said, "If you don't get married in a catholic church then don't darken our door again." (Nice-and yes they did mean it- etc etc . ). Anyway, I married in a catholic church (but with our own vows and a bright red wedding dress with bridesmaids in black). The pressure to do the catholic thing was immense. In some ways I suppose I resented them for this pressure and my husband's lack of balls in sticking to our guns but that's another story. Anyway, at the time I said to my husband if we had children there is no way they would impose their religion upon our child. The only thing that made it better for me was the priest was so lovely and really funky -he did side with us on this one - I mean how can someone claim to follow a God and then to turn their child away for good? *BAffled*.

Anyway, I suffered a terrible accident a few years ago, I was very very ill and looked for the meaning of life (how you do after near death kind of things) and found that buddhism is what I believe in. I am pregnant now (obviously) and due in June. When we visited my at the weekend she had a christening shawl ready and is already trying to arrange the christening. There is no thought or no questions what I want as the mother.

Now my husband knows the score on this and it was a shock she'd bought all this stuff and he gave me the, "NOT NOW" look as I was ready to say, it's not what we want. He will tackle the issue but then he knows the outcome and it will be 'don't darken our door'. Now, it's horrible to live with that and it will be them who is creating this situation not me. I want to say something but I really want my son to have contact with his grandparents as it's really important. I am getting stressed about it and so is my husband but I just would love some advice on how to deal with and, if the answer is 'dont darken our door' how can i support my husband.

Alternatively I can keep putting the Christening off and say we don't have the time but I think catholics christen children young (i.e. I think jehovah witness let the child decide when they're 14/15). Also, I have looked at what you have to say as a parent and I just could not say it in the Christening service because I do not believe what I am actually saying - if that makes sense.

Many thanks in advance for your replies.


  • Oh what a predicament.
    Do you really think they would follow through with their threat or might it just be to pressure you? It's an awful thing to be given an ultimatum like that but at the end of the day you are his parents and see to how he is going to be brought up.

    Every child in our family has been christened including both me and my husband but we both chose not to have a church wedding as neither of us are religious and felt it wasn't right personally, we were lucky our parents were fine with our decision but my grandma didn't take to it too well, she even made a little comment on the wedding day to a relative.

    We also don't want to have our daughter christened, that has been met with slight dissaproval from my mum, others don't know yet. We will be standing by our decision though and we are lucky not to have been given any ultimatum so I really feel for you. I am so sorry I just don't know what advice to give you, if both you and your husband feel strongly about this would it be an option to try and meet them somewhere on neutral ground and discuss your feeling with them, that maybe one day he might decide to be catholic himself and in that case that's his decision but you want to give him the choice and try and explain it that way?

    Sorry can't be of more help.
    Em x
  • Hi Discodevil
    Am not in the same situation religion-wise, but my in-laws are similar in the "all or nothing" approach! They get well stroppy if things don't go their way etc & you can't really tell them things honestly as they just create drama's! Most times its easier just agreeing!!

    I know its far easier said than done, but try not to get too stressed about things.

    There is def no point in you, as the parents, going along with something that you do not believe in just coz its what the grandparents want. Surely they must understand that?! What about having a naming ceremony, which i understand is non-religious - would that pacify them at all. Mind you, having said that it really should be what you & OH want and i think they'll just have to come to terms with it. If they can't accept their son & his wife's view on things are they really the sort of people you want around?! (Hope i'm not offending, just kinda playing devil's advocate)!

    Sorry i'm not a great deal of help, but hope you get things sorted!! Bloody in-laws....who needs em!!!

    Sarah xx
  • That's such a shame. Perhaps they'll discover this isn't the be-all and end-all when they realise they'll miss out on seeing their grandchild grow up, and all of their own doing.

    Your poor hubby - he must be feeling the pressure. I hope he stays strong and stands up for what you both believe in.
  • Not a good place to be hun.

    I'll start this by saying that I'm an atheist (I do believe in an afterlife just not the whole God/Christ/Heaven/Allah (peace be upon him)/Buddha thing) That's not to say that I don't respect other peoples beliefs but for me personally it just doesn't fit.

    I think that your husband needs to sit down with his parents and remind them who's baby this is. I know exactly how Catholic people can be about accepting different ideas but this really should be your choice.
    Does your husband support your beliefs?
    My oh was brought up catholic but I decided that our son would be allowed to choose which path he wants take. When he is old enough to make an informed decision about what he believes in then we will support him and I will expect the rest of the family to (or face my nasty temper)

    Good luck with this, hope hubby supprts you as he should.

  • Thank you so much for your replies I feel better in the decision that really we do need to stick to our guns and not feel bullied into having Elvis (it's his nickname!) christened.

    Zoey I do hope they will mellow! But in answer to Emmum2b yes, I really think it will be 'don't darken our door'. Really, and that is terribly sad in my view.

    Sarah, no you didn't offend and in someways I agree - it's hypocritical of them to be classed as 'christians' and then just to turn their back on their own child and grandchild. As for me personally, it's a shame but it's not going to be so detrimental to me.

    Spedshaw - husband was brought up a Catholic but the last time he went to church was probably our wedding day 4 years ago! Again, if his parents knew I think they'd have a fit!

    Pinktoothbrush and Tarrotwitch - it is about respecting the belief of others but honestly there was no consideration to what we wanted. If Elvis wants to be catholic, muslim, agnostic, atheist - fine-we would support him.

    I know someone mentioned a naming ceremony but I think this would be worse! I actually want Elvis to have a buddhist blessing but then that cannot come into the equation either because all our energy will be spent convincing them that we're not going to have a christening but we still want them to be part of Elvis' life.

    The sad fact is this is their first grandchild and my m-i-law is so excited and if contact is stopped (i think this will come from my father in law) she will not be able to live with it. However, I would always welcome them to have time with him.

    One the one hand I don't want to raise expectations on the other I don't know if it's best to wait for them to bond with Elvis first and then break the news.

    Bloody in laws - well - outlaws!!!!!!!!!!!

  • What a horrible situation you have been put in. As someone who isn't religious, I can understand how you feel- there is no way I could stand up in a church and say the christening vows without believing in them. You are the parents, and at the end of the day it is your decision whether to christen your son. I think that as painful as it is, you and your oh are going to have to sit down with your in-laws and just tell them how it is going to be. You could see what they think about a naming ceremony, but it seems like they will not be happy with anything less than a catholic christening. However, you might find that once the baby is born and they realise that they will miss out on seeing their grandchild, they will accept that you aren't going to change your mind.
    I really hope it all works out for you.
  • you could have a baby naming party - perhaps held at your house and kept very informal.

    Sorry i know this suggestion probably wont help the situation
  • my mum went thru this n now has twelve children!!! but she put her foot down with in laws n said they could educate us in the catholic ways if we showed interest (none of us did) n that if we wanted to be catholic that it had to be our decision as belief is a personal thing! i no my nan was v upset n didnt talk to mum for ages but she says her babies happiness comes first so if we were happy catholic great if we were happy being atheist then thats fine too hope this works out for you xxxxx
  • I was actually talking to my oh about this earlier. He is due to be a god parent to his niece next sunday but the thing is he isnt religious at all. We got some forms from the church today explaining that he has to answer questions saying he totally excepts god faith and everything that goes with it. I personally am a firm believer in god but after reading the booklet i am put off getting my children christned until they are older. The booklet states as the child getting christened you are

    1) Thanking god for the gift of life
    2) deciding to start the jouney with god
    3) publically expressing your belief in god
    4) promising to welcome god into your life

    The list goes on. Although i do want my children christened, i do not see how they can agree to the things that are expected of them, when they do not understand what is being asked of them! My oh has been christened but as i've said is not a believer.
  • Hi I just want to say that I think your absolutley doing the right thing by sticking to your beliefs on this. You cant stand up there and say something you really dont belive in. If they do basically say "never darken our door again" then it really is their loss and they will see that, hopefuly the priest will even talk to them and make them see that turning their back on their son and grandson isnt the right thing to do. I know its going to be hard on your husband if his parents do turn their backs on him and all you can do is be there for him and support him in anyway you can, but he absolutley has to stick by you on this one. I really hope everything works out for you.
  • hi hun,

    Didn't want to read and run. It is truely an awful situation to be in and I can fully understand how you are feeling. Sorry if you disagree with me but I think you, oh and the in laws should sit down somewhere mutual, such as a cafe or park and talk. Explain to them that whilst you have respect for their beliefs (you did marry in church), you feel that they should also have respect in youe beliefs. I mean that's why life is so interesting, we're all different.

    I too have had the don't darken from my real father 8 years ago over uni, he won't come round but that's for another day. whilst it was hard at first, I realised with time that this is my life and I wanted to make my own decisions. I'm not saying you shouldn't have contact with them, but seriously think about sitting down and explaining to them.

    Just a thought, please don't be offended, if the vicar who married you is from their local church and is as you say quite funky, them maybe he could help them see that whilst they may not agree with your religion, they need to think about their grandchild an how lo has a right to be spolit and allowed to decided for himself.

    sorry such a long reply, but fell strongly about parents and in-laws trying to call the shots and ride roughshod over everyone, also got pregnacy brain on today so tend to waffle.

    Good Luck


    [Modified by: mrskeen on April 24, 2008 08:34 PM]
  • Thanks so much for the replies and the advice has been excellent. I'm also sorry for those who are facing similar/or have had the don't darken my doors. There is no winners it's just sad.

    Thanks ladies xx
  • hi i have nothing different that i can say, just didn't wanta read and run, sick to your guns and do whats right for you, your husband of mostly your child, just wanted o send some support and a big hugg

  • AS IF!!!!!!!!!

    You stick to your guns!!! Religion is such a personal thing. You wouldnt let anyone tell you what you should believe in so you definately dont want anyone pressurising your baby into beliefs!!!

    I have a similar problem but my mil knows not to even bring the subject up, she knows my views on religion, however, she started singing the lords prayer to my baby last week....shes only 6weeks old!!!!!! I covered Bellas ears and told her not to listen hoping mil would get the message!

    I believe that children should wait until they are old enough to make their own informed decisions about their beliefs.

    Get her told! She's had her babies, this is YOUR baby!

  • My mum and OH's mum are both religious, and OH's SIL is a vicar, who'd love to christen our daughter. We don't want her christened because of the vows involved, and aren't really bothered about a naming ceremony - can't see the point tbh! We got married in a civil ceremony and everyone knew better than to push there luck involving religion!

    However, our worst fear is that by completely blocking out organised religion from our little girl, we will turn it into the 'forbidden fruit' and when she rebels, as all teens do, she'll get heavily into the church.

    Our plan is to expose her to religion, perhaps go to a Christmas service, not criticise our family who practice, and make sure she is educated in different belief systems.

    Discodevil, I would definitely speak to the priest who married you. He has an obligation of care to you and hubby, and should be willing to speak to your in-laws as an aside to what you say to them, to point out that they're behaving in an un-Christian way.

    Good luck and I hope you and hubby don't fall out over it.
  • My mum is very religious but luckily when she said about having my daughter christened or blessed I said No.

    I have my reasons in that I am CofE but my husband is Buddhist and how can we possibly choose one over the other that is wrong.

    We will bring our children up knowing right from wrong but it is their decision which if any faith they wish to follow in future.

    We were not told if you dont we wont have anything to do with you. That is an awful thing to say and like you say what sort of person could say that to their child. I know I couldn't. Its blackmail and very selfish.

    Good luck with your decision

  • Oh my word...

    It's all so hypicritical - & I am taking from experiance I come from a large Roman Catholic family - of my mum's generation there were two children born to diffrent siblings whom were born out of wed lock before there was an emence amount of pressure and both children were given up for adoption - then I came along my mum also got pregnant with me unwed but decided to keep me although she was told in no uncertain terms that it was bringing shame on the family, to give 'the child a name', that it was better for me to be adopted, or aborted! ect...

    my mum kept me - growing up (without a dad) comments were always made!! & at an cousins wedding there was a display all the family photos around the room of family member wedding day photos who had been married it was beautiful -but I had several people make comments about my parents 'missing' photo!!

    I remember being ashamed that my dad didn't live with us as a child and telling other school children that my dad worked really far away - like on oil rigs or something so he could only come round sometimes.

    My mum had a break down when I was a child and was unable to look after me (she is one of 10) do you think one member of my family offered to take me in? Nope because what could you expect from a 'mother like THAT' & I was taken in by school friends untill she got better... However they seen fit to take rounds of children in from Chinoble (sp?) as 'they were in need'.
    I am only 25 i'm not taking about the dark ages - there have been others whom have had a child before getting wed but there has been alot of pressure for them to get married quickly and they have always complied.
    Now i am pregnant I have been with my boyfriend six years were in love and actively choosen to try for a child, this child is born out of love and into love - will have a stable home in a loving place and will have his needs met - but were not married!
    I've been told of already for 'flanting my pregnancy' & 'what would you expect mother like daughter how was I expected to know any beter? one aunt told me in front of my OH that if I didn't marry him soon that he would only go off and 'get another girl pregnant'dispite the fact we have been together six years already. An uncle has told me 'you'd better get married for some sercuirty' and another uncle said 'well she couldn't of planned it not being married and all'.

    My mum has been very supportive as has an auntie who lives locally who don't care that i'm not married and know that my relationship has got substance and love...

    lol am I bitter about my family... yeah a little bit its all rubbish! taking about a God of love and forgiveness and then preaching of there high pedistools as if they have never/would never do anything wrong... very close to having buttons pushed that ill start telling a few fucking home truths!
    NO WAY will I allow ANYONE to make my child feel unwanted or ashamed of who he is and how he came into this world! He is very loved already and he hasn't even been born yet! we have everything he will need and have a big space in our lives just waitting to rap him up with love cuddles and kisses!
    Sorry to have a bit of a rant on your post - lol bubbled up some anger, but wanted to tell you that this child is yours and OH's nobody elses and using shame, emotional black mail, pressure and threats is no way to get you to do what they want - how fucking dare they? refusing to not speak to or cut someout of there life because they don't get there own way? and where does THAT stop? what about the next thing they want? Holy communion, going to church on sunday's? catholic schools? that's just to start with...
    The thing is i'm sure that if they sat down and spoke to you in a reasonable mannor rather than using bully tactics and explained how important it was to them that perhaps that you might be slightly more open to there ideas not to say you would do them but you may perhaps feel open about the possibilities!
    you take care of your self you have a beautiful thing happening to you - & you and your OH do what you feel is best for baby without being emotionally blackmailed (i know its hard) but the sheer fact that you have addressed it to start with is testimony to your strength because so much of the pressure is applied in directly or in a way that makes it hard to expose it!

    sorry for the rant - got a little angry and of loaded too! lol

    but you do what it is you want! xx

  • It must be love:

    Oh god you have had such a hard time. It is the hypocritical thing that you have faced to a much bigger degree than me which is driving me mad. You must be so strong to have come out the other side. You will be a brilliant mother.

    For some people who are very religious it seems to me that they 'judge' as if they were Jesus himself but my argument is that Jesus welcomed prositutes and all sorts of different people and I just cannot believe that a god would turn away a baby or child image I suppose that's for a different debate but for a family to make a mother and child feel ashamed is disgraceful.

    As many people have mentioned on here they cannot imagine turning their back on their own child and I cannot and I wouldn't turn my back on mine.

    You are in love and having a baby born into a secure and happy home is probably one of the most important things parents can do and it's irrelevant whether or not you have that 'ring' on your finger.

    Also for your Aunt to say your boyfriend will run off and get another girl pregnant is :roll: if you're not married. I just can't understand it.

    I think your child is very lucky to have a mother like you. xxxx
  • lol thank you for your very sweet comments sorry i had a rant just got angry when I could see what you was saying was happening to you because i relise the impact and stress that it causes! I have a friend Sian who is buddist and I think there beliefs are beautiful and peaceful and tbh as long as a child is loved and had good self esteem i don't really think where that comes from at all, what religion if there is even any influance of any religion...
    its lovely to see that you have been so strong already standing up for your baby! & i am sure that you will also make a beautiful mummy! xx you take care and let us know how you get on with it all xx
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