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March 22, 2009



No! Not off base. Your feelings are very valid. But I do know how easily an erring husband might not think about his wife's preferences in an effort to please his parents. I think this is very common, and as you said perfectly, a momentary lapse in judgement or attack of "knuckle-headedness." And I also know how something like this can feel like such a betrayal, but I believe the more time that passes, the easier it will be to forgive him. And maybe laugh about it. But I do understand your outrage..totally..and how pissed you are b/c it seems as though they did this behind your back knowing you would not approve.


Long time reader first time commenter.

Wow...I totally don't blame you for being upset. Hurt, mad, violated...the whole range of emotions...none of them good.

That is unacceptable, and obviously done without any thought towards you or your feelings. If your husband truely didn't care one way or the other, but knew you were against it, then he should have taken your feelings into account and instead of appeasing his mother he should have stood his ground.

Sometimes passive aggressive behavior can be as harmful, or moreso, than out in the open behavior. My MIL is extremely passive aggressive and often walks a fine like to follow within my guidelines. And when she oversteps her bounds she tries to shrug it off or play dumb. I don't let her get away with it and I call her on it. And over the last 7 years she has lost some priveledges/trust with me. Yes my kids are always safe when in her care...but she doesn't "get" that there are still rules that she needs to accept and follow. And honestly...if they had baptized/christened my child without my knowledge I'm not sure I could get over it. Not because the act itself is earth shattering, but because of the complete lack of disrespect.

My husband backed me on the issues out of respect, but didn't always get what the big deal was. Until a few years ago when my mom tried to tell him that she would tell my 2.5 year old that there was no Santa, and that she was Gran, so they'd believe her. My husband informed her that if she did, it would be the last contact she had with our child and any future ones. She saw from the look on his face that he was serious and wisely didn't say anything. However after that overstepping of her boundaries, my husband finally understood how things his mother said, could upset me, even though he didn't see the big deal.

I'm not suggesting going out and doing something your husband doesn't want done, because that would be wrong on so many levels. I'm just saying that maybe he doesn't get it because he grew up with his mom and its hard for him to confront, or even see that her wishes are not right for you and your family. But your husband and your MIL have to understand that when people get married their first obligation becomes loyalty to their spouse and children. And as much as it might have meant for mommy-dear to have a grandchild baptized before she dies, it isn't her right to want that. She's had her chance to raise her child...this one is yours.

Sorry...I've just got huge boundary issues with my MIL and her 7 sisters and this subject hits close to home!! I hope you can get over this, and more importantly that your husband remembers his place is by your side, not his mothers.


Another long time reader, first time commenter here...

Once, my five year old performed a marriage ceremony on our cats. There are no more married than your baby is christened.

You have every right to feel betrayed, hurt and angry. It is a hard blow when your beliefs are dismissed as unimportant. I would be livid as well, but this falls into the category of 'what's done is done'. You can't change what happened. What would piss me off more is that now there are pictures of your baby floating around portraying an imagined situation that will be preceived as real. A complete mis-representation of your belifs. Hopefully you don't start getting 'Congratulations on your baby's christening' cards in the mail when your mil shows everyone and their brother those pictures.

On a related note, I think an updated picture of the baby should be a manditory addition to your posts. :)


Oy vey.

Yes, I would have been angry too. I'm sure your husband probably would love to kick himself in the tushie after that. To me it seems like a good intention gone wrong and I'm sure he feels bad about it. Generally, men have this knack for not netting out the consequences of their actions, and not to let him off the hook (he screwed up big time) but there is a very big thing to be learned from this incident.... he needs to back you up when you can't do it yourself.

I am hoping that time eases this situation a bit. I don't look at it as a marriage breaker.... just a lesson that something like this can now be discussed and avoided in the future.

You guys just started your journey as parents, you have a lot of miles ahead of you.


My mom did the same thing, including the not-telling part, with tap water (I don't think it has to be holy water). As you know, I am a devout athiest. It didn't bother me, actually; it was her personal blessing. Maybe your partner did not think it would bother you, though of course it's understandable that it did. It's hard to make an advance call in those matters, even though he knows how you feel about religion overall. Who could have predicted, after all, that I would not give a hoot? Me, who froths at the mouth when I hear the "under god" in the Pledge?


I'm back again. I've been thinking about this and wanted to add one more comment. I too come from a different religious background than my husband (he organized church, me simple bible study with my mother after attending at least 30 different churches and not finding one that satisfied her), and my mother and father were from different backgrounds (she raised fundamental Pentacost but since has abandoned all organized religion, my dad a Catholic on paper only and never stepping foot in a church since his confirmation). What I think I've garnered from that is "to each his own." And that is what I plan to teach my child, similiar to what you have mentioned. What a wonderful gift to give your son..several viewpoints! Your husband may have been party to this "blessing" ceremony not as a desire to please his parents, but perhaps not willing to admit it to you, see his son exposed to some of the "tradition" that he grew up with and took some comfort in. Just a thought. I have seen my husband, who has grown away from his church, navigate back to some of those familiar childhood experiences and want that for our daughter. I think many men, when faced with the responsibilty of a new baby, crave the familiar traditions of when they were young (of course assuming they were pleasing to him). And while I would never appriciate it if my husband insisted that she be baptised in his church, I certainly understand him wanting for her what was familiar to him. So, I have agreed to a baptism in his church. With the understanding that later, just he, she, and I have a private, family gathering in a lake, just the three of us, the way I remember my family did it when I was nine years old, an impromptu thing. I took great pleasure in that experience, and I want that for my daughter. And my husband has agreed to that as well.

None if this is here nor there, as I know what is most upsetting to you is that they did it without considering you or asking you to be present. I can easily put myself into your shoes and I'd be just as livid. I just have been thinking about what happened and thought I'd not try to stick up for Mister, but maybe try to add another view point..that he wanted for Squeaker what was traditional and familiar to him.

I hope the conversations about what happened get easier between you two.


I actually had to read this twice!
I think the behind-the-back-ness of the situation is the most ouch. But family and parents and religion can make for wonky situations. I don't have any advice other than to hope that you all can talk about this. oof!


I'm so sorry you are going through this. I would be furious at your DH and in-laws as well. They have been very rude to you and your decisions about how you want to bring up your son.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not surprised by their behaviour. I am an atheist as well. I have always treated people of faith with respect but I have very rarely been afforded the courtesy in return. The religious seem to think that we athiest have no moral compass. It is insulting to the core.

I don't know what we can do to convince them that we live examined and moral lives.


wow, just wow. at everything. the way it was handled, the secretive stealth mission, the mister's complicity, and the fact that they could read this...

first let me say that I practice your brand of religion. nature is my cathedral, and I subscribe more to a buddhist philosophy and spiritual approach than most religions I'm familiar with. so I can appreciate a strong feeling about not wanting to indoctrinate your child into any organized religion.

but I realize this is about the inlaws and the mister, and not necessarily about the effect of the event on your son.

what matters most is your agreement with the mister. this was not some harmless picture taking to pay respect to tradition or his ancestors. or even a blessing, for which they should have asked for permission and for your participation or presence. this does seem like a 'quick, let's do it before she gets back' kind of mission, and he is complicit. that to me is disturbing. of course I'd be infuriated by the in-laws actions too. I find it very disrespectful to your views.


WOW - Pretty crazy stuff...we have religion issues also and it's never easy. Neither of our parents ever pushed us to have the whole baptism thing done though. Hopefully DH realizes more how you feel now and this will help the situation. This whole "Religion" thing has caused more fights in our house than you can imagine and unfortunately, I don't think this is going to ever change.


I just read all of the comments and I am astounded that no one seems to share your anger in the same degree. I think that I would feel just as angry as you, and would probably act much more rashly than you did. It's not so much the fact that your husband and in-laws "baptized" the baby as the fact that they fairly deliberately did so behind your back. Your husband should have explicitly told you what he was planning and then given you the chance to respond.

And I'm sorry, it also raises a whole other issue. Religious traditions are supposed to be about family - where were you in the photos? What if you child grows up to be a practicing Catholic and wants to see this as his first baptism - where will you be in the story? The photos? If this is a ritual that your in-laws attach a lot of meaning to, then it's even more important that you should be there and participate.

I think that you need to state clearly to your husband exactly what made you angry and give him clear directives on when the two of you need to talk to each other before doing things to/with the baby.

I am from a religious family (and very religious) and my husband was raised in communist China with no sense of religion at all (in fact, he'd probably be puzzled by even your level of religiosity - he truly thinks large parts of religion are a huge scam, as some of them are where he grew up). We had spent years talking about the issues (i.e. the 4 years we were 'best friends' who did not date) and then years negotiating before our marriage (all the details from keeping kosher to shabbos to Jewish holidays to raising kids), and yet having a baby has still brought up new issues we did not anticipate or had not really decided fully upon. It is certainly fair to chalk this incident up to new issues being raised by the presence of (such an adorable!) baby, but I really hope that your husband and in-laws respect your wishes for the future.

And you should be proud of being committed to working with both your husband and his family on these issues.


My situation was very different but very similiar. When we had our son James we knew he was not going to live, I was raised catholic not catholic now, my church does not baptise babies, my father wanted our son baptized and my pastor actually talked to me and made it make sense for me, he said my dad needed the baptism, I didn't need it, the baby didn't need it but my dad for his peace of mind needed it, my pastor said it wasn't going to "hurt" anything it wasn't going to change anything either way, but it was going to give my dad peace at a very hard time, we had the chaplain baptise James and my pastor blessed him both took place during his 52 minutes here on earth and I'm glad I did it. I'm sure you were pissed I remember how mad I was when it was brought up to me, but no one probably meant to hurt you they were probably just trying to keep peace which so often backfires....


I just stumbled on your blog and so am not a longtime reader (and neither am I a parent), but I just wanted to say that I would be livid if this had happened to me. I also think that I would have exploded if I tried to keep it in until 3.30 in the morning, so clearly you are made of stronger stuff than me.

I find it curious that this was so important to your in-laws that they would risk alienating the mother of their grandchild. It seems like a perfect example of religion (or at least its practitioners) subjugating women.

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