Mamas on Bedrest: How Will You Introduce Religion to your children?

July 7th, 2011

I don’t want to baptize my baby!

So says “@CariBirth”. She is an Aruban Mama-to-Be who is doing her best to inform and educate Caribbean mamas about all things pregnancy. This moral dilemma has put this mama at odds with her partner (and her partner’s mama). What is the solution when one parent wants to raise their child under one set of religious traditions and one parent wants another-or none at all?

I’ve come to know @CariBirth on twitter and have enjoyed folllowing the journey of this mama-to-be. Last week she shared on her twitterfeed how she and her partner are disagreeing over whether or not to baptize their baby. @CariBirth has a deep love and respect for God and as such, believes that each person should come to know God for him or herself  and not have religious views or traditions imposed on them. This is how she wants to raise her daughter, knowing God and loving God and later in life making the personal decision to honor God in her own life.

Her partner is a non-practicing Catholic and he is insistent that the baby be baptized. However, he has no strong ties to Catholicism and isn’t planning to expose the child to or teach her the tenants of Catholicism, which @CariBirth agrees to. @CariBirth wants to avoid performing or imposing religious rituals out of tradition rather than from a place of deep respect for God and the belief and faith the tradition/ritual represents.

So what is the solution? Should @CariBirth give in and let her baby be baptized? Some may argue that since it is important to her partner, she should go along. An opposing view may be that she refuse the baptism, teach her daughter about God and to love God, and let her baby decide what religion, if any she wants to practice when she is old enough to do so. 

I think that the best recommendation for this situation came from @CariBirth herself. This is what she had to say via her twitterfeed:

“I think it (religion) is something that comes up more often than not and can be quite stressful because of the touchy nature of the subject. It’s important to speak respectfully so that you don’t close doors should you have to discuss it again in the future.”

  • Start your sentences with “I feel…” Instead of, ‘you make me feel’. Personal statements make your position less accusatory.
  • Present your facts and reasons, but always remember respect and tolerance is the main goal.
  • Let the other party speak, no cutting in, and try and reach a consensus. In religiously ‘divided’ or different households, a consensus is what keeps the peace.
  • Try and offer mitigating alternatives that both of you can be comfortable with and acknowledge your partner’s feelings.
  • Try and under stand why he wants X. When he’s speaking, try not to use the time he’s speaking to think up counter arguments. For me, it helps to write down what I want to say before I say it so I can gather my thoughts and say it most effectively.
  • And most importantly, if the ‘talk’ turns into or is turning into an argument, shut it down. Leave it for another time because you don’t want to elicit negative connotations in yourself or your partner should/when you have to continue the subject.

Thanks to @CariBirth for sharing her very personal situation with Mamas on Bedrest as well as some very wise and useful tips for averting potential volatile discussions. How have you and your partner made important decisions regarding the upbringing of your children? Please share your comments below.