December 2014 Moms
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I dont know how to handle this... (Rant)

Im not any specific religion. Honestly, idk what i believe, but my family is christian and have always celebrated Christmas, Easter, thanksgiving, ect. But personally i feel religion is not the reason we celebrate. Its because its something we've always done. Just a tradition, some of my happiest memories come from putting up a tree and decorating it with my family and waking up to presents under the tree and seeing all of my family together, happy. And honestly, its not about anything other than family. Not just Christmas, but the whole season. Right? - but see the problem is my boyfriend (and father of my baby) his family is Jehovas witness. And he's not really sure thats the path he wants to go down, but still. He's never celebrated birthdays, or Christmas, or anything and he's telling me no to a tree and no to presents and he wouldn't approve of any of that in our house which really hurts because its just what ive always known. And its selfish for me to ask him to celebrate, but selfish for him to ask me not to. And i cant even stress it enough that its not a religious thing, its a family thing. He doesn't care, and its just really hard for me. And idk what to do.. So now im just bawling my eyes out because i dont want my child to not get a chance to experience that, but what can i do when dad doesn't want to?

Re: I dont know how to handle this... (Rant)

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    CryssteenCryssteen member
    edited June 2014
    I'm not really sure what advice to give here.  Religion is one of those issue that really needs to be discussed in-depth before planning to marry or start a family.  I feel the same way about my Catholic upbringing as you do about religion.  It's always been tradition for me, based not so much in faith, but family.  I always said that I would be perfectly comfortable marrying someone of a different faith because the religious aspect of it never mattered all that much to me.  However, I guess I just assumed my family would continue the Christmas traditions anyway.  I always saw it more as a blending than a choosing of sides.  My husband, as it turns out, is Catholic.  He's much more religious than I am and I have left the religious upbringing to him.  He can register them for CCD and take them to church and prepare them for the sacraments.  I will decorate the tree with Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music playing in the background while drinking eggnog.  However, we did have an all-out crying fight about my reluctance to go to church regularly.  But this was before we were engaged and before we began to start our family. 

    All of that said, this cannot be an open and shut case of "he wants, I want."  It is much bigger and will impact your entire life.  Will this mean your family won't go to your parents' house for xmas dinner?  You're not allowed to purchase gifts for your siblings?  Where is the line?  And should there be a line?  The two of you have to have an open conversation about what you want for your lives and your family.  There's compromise.  You don't have to have a Bethlehem scene, but maybe a tree?  You know?  Many families are of mixed religions.  The ideals of both are typically shared.  Each parent teaches the children about their religion and respects the other. And I don't know much about Jehova's Witnesses, but what I have learned from growing up with a friend of that belief is that there is a great deal of exclusion when it comes to celebrations, birthdays, etc.  It's difficult to raise a child that way, if the beliefs are not your own.  However, that may be ignorant on my part, simply because I don't know.  I wish you luck and suggest you really have a major conversation with your bf. 
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    No advice here, just wanted to say good luck and that I hope you can sort it out in a way where you both feel what is important to you is being respected! :(

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    caden1206 said:
    My SO is Jewish and I am Christian. He would like us all to be Jewish and that we raise are kids as such. Yet we still have a Christmas tree and celebrate all Christian holidays. There are no rules in our house for now and we have agreed to expose our children to both religions, because ultimately they will choose in the end. You and your SO need to get on the same page. My SO wants to raise our kids predominantly Jewish, but he understands my religion is important too. This is a partnership and we are all going to respect each other's views. You can't have one person dictating and you can't loose what is important to you.

    Same here. MH is Jewish and I am Christian (non-practicing). Before we got married, we got the religion talk out of the way. We pretty much celebrate everything. During Christmas and Easter, MH doesn't have to celebrate the Jesus stuff. But we had to come up with a compromise. We are going to raise LO Jewish, but my family traditions are important too. Fortunately, he understands that and is starting to enjoy the holidays! We have had 8 years to find a routine.
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    Cheekers2010Cheekers2010 member
    edited June 2014
    I'm not tying to be harsh in any way because I understand this is a sensitive issue, but you really really should have talked about this before having kids. Religion is such a divisive issue. I would say that you need to develop a compromise if at all possible. My parents were divided religiously so this hits very close to home, but they worked things out. I'm not going to say it was easy because it wasn't. But, my dad insisted on certain things and my mom insisted in certain things. Another compromise is that my dad would celebrate his traditions with his side of the family.
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    You know what else might be helpful?  I remember seeing posts on The Knot which dealt with religion issues in newly engaged couples.  It's different because you're having a child, but since many of those women are currently hashing this out, it might be worthwhile to lurk?
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    Wow, this is difficult. This was a non-issue for us because we both celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc for religious purposes, however we are different religions. I'm Catholic and DH is non-denomination. Luckily, for me DH as no opinion on how we celebrate, but we made sure we were on the same page eventually.

    However, we actually fell pregnant with my DS while I was on bcp before we were engaged. (GASP! Bad Catholic :) ) We were pretty young, in our early 20's. Like you, we hadn't settled all of the religion issues. We were too busy being young and apparently having sex with faulty bcp! But, we eventually did have the conversation.

    You have the right to have non-negotiable ideas for how you will live your life. If the holidays is one of these, you need to let him know. Period. If this is when your family gets together and this is why the holidays are important to you, he needs to understand that. Being in a relationship is full of give and take. Sometimes it takes us out of our norm or our comfort zone. But, to make your relationship work, you need to sit down and have an honest discussion about these issues.

    Also, keep in mind that it's okay to make your own traditions, too. I don't see my family as often during the holidays because DH likes to stay home and celebrate all day. This is very different for me. However, we take turns from year to year. Maybe this is something you can do in your own way so you both feel like you're able to keep your own traditions?

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    I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness but left when I was 18 (over 10 years ago) when I went off to college. I celebrate and make a huge deal out of holidays because I missed out when I was young. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    You and your boyfriend should talk and come to a medium about what you and the child can celebrate and what you would want him to participate. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t celebrate holidays or even birthdays because of the religious associations of those celebrations.

    But since he is having a sex and baby out of wedlock (a huge no-no) with a non-Jehovah's Witness (another huge no-no) it is more than likely it is not about religion to him either but more about his traditions. He traditionally didn’t celebrate and thus doesn't want to celebrate.

    I second going to counseling but understand he probably won't change to celebrate with you but instead maybe he'll be more lenient on what you and he baby can do.

     

     

     

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    KarissadeniseKarissadenise member
    edited June 2014
    Thank you everyone for helping and suggesting everything! I really appreciate all of the point of views. Nice to know im not being selfish or crazy..
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    Honestly, I'm sorry you are going through this.  It is a very tough position to be in, and I hope you guys are able to figure something out.  I do agree with some of the previous posts though, that you should not just give up what's important to you because your SO said so.  What if the roles were reversed? Would he do the same for you ... just follow your lead on such a big issue? Probably not and you shouldn't do that for him either.  

    My husband is Jewish and I am Christian, and we talked about religion and our beliefs and family traditions alot, and I'm very lucky because we agreed on the really big things.  That said, if my husband had said no, we aren't celebrating Christmas and you can't go celebrate it with your family on that day, I would have ignored him and done what I wanted for myself.  

    What have you guys done to this point in your relationship? How have you made it work so far?
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    Oh religion - such a tough and sensitive topic.

    My husband and I were both raised as Catholics, and at some point in our separate lives the both of us changed to Christianity. My husband is far more "holy" than I am, and he has a "close" relationship with God. I, on the other hand, go to Christian service with my husband, but I do not agree with a plethora of views that we are taught at church. I believe in a God, but I fully support same-sex marriage and am pro-choice amongst other things. My husband on the other hand is not. Since my brother is gay and will eventually get married to his wonderful fiance, he has agreed to teach our children that marriage is a commitment you make to someone you love regardless of age, color, sex, etc.

    We nearly called off our wedding when the issue of same-sex marriage was brought up at church. I couldn't stand listening to their views and abruptly left mid-service. My husband and I talked it out (read: argued it out) and compromised on how we would raise our children. He will teach them that there is a God, blah blah blah, and I will teach them that everyone regardless of age, sex, color, sexual preference, etc is to be treated with equal respect. He will teach them the importance of the Christmas holiday, and I will teach them that giving to those less fortunate especially during the holidays is important and fulfilling.

    My best advice to you is to have a long discussion with your boyfriend how you will raise your children. This conversation is very important and both of you need to understand that there will be compromises. Anytime children is involved, both parents will need to learn how to compromise. We all have different views on everything from disciplining our children, to what holidays will be celebrated. This discussion will just be one of many you'll have as parents. Better to get it out of the way before your bundle of joy arrives. Good luck.

     

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    desireearieldesireeariel member
    edited June 2014
    I was a preschool teacher and one of my students was a jehovah witness. It was the saddest thing I ever had to deal with. Because whether you follow the traditions at home or not they still have to face it at school around other kids and they do not understand WHY
    "Miss Desiree why don't I get a crown and a special day song?" (Birthday)
    Any holidays he had to have a separate activity from everyone else and he knew. He was always sad about it. They aren't totally clueless they can clearly see everyone else getting candy canes or decorating the class tree. All the teachers discussed it with his mother and she was the one telling us to just keep him separate. So sad.
    ANYWAYS, I think you should stand your ground. If to him it becomes a matter of not being together anymore than you're better off because the way you described whats happened sounds like a toxic relationship.
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    If it's important to you, you make sure that you celebrate it with your child, whether your BF wants to partake or not. You just tell him that it is all part of your family traditions. Relationships are a two way street-there is no reason for you to give up your traditions. Why doesn't he give up his? It's not fair to ask either of you to do so. You can just make your child aware that Mom celebrates this, Dad has other beliefs. And that is okay. Your boyf will hopefully come around once the baby is born.
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    MeetherMeether member
    edited June 2014
    I think your point of view is important and you guys need to come up with an agreement that works for both. I am Christian and DH is Jewish, but we agreed since I'm the mom, our kids will follow Christian traditions. DH is a little iffy on the circumcision but I'm from Europe and we don't circumcise...so as of now, we won't even follow that.
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    MaxsMom9 said:
    I was a preschool teacher and one of my students was a jehovah witness. It was the saddest thing I ever had to deal with. Because whether you follow the traditions at home or not they still have to face it at school around other kids and they do not understand WHY
    "Miss Desiree why don't I get a crown and a special day song?" (Birthday)
    Any holidays he had to have a separate activity from everyone else and he knew. He was always sad about it. They aren't totally clueless they can clearly see everyone else getting candy canes or decorating the class tree. All the teachers discussed it with his mother and she was the one telling us to just keep him separate. So sad.
    There was a little girl in my second grade class who wasn't even allowed to eat other kids' bday cupcakes. My mom made these awesome bumblebee cupcakes and she cried because she couldn't have one. It was terrible. I snuck her one while she was doing her worksheet in the hallway - I hope she's not still plagued by the thougt that she might go to hell for that bumblebee cupcake.

    And would you sneak a Muslim some pork? Or a Jewish child some non-kosher item?
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    @Ainslie325‌ - you're right. I misread it the first time and didn't realize they were both kids. I think my point still stands, though, that just because someone's religious beliefs are different, it's not up to us to decide they aren't right or should be pitied.
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    I don't disagree with you. It's not for me to make pronouncements about someone else's practice of his or her faith. Even as an adult who respects others' faiths and knows well my place, though, I still feel bad for a child who, in the moment, knows not yet what she believes, she only knows that she feels left out. I know that one day she'll come to understand why she's left out, but I think it's human have empathy for a child who doesn't get it yet. I feel bad because I know what she's feeling; I don't feel bad because of who she is.

    Eh, I'd say that some kids feel bad being left out and others already have strong faith. But, I take your point.
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    OP, how long have you guys been together and how have you dealt with holidays as a couple? Do you live together?
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    Mrw218Mrw218 member
    I would say it isn't a huge issue if it is Jewish and one of the common Christian sects because one rose from the other but Jehovah's witnesses are comparatively way out there. They wouldn't even be recognized by many Christians bc I'm pretty sure they are not baptized under and don't believe in the holy trinity thus making this a huge issue. I know you aren't religious but the nature of your celebrations is directly against Jehovah witness teachings and if you are so non religious and your br is he may feel he holds the religious decisions. This would be a huge deal breaker for me. It is not a minor thing and I absolutely would not marry someone with beliefs this far from mine. You guys need to sit down and talk it out. If he can't compromise and you can't imagine life without those events I can't possibly see how this is going to work. Your family will buy the kid gifts for holidays and birthdays. Then your bf is going to take them away and say no the kid is going to cry and not understand and your heart is going to be broken unless you get aligned with each other.
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    From a “kid’s” point of view:

    My parents were raised in very different religious traditions – actually, my dad’s family was slightly religious and my mom’s family was very religious, but different religions.  It was never an issue in our family because we followed my dad’s traditions and not my mom’s.  My mom never really talked about her upbringing and we hardly ever saw any signs of it.  As I got older, this started to make me feel really sad, like my mom had given up a really important part of herself (whether that be religion or traditions).  I also become more interested in learning about the beliefs, traditions, and community she was raised in.

    I later came to understand that my mom didn’t want to pass her religious upbringing onto us, and that it was a deliberate choice – not something she did just for my dad – and so it doesn’t bother me much.  I think if I learned that she had given up her traditions (and kept us kids from experiencing them) just for my dad, I would still be really sad about this –  both for my mom’s sake and because of what I had missed out on.

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    Yeah, count me in as another who is giving your boyfriend a side-eye. He has gotten a non-Jehovah Witness pregnant out of wedlock and seems pretty unrepentant. By the standards of his faith that's a huge sin. And yet, apparently, you celebrating your own traditions that his faith does not allow him to participate in - well, that's a bridge too far. 

    You go ahead and put up a tree, and do your holiday thang. You can gently tell him he is under no obligation to join in. You are respecting his right to his beliefs and would appreciate if he respect yours. If he protests you doing it, just inform him that he should have thought of these issues before he had unmarried sex and knocked up a non-JW.   
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    Cheekers2010Cheekers2010 member
    edited June 2014
    Mrw218 said:
    I would say it isn't a huge issue if it is Jewish and one of the common Christian sects because one rose from the other but Jehovah's witnesses are comparatively way out there. They wouldn't even be recognized by many Christians bc I'm pretty sure they are not baptized under and don't believe in the holy trinity thus making this a huge issue. I know you aren't religious but the nature of your celebrations is directly against Jehovah witness teachings and if you are so non religious and your br is he may feel he holds the religious decisions. This would be a huge deal breaker for me. It is not a minor thing and I absolutely would not marry someone with beliefs this far from mine. You guys need to sit down and talk it out. If he can't compromise and you can't imagine life without those events I can't possibly see how this is going to work. Your family will buy the kid gifts for holidays and birthdays. Then your bf is going to take them away and say no the kid is going to cry and not understand and your heart is going to be broken unless you get aligned with each other.

    From the Merriam Webster dictionary: 1Chris·tian noun \ˈkris-chən, ˈkrish-\ : a person who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ

    They believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. That said, I agree with you that this is an issue that must be worked out.
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    Yeah, count me in as another who is giving your boyfriend a side-eye. He has gotten a non-Jehovah Witness pregnant out of wedlock and seems pretty unrepentant. By the standards of his faith that's a huge sin. And yet, apparently, you celebrating your own traditions that his faith does not allow him to participate in - well, that's a bridge too far. 


    You go ahead and put up a tree, and do your holiday thang. You can gently tell him he is under no obligation to join in. You are respecting his right to his beliefs and would appreciate if he respect yours. If he protests you doing it, just inform him that he should have thought of these issues before he had unmarried sex and knocked up a non-JW.   
    That's very well said @merebear09‌

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    I think too you need to discuss too how you will raise your child. Are you okay with them not participating in things. As much as I'm an advocate of working things out I couldn't do this. Good luck I think counseling is a great idea even for you to decide where your line is and how to approach all of this. Good luck!

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    I'm so sorry you're dealing with this...I can imagine it is incredibly frustrating.  I know that this is something that should have been discussed but you're here now so hindsight is 20/20.  (I do think PPs are making an excellent point too..that he isn't following the ideals of his 'church'..I don't know what to call it...so it can't be so tremendously important to him that he can't compromise with you).  

    If I were you, I think I'd discuss with him that a section of the house will be decorated with holiday things during Christian holidays.  You won't make the house crazy and you both will have to teach your child that Mom and Dad have different views.  I think he should allow you to teach them your traditions, with your family, and then he can explain what his family does.  

    I have a really hard time with the idea of denying a kid their birthday (one of the only times their the center of attention as they get older) or celebrating their friends' birthdays.  I think that's kind of a right of passage but that's just me.  I think that's something that will have to be discussed later on too, as your child gets older and starts to understand a little more.  

    I think compromise is the most important thing here.  NEITHER one of you should give up what you believe in...and NEITHER one of you should deny the other the traditions they've always held.  Your child can decide for themselves later on which path they'll choose for themselves. 

    Sorry this is going on!
                                                    


                                                          

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