Missing Mass after Having a Baby?


#1

I am a fairly new Catholic. Many of you here in the Family Life forum have already helped me on many other matters. Thanks to you all.

Now to my question. I am due with baby #3 in about 6 weeks. Yay! But, my midwife made it clear to me yesterday that for the first couple of weeks, I shouldn't be going anywhere except to the pediatrician after the baby is about 2 weeks old. It has been three years since the birth of my second child, so I really don't recall what those first weeks were like for me at that time.

So, how long do Catholic mothers tend to stay home after giving birth? I know that I won't want to stay home forever. Sometimes, rather soon after delivery, I like to go out for some fresh air and socialization with friends. I get cabin fever pretty quick. But Mass is a different scenario. It is not just a stroll, nor can I sit or lay down whenever I need/want to. Also, I will be working on establishing a nursing relationship with my newborn, and the first 6 weeks are sometimes rather challenging. So, what have other Catholic moms done? I am not sure here, in part because I didn't just go from Protestant church-goer to Catholic. My conversion came about during the middle of my pagan wanderings, and I have no adult church history to guide me in such matters.

Of course I do understand that missing Mass is a mortal sin, unless for reasons of illness. But I tend to feel cheerful and energetic after childbirth. I need some guidelines for restricting my behavior so my overenthusiasm doesn't retard recuperation or nursing. And I certainly don't want to harm the baby by going among too many people too quickly. So, please help this confused new Catholic understand this better. Thanks! :p


#2

I think it all depends on how YOU are feeling and how comfortable you are having the baby in a public setting like Mass...
Of course having a baby can be valid reasoning for missing Mass, but there's certainly no "standard" for how long that break should be...

Personally, I've never missed Mass after having a baby... my kids were all at their first Mass within their first week of life. In fact, my 2nd son was born on Holy Thursday, and went to Easter Sunday Mass 3 days later...

It's really a personal decision... :)


#3

I would follow the advice of my doctor, or midwife in your situation, AND the baby’s pediatrician and decide appropriately.


#4

It is not wrong to miss mass for sickness or weak health.

You may wish to enquire about having Eucharist brought to you.


#5

[quote=CCC #2181]The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
[/quote]

(Emphasis mine.) I think you should do what your doctor says and what you feel comfortable with. God is a parent too. :wink:

–Jen


#6

It really varies from mom to mom, and even from one baby to another. With my first two children, I was at Mass the following week (they were born on the weekends), and I needed surgery for both of them (my first was a c-section, and my second ripped my birth canal down both sides on his way out). Now, with my third, I’ve only made it to Mass a small handful of times (he’s almost 2 months old), despite a great birth recovery. The obstacles I encounter now are typically: (1) going to Mass sans-husband, which means that if Baby is fussy on the way to Mass, I have to stop the car to attend to his needs, and I end up missing Mass; and (2) I have two other intense, small children to care for (one of whom still nurses, as does the newborn), and I don’t always have enough energy to safely operate a toaster, let alone a car. :o :frowning: It’s painful for me to miss Mass so much. :frowning:


#7

Thanks everyone for such prompt and helpful replies. The personal stories were very helpful. (TrulyBeloved - ouch! I am so glad you had an easier delivery with your third baby!) See, I have a feeling that I might want to go right away, but that I will probably do better to just stay home for a week or so at least. It is good to know that I actually will have a sound reason for staying home. My husband and I think that even if I have to miss, he should take our oldest (5yo) daughter with him, and might even take our preschooler to stay with his 'Miss Holly' in the nursery (he loves our nursery angel so much!).

But I just didn't want to wait to think about these things until the baby came, because I didn't want to end up feeling like choosing to stay home to rest and recuperate and take care of the baby was wrong (especially if I'm feeling well, but just tired) if the Church has already spoken to these issues. I didn't realize that it was actually addressed in the Catechism. I have read it once through with RCIA, but that was so much information to cover that I have forgotten some of the vital points it addresses! :)


#8

Jen gave you the important quote from the Catechism, the care of infants can be a serious reason. With that being said, the answer to your question about how long Catholic mothers tend to stay home after giving birth varies in my experience. I actually take a little bit of a different approach. My personal research and observations have lead me to choose to not bring my children to Church (or any place in close quarters with other people in public) early on, except for their baptism (3- 8 days old). I know other mothers that have also researched the subject feel differently and have decided to take their children pretty much from day 1. Our approach is a little different because we live close to our Church and we actually take turns going to Church. I breastfeed on demand, but we have noticed more often than not there is a 1.25 hour period in which my little ones sleep after cluster feeding a lot etc. where I can escape to go to Mass really quick. We just play it by ear all weekend and I try for all the different Masses until the circumstances are right for me to go. Dh can call me if the little one wakes up and I can come back home quickly, but so far it has never happened. So, to answer your question, I don't stay home from Mass after giving birth, but I don't bring my newborn with me either. The only time I missed Mass was because I was still in the hospital and dd was awake and nursing during Mass, so I watched it on TV. The hospital is Catholic and they have a Chapel where the priest gives a very short Sunday Mass (25-30 min?) and with one of my kids I was actually able to walk down the hall and go since my infant had just fed for a significant time and had fallen asleep with daddy. Daddy could send someone to get me at the Chapel down the hall if needed, but when I got back baby was still sleeping. It was weird to go to Mass in my "patient" attire, but I wasn't the only one :). My baby had not been "released" so I wasn't allowed to bring him with me, but like I said, it was no problem since I was so near.


#9

I went when my baby was 4 days old. I was just so excited to bring my baby to mass with me. :stuck_out_tongue: But my baby was big and healthy and I was healthy enough for Mass, and because I gave birth during part of the swine flu scare, nobody was touching anything or anybody, (this was when it was still being talked about, but actual cases were less than the normal flu). But it is completely acceptable to miss mass, because you don’t feel well or for the care of infants, if you don’t feel up to it.


#10

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:211960"]
I think it all depends on how YOU are feeling and how comfortable you are having the baby in a public setting like Mass...
Of course having a baby can be valid reasoning for missing Mass, but there's certainly no "standard" for how long that break should be...

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

[quote="JohnDamian, post:4, topic:211960"]
It is not wrong to miss mass for sickness or weak health.

You may wish to enquire about having Eucharist brought to you.

[/quote]

:yup: I've had the Eucharist brought to me in my hospital bed with each of my kids. It's a wonderful experience. It always is of course, but receiving ultimate love after giving birth to love is amazing. :love:

Also, the priest prayed a blessing over our new baby (each time) and over our family. This time our parish priest was the one to do it, so that was really nice.

[quote="lifeisbeautiful, post:8, topic:211960"]
The hospital is Catholic and they have a Chapel where the priest gives a very short Sunday Mass (25-30 min?) and with one of my kids I was actually able to walk down the hall and go since my infant had just fed for a significant time and had fallen asleep with daddy. Daddy could send someone to get me at the Chapel down the hall if needed, but when I got back baby was still sleeping. It was weird to go to Mass in my "patient" attire, but I wasn't the only one :). My baby had not been "released" so I wasn't allowed to bring him with me, but like I said, it was no problem since I was so near.

[/quote]

That's very cool. :)


#11

I think its a WWJD question. I’m sure god will not damn you or think of you as sinning for taking care of your new born baby. He is the one that said to be fruitful and multiply, and with kids, we all make sacrifices. You are doing it for your baby and for your own health. I agree that for the first maybe 4 weeks you should stay with your baby. And i bet my life that jesus will understand. Its not really the churches matter on this, its what god thinks of it, and im sure god sees no reason why you cannot be there for your new born baby. New borns shouldn’t be at mass anyways. Too much crying and too much to take care of. Wait a bit till you bring the little one along.


#12

I depends. I have had no problem going a week after the birth, but I ALWAYS sit upfront with a baby or during the “sick” season because less people sit upfront (or at my parish, only us, one other family and the lectors sit in the first 4 -5 pews) and thus it’s almost as if you’re in an empty church. :smiley: But, then again, I work in childcare and am a constant carrier of all things icky, so it really doesn’t matte b/c if baby gets sick, it’s probably because of me.


#13

I would say if you would go out of the house for other things you could go to mass. The day after I got home from having my kids I had to get out. The first thing I did was go to Mass (hubby watched the baby). I never took stock in that idea that you have to stay home for a few weeks to recover (unless the birth involved surgery). Gettin out each day also helped me to get my weight back down to pre baby weight. All my babies had their first outing at less than 2 weeks old.


#14

I agree. Unless the doctor orders you to stay in bed, there really is no reason to avoid Mass. You cannot rationalize going to the grocery store or perhaps for a short walk, but then skipping Mass. Mass is food for your soul, which needs nourishment as well. Since there are so many opportunities to go to Mass at most parishes, plan your day carefully. Feed your precious baby before you go, and leave the newborn with your husband. Then enjoy a glorious hour or so and thank God for the Unspeakable Gift of your new child. When you get home, try to rest if you feel tired.

My fifth child was born on Good Friday, she was baptized on Holy Saturday, and we all went to Easter Mass the following day. It was glorious, though physically demanding, two have two events at Church following the birth. Church is a wonderful place to thank God for the miracle of a new child.


#15

If you feel up to it, go!! :smiley: I will not recommend leaving your new baby, for any reason (even Holy Mother Church understands the needs of babies to be with their mothers, especially if you’re nursing). During the newborn stage, Baby is so portable and sleeps so much, so Week 1 may be the best time for you to go. However, if you just can’t get out for Mass because of fatigue, or you try to go and have to come home, don’t beat yourself up over it like I do. :o :rolleyes:


#16

Seems like the question was answered already, but I thought it might be fun to point out that my Catholic Polish Grandmother was shocked that I returned to Mass as soon as I did. Seems like custom in Poland is you don't go to church several weeks after giving birth and not before some sort of cleansing ceremony. You are literally not allowed in Church at all!


#17

I had my baby on a Wednesday and brought him to church on Sunday! I kept him in a Moby wrap, and he slept the whole time. We sat in the choir loft, so it's not like we were getting exposed to a lot of germs.

Still, it's definitely a matter of personal choice -- definitely recovery and newborn care are legitimate reasons to miss!

If you do go, though, don't be afraid to nurse in Mass -- the baby needs to nurse on demand in those early weeks especially. If you're shy, the vestibule and the choir loft have both worked for me! But I find no one notices if I nurse in the pew either. Seriously, everyone's praying, not staring.


#18

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the churching of women. Have any of you done this? At my church, all women do this after having a baby.

newadvent.org/cathen/03761a.htm


#19

That’s pretty much what my grandmother was talking about. I don’t remember the exact details. I’ll have to ask her next time I see her.


#20

RE: Churching of Women

The priest we use for Baptisms does this blessing after the Baptism is over.


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