Pregnant and unwed... Catholic options


#1

I just read a thread concerning people’s opinions on a young woman getting married a few months after her baby was born and… gasp, having a large wedding to celebrate! Ahhh it brought back all the main reasons why I am not married and why I hate the idea of getting married in an organized religion centered ceremony. The small minded judgments made on a person that only the op had ever even met is just horrible to me.

Well, I am currently pregnant and engaged. If we decided today to go talk to the priest tomorrow, we would be able to get married in the Catholic church March 4th, 2010… three months after our third child will be born. Hmmm… that’s a lot of threes, might be lucky! That is also six months where our children won’t get to live with their daddy. That is my fiance having to miss out on the first three months of one of his children’s lives. To me, those are things that I am not willing to sacrifice.

This leaves me in the horrible position of either appearing to choose to continue living in sin (bad option #1) going against my conscience (bad option #2 and one that could have many bad effects) lying to a priest ( bad option #3 even if thats how every couple I know who has been married in the Catholic church achieved it) getting married in a civil ceremony before the babies due and convalidating it asap (bad option #4 and seems pointless to me and isn’t something I want as I am very spiritual, but it would tone the gossip and judgments down as we would “technically be married”) go through regular Catholic wedding channels and get married in 6 months (bad option #5,difficult and not fun going through classes pregnant, tests pregnant, and trying to plan wedding while pregnant and with newborn) Its easy judging someone who is pregnant and unmarried. Their sin is outwardly showing and they are easy to pick on. There aren’t always good options. Its not always a simple choice of getting married before the baby comes. Judgmental people will always exploit any sin that they can see.


#2

I don’t think you should worry what other people think about you, it’s none of their business. And as far as I’m concern their prideful, judgemental attitude is worse than conceiving a child outside of marriage.

That said, considering that you are prengant isn’t there any way to make the wedding process go faster? Have you asked a priest to make it go faster because you are pregnant with your fiance’s child?


#3

If the Church is ‘organized religion’ to you, I can see how it would be easy to resent. I pray God bless you with a greater understanding of what He wants to be for you through his Church. It’s an understanding we all need to continually strive to grow in. Faith is a gift, and by using it, it grows.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and on your engagement. As I read through the options you present, I can’t help but think they are really, objectively bad, at least most of them. I’m not sure what you’re referring to as #2, going against your conscience. It sounds like all of them would be going against your conscience. I’m also not sure what you mean by regular Catholic wedding channels.

It is much easier to pick on those whose sins are obvious. A wise priest I knew once said that that’s why those whose sins you can’t see are scarier: you don’t know what they’re hiding.

But I’m also not sure why the other option is six months the kids don’t get to live with their daddy. He can be with them every day after work, maybe even stop over before work, but that doesn’t mean he has to live there with you.

There’s a reason the Church encourages people to wait before getting married. You can grow a lot closer by living apart for a time. I don’t know all the details of your situation, but I do know something of human nature. I encourage you to make every effort to follow God’s plan as you prepare for your wedding day. He will bless you abundantly for it if you surrender to his plan.


#4

Well, I don’t advise trying to dig your way out of a hole, so don’t lie to the priest or continue living in sin. If the father moves out so you can do the right thing, the kids can still see him every day. He won’t miss out and neither will they.
I didn’t read the thread you’re talking about. I was in addiction recovery for a little while (I’m still clean) and our leader said, “Just do the next right thing.” I wouldn’t ask you to try to go back in time and undo a mistake; I wish I could undo mine. We can’t. Just start over by doing this marriage thing right.


#5

Just do the right thing. You can’t ask for anything else. Doing the wrong thing to achieve the right result is always wrong.

I’ve made my share of mistakes. It’s taken time to come to peace with the fact that the past is more made than etched in stone. It’s completely unchangeable. I wish I hadn’t made mistakes, but I am grateful to God every day that he’s made me who I am through them.


#6

Oh, I can see how organized religion might have easily been misconstrued. What I meant was that I am very spiritual in a Christian way, but I am not a member of any specific church or denomination. I lean towards Catholicism and I am raising my daughters Catholic. For that reason I would prefer to be married in a Catholic ceremony, but as I am not Catholic and my fiance doesn’t care, it really isn’t necessary. I said organized religion to describe getting married in any religious ceremony over a civil ceremony. Then you are subject to each specific church’s rules and beliefs about a wedding and a marriage. That bothers me since I don’t have a church I belong to, so any church I get married in will possibly have something they believe in that I don’t. For example, It is very easy to get married in a non denominational free church or a presbyterian church, but as I don’t believe in their doctrines I feel it is wrong and that makes me uncomfortable.

For option #2, going against my conscience I was talking about the fact that for the Catholic church to marry us, they have specific rules you must follow and some of them go against my conscience. Which makes me very leery of starting the Catholic wedding process. I feel that the process makes a lot of sense to newly engaged couples who got engaged early in their relationship and haven’t been very serious about getting to know each other in important ways. That doesn’t fit my fiance and me in any way. We have a solid, close relationship and have already showed that we are committed and able to face adversity. Our children aren’t old enough to understand why their parents living together is sinful, all they would see is the church making their dad leave them. I don’t believe that is fair to them, to us, or to the church. We have already been engaged over 4 years, a 6 month waiting period really is just overkill at this point. None of the people we care about are practicing Catholics, and I don’t believe it is more important to choose people included in the ceremony based on religion than on relationship. The problem is that I believe the church has wonderful intentions and the priests at the two parishes that we regularly attend are some of the most amazing people, which makes me want to consider the church no matter how little we seem to fit.


#7

God bless you as you make your choices, which are more about what God wishes than anyone’s opinions. I doubt that any of us has everyone’s total approval…the Lord certainly didn’t, so I very much doubt we shall.:slight_smile: May God’s wishes be fulfilled in your lives, in the peace of Christ.


#8

since you ask for options this is advice I would give if someone came to me in a similar circumstance:
do you love the father of this baby and does he love you and are you committed to the vocation of marriage, the life-time commitment, self-giving and all it entails. Then by all means start planning marriage. If you do love him that much nothing, but nothing, will be more important to you than his eternal salvation, and your own. Nothing, but nothing, will you allow to stand in the way of his, and yours, eternal happiness. Nothing, but nothing, will convince you to persist in any sinful behavior and condition that may have entered your life. If you love someone, you love heart and soul, and will allow nothing, especially any action or choice of your own, imperil his soul, or your own and his well-being will be your first concern.

Operate on the basis of asking God what is His plan for your life, and potentially for your life together with this person. If you ask the questions and make the decisions on that basis–not on what friends, or well-meaning butt-inskis, or people on a forum discussing somebody else’s issue, might say or think–you can’t go wrong.


#9

Since you or your fiance are not Baptized Catholics (If I understood you right), neither of you are bound under the laws of the Church to be married in the Church. So if you both are truly committed to marriage, then there are two choices. Either live seperately until you figure out what you are doing, or go down immediately to the court house and have a civil ceremony. No more living in sin.

As for raising your kids Catholic, if you or the dad are not practicing Catholics, the Church won’t Baptize them anyway and it will be a terribly confusing way to raise your kids if your teaching them something you don’t fully believe. They will catch on and eventually they will reject religion/faith altogether. My advice is go figure what you believe and what you don’t believe, pray for guidance, and then teach your kids accordingly. If you feel drawn to the Catholic Church, then you can have your marriage blessed in the Church after you’ve been officially received in the Church.


#10

I read your other post from the other day regarding your situation. Let me get this all straight. You and your fiance are about 22 years old and in both in college. You have been together for 6 years , engaged for 4 years and have 2 children together and are pregnant with #3. According to your last post your fiance is Catholic and you are protastant thinking about converting to Catholic. You have already baptized your 2 children as Catholics. Is this correct so far?:confused:

It would appear your fiance is now ready to commit to following through on your engagement and marry you. Congratulations!!!:slight_smile:
My advice… Go find a good Priest, explain your entire situation and ask if you can bump up the wedding to the earliest possible date. Also, this forum is filled with anonomous posters who feel that since no one knows who they are can post what ever they want. Would these people ever say what they say on hear to someones face??? :shrug: Look at it that way. Don’t get upset with the church. Go talk to a Good Priest for advice. :thumbsup:


#11

Hi
Just go and speak to one of the priests either make an appontment or chat to them after Mass.Tell them what you told us and you will find the priest gives you good information.It may not be anywhere near as complicated as you think.I wish you both all the luck in the world.May God bless you and Your dear children.Let us know how things progress.


#12

Is your fiance Catholic? If not, you can’t actually get married in the Catholic church to beging with if neither of you are Catholic. You would have to go through RCIA first ( which might even be the best thing for you )

In Catholic weddings, you don’t have to have Catholic participants. My Anglican friend did a reading in our wedding mass, and only one of my bridesmaids was Catholic.

Are your children baptised? If you want to raise them Catholic, then it would be best if they were baptised. Have you met with a priest?

I think it is rather common enough for pregnant mothers or mothers already, to be married in the Catholic church. Whether that is a good thing or not, is besides the point. Don’t feel like you are being judged where you are.

I read that same thread that you did… it certain had it’s ups and downs.

I was living in sin with my fiance while engaged. I told the priest the truth. He actually didn’t tell us to live apart. I went to confession about it before we got married.


#13

Okay just read your other thread. You are 22, you are baptized and confirmed Lutheran, and your husband is baptised and confirmed Catholic. Gotcha.

Is your fiance open to meet with a priest, the three of you? If you do decide to get married, it should be in the Catholic church. It is okay that you aren’t Catholic. Your fiance would have to show an interest in it and be proactive as much as he can.

It sounds like your biggest gripe with being married in the church is that you guys would have to live separately. It totally understand your fear of this. You are a family after all. Maybe ask the priest if it would be okay if you slept in separate rooms?

You have my prayers. This isn’t an easy situation but I am so proud of you for being such a great mother, and trying to live the way that God wills you to. Keep talking to Him :slight_smile:


#14

Someone suggested talking to your priest for some information, which is a great idea! I had a traditional Catholic wedding, and I was about 6 months pregnant at the time. When my husband and I went through the marriage preparation, we were able to get a bit of a “streamlined” approach to it. Given that you have been engaged for so long, it might be an option for you. Our priest was very understanding and compassionate with regards to our situation with the pregnancy. My marriage prep included about three meetings with our priest, which basically served as a way for the priest to know that my husband and I were communicating well with each other. We also went on an engaged encounter retreat, which both of us thoroughly enjoyed. In the end, we had a very nice wedding in the church. We were both pleased with the way everything turned out, and we were glad that we were able to share that experience with our friends and family!

Keep praying about your decision. I’m sure that you will be able to find a solution that would make you happy.:slight_smile:


#15

:slight_smile: As an aside to some people who hadn’t read my other thread that dealt specifically with me and my fiance’s relationship… I am not Catholic, but I have been through RCIA and am on good terms with two priests. I am considered basically a member at both parishes since my fiance is a member at one of the church’s and my two daughters are baptized and members at the other… so by default since I am the most religious one, I am welcomed. :thumbsup:

My fiance is Catholic, but while we have been dating didn’t practice at all until I began practicing with our daughters and so he now goes along with us to mass, but otherwise doesn’t seem very interested at this time.

Both of my daughters are baptized Catholics and members of a Catholic church. They are practicing Catholics… as much as a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 can be, lol. They attend mass at least once a week, say the rosary with me often, and do daily prayers and bible readings. They are learning about their faith in ways I feel appropriate to their ages. I am giving them a secure, loving home where they know they are cherished and loved unconditionally. They are learning wrong and right, but I don’t feel there is any reason to try to make them feel that there is something wrong with their family by telling them that their father and I are sinning by us all living as a family. When they are old enough to understand, I will be honest about it, but right now I feel it would be very cruel and unnecessary.

Sina, thank you for the nice reply! Yes, my fiance would have to be proactive, which is one reason we have been stuck since I decided to raise our daughters Catholic and began to want a Catholic ceremony for them. As I mentioned, I am the religious one in the family and in charge of the religious aspects of our life, he isn’t very interested in being proactive or having to deal with all the regulations of the Catholic church. I think your idea about asking about some other options that the priest could sanction besides stopping cohabiting. I have no problem being chaste for as long as they tell us we have to be. I have a problem with my children’s father having to stop living with his two young children and to miss out on the first few months of his third child’s life. The two priests that I am close to are absolutely amazing and I believe they would be comfortable doing this. Unfortunately, I have run into problems with the other people you need to deal with and the only way to get around them is by having the priests over ride their opinions, but I don’t really want the priests to have to do that. I think it is unfair to them to have to defend their charity to judgmental people who aren’t very Christian in their thoughts or actions.

Masondoggy, since you didn’t realize that my daughters and my fiance are Catholic, your opinion might be different now. Often I want to just go and have a civil ceremony, but I don’t really think it is a very good option as it isn’t really a solution. A civil ceremony doesn’t stop you from living in sin, it just makes us legally a married couple. So, it really wouldn’t accomplish very much as I have been doing just fine legally wise as a single mom for the past four years. I also dislike the idea of a civil ceremony because I am very religious, I just am not affiliated with a specific church. To feel married, I want to be married by a priest or pastor and begin our life as a married couple in God’s eyes, not the legal systems.

Btw, thank you Trishie, Luvs2Learn, and tbcrawford for your very nice responses.


#16

Really the simplest way to go about this is for your fiance to make things right with the church. See if he’'l do it for your family’s sake.


#17

If you want a Catholic wedding, then have one. Explain everything you just told us to the priest, and work something out.

FWIW, I had a Catholic wedding two months after our son was born. I know different parish’s have different requirements, but we did our pre-cana privately with the deacon. So no going to classes with other couples. Also the priest didn’t seem to mind we lived together :shrug: In fact he gave a wonderful homily about just this situation a few months after our wedding, and why he felt it was wrong to deny those couples a Catholic wedding.

First thing you need to do is talk with the priest. I don’t understand what you said here though.

Unfortunately, I have run into problems with the other people you need to deal with and the only way to get around them is by having the priests over ride their opinions, but I don’t really want the priests to have to do that. I think it is unfair to them to have to defend their charity to judgmental people who aren’t very Christian in their thoughts or actions.

What other people? If the priest agrees and schedules the wedding, what other people have any opinion that matters?


#18

Sorry, my bad. I see where your coming from now.

I agree that it would not be good for your fiance to move out, for the kids sake. It just doesn’t seem to be in their best interest. That means the only other thing to do is to live like “brother and sister” while you go through marriage prep. I know some priests will allow this, some won’t. Hopefully, you can find a priest that would allow this.

Your in a tough situation. Prayers for your family!


#19

AveMaria,

I want to give you one insight, being a convert myself. You mention you’ve already been through RCIA, but did not go through the Easter vigil. I have seen so many people run into complications, problems, hurt feelings, etc., during the conversion process. It seems like the Catholic conversion process brings the devils out of the woodworks, and there are stumbling blocks put up in front of those that God most wants to bring into the Church.

Your issue with separating for a few months after the birth of your baby, and how this is keeping you from marrying in the Church, reminds me of the same kinds of stumbling blocks that people run in to when they go through RCIA. There is always something, and that always something keeps people from the sacraments. They are so close, but don’t make a permanent commitment, and don’t get to share in God’s grace that is showered upon us through the sacraments.

I would encourage you to think about this as if it weren’t the Church separating you, but a temporary inconvenience that you need to endure to fulfill a duty. Think of all of the mothers who have had babies while their husbands are on duty in the service. It’s certainly not ideal for them, but they endure for their commitment. In your case, you would have to endure an inconvenience much less painful than those who are separated during military service, because your finance could stop by every evening.

I also would ask you to consider what will be most harmful for your children, who are being raised Catholic, in the long run. Not sleeping under the same roof as dad for a few months, or knowing their parents are not partaking in the same sacraments that they are being taught are essential and life giving channels of God’s grace, and that they are expected to partake in, being raised Catholic? Certainly, when your children receive First Communion, they will wonder why their parents do not receive.

It sounds like you are making good decisions for your family, and I truly hope these loose ends can be tied up for all of you, and that God continues to bless your family. Ideally, that would mean you completing your conversion and being received by the Church, and being married in the Church, with your husband attending Mass with you and living his faith.


#20

I agree with this post but wanted to touch on the highlighted portion. Talking to your Priest where you live and go to Mass now is what needs to be done. Since you are having your third child with the same man that says a lot - it is the girls who come running in with their fiance and the reason they are getting married is she is pregnant that gives a Priest pause as it should.

You indeed have an option to see if you can get the Wedding moved up, you won’t necessarily have a big one but it can still be a nice one. I have been to Weddings that were planned in less than three months that were wonderful.

Keep in mind that even if the bulletin says “please schedule six months in advance” or whatever, the Priest can change that rule. When asking to talk to your Priest make sure his Assistant knows that it is a personal matter so she has to schedule an appointment with him.

Edited to add:
Oh man I didn’t catch the part about having to live apart from the father of your children for three months. Honestly, talk to the Priest about this, perhaps living as friends as opposed to husband and wife would be all that is asked of you - ie not sleeping with your intended for that length of time.

Brenda V.


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