Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Mother Is Trying to Guilt Me Into Baptizing My Baby”

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My mother and I are having a bit of friction lately as my daughter is approaching her due date and will soon enter the world. I had expressed to her that my partner and I didn’t intend to baptize our daughter as we don’t follow the Christian faith and don’t intend to bring her to church as part of her upbringing (unless, when she is old enough to make the choice, she decides to go). At this point, our discussion has turned into an argument. I explained that we weren’t any more likely to baptize our daughter than we are to marry in a church — it’s disrespectful and makes a mockery of the religion’s customs. She then proceeded to say it would break my (late) grandmother’s heart and told me I would always regret it. Two years ago she guilted my brother into baptizing his daughter, and she’s never stepped foot into a church since. How do I explain my side without hurting her feelings? I respect her point of view, but it’s not her decision to make. – Not So Holy One

In every relationship, including the ones we have with our parents, we have to pick our battles. For some people who aren’t interested in baptizing their babies, like your brother for example, fighting their parents on the topic isn’t a battle worth pursuing. So, they do it — they baptize their kids to appease their traditional parents (and/or grandparents) and then maybe never set foot in a church again. For those people, the baptism is nothing more than a means to an end (the means being: dressing up their baby in a gown and spending an hour or two in church followed by a small family party; the end being: getting their parents off their damn backs…at least on this issue). Religion has a lot of benefits for a lot of people, and, if a baby’s baptism delivers some of those benefits to some of the main participants (like the grandparents), it isn’t necessarily a mockery of a religion’s customs.

That’s one way to look at it. The other way to look at this is that this is YOUR baby and you don’t want to baptize her, end of discussion. And you have to truly end this discussion. Tell your mother it isn’t going to happen and nothing she can say will change that. Tell her you love her and respect her and you love your late grandmother and you are sorry if your choices disappoint them, but you’re grown-up and you understand that choices have consequences and you are prepared to accept them. But the thing is, you have to actually accept them. The consequences here are, as you know, guilt trips and arguments. And hurt feelings, of course.

I know your question was how to explain your stance to your mother without hurting her feelings, but the truth is, there probably ISN’T a way to do that. You can — and should — explain your side as respectfully and tactfully as possible, but what you’re really telling her is that you reject some of the values (her religious faith, namely — one that claims honoring thy parents as a major tenet) that she finds important and that she tried to instill in you. That stings. No one likes rejection, and I think it’s an especially hard pill to swallow when it comes from a child you raised. It’s gotta hurt when your child essentially says, “This way you raised me? Eh, didn’t really work for me.” That’s not entirely true, of course. Or maybe it’s just a teeny, tiny part of the truth. But that’s likely what a parent hears when you reject the religion he or she raised you in.

I’m not saying you should baptize your daughter (or get married in a church, for that matter). I wouldn’t (and didn’t) do those things if they didn’t feel right for me, despite potentially disappointing my parents (but I also don’t have parents who give me much grief about this kind of thing). I was raised Lutheran and went to church every single Sunday. My parents were active in the church, and once I was confirmed (after a year or two of special classes), I was a regular acolyte. And yet, by the time I was in high school, I knew that this specific religion, and probably organized religion in general, was not for me. I stopped going to church regularly, but by the time I was in college I would still attend services with my parents when I was home on break because it made them happy (and because the battle not to just wasn’t worth pursuing). It didn’t feel like a mockery to me if I knew it was bringing my parents some happiness. And then, many years later, I married a Jew. In a Jewish wedding. And I’m not Jewish. I didn’t convert and I have no interest to. But we’re raising our son Jewish. And I don’t feel that that’s a mockery any more than my having a Jewish wedding was because it’s important to my husband. And I like that our son will have faith teachings and a base for future decisions regarding his own beliefs.

All of this is to say that, just like your daughter will do some day, you have to make choices… and not all of them will be easy and not all of them will be all about you. (But it’s perfectly fine — better than fine — if some of them are, especially ones that are particularly important to you). And you have to accept that every choice has a consequence — sometimes big and sometimes very small. In this particular case, you have to weigh the potential consequences of each choice (i.e. making a mockery of a religious custom vs. hurting your mother’s feelings) and decide which is easier to live with. If you decide not to baptize your daughter, which is a completely valid choice, you will probably hurt your mother’s feelings. I think that consequence is unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean she’ll stop loving you or that she won’t be crazy about her granddaughter. The flip side is that, even if you have your daughter baptized to appease your mother, it doesn’t mean she (your mom) will stop trying to manipulate you through guilt. Which brings us back to this: pick your battles. Because you know as well as anyone else who has a parent: there will be others to choose from.

***************

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44 comments… add one
  • thatswhat-she

    Meg July 1, 2014, 10:23 am

    The other side of this is that, if your mom believes deeply that anyone not baptized is doomed to an eternity in Hell, she may be willing to fight quite hard for this one- since to her, the stakes are so high. I’m not saying I agree with it (I definitely don’t), but put yourself in her shoes for a second. If you believed that your grand-baby wouldn’t get into heaven (itself and hell very real places to you), wouldn’t you be willing to fight tooth and nail to make change your daughter’s mind? The bottom line is that you need to make the decision that’s right for you- but it can’t hurt to think about where your mom is coming from. In her mind, it’s probably not just about a white gown and a couple hours in church followed by a family meal.

    For the record, I don’t think I could baptize by baby if I didn’t feel I would be answering the questions asked of me (ie, if I believed in Jesus being the son of God and intended to raise my child the same way) truthfully. It’s an awkward situation when your sincerely held beliefs differ so greatly.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose July 1, 2014, 11:03 am

      Agreed. This is a very tough situation and something your mother will likely fight long and hard. I was married in the Catholic church, divorced, and did not seek an annulment. This upsets my mother greatly. She truly believes my eternal soul is in danger, and I feel terrible that I am bringing such pain and concern to her. But still, I can’t go against what I believe and seek something that does not follow my beliefs. My father actually informed me yesterday that if I do not get an annulment before getting married again, my mother will stop speaking to me. It’s a problem with no good solution. I feel that unfortunately, the LW is about to experience the same thing. All she can do is calmly say her piece to her mother and hope her mother finds some sort of peace with it.
      *
      I’ll also say that in the Catholic church, if the parents are not married in the church and do not intend to raise the baby Catholic, there aren’t many priests who will agree to baptize the baby. Not sure if this holds true for other religions. Perhaps the LW can bring up this point to her mother, depending on whether that is a valid argument in their denomination.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 1, 2014, 12:13 pm

        I really think that is starting to go by the wayside. My sister had her first baby before she was even engaged – accidental pregnancy – and she had no problems baptizing her daughter. Her second has two godmothers – me and her husband’s sister – and no godfathers.
        .
        Depending on your particular church, I think many are more lenient than they use to be.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose July 1, 2014, 1:21 pm

        I agree, I think a lot of churches are becoming a lot more lenient, but I’m pretty sure you still have to say you intend to raise your child in the church. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the LW, and she doesn’t sound like she wants to lie about it.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 1, 2014, 1:29 pm

        Oh, I’m not arguing that point at all. If she doesn’t want to, that’s totally fine. I was merely pointing out that it’s really not that hard to have a child baptized in the Catholic church and all sorts of exceptions are made depending on the priest at said church.

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady July 1, 2014, 4:36 pm

        Yeah, some churches are more lenient than others regarding who gets baptized, but no matter what, you have to stand in front of the congregation and promise to raise your child in the Catholic faith. I wonder if it’s possible for the grandparents to stand in for the parents during the baptism? Then no one would have to lie.

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      • avatar

        Simonthegrey July 1, 2014, 4:48 pm

        One side note about Catholic baptism – the Catholic church accepts any church baptism regardless of denomination as being valid as long as it is in the Trinity. So, JW and Mormon baptism don’t count since they reject the idea of the Trinity, but if you didn’t want to agree you were going to raise your child Catholic and still wanted to go through the motions, a different church that did not require membership could still perform the baptism and it would still be considered “valid” if the child later, as an adult, wanted to join a faith community.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose July 2, 2014, 9:35 am

        That’s so interesting. I had no idea!

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  • Portia

    Portia July 1, 2014, 10:25 am

    I agree with Wendy that neither getting married in a church nor baptizing your baby would be making a mockery of the church. I’ve known so many people who did things like that because they were expected and not because they wanted it and they’re totally fine. But the thing about becoming a parent is that you (and your partner) can make your own decisions about your children. If you truly intend on raising your daughter to choose her own path in terms of religion, think about what this act would be saying to her: make your own decisions, except when you acquiesce to your family’s desires to avoid conflict. Is that how you want to raise your daughter?
    .
    There’s no way out of this that would assure no hurt feelings, so let her have her feelings and try not to take the guilt so personally. Because your mother will eventually get over it – the reasons she gave were not actually about her, they was about her mother and you regretting not doing it.

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    • Portia

      Portia July 1, 2014, 10:48 am

      Also, as the daughter of two Jews who weren’t really believers, I am so grateful they never forced anything upon me and let me choose my own path in terms of religion.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee July 1, 2014, 10:38 am

    I agree with Wendy that there are two ways of doing this: appeasing your mother or standing by your convictions if they mean that much to you. I’m not at this junction yet, but in a related topic, I had to have this fight when I got married and already had the fight about baptism in the hypothetical sense when my niece got baptized. I did not get married in the church despite some very strong bullying by my in-laws to the point we got into a screaming match (not very Christian like if you ask me but oh well), and even that eventually blew over. The wedding went on, they made their complaints after to any family would listen, but I really didn’t care. I knew where my husband and I stood and it went on. I also refuse to baptize my child because I am not one to do things “for appearances sake” and I want my child to find their own spiritual path.
    .
    So if this is something you truly feel strong about, do not feel guilty for standing your ground. Say to your mother that while you understand this is important to her, it is not something you value or want to participate in and you would respect it if she please respect your decision on this because you are not changing your mind. If it comes up again, repeat. And again, repeat. Her feelings may be hurt, but you are the mother in this scenario not her and it is your child and your decision. If you try to keep the argument impersonal and not try to convince her, which is really hard to do in practice sometimes, you can minimize the damage.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 10:40 am

    You know your mom and I’m assuming, her faith, because you were probably raised in it. I’d base this decision on how strongly you feel about it and on why your mom wants the baby baptized and I’d use your knowledge of her faith to give her reasons for your decision.

    When my uncles left home they quit attending church but when they would come home to visit grandma they would attend church. Even though they were atheists they would attend church for grandma because, as a Catholic, she believed it was a mortal sin to not attend church on Sunday and she would have been praying nonstop trying to save their souls if they didn’t attend church. So they attended church to save grandma the stress. This was because they loved grandma and she loved them and they didn’t want to hurt her. They in no way saw it as a mockery to attend when they didn’t believe.

    If you mom just wants to control your life you need to draw a line and set boundaries. If she will just be embarrassed at church to have the other women see that she didn’t raise her daughter
    “right” because she obviously isn’t going to church and isn’t raising her granddaughter in the church it is time to set boundaries. If she believe that your daughter will never be able to go to heaven if she isn’t baptized and will pray nonstop for your daughter’s soul if you don’t baptize her then it might be a kindness to do the baptism to prevent that level of stress even if you don’t believe in heaven or a soul. Since your mother hasn’t used religion as an argument and has only tried to guilt you through saying your grandmother would be disappointed it sounds like your mother doesn’t have any real significant religious reason to ask you to baptize your baby and if she doesn’t know her own faith well enough to give you a religious reason it seems like you can and should skip the whole thing. It sounds like your brother has chosen to fight different battles. That’s his choice. I’m Catholic and to get a child baptized in the Catholic church you must be attending mass regularly, attend prebaptismal classes and promise to raise the child Catholic. If you were expected to do these things I think it would be hypocritical to go through all of that if you actually had no intentions to raise the child in the church, whatever church it may be. So when your mom is objecting to your choice you should be able to state that you think it would be hypocritical of you and disrespectful of the church and list the reasons why.

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  • avatar

    John July 1, 2014, 10:42 am

    This is a tricky one. Going against your own beliefs versus your Mom’s wishes. Tough choice. I would decide based on the answers to these questions:
    Has your mother been good Mom through the years?
    Does your Mom ask for very little?
    If “yes” to these, then make the sacrifice and give her the ceremony. Look at it as a social function rather than a religious one.

    However, if your Mom didn’t give you a good childhood and she was always demanding and not supportive of your decisions over the years, then stick to your own beliefs and don’t have it.

    You only get one Mom and if she has done a good job over the years, consider yourself lucky. Giving up one weekend afternoon to make her happy is worth it. Grandparents love this type of stuff. Do the right thing by her if she has always done the right thing by you.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee July 1, 2014, 11:00 am

      While I respect good mothers, I don’t know if I would base a decision on complying with their wishes on the basis of how good of a mom they were through out childhood. My mother was wonderful to me growing up, despite having some issues as any parent has, and I don’t think I owe her a lifetime of doing whatever she wants as a thank you. If anything, parents raise you to become functioning adults capable of making up your own mind and standing by your convictions. Being thankful of your childhood and doing whatever your parents are two very different things.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 1, 2014, 11:05 am

        Because my mother was such a good mother, she raised me to be independent and do what I think is best–even if she may have a differing view.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee July 1, 2014, 12:02 pm

        Yes exactly!

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      • avatar

        John July 1, 2014, 11:08 am

        Mandalee said :
        “My mother was wonderful to me growing up, despite having some issues as any parent has, and I don’t think I owe her a lifetime of doing whatever she wants as a thank you”

        Giving your Mom a baptism that she wants for one afternoon is a lot different than giving her a lifetime of whatever shewants. If the Mom makes a habit of pressuring then that is a different story. But if this is the first time the Mom has ever asked for anything of significance, I would give her the benefit of the doubt and give in this one time.
        Extrapolating one afternoon into a lifetime of redemption is pure hyperbole on your part.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee July 1, 2014, 11:50 am

        I completely disagree. My mother raised me to respect religious convictions and I take them very seriously. While I am not religious by any means, I am spiritual and I take religious rituals as important, which is why I will attend a church service but not participate in communion or say the prayers allowed since I’m in the observer role in that case. That is also why I will most certainly not stand in front of a pastor/priest/etc and lie about my beliefs for no one not even my mother.
        .
        I feel like you can not have it both ways on this one. If baptism is so important to the mother because of her religious beliefs than stating it’s purely a “social party” is offensive. If anything, it you are religious you would not non-believers taking part in events you view as sacred and blessed. In my experience, people who press these issues seem to be doing it for appearances sake (like the LW’s mother using the deceased grandmother as a way to shame the LW because What will people thinks?) I mean, where in the bible or any other holy document for that matter does it state that it’s perfectly fine to put on the facade of being a believer to appease family?

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady July 1, 2014, 4:48 pm

        A Catholic baptism is not just one afternoon. You have to go through prep classes, and according to my SIL, they were very heavy on what baptism means, and that it needs to be done for the right reasons, etc. It sounds pretty awful if you’re not truly committed to raising your child in the Catholic faith.

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  • avatar

    Sara July 1, 2014, 10:56 am

    I think you should check out the “Ask Richard” column over at the Friendly Atheist website. Even if your non-Christian faith isn’t absence of faith, the way he words things is excellent. His advice would work for ANYONE having a discussion with someone engaging in emotional warefare.

    I can’t word it half as well as he does, but basically, his advice is to stop engaging, stop discussing because it’s falling on deaf ears. You say something to the effect of, “Mom, and I love you and I respect your beliefs, but we’ve made our decision and we’re not discussing this anymore.” Then when she tries to guilt trip you, you calmly (calm is the key here) say, “Mom, we’re not discussing this anymore,” then you change the subject. If she persists, you walk away. You keep standing your ground, but you do it in a way that does not engage the guilt-tripping and emotions because you will never win at that.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes July 1, 2014, 10:58 am

    This was totally a SATC episode premise- Miranda and Steve did baptize baby Brady.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 1, 2014, 11:05 am

    My sister went through this a bit more with her inlaws than our parents. Although I know my parents were a bit upset by this news… At first. Eventually, though, it all just sort of faded away. My nephew is NOT baptized. But the subject hasn’t been raised in years… And I know if it had been — I’d have heard about it as I am my sister’s main venting outlet

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  • Lianne

    Lianne July 1, 2014, 11:31 am

    I think decisions like this should be completely up to the parents of the baby. If I were you, I would just explain your stance on baptism, let her know that while you appreciate her views and maybe make a comment on your own upbringing based on those views (depending on whether positive or negative – up to you), that this is yours and your partner’s decision and it’s final. Then when/if she brings it up again, just calmly state that you don’t wish to discuss it anymore and change the subject.

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  • avatar

    peacy July 1, 2014, 11:49 am

    Only you can judge if this baptism bugaboo of your mother’s is about this one thing – baptism – and doesn’t presage a whole host of topics, preferences, and expectations she has around your child that she will be trying to emotionally blackmail you over in the future. Invoking the name of the dearly departed to support her position is dirty pool IMO, so my guess is your mom is just getting started. Better nip this in the bud! Congratulations, btw!

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope July 1, 2014, 11:54 am

    I am not Christian but I have been reading Dante’s Divine Comedy and if your parents believe their grandchild will spend eternity in his Inferno, well, eek. If you have strong feelings against this practice, fine but sometimes we do things simply out of love.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 12:12 pm

    I think you need to be able to clearly articulate your reasons. For now, for your mom, which I would do only once and then say you’ve already discussed this. Then, in the future, you will need to be able to tell your child why they weren’t baptized. Sooner or later you will probably attend a baptism and your daughter will ask questions. Anything from was my baptismal dress as fancy/beautiful/pretty as hers to who are my godparents? You will need to be able to tell her that she isn’t baptized and why. A quick, simple explanation. We didn’t have you baptized because we would have to promise to raise you in grandma’s church and that would have been a lie and we don’t think it’s right to lie. Being able to explain your choices to your child helps them learn how to make choices and helps them to respect the choices that you’ve made.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed July 1, 2014, 12:15 pm

      She has her reasons…it’s not what they believe in.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 1, 2014, 12:22 pm

        Then that is what she says.

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  • avatar

    sms841 July 1, 2014, 1:29 pm

    My family (parents, aunts, uncles) consider themselves non-practicing Catholics. My brothers, most of my cousins and I I haven’t been to church except for weddings and funerals since I went to Catholic school. My mom occasionally goes, but only with her friends and they go out to brunch afterward.
    .
    That being said, my mom was devastated when my brother (her stepson) didn’t baptize his first child. She took my niece to Mass and did her own baptism of sorts with holy water at the church entrance. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen her do it myself. To my knowledge, she didn’t do that to my nephew although I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.
    .
    I am not religious and I know that I am not going to get married in a church or baptize any future children I may have. I’m dreading having this argument with my mom because I know she’ll fight me on it. I wish the LW luck because there are no easy decisions when it comes to something like this.

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    • Portia

      Portia July 1, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Oh man, the story about the impromptu baptism reminds me of what happened to a friend I had growing up. She was half Jewish half Catholic and her parents did not want to baptize her or force her into any one religion. But apparently one time when Catholic grandma was babysitting she took it upon herself to baptize my friend. Must have been real disappointed when my friend had a bat mitzvah years later…

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph July 1, 2014, 2:52 pm

    I agree very much that doing these things is not a mockery if you do it with family appeasement in mind.
    I’m Jewish, married to a Catholic man. We don’t go to religious services of either kind regularly, but when we visit his parents or they visit us, we all go to church. Big whoop. I stand/sit their quietly and politely through the whole thing.
    My attendance is not mocking church, it’s making my MIL happy. She knows I’m not about to have an epiphany and convert and I know that she sees church as a family activity and it means a lot that I accompany them.

    That said, Wendy is right about picking your battles and I know that baptizing our (still hypothetical) children is a hill I’m willing to die on. We decided before we married that we would raise our kids Jewish, and Jewish babies do not get baptized and I made that clear to my husband before we got married. I am not sure how my in-laws will behave when we do have kids, if they guilt trip, whine, pray for the kid’s soul … that’s the battle I’m going to fight.

    Only you can decide where is your hill to die on, LW. If this is it, then fight for it. But if not, I don’t blame you for giving in some times for the sake of family harmony.

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  • avatar

    for_cutie July 1, 2014, 3:43 pm

    I have had multiple friends hold a welcome ceremony in place of a baptism. Maybe your mother is connected with a church that could preform that ceremony – thus giving her the chance to show off her grand-baby at church, but not obligating you to a baptism. I also know ministers who marry people can also perform these sorts of ceremonies at an intimate family gathering setting. If you google it you can find it under “baby blessing” or “baby dedication.” This may be a suitable middle of the road solution.

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  • possumgirl

    Jenn July 1, 2014, 4:25 pm

    LW- Twenty years ago, I was in the EXACT SAME POSITION, and felt the exact same way with my son. Twenty years later, I’m still an atheist (and my son is also an atheist) and my devout Christian parents are still devout and Christian. I feel your pain on this- not only do you feel like it’s insulting to their religion (sort of like cultural appropriation) but also that why give them false hopes that you will someday follow their path? (My dad still promises me that Jesus will show me his light. Ew.)

    But as that “still an atheist”, coming from that “twenty years later” position, I have to say I would recommend baptism. And only because…. well… it just really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t hurt you. It doesn’t hurt the child. It really just doesn’t… matter. AT ALL. But to them, it does. It matters a lot. It’s real and tangible, whereas for you.. meh. What do you care? If crazy Aunt Beulah had a secret voodoo backyard ceremony, lit some sage and said a prayer to a high priestess of rainbows, would it bother you as much, even if her sentiment was no less as valid to her? Is this really about the baptism, or more about some unresolved anger/issues with the religion itself? (for me, that was definitely the case)

    So what did I do? After some haranguing, I let them baptize him. It was a big deal for them, but not for me. I didn’t attend. And you know what happened? Not a damn thing. They felt better and I felt no different. I still raised him as an atheist, we still have a great relationship and it made zero difference in either my son’s life or mine.

    Do what you need to do and what you feel is best. But remember that it’s how you raise your child and the life that you show them that will matter. Not some meaningless ceremony that your child is unlikely to ever remember, let alone be influenced one way or the other.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie July 1, 2014, 3:46 pm

    Granny is stuck in control and protection mode. LW could ask her mom what she’ll do about it if the baby isn’t baptized. That make her think she has some control. If Great grandma is dead she can’t be harmed so that’s just a guilt trip to lay out. If Granny is that controlling, is feeding her reaction do more then encourage her to continue? As an adult I had to cut the ties with my mother and we got along a little better after that.

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  • avatar

    Amanda July 1, 2014, 7:25 pm

    Wow, I could have written this letter, except that my daughter is 5 months old. My mother isn’t very religious, but believes that my baby could go to hell if she dies. I told her that the decision to baptize her is between my husban d and I and we have decided not to at this time. Now I don’t discuss it anymore and she has stopped asking. Since your baby hasn’t been born yet, your Mom may keep pestering you until your daughter arrives. Hang in there LW. Congratulations on becoming a parent.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray July 1, 2014, 9:49 pm

    I think this is a great answer by Wendy. I wasn’t baptized as a baby, and my parents let me choose if I wanted it…I was 5 when I came to them and wanted to be baptized and it’s great looking back on now (because I remember it). So that’s another possible way to do this. Since you already will let your child choose what she wants, maybe telling your mom that you will let your daughter decide in the future will appease her. Either way, do WWS. I think she explains well the reasons for going through it and not doing it. Just stand by what you choose.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra July 1, 2014, 9:55 pm

    I have no advice, just a story for food for thought:
    .
    I had a friend in high school whose parents never baptized her because they wanted her to choose her own way religiously. However, she really struggled with it because she *wanted* to belong to a religion but it was incredibly overwhelming for her as a teenager to weigh the pros and cons of each religion. I remember many in my class, including myself, were getting confirmed and she almost felt left out. She never used those words exactly but I could tell that she felt a little lost. Eventually she decided that she wanted to be baptized into her mom’s Lutheran church. I think she was baptized and confirmed on the same day. In the long run for her religion was a big part of her identity.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed July 1, 2014, 10:24 pm

      Were her parents religious? I ask because neither me, nor my other friends who didn’t have religious parents felt left out when our classmates had religious things (confirmations, bat/bar mitzvahs”…they were fun things to attend and experience, but not our thing. So I wonder if her parents being religious (if they were), was a factor.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra July 2, 2014, 12:53 am

        Her parents attended church regularly — not every week, but often enough. “Left out” isn’t the best way to describe it…maybe more “lost”? I remember she was just really overwhelmed with the decision. We actually met when she moved to town and went to school at my Catholic elementary school so that probably had a factor as well. I doubt any of our teachers or our priest knew about it or anything, they just assumed she was baptized in the Lutheran church where her parents attended. All denominations were welcome at the school even though the religion classes obviously were Catholic based.
        .
        She also just finished school at a Lutheran seminary so it goes to show how important religion was in her life even as a kid.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 2, 2014, 7:41 am

        Well given the environment she was in–no wonder!

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      • Portia

        Portia July 2, 2014, 9:23 am

        Yeah, your environment is definitely a huge factor in this. The area I grew up in is quite Jewish so everyone ends up spending much of 7th grade at bar and bat mitzvahs. A lot of kids kinda get pressured into having bar and bat mitzvahs to fit in, do it for the family, have a big party, etc. It’s not a small undertaking (multiple years of religious and language classes, plus semi-private tutoring for the last year), but the pressure is so huge that I’d say most of the Jewish kids I grew up with had one. I can only imagine what it would be like if we’d all attended a religious school instead of a public school.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 1, 2014, 10:19 pm

    I was raised Jewish and when I found out we were having a son my parents started in relentlessly about circumcision. We had decided not to and it became a big f-ing deal for them. But the bottom line for me was that they raised us the way they wanted to and now we can make our own decisions about how to raise our son. They threatened to disinherit me but we still held firm. It ended up that after the baby was born they forgot all about their threats and they did not follow through on their threat. Now if your parents were extreme in their behavior and believed in honor killings or sharia law then you may want to take their threats a bit more seriously and do the whole charade…. That said it really pisses me off when grandparents force their religious nonsense on their kids.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 1, 2014, 10:47 pm

    I was raised Jewish and when we found out we were having a son my parents started in relentlessly about circumcision. We had decided we were not going to and it became a big f-ing deal for my parents. But the bottom line for me was that my husband and I were adults (in our 40’s yet!) and we were fully capable of making our own decisions about how to raise our son. They even threatened to disinherit me but we held firm. After the baby was born they forgot all about their threats and all was well. My parents are both dead now and I can assure you they did not disinherit me.

    Now if your parents were extreme in their behavior and believed in honor killings or Sharia law or some such (dangerous) nonsense then you may want to take any threats a bit more seriously and go through with the whole stupid charade…..

    That said, it really pisses me off when parents or grandparents force their religious superstitious nonsense on their kids.

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  • dizziej

    Jennifer July 2, 2014, 11:13 am

    I was raised in a Christian home and have battled my mom on the “baptism” issue (in our particular denomination we dedicate, not baptize). I shut her down with the argument that the dedication was a contract with God to raise my children in a Christian home. Since my husband and I do not attend church regularly (we only go at Easter and Christmas) we were not prepared to make that kind of commitment. It took more than a year of maintaining my position, but she finally gave up and didn’t even mention it when my son arrived. I know it is something that bothers her, but they are my kids and it is my life and my choice. She has finally accepted that and let the matter drop. Maybe one day T and I will be in a position to dedicate my kids, however that time is not now.

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