MIL interfering with our decisions about religion (long) — The Bump
2nd Trimester

MIL interfering with our decisions about religion (long)

To start off, my mother-in-law and I have a fairly good relationship. I actually have a better relationship with her than with my own mother. When we do have a disagreement over things we are normally able to work it out without my husbands help (it's not his job to deal with my problems, even if they are with his family).

So when my husband and I found out we were pregnant we always knew that the baby was not going to be baptized, so that they could make their own decision about religion on their own. I was never baptized as a baby, my parents left that decision up to me, the rest of my extended family is Roman Catholic. My husbands family is Christian, and he was raised as a Christian, went to Catholic School (I attended a public school) and church with his family when he was growing up.

When my husband and I were talking about getting married (before we were married, obviously), we went over the very important "talks" about children, religion, where to live, life goals, etc. We decided religion wasn't for us. My mother-in-law is very against this decision. Now she has gone and made arrangements with her pastor/church for our child's baptism, without our knowledge or approval.

When she left a message on our machine yesterday letting us know that when the time comes everything would be taken care of, my husband and I were completely shocked. While he believes in God, I have taken a stronger sense in science. We both talked about how to approach the subject with his mother and agreed on a plan of action where we would say that while we appreciated the thought (even though we do not), we wanted our child to be able to choose for themselves. My husband spoke with his mother who proceeded to break down in tears and "express her fears" that our child will be lost in life without the guidance of God, and while I have chosen a life that strays from God, it doesn't mean her grandchild has to be damned as well.

My husband did his best to comfort her and then decided to tell her that we (my husband and I) would come to a compromise and have the baby baptized. I am very upset about this, as this is not what we had decided together. He says that marriage is about compromise and that this is what he wants to make his mother happy. I was angry at this point and told him that I wanted to talk to his mother myself, as I am not budging on this. Needless to say he has left for work and I agreed to speak with him about our options when he comes home.

I do not believe in God, and feel betrayed by my husband because we had spoken about this years in advance when we decided to make a life together. When we found out we were pregnant we still felt that the decision we made was what was right for us. A phone call from his mother shouldn't change the promises that we made. How do I approach this? I truly am not willing to budge, I feel so very strongly about this, and I don't want to force beliefs on my baby when I do not believe in them myself. They should be free to make their own decisions (like I was). 

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Re: MIL interfering with our decisions about religion (long)

  • I feel you on this. We had our own disagreements on the subject and ultimately decided to go with baptism because it was unimportant to me, but was important to my husband.

    In your case, you need to talk to your husband first. Tell him that because this child is from you and him, you need to decide (as it seems you already have) how you intend to raise him/her. If he wants to place his mother's wishes that far above those that his nuclear family already determined, he and she can adopt a baby. Remind him that you and he made this decision before you were even married, and that your feelings on the subject have not changed. If he starts caving it to please his mother regarding how she wants her grandchild raised, it will be a long hard road from here on out. Maybe he's changed his mind and is afraid to tell you. In that case, I think you do need to reassess and maybe consider a compromise. I was in favor of no baptism at all, but because my husband felt very strongly about it, I decided it was fine to go ahead. I am not commiting to raising my child in this church, and I will definitely make sure our home is a place where tough decisions are talked over and each of us gets to make his or her own decision. I don't think baptizing your child will bond him/her for life to that particular religion (or even having a religion in general). But if he/she ever decides to marry someone in a church, it will be easier if he/she is already baptized.

    To sum up: I'm not trying to change your mind. But you need to have a conversation with your husband to remind him that it is you and he making the decisions about your child, not him and his mother. Would he let her enroll the child in school without your input? I highly doubt it. Best of luck!

  • Wow, how presumptuous of her!

    Compromise in a marriage should be between you and your H, not you and his mother. 

    I would probably try to talk to her and then beyond that if she won't back down I would call the priest and explain that you are agnostic/atheist (I'm in the same boat as you, but dh and I are on the same page) and that you think that is disrespecting the church if you allow MIL to force this on you. (Sorry for the run on sentence.)  

    I respect your decision to let your LO decide for him/herself. 

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  • Ok just to start subjects about religion can be very sensitive and touchy.
    I too was raised to be able to decide for myself whether or not God existed. As an adult after going thru lots of difficult stuff that I or my family could not fix I turned not to organized religion but to God. I have a very strong Faith in that He does exist. Also after reading the bible and learning about baptisms, I learned that you as a person must decide to accept Jesus into your life heart. Your parents can not do that for you. So for us that means we will vow to raise our child in a Christian home that is focused on God but that our child will be baptised when they decide.
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  • I would be furious, more with H then with MIL.  MIL is like most grandmothers who attempt to push what they want, how they feel a child should be raised on your child but H should have stood up for the both of you.  I have a similar experience but my H can be irrational and emotional vs talking things through. 

    My MIL is addicted to medication, constantly advising us to give our daughter alcohol to subside teething, etc.  We, H and I together, agreed she would not get our daughter by herself EVER.  Well about 4 months old she called yelling at him that she was coming to get her, we couldn't keep her from her etc.... H tried to give in which caused an argument between us for almost a week.  I won in the end. 

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  • I am not overly religious so I may be wrong about this but when did a baptism come with a contract to make sure the baby is indoctrinated. Do you have to sign a legal contract that stipulates that you will take baby to church every Sunday if the baby is baptized?  I am pretty sure that God loves all innocents i.e. babies and kids whether or not they have been baptized, so your kid won't be damned until he/she can decide for his/herself.

    Seriously, I would talk to your H, let him know how you feel, see if he will not honor his guilt tripped "compromise" to his mother. Try talking to your MIL after talking to your H, by that time you'll know where you and your H stand on the issue. If it is going to cause a huge rift in your relationship with your MIL, go ahead with the baptism, your baby won't remember it, your don't have to hang baptism photos up and you won't have to indoctrinate your kid just because he/she has been baptized.

     

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  • image dalzien:

    My husband did his best to comfort her and then decided to tell her that we (my husband and I) would come to a compromise and have the baby baptized. I am very upset about this, as this is not what we had decided together. He says that marriage is about compromise and that this is what he wants to make his mother happy. I was angry at this point and told him that I wanted to talk to his mother myself, as I am not budging on this. Needless to say he has left for work and I agreed to speak with him about our options when he comes home.

    I do not believe in God, and feel betrayed by my husband because we had spoken about this years in advance when we decided to make a life together. When we found out we were pregnant we still felt that the decision we made was what was right for us. A phone call from his mother shouldn't change the promises that we made. How do I approach this? I truly am not willing to budge, I feel so very strongly about this, and I don't want to force beliefs on my baby when I do not believe in them myself. They should be free to make their own decisions (like I was). 

    You need to remind him that the compromise in a marriage is between you and him for things that affect you and him, not his mommy.  Tell him how you feel, tell him you feel betrayed. A compromise is not letting his mother dictate how you raise your child. Do not baptize your child. Do not give in with this because it will lead to more. To be honest I don't agree with your idea of religion and beliefs but I certainly respect your right to do what you want in your life and raise your child the way you see fit.

    I would sit my husband down and talk to him and explain everything you have. Is he really trying to please his mother or is this something he really wants?

  • I fully believe in people's rights to religion. I do not pretend to understand religion( as I was not raised in a religious household), but as I said my extended family is Roman Catholic and this is perfectly fine with me. I want to approach this with as much tact and care as possible, because IT IS a very sensitive topic. If my husband feels differently now than he did a few months ago when we reaffirmed what we had discussed before marriage, then that is fine, but don't inform me of this by telling your mother we are baptizing the baby. Don't sit down with me, to find a way to best approach your mother to tell her we are not going to baptize, only to tell her after that we are. Religion can completely separate people, if this is how his mother feels now, and he changes his mind about baptizing, then what happens when she complains that we don't take the baby to church? Or that we don't have plans to enroll in a Catholic school? Do we suddenly do a 180 and decide religion is for the baby, when I don't believe? When we both had decided on a different way to raise our baby. 

    I don't know what it means to be baptized, but I feel that it pushes a belief on someone who doesn't have the ability to decide for themselves, and to me it just feels so wrong, and always has. I know in the end the decision won't be mine (if our child wants to pursue a religion then I will support them). I do not want to support a woman who cries to get her way, and is making a decision which has a possibility to put a divide in my marriage.

  • image minda31807:

    I am not overly religious so I may be wrong about this but when did a baptism come with a contract to make sure the baby is indoctrinated. Do you have to sign a legal contract that stipulates that you will take baby to church every Sunday if the baby is baptized?  I am pretty sure that God loves all innocents i.e. babies and kids whether or not they have been baptized, so your kid won't be damned until he/she can decide for his/herself.

    Seriously, I would talk to your H, let him know how you feel, see if he will not honor his guilt tripped "compromise" to his mother. Try talking to your MIL after talking to your H, by that time you'll know where you and your H stand on the issue. If it is going to cause a huge rift in your relationship with your MIL, go ahead with the baptism, your baby won't remember it, your don't have to hang baptism photos up and you won't have to indoctrinate your kid just because he/she has been baptized.

     

     I have no idea what happens/what promises you make when someone is baptized. If it was as simple as having baby baptized without a commitment to the church I would be more open to pursuing it as an option. I never thought to ask my husband about it honestly, and certainly will. 

  • Wow! I don't know where to begin. It's incredibly wrong for her to step in and try to circumvent your decisions. Not only that, but if she did have your child baptized behind your back, she is making a commitment to God to raise this child in a certain way, a commit she cannot realistically uphold! I mean it's just bad for absolutely everyone involved. I can't believe the priest or pastor is going along with any of it! 

    I think there are two things you have to do. Your DH has to have a very serious talk with him mother. Two, I think you need to contact the priest or pastor she has been working with, and make sure he knows your MIL is making these plans without your permission. 

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  • My MIL is Catholic, and would like us to baptize our kids, though she's not so direct about telling us.  I think she knows that DH won't even entertain the idea.  It was really inappropriate for your MIL to set up the baptism without your consent.  I would be more upset with DH though for backing down when this is something you agreed on years ago.  I wouldn't budge either.  Luckily my DH is on the same page. You need to straighten things out with your DH before you approach your MIL though.  It's more important for you and your DH to be on the same page.  I think your DH should be the one to talk with your MIL again, but only if he won't back down.  

    Sorry you are in this position.  I don't agree with the PP that you should just do it because your kid won't remember and you don't have to share the pictures.  It means a lot more than that both for you to participate in something you don't believe in and to send the message to your MIL that she can intervene in the religious upbringing of your child.  Such a sensitive subject, but I could never baptize my kid even if it changed my relationship with my MIL.  You will have to weight the pros/cons of both sides though.   

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  • image minda31807:

    I am not overly religious so I may be wrong about this but when did a baptism come with a contract to make sure the baby is indoctrinated. Do you have to sign a legal contract that stipulates that you will take baby to church every Sunday if the baby is baptized?  I am pretty sure that God loves all innocents i.e. babies and kids whether or not they have been baptized, so your kid won't be damned until he/she can decide for his/herself.

    Seriously, I would talk to your H, let him know how you feel, see if he will not honor his guilt tripped "compromise" to his mother. Try talking to your MIL after talking to your H, by that time you'll know where you and your H stand on the issue. If it is going to cause a huge rift in your relationship with your MIL, go ahead with the baptism, your baby won't remember it, your don't have to hang baptism photos up and you won't have to indoctrinate your kid just because he/she has been baptized.

     

    It's my understanding that in some churches baptizing a baby is agreeing to raise them in that religion. That's why my child will not be baptized in the Catholic church. Certainly not a legal document but it would be wrong of someone to make that decision and not keep their promise, IMO. 

     

    I agree with PP that the compromise is between you and your DH, NOT you two and your MIL. She should not be involved in any of your parenting decisions and this kind of sets a bad precedent. If his only reason is to please his mom, stand your ground. This is a decision you two made a long time ago and changing it on a whim is not fair. I hope the discussion when he gets home from work is productive and if you two can't make a decision, maybe a counselor can help you two work through it? Best of luck.


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    Jacob, 1/14/13
  • Hubby and I will definitely be talking this one out until we are both happy with the outcome, but if he now truly believes in baptism I have no idea where to go. If he was just saying it to make his mother happy then I will gladly mention some of the points brought up here, as he is not married to his mother, and hasn't taken such a huge life step with his mother. Honestly, he doesn't cater to his mother often (I'll admit that sometimes she does interfere, and yes, sometimes she gets her way), but not with things that are so important. We had an issue with her when we decided we were not going to find out the sex of our baby (our ultrasound is next week). We want it to be a surprise, she wants to know so that she can do her shopping. My husband was very firm with her, and had no problem telling her no, and that it was our decision. This is why I just feel so cornered, because he has the ability to say no, but has decided that (according to him) to make his mother happy, he would like to go through with the baptism. When he gets home, and after he unwinds a bit from work, we'll go over why. I just don't know why, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset about it.
  • I don't think it was right of her to go and set up everything without your knowledge or consent. 

    I don't think it was right of your H to put words in your mouth and agree to something without you actually agreeing to it.

    That being said, honestly, it's a freaking baptism. I was baptized into one religion when I was a baby, and that has NOTHING to do with where I stand on religion today, nor has it ever had an effect of my life in any way, shape, or form. It's a baby; they aren't going to remember it in the slightest. What it WILL do, is bring a peace of mind to your H's family that is religious, because they do believe that it is important, and they mean it out of love for the baby.

    If I were you, I'd realize that it obviously is important to your H in some way, and go ahead and let them do their little water sprinkling ceremony and get it over with. If your child DOES chose to be of the Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist religions when they grow up, being baptized as a baby is kind of a big deal. Let them throw the party and dote on the baby a little more, and know that a few prayers and water drops doesn't in any way shape your child's future.  

    ETA: You CAN have a say in what the order of services and prayers say at a baptism. If you tell the priest/preacher that you are uncomfortable with the traditional "By bringing your child to be baptized you are affirming your own personal beliefs in God." and simply chose another wording that doesn't even include God at all. I've seen people do things like, "Do you promise to turn away evil in all areas of your life?" and questions like that, rather than straight up "Do you believe in God?" questions.  

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  • image dalzien:
    Hubby and I will definitely be talking this one out until we are both happy with the outcome, but if he now truly believes in baptism I have no idea where to go. If he was just saying it to make his mother happy then I will gladly mention some of the points brought up here, as he is not married to his mother, and hasn't taken such a huge life step with his mother. Honestly, he doesn't cater to his mother often (I'll admit that sometimes she does interfere, and yes, sometimes she gets her way), but not with things that are so important. We had an issue with her when we decided we were not going to find out the sex of our baby (our ultrasound is next week). We want it to be a surprise, she wants to know so that she can do her shopping. My husband was very firm with her, and had no problem telling her no, and that it was our decision. This is why I just feel so cornered, because he has the ability to say no, but has decided that (according to him) to make his mother happy, he would like to go through with the baptism. When he gets home, and after he unwinds a bit from work, we'll go over why. I just don't know why, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset about it.

     You definitely have a right to be upset. This isn't something you've never talked about before. He knows how you feel. If at some point your child wants to be baptized, they can be at that point. Hopefully he just caved in to her at a vulnerable point, and can tell her you both will be sticking to your original decision. And like I said before there is always the option of counseling to help you discuss it productively.

    ETA I definitely do NOT think you should do this just to make your husband's family happy. Will you send your child to classes to take their first communion and enroll them in Catholic school just to make them happy? Of course the baby won't remember it and it doesn't decide their religion for life but it DOES tell your husband's family that you are a push over and they have a part in the decision making process of raising your child. It gives them the idea that they have control and IMO it will be easier to never let them have control than take it away when you finally reach your limit. You should both stick your guns on this and IF you do change your mind because of your husband, his mother needs to know that YOU TWO came to a compromise, not that you compromised with her. 


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    Jacob, 1/14/13
  • image RissKay:

    I don't think it was right of her to go and set up everything without your knowledge or consent. 

    I don't think it was right of your H to put words in your mouth and agree to something without you actually agreeing to it.

    That being said, honestly, it's a freaking baptism. I was baptized into one religion when I was a baby, and that has NOTHING to do with where I stand on religion today, nor has it ever had an effect of my life in any way, shape, or form. It's a baby; they aren't going to remember it in the slightest. What it WILL do, is bring a peace of mind to your H's family that is religious, because they do believe that it is important, and they mean it out of love for the baby.

    If I were you, I'd realize that it obviously is important to your H in some way, and go ahead and let them do their little water sprinkling ceremony and get it over with. If your child DOES chose to be of the Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist religions when they grow up, being baptized as a baby is kind of a big deal. Let them throw the party and dote on the baby a little more, and know that a few prayers and water drops doesn't in any way shape your child's future.  

    ETA: You CAN have a say in what the order of services and prayers say at a baptism. If you tell the priest/preacher that you are uncomfortable with the traditional "By bringing your child to be baptized you are affirming your own personal beliefs in God." and simply chose another wording that doesn't even include God at all. I've seen people do things like, "Do you promise to turn away evil in all areas of your life?" and questions like that, rather than straight up "Do you believe in God?" questions.  

    DS isn't being baptized, and if DH were to suddenly change his mind and want DS baptized, I'd be livid. This is something that both parents need to agree 100% on, and OP shouldn't have to compromise her beliefs to make her MIL feel better. Her MIL is a pushy control freak, and her husband needs to grow a backbone. 

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  • image mabenner1:
    image RissKay:

    I don't think it was right of her to go and set up everything without your knowledge or consent. 

    I don't think it was right of your H to put words in your mouth and agree to something without you actually agreeing to it.

    That being said, honestly, it's a freaking baptism. I was baptized into one religion when I was a baby, and that has NOTHING to do with where I stand on religion today, nor has it ever had an effect of my life in any way, shape, or form. It's a baby; they aren't going to remember it in the slightest. What it WILL do, is bring a peace of mind to your H's family that is religious, because they do believe that it is important, and they mean it out of love for the baby.

    If I were you, I'd realize that it obviously is important to your H in some way, and go ahead and let them do their little water sprinkling ceremony and get it over with. If your child DOES chose to be of the Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist religions when they grow up, being baptized as a baby is kind of a big deal. Let them throw the party and dote on the baby a little more, and know that a few prayers and water drops doesn't in any way shape your child's future.  

    ETA: You CAN have a say in what the order of services and prayers say at a baptism. If you tell the priest/preacher that you are uncomfortable with the traditional "By bringing your child to be baptized you are affirming your own personal beliefs in God." and simply chose another wording that doesn't even include God at all. I've seen people do things like, "Do you promise to turn away evil in all areas of your life?" and questions like that, rather than straight up "Do you believe in God?" questions.  

    DS isn't being baptized, and if DH were to suddenly change his mind and want DS baptized, I'd be livid. This is something that both parents need to agree 100% on, and OP shouldn't have to compromise her beliefs to make her MIL feel better. Her MIL is a pushy control freak, and her husband needs to grow a backbone. 

    If he's changed his mind, there is a reason. It sounds like, from what the OP has said, that he's put his foot down many times before over equally touchy issues, and has stood his ground. Sounds like there is a part of him that wants his child baptized, even if he hasn't figured out how to tell the OP this or realized it for himself. 

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  • image LauraT25:

    I think you've gotten enough advice, but I want to add that I really don't agree that you should just go through with it since the baby will never know.  I'm not religious, so I don't think that splashing water on my baby's forehead does anything one way or another, BUT I think this is about principles and standing up to your MIL, and giving in (even for something superficial) sets a bad precedent.  My MIL has said many of the same things, including threatening to baptize the baby secretly, but thankfully my husband hasn't backed down from our stance.  To me it's about respecting our decisions when it comes to parenting our child, not a religious debate.

    It's a tricky situation, it's hard to say if your husband is just giving in (which is terrible, IMO, especially since you've talked about this at length) or if he has actually changed his mind.  It sounds like some long talks are in your future, and it should be about you and your husband, regardless of what his mom wants.

     

    I completely agree with you and some of the previous posters (Melissa especially). We will definitely be discussing this in length. I do not plan on giving in if it is just to appease his mother, however if he has genuinely changed his mind, I don't think it is something that can be fixed overnight. Most likely I will get some professional advice so that we will continue to have a strong and supportive marriage. I have no intentions of opening up a religious debate, I just can't openly go through with a baptism because I just so strongly do not believe in it and I thought we had come to a decision together, before we were expecting.

  • I didn't read all the comments, but I gotta add mine, from a Christian's perspective who has been baptized, TWICE, in my life. 

     I agree that it was not your MIL place to do that, and I would be upset too. I also agree that your husband caved because she was making him feel bad and he should have stood strong with the decision you both made. 

    All that said, I'm not necessarily taking your MIL's side. But being baptized as a baby is more of a "formality", if you will, for some ppl. I know Catholics do it, and Methodists, and I know there are other denominations that do (and i know there are important reasons-I'm not trying to start a religious debate here). I am baptist, and as a Baptist, you are not baptized until you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. I was baptized (Church of Christ in Canada) as a baby, and that meant squat to me growing up. I ultimately made my own decision about religion and I accepted Christ at 16 and was baptized then. That second time is what was important to me.  

     I guess what Im saying is if your cant get your husband to stand up to your MIL, and the battle becomes too much or impossible, the act of your child being baptized as an infant in no way commits them to that religion for the rest of their life.  

  • WHile I have a different religious outlook than you I don't  see her point in wanting the baby baptised. How is an infant being baptised going to "guide" the baby's way through life? We are Christian, not "check the box" christians, but born again Christians. I have not baptised either of my children and neither will this one be baptised until they are old enough to decide if it is right for them. My 12 year old seems intrigued, but I don't think he will too soon, and if he does it's his decision. My 8 year old isn't understanding of what it all means yet so what's the point of baptising her. Then it's just an action.

    I think the best way is to show the kids all the choices and let them decide. Often Christians/Catholics are so militant and don't show all the choices making many turn away. Doesn't she realize pushing her way will likely push you, her son, and ultimately the grandbabies further away from her beliefs. She should try to lead by example rather than try to force someone to follow.

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  • Your MIL is way, way out of line with this.  Unless your DH has a reason for changing his mind that does not involve simply making his mother happy, I would stand my ground and not budge on the decision the two of you made and reaffirmed. 

    Either way, I would definitely talk with the pastor who was involved in the planning of the ceremony, if for no other reason than to find out what exactly is involved and what the ceremony means in the eyes of the church.  If you do decide to allow the baptism to happen, make sure you are as comfortable with it as you can be considering the situation.  I can't imagine that a pastor would be on board for going through with a ceremony that would, quite possibly, be one giant falsehood as far as making commitments for your LO's religious future, so I would be sure to mention the circumstances to him.

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  • i feel that although you may not believe that being baptized is important to you and your children - it may just keep the peace if you do it for the family. 

    it's not going to change how you raise your child or who they will be come if you baptize them as a baby to give your family a memory or something that's important to them.

    i'm not agreeing that your MIL had the right to make the arrangements on your behalf without your knowledge but we had our son christened as a family tradition although we won't be attending church regularly  

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  • I am Catholic and we had our LO baptized last year. However, you should know that you can NOT baptize your child in the church without attending a Baptism class, submitting paperwork, authorizing Godparents, then the Godparents have to submit their OWN paperwork, yada yada. It's a bit of a process and yes, it is takes a while to complete because it actually is the start of all religious sacraments that your child will ever experience. If your child would go on to receive their first communion, reconciliation, or even want to get married in a Catholic church one day, their "home church" (aka the church they got baptized in) would have to resubmit their Baptismal forms, etc, to prove that the baby had received their sacraments and when/year/church. And just a side note, there are nuns and priests in my family, so I can promise you that this information is correct!

    Obviously, I chose to Baptize my child and believe in what it stands for. However, all parents have the right to make the decisions that they believe are in their child's best interest. If you do not believe in God, I don't see the point in making a formal declaration of intent to raise the child to be a Christian (which is the point of Baptism). Even the point of a Godparent is to technically help be a spiritual leader for the child in the parent's faith, so again, I don't see the point. I am not condemning your beliefs in ANY way, just saying that I don't see the point and agree with what you're saying.

    I think you need to sit down with DH and have a serious talk about this. It sounds like he truly has changed his mind since talking to him mom, and perhaps wants to Baptize the baby now on his own accord. If this is the case, then you need to come to a family compromise between the two of you. Maybe you could baptize at another denomination's church, etc. 

    However, if he has NOT changed his beliefs on the subject and only wants to do it because of his Mom, then you need to b*tch slap that mofo upside the head. Ha! No, not really, but he needs to be put in his place asap. As for mommy dearest, I would not say a word to her about it in person unless she brings it up. She will only blame YOU, not her son. DH needs to be the one to stand up to her because she clearly believes that she can manipulate him (which she actually did). GL!

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  • That's absolutely ridiculous of her.  How does your husband feel about having the baby baptized?  Is it something that matters to him?  You might need to reach a compromise if it does. 
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  • Sorry to PPs, but it does NOT sound like he himself decided that he wants to get LO baptized.  It sounds like he's placating his mom.  Those are two hugely different issues and only the OP really knows what his deal is once she talks to him.  

    But I would think that if he had a change of heart on his own accord, he would discuss it with his wife first before agreeing to his mom.  That's the main reason this whole situation reeks of MIL.

    And I also think it's ridiculous to expect someone who doesn't believe in God to just go through with it to please the ILs.  Aside from disrespecting the mom's beliefs, that is so incredibly disrespectful to the church.  That's probably a step lower than people who are devout for a short period of time leading up to their wedding so that they can get married in a pretty place.

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  • I disagree. When you have a problem with someone in your husband's family, it IS his problem. He's in the middle; it's natural for him to be in the middle; he needs to stay in the middle. He understands everyone better, and loves everyone more.

     But that's actually neither here nor there. Personally, while I'm very religious, I don't believe infants should be baptized. But that's also neither here nor there.

    You said, "He says that marriage is about compromise and that this is what he wants to make his mother happy." This is not compromise for the marriage; this is compromise for HIS MOTHER. If he wants to please his mother over appeasing you, and going with things you had agreed upon BEFORE marriage, he needs to be checked. I completely understand how he wants to please his mom, but you come first, and the promises he made to you come first. IT DOESN'T MATTER what she wants. IT'S NOT HER CHILD. The decision is PURELY yours and your husband's. Compromise is not "doing whatever my mom wants." 

  • Oh shoot! I haven't even thought of the heat I'm going to get from my grandparents about this baby and baptism. (they don't even know yet)

    Now i'm also not very religious and luckily it seems my BF is as well. So I will probably not get too much drama with that side. But my advice is, is to probably use some bible verses to back up why you don't want to baptise the baby. Or just say that you where not baptized as a baby and you came out perfectly fine.

    I wasn't and I came out fine and I sort of choose to get baptized when I was 9 (I lived with my heavily religious grandparents at the time). I also kind of regret doing it now, because I discovered my sexuality years after that and we all hear how the catholic church is against homosexuality. (even though I'm bisexual, i'm still pretty in the closet on that.) But because I was baptized my grandparents are really on me about going to church.

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  • image LauraT25:

    Even though it's completely inappropriate and I'm sure it's not actually sanctioned by the Catholic church, it IS possible for someone to get a baby baptized without the parents' consent, if they can find a priest willing to do it.  I'm sure they absolutely aren't supposed to, but this happened to a friend of mine (who I know IRL, not just some urban legend) because her mother convinced her priest that she needed to save the baby's soul, yadda yadda yadda.  She attended the class instead of the parents, picked godparents, etc, and they did the ceremony without the parents' knowledge.

    I am sure this is not all that common, but it can happen.  

    I'm not calling you a liar, but I absolutely don't believe this. I think your friend was/is confused or the "baptism" (so called) was not actually legitimate and binding. It is a VERY formal and sacred process (actually considered a sacrament of initiation), and would be illegal to be entered into without parental consent, paperwork, signatures, etc.

    I think mommy dearest (or whomever it was) may have exaggerated. She probably threw some holy water on the baby's head, called a shaman, and "picked" godparents by telling them. Ha. Obviously, I'm half way kidding, but that sounds incredibly unlikely to me. 

    **Edit- Found this information to be helpful.

    According to Canon law (law of the Catholic church) and a decree made in 1272 by Pope Gregory X, this would be considered a forced Baptism, which is a false sacrament (meaning that it doesn't count even if she tried). It says, "We decree moreover that no Christian shall compel them or any one of their group to come to baptism unwillingly. For indeed that person who is known to come to *Christian baptism not freely, but unwillingly, is not believed to possess the Christian faith."

    So, like I said, it would be illegal, NO priest would do it, and even if MIL tried to do it herself in a bathtub with holy water, it would not count.

    I should add on a side note that for those against infant Baptism, Catholics have the sacrament of Confirmation, which is sort of like adult baptism at protestant churches (accepting to live a life for Christ, being seen as an adult in the church, receiving the Holy Spirit). Many other denominations that perform infant baptisms also hold confirmations.

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  • It seems as though many are confused as to what compromise means:

    compromise[ kompruhmahyz ]
    noun
    1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
    2. the result of such a settlement.
    3. something intermediate between different things: The splitlevel is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house.

    Compromising does not mean OP gives in to others' demands or wants.
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  • I AM a religious person and I COMPLETELY see where you are coming from. It's not an issue of religion vs. no religion. It's an issue of "who is the parent here who should make the initial decisions for this child?" She means well, which is all good and great, but you BOTH are the parents; not just your husband. I won't lie and say I know where you're coming from or whatnot; like I said, I am active in my religion and in my faith kids are baptized once they are able to make the cognizant choice to be baptized- whatever age that is, but never before they're 8. Moreover, we are strongly against the belief that just because someone (especially a baby) isn't baptized they will go to hell. (sorry, I don't mean to get preachy, just a little background, FWIW).

    I am  VERY sorry though that you are in this situation. Definitely speak to your husband. This is something you and he should be deciding, not your MIL, no matter how good her intentions are. And in the end, I wish you the best of luck because honestly, who knows what people will do. My friend's parents volunteered to babysit while she and DH went out for a wedding and when they returned they were greeted with "congratulations" as her staunchly Catholic parents had her baby baptized without the parents' consent. 

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  • I'm just now seeing this thread. 

    I think most everything has been said, really. I just wanted to say that I really support and respect your choice to defend your child's right to choose. I'm a relatively staunch atheist, as is DH. His family is Protestant, mine is Mormon - so we get pressure from both sides, but we are united as family and in mind. I have great empathy for what you must be experiencing. 

    Keep up the good fight, momma. 

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  • Our children are only baptized because my aunt (who helped raise me) threatened to take my older daughter and do it if I didn't. We decided that while it was meaningless to us it meant enough to her that we gave in. I made it clear that we would not be sending them to religious education classes and they would not receive future sacraments unless they chose to.

    It turns out that my aunt did not realize that Catholic beliefs had changed and an unbaptized baby who passed was no longer doomed to spend forever in purgatory. She was upset we didn't do it on the way home from the hospital because she believed that was still true.

    We basically decided that this didn't hurt us and helped her. If we do send them to religious education we'll make it clear we don't believe much of what is taught.

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  • Baptism can have different specific meanings in different Christian denominations. However, in all denominations, there is one underlying meaning: it is a promise to raise your child in a Christian way. In our church, it is the parents, godparents, and congregation promising to help raise the child according to Christian values, so that when they are older, they hold those values and beliefs themselves. In many churches, the child (as a teenager) will then have the choice to affirm those Baptismal vows through Confirmation.

    If you are not planning on raising your child with those Christian values and beliefs, it is very disrespectful to the church to have your child baptised, as you are lying.

  • image dalzien:
    image minda31807:

    I am not overly religious so I may be wrong about this but when did a baptism come with a contract to make sure the baby is indoctrinated. Do you have to sign a legal contract that stipulates that you will take baby to church every Sunday if the baby is baptized?&nbsp; I am pretty sure that God loves all innocents i.e. babies and kids whether or not they have been baptized, so your kid won't be damned until&nbsp;he/she can decide for his/herself.


    Seriously, I would talk to your H, let him know how you feel, see if he will not honor his guilt tripped "compromise" to his mother. Try talking to your MIL after talking to your H, by that time you'll know where you and your H stand on the issue. If it is going to cause a huge rift in your relationship with your MIL, go ahead with the baptism, your baby won't remember it, your don't have to hang baptism photos up and you won't have to indoctrinate your kid just because he/she has been baptized.


    &nbsp;

    &nbsp;I have no idea what happens/what promises you make when someone is baptized. If it was as simple as having baby baptized without a commitment to the church I would be more open to pursuing it as an option. I never thought to ask my husband about it honestly, and certainly will.&nbsp;



    DD is baptized and she hasn't been to church since then. We are not a church going household, so we will not start now. We made no promises and did not have to sign any sort of contract.
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  • Although... technically, if you don't believe in God, then what harm is a baptism? If you don't believe in God, then you must therefore believe that a baptism is useless and pointless and means nothing, so... why fight it?
  • image Bride-hilda:
    Although... technically, if you don't believe in God, then what harm is a baptism? If you don't believe in God, then you must therefore believe that a baptism is useless and pointless and means nothing, so... why fight it?

    yup 

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  • I'm not religious, and I'm far from a pushover. That being said, if it were that important to my mother or MIL to sprinkle my baby's head with a little holy water then have a potluck, I'd do it.

  • image Bridehilda:
    Although... technically, if you don't believe in God, then what harm is a baptism? If you don't believe in God, then you must therefore believe that a baptism is useless and pointless and means nothing, so... why fight it?

    I can't speak for the op, but for me, baptism is something that someone should choose to do on their own, not be forced into in infancy. If my son decides as an adult to get baptised, I will be there to support him. My beliefs aren't there to be bulldozed over by others, so I won't put my son through something just to appease them. And religiously speaking, I think its pretty sh!tty to have your kid baptised when your spouse doesn't believe in the practice.
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  •  

    image Bride-hilda:
    Although... technically, if you don't believe in God, then what harm is a baptism? If you don't believe in God, then you must therefore believe that a baptism is useless and pointless and means nothing, so... why fight it?

    Well wouldn't this mean that if you are a Christian and not a Pagan, then any kind of Pagan ritual would mean nothing to you?  And so why would you not be willing to have your kid be part of a Pagan ritual just because your MIL wanted the kid to be part of it since it's pointless and meaningless to you anyway? 

    Similarly, why was there such an uproar over Jews who were killed in the Holocaust being baptized after death into the Mormon church?  After all, those Jews wouldn't have believed the Mormon baptism meant anything since they don't believe in Mormonism.

    The point is not any actual harm that comes from the ritual.  The point is the total lack of respect for the beliefs about religion and the decision about how to raise their own child that the OP and her spouse are making. 

     

    My family is religious and we are atheists.  I'm sure they'd prefer our kid be baptized, but they know if they actually suggested it to us we'd laugh in their face--just like they would do to us if we suggested to them that they should not baptize their kids because we don't like it.  Really, if your MIL is upset about this, I'd prepare for some major issues about every aspect of raising the kid.  She doesn't seem to have a sense of boundaries--that *you* are the parent and you make the decisions, not her.

     

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  • image Bride-hilda:
    Although... technically, if you don't believe in God, then what harm is a baptism? If you don't believe in God, then you must therefore believe that a baptism is useless and pointless and means nothing, so... why fight it?

    I can't speak for the OP, but the problem I have with this - even completely believing that baptism is nothing more than a social ritual - is that it sets a standard for how much influence I will allow members of our family to have over our child's religious or social upbringing. A baptism at just a few days old is not going to harm my baby - but those who pressured for the baptism are just as likely to pressure for church attendance, religious indoctrination, etc. It isn't the act - it's the precedent.  

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  • I just want to say thank you to everyone for their advice. It actually helped with the talk that my husband and I had last night. We are now both firmly behind our original promise not to baptize, and my husband called his mother to confirm this (with me giving very stern looks when I could hear her crying... she's a crier). 

    Hubby and I did discuss if his views had changed, and his reasoning behind agreeing with his mother was that in the long run it would have been easier to just have the baby baptized than to listen to his mother's nagging for the duration of baby's childhood. I had him read the forum here to see just how people view meddling MIL's (and family) and he could see from peoples responses that it never really just stops when you give in once. I know I can see this in his mother (and mine for that matter), but I think it kind of gave him the slap in the face that he needed to let him know that we, together, make the decisions, and not his mother. I also mentioned how he was married to me, and not his mother, and going behind my back and giving his mother power over something that he knows I feel so strongly about is not how we "compromise", and how if I cried to get what I wanted he would ignore it. Needless to say I hope his mom gets the point now.

    I really do want to thank everyone for opinions. I do not believe that baptizing just to silence my MIL would have been appropriate at all, and really undermines the values of the church that so many people, including those on here, respect.

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