Unwed mother, conservative parents


#1

good morning. i am a 31 yr old professional woman who lives overseas. i was raised catholic by devout parents in the US. i have a strong faith in God, but i am not catholic. i recently fell in love with a buddhist man, and i found out one week ago that i am pregnant.

this was not planned, and i intend on keeping the baby. i have an incredible support system where i live and have no worries about my choice. i am not married, and right now i do not have plans to get married. my feelings about that may change as i get closer to my due date (sept 28th.)

i love my parents with all my heart and i am terrified about what they will do when they find out. not only does this go against their core values and the values of the religion they taught their children, it will certainly cause them shame and embarrassment in their community.

i feel terrible keeping this secret from them, but i am so scared about what their reaction will be. they are not open minded people and i am afraid that they won’t want me or my new family in their lives anymore. they are very concerned with “what other people think.”

if anyone has some non judgemental advice on how to tell them in a way that will ease their minds, or any scripture that i can share with them, to “soften the blow”, i would really appreciate it.

my child is an unexpected blessing and the possible situation with my parents is causing me a lot of distress.

thank you and God Bless.


#2

There will be a lot of emotions, and maybe some harsh words if they are as you describe them. Time, though, tends to “heal all wounds.” So, even if you do receive criticism, harsh words, etc, try not to hold it against them and see if time softens things and brings them around to a better relationship. Remember, they aren’t perfect either!

I know when my sister became pregnant out of wedlock (she was 19 though, and gave the baby up for adoption) there was a lot of stress on the family for awhile. But, not any sort of ugly words or “embarrassment”/“what other people think” type reaction.

I honestly don’t know what to tell you other than to just come out with it. Tell them that while unexpected, you are very happy about the pregnancy and hope they will be supportive of your decision to parent your child, their grandchild.

Whatever reaction they have, it’s their problem. You can’t control it and you shouldn’t let it control you.

You’ve chosen to live a lifestyle that is not compatible with the faith in which you were raised and that your parents practice-- you surely should have thought about the consequences to your relationship with your family before now. We all make choices, and you may have to live with the fact that you will not be close to your family because of yours.

I don’t really know what else to tell you.


#3

Well I’m unaware of any scripture that would be of help. I do think that just being honest and open will be the best way to handle it. They may surprise you, they may not. But what you should do is look at it from their eyes; they raised you to know, love and serve God. They had every hope that you would live the faith that they hold dear and believe is the TRUTH! WIll they be upset? Most likely. Will they get over it? Most likely. This won’t just be your child, it will also be their grandchild and chances are their desire to love their grandchild will end up outweighing whatever disappointment or sadness they feel initially.

God bless you and your new baby.


#4

From what I have heard, parents are upset with daughters who become pregnant out of wedlock, but grandparents always love their grandchildren.

So be prepared for some initial distress and even storms, but it should settle down.

With my prayers - Joe


#5

Joe,

You got it. The initial response may be “how could you?” But it might not be as you are far older than most women (girls really) I work with at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). I always council them to tell their parents, be prepared for anger and tears but as a general rule, those parents are now grandparents and like Joe said, Grandparents always love their grandchildren.

So, with my CPC hat on I will tell you that the sooner you tell your parents the sooner that initial anger and hurt will subside and you all can enjoy the impending birth of God’s most wonderful miracle, the birth of a child!

My guess too is your parents know you are not practicing your faith and as such, they recognize that you may not follow their morals. BTW, I do say it is your faith even though you do not accept it right now you are Baptized :).

Do feel free to keep in contact with those of us here, we don’t agree with your lifestyle necessarily but you are a human and a child of God (even if you don’t think so, we do) and we will not condemn you.

Also feel free to PM me if you would feel more comfortable talking to someone more privately.

Brenda V.


#6

Before you speak with your parents, read the account of the Prodigal Son. Use that as a guide. Tell you parents that you are sorry that you have made a mistake, but, that you are going to welcome the life that has been created.

Even though you have walked away from your parent’s Catholic Faith, you might find talking with a Priest to be a help in this.

Prayers!


#7

Are you the first in your family (immediate or extended) to be in this situation? If so, how do you really know that you’re parents will not be open minded about their grandchild and loving but disappointed in their child? I was 26 when I was pregnant out-of-wedlock in a slightly different situation than you. I would think that your parents would be more concerned about your leaving the Catholic faith than about you being pregnant. Don’t be surprised, though, that if the Holy Spirit, with the help of the child growing within you, leads you to start reexploring the faith in which you were raised (happens to the best and worst of us who found ourselves in the same situation as you in our 20s and 30s). My dad didn’t talk to me for a few weeks, but when he did, he explained that it wasn’t because I was pregnant, it was because I didn’t trust him enough to tell him from the beginning (I was 6 months along when I told him over the phone). He repeated that to me again (in person) a week before I delivered and his eyes were filled with tears. That was the third time in my memory that I saw my dad cry (the other two were when his sisters died). It was then that I realized how much my dad truly loves me and how hurtful it was of me to keep my dad at a distance and not see him for the man that he is.


#8

I think you are imagining it as worse than it is… not saying you are lying or anything, just that my experience is that parents take things much better than we imagine they will. I put off telling my mom that my ex had left me until she called to ask what everyone wanted for Christmas… I was scared to tell her too… I am the only one in my family that has been divorced. My mom was so happy… :confused:
Apparently my whole family had been praying he would leave for years. Ya never know until you tell them!


#9

Elizabeth,

No matter what you do, be honest with them and upfront. Please do not do what our daughter has done to us. When she found out she was pregnant by her boyfriend she wrote a note and left on my computer keyboard. The baby was born December 21, 2006 and she is wonderful. Our daughter and the boyfriend still have not married, are living together and are now expecting another child in April, we are very dissapointed in our daughters moral choices as we thought we had done a better job, but it was not our fault she made her choice and will live with that. We still love her and our granddaughter and the next coming granddaughter. No matter what your parents love you and if you are upfront with them and do not lie or hide anything it should be just fine. Do not worry.


#10

Thank you all for your kind help. In response to a few of your questions, i am one of 4 siblings and not one of us is a practicing catholic. my brother is agnostic and both sisters are atheist.

We go to mass on christmas with our parents to make them happy, but our parents are fully aware know that none of us are practicing Catholics.

i have a strong faith in God, i just don’t have a strong Catholic faith. my boyfriend is a native of Sri Lanka and he has an incredibly strong Buddhist faith and he is the most loving, compassionate man i have ever met. he feels very strongly that he wants to be married before the baby arrives.

i will try to contact the parish priest of my parents for some guidance, he is a great guy who knows my parents quite well.

I thank God for this loving community of people in cyber space who are willing to help a not-so-young but still very scared pregnant lady!

God bless!


#11

if you are able to make your arrangements and get everything together without involving your family, do so, but I am willling to bet no matter how negative their reaction would be now, it will all change after the baby is born.


#12

As a parent of young kids, I will let you in on a secret: your whole world is about to change. I thought I knew what love was before I had kids. Not so. I learned about love when I had to wake up daily at 4 am to change diapers, when I had to go 6 years without a real vacation, when I had tostop buying toys for me and start buying them for them…

Your parents have strong feelings about morality because deep down they really believe that those convictions are based on immutable reality and that deviation from them brings far more pain than pleasure. They don’t want to see you hurt. They don’t want to see you do things that can have harmful consequences forever (i.e. extramarital sex). That concern may manifest itself as a lashing out at you at first. Endure it and remember that what seems to be anger is really anguish. They’ll come around.


#13

your parents may also feel guilty that they have failed you in some way. don’t try to think it out for them, but don’t assume the worst on their part either.

it sounds too grandmotherly to say “you will understand when your child is older” so I won’t say it.

all in all, you will look back on all this as a graced and blessed time.


#14

Hi Elizabeth,

When you speak to your parents priest perhaps it would be a wonderful time to re-establish your life with God? Sometimes things happen for a reason. Please think about the possibility of allowing god back into your life through the catholic church.

My prayers are with you and your child.


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.