Author Topic: Considering conversion and pregnant...  (Read 510 times)

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Offline Luthien

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Considering conversion and pregnant...
« on: February 19, 2016, 12:05:35 PM »
I'm pregnant with my second daughter. My husband and I are currently Roman Catholics. I have been considering conversion for a long while and my husband supports me in so far as I find a church where I am being "spiritually fed". He himself, I would say, is a traditional Catholic, though does not squarely identify as a "trad" and all that implies. We are both for traditional, liturgical Christianity, period. My first born daughter is 18 months old currently and was baptized into the Catholic Church. We are relatively new to the area we are in and just starting to settle in to church communities. We spent many months going to different places and have both found communities we want to try and become involved in. I have found an Orthodox church near by that I have decided I want to try and commit to going to Vespers and Divine Liturgy every weekend. My husband has accompanied me once to Vespers here and says he would go with me in the future to Vespers or Divine Liturgy as long as he doesn't have any prior commitments elsewhere.

This is all well and good... except for the problem of our daughters. It is unfortunate that I will have to spend most of my time on Sundays chasing after my 18 month old and not really having much of an opportunity to pay close attention to the liturgy. But, if it is what I need to do until she is old enough to sit still, then so be it.  My husband has offered to take her with him sometimes to his church so I can have a break. However, that probably won't last because he is becoming involved with the choir, and other things there, and probably won't be able to watch her at all now that I think about. The more pressing issue really, is what to do about our new baby.
 
I have made it clear that if I convert to Orthodoxy, our children will also be Orthodox. I feel very strongly about this. The bigger issue here is what to do about baptizing our second daughter who will be born at the end of April (so, about 10 weeks from now). I feel very strongly hesitant to have her baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. I have told me husband all of my doubts and he told me that so long as she is baptized in an apostolic church using the correct formula that it is okay. I suspect this is because Catholics believe Orthodox have "valid" sacraments. I intend to talk more with the priest at my local Orthodox church about conversion in general, but it seems unlikely that I will be able to have the new baby baptized so soon without having a more involved participation in this church.

The priest and I had a great conversation the first time I attended Vespers and I felt like I really connected with him and was being heard. This is huge for me, I haven't had much luck in finding a place where I feel like I am understood and can grow. That being said, he was quite insistent on meeting my husband and being very clear with him about this whole process. He told me that he wouldn't not make me Orthodox, but that my husband has to on board with it. He also said that conversion is not an overnight process (though conceded from what I was telling him that I had indeed given the issue considerable thought so he was willing to take my inquiries more seriously) and that the most important thing to come to as many church services as possible and get involved in the church life and community. I totally agree with this as well. It has been hard though, because I have promised to accompany my husband to many of his church events, and having a toddler makes it doubly difficult for me to go to church or other services on my own if he is busy doing something else and can't watch her.

All this being said, it doesn't seem likely that my new baby can be baptized before me. I can't in good conscience have her just baptized anywhere in the mean time, especially because I don't think the Roman church is the true Church of Christ anymore. I also don't expect the Orthodox priest to advise that either considering the Orthodox position on sacramental theology is quite different than the Roman Catholic view.

I wanted to post my situation here to see if any other converts were ever in a similar situation of having a divided family, and what your personal opinions are when dealing with a spouse and
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 12:10:19 PM by Luthien »

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 12:13:57 PM »
You'll be surprised how quiet toddlers can be during liturgy (not that they always are, but they can be). There's so much happening to hold their attention! :) You might want to take it easy until your new baby is a few months old, so you don't have to face the challenge of feeding her during a service, but from then onwards, the earlier you familiarise them with Orthodox worship, the better.

As for the baptism issue, this is definitely a 'talk to your priest' issue. He may want to link the girls' reception to your own, and (hopefully) your husband's as well.
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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 01:06:10 PM »
I know a situation that a man (traditional RC) started being interested in Orthodoxy, then his wife, and they started their catechumanet, but the first member of the family received into Orthodox Church was their little daughter, after some period of time he converted and again, after some period of time, his wife.

Each situation is very individual, rely on your priest.

BTW, ofc it depends on jurisdiction, but if you have RC baptism, you should be received only by chrismation.
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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 01:24:49 PM »
Prayers for you and your family, Luthien!

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 03:46:38 PM »
Congratulations!!!  What a wonderful labor of love.  Drink in each moment (even the bad ones); it flies faster than all the grandmas in the world can tell you.

I've been remembering what it was like taking my three to church by myself.  My husband dragged me kicking and screaming when we met, but stopped going soon after we were married and hasn't been [to church] with us in 10 years.  I'm coming from nearly a decade in the Baptist church, not the Catholic church [so the services are different].  I think dealing with misbehavior was (and is) the most difficult part of being at church alone.  After that, definitely bathroom trips.  There were many, many times I seriously wondered why, why, WHY was I there if I couldn't even worship??  When they were around 6, 5, and 2, though, I started feeling like they were missing a lot by being pulled out of the service, so I started keeping them with me about four years ago.  I learned of Orthodoxy about three years ago, but it took me most of that time to more or less settle on it and find a parish.  My kids do very well in Liturgy now, most weeks.

I'm not sure what to tell you about the spousal situation.  I'm sorry.  I very much struggle with our situation.  Right or wrong, my situation feels backwards to me, and it's incredibly uncomfortable.  But so would being in any other tradition, so...yeah.  I pray God smooths the path for you and your husband as quickly as is profitable for you both.

I'm sorry for the novel.  All that to say, at least for bringing little ones to church alone, it is possible, it is hard, it is worth it, and it will pass.  I hope you find the logistical solutions you need for every situation, and the fortitude to carry them out.   ;D
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 03:47:37 PM by Ainnir »

Offline truthseeker32

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 04:35:51 PM »
I have a son who is almost two, and another son on the way. My wife isn't Orthodox so she doesn't always attend liturgy with me. It can be a struggle, but the people in my parish tend to be understanding and even helpful in taking care of him during liturgy. I hope you find that your new parish is just as welcoming.

I have also found that, as long as children keep quiet, it is okay to let then move around a bit so they don't get too antsy.

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2016, 06:03:42 PM »
Babies are ok in Orthodox Liturgies, nothing to worry about (i think)

they even sing in harmony with the choir
https://youtu.be/H0M94z3Pev4?t=356
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 06:13:12 PM by Vanhyo »

Offline WPM

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2016, 06:20:13 PM »
I don't really care though it might be a lavish Orthodox Church but I've never gotten anything 

The Patriarch has never addressed issues like paying house bills or finding transportation at the local level.

Whatever happened to having a steady job? .... So, I'm not convinced.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 06:21:51 PM by WPM »

Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2016, 07:20:34 PM »
Hi! First of all, welcome to the board. It is wonderful that you have a supportive spouse- this is unfortunately not always the case, so I am glad to see that it is in yours.

It is also good that it sounds like you have found a priest that you feel you have connected with. He will be able to guide you through this better than any of us. Still, in reading your post I get a sense of urgency on your part and I just wanted to encourage you: don't worry. :) As your priest told you, conversion takes time, and as I'm sure you've gathered by now, Orthodoxy isn't so much a matter of having all the right knowledge so much as it is a way of life. Your priest will likely want to make sure you have adequate time to adjust and experience all you can before conversion. This can be frustrating when your heart feels ready and you're sure you're sure. I think plenty of us who have converted can attest to that, but in the long run, it is worth it not to rush!

As for chasing little ones in liturgy, many of us have been there, too. It will be fine! The more you bring them, the easier it will be. I hope your parish is welcoming to you and your family.
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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Considering conversion and pregnant...
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2016, 09:42:41 PM »
Luthien,
I hope it is my church you are talking about. You will see so many mothers walking around with their infant and toddlers during service, whispering to them about the each saints and their story or the colors in the icon, or what ever fancies them at the moment. Then there are the candles! Simply walking around keeps them interested. At times I expect a fight to brake out any moment between the adults to see who may hold the baby, but it hasn't happened yet..... :laugh:
It is an ascetic struggle to stay focused on Service when the little ones start fussing and screaming and some Moms & Dads sometimes take the little one outside, but many address it while inside as well. Most of the time it is good for the congregation, IMNSHO, to practice just a touch of asceticism.
One of the things I heard (really liked) was the Protestants separate from their children from service, while Orthodox deal with them  :) and I've found that to be true in the few years I've attended.
Reading your post made me smile plus give me hope for the future, which is good for old men to do.
Thanks for the post, and let us know...............when you have time, or in about 25 years, which ever comes first.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 09:47:30 PM by LenInSebastopol »
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