Divorced "Catholic" Family member decides to "grow her family on her own"

Hello all;

I’m struggling to understand a recent decision by one of my female family members to “grow her family on her own.” She and her husband separated about 11 months ago, for reasons that aren’t altogether clear, but have something to do with his reluctance to have more than one child. (The husband is not, and never was, a practicing Catholic.) Apparently, this was heartbreaking for my family member, who always wanted to have a large family with many children of her own.

Well, apparently, within months of separating she decided to pursue artificial insemination to get pregnant and “grow her family on her own.” She just recently sent out an email to all her family and friends, announcing that she is pregnant (just finished the first trimester), and excited about having a new brother or sister for her son.

I’m really struggling with this. I love this person like a sister, but I don’t really understand her thinking here. What she did seems wrong on so many levels. It’s not that I doubt she will be a loving mother, and she has lots of immediate family to help raise the child. But is it right to bring a child into the world without an intact family, and with no father?

Also, I understand she’s getting lots of support from other family members and I just don’t understand that at all. I suppose that “support” can mean lots of things. But is there really family “approval” of the decision?

What would you say to this person, and to other family members, if this was happening in your family?

I’m not sure how to respond in a way that is accepting of the reality of the situation, but in no way condoning the actions that led to it.


I think you should pray for her. I am not certain how close you are to her, from your comments that you don’t really know the reason for her divorce, I don’t know if you have a close enough relationship to be active in her and her children’s life.

Obviously, the biggest issue from a church perspective, is that she used in vitro not that she is pregnant and just got divorced. If she had gotten pregnant during the marriage and her husband left, she would still be a single parent.

If you are in the position to get closer to her and be of assistance to her and her children, then you might be in the position to gently help per learn the church position on in vitro.

Robert, a few years ago, my Mum and the rest of the family were shocked and disappointed when my 16-year old niece announced that she was pregnant. While that may have been the case, we were not saddened because a child is a child, under whatever circumstances the child is conceived. Also, my niece, under whatever circumstances, is a loved member of the family. Her grandmother called a family meeting attended by the parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins. I’d be lying if I were to tell you that none of us said: “What in the world were you thinking?” at that time. However, Mum had the final word and said: “What is done is done. Let’s move on.” Mum took my niece to confession the next day and that was that. God bless.

While I understand your concerns, and although I don’t necessarily approve of her decision, I think I can understand it.

She desperately wanted another child. Perhaps she felt that it was “now or never.”

I have known women who never found Mr. Right or feared she would be too old by the time she did, so she went ahead and had a baby on her own.

Wanting to be a mother is a desperate desire of many women. For some, accepting their lives without a child or children is very, very difficult.

While I think it was wise of her to avoid re-marrying in a hurry just to have another child, I think it would have been wiser to adopt a hard-to-place child.

I think you should do your best just to love the child-to-be, and to help the mom. How and why he or she was conceived is a moot point now. Unless the mom specifically asks you your opinion on her actions, keep it to yourself.

Thanks to all for the input. I appreciate it. I still love this family member, and while I don’t agree with the way she went about doing it, I certainly will love the child too. I will pray for her too, and trust in God to make good even from poor choices.


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