Parents and other family members who are the ‘first responders’ are the ones best-placed to accompany a person who feels on the outer of the Church community. Often, these first responders themselves are in need of encouragement and affirmation. An addiction, an unexpected pregnancy out of wedlock, or a ‘coming out’ announcement can come with a sense of alienation for the loved ones as well.
I’m not ready to be a grandmother
“I am feeling rather numb right now. My 20-year-old daughter who is still in college announced that she is pregnant. There is no one that she would like to claim as the father at this time.
My husband and I have told her that we support her decision to keep the child or put it up for adoption. Abortion is out of the question.
But it bothers me that this baby she is carrying is my grandchild. Am I being a bad person or parent for supporting her possible decision to put the baby up for adoption? Am I abandoning my own flesh and blood? This is such a killer for me!
We always hear so much about the parents – particularly the unwed mother in these situations, but what about grandparents and even great grandparents’ feelings?
I could be very old and still feel that I could and should be responsible in some way for this baby. My husband I and feel that our daughter isn’t ready for parenthood at all yet, let alone single parenthoo
d. I don’t know anyone who raised a grandchild in situation such as this. The thought of raising my own grandchild seems so strange to me. This is a whole new perspective for me, a dizzying one.
But once a parent – always a parent. Within 24 hours of finding out about this pregnancy I bought my daughter prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes and an outfit for the newborn to come home in. By doing this I feel that I’ve confirmed in my daughter’s mind that life is coming and we are all expecting with her. Such is life! Often times life happens in a way we would never expect.”
My husband is a porn addict
“Anonymously in your pews are women holding families together against the destructive forces of pornography on our husbands and sons. We are hurting and ashamed, tolerating – not enjoying –
marriages and dealing with our inadequacies and depression. Personally, I feel like the 15 years of my marriage before my discovery were one big lie; that I have been “duped” by an otherwise faithful, church-involved husband.
In the three years since my awareness was heightened, I have come to believe that an affair would have actually been easier to tolerate; for perhaps I could compete with flesh and bones, but not with this. That pleasure and satisfaction can come to my husband from something so two-dimensional has shaken me to the core; my very sense of who I am and what I am worth is utterly destroyed. My world was turned upside down and I know if not for our children, I would have left the marriage.”
Our Beloved Son is Gay
“I love the Catholic Church, and I am an obedient Catholic who is very thankful for the authority of the Church. That being said, I have come to know that something that is clearly black and white takes on shades of grey when it happens in your life.
We are a homeschooling family. We attend daily Mass, celebrate feast days and thoroughly enjoy our children. We are not perfect parents, but we love our children and have tried very hard to parent in a loving and firm manner without being harsh. And, we have a gay son.
Our son told us right before his 18th birthday. He is now 21. He is respectful of the fact that his father and I want to tell his siblings ourselves when we feel that they are at an appropriate age. He is a good big brother… very nurturing, very loving.
We do not condone being sexually active in a homosexual relationship (or in any relationship outside of marriage). However, when you watch your son struggle with an eating disorder, depression, and run away… the way to respond to him does not feel quite so black and white.
My husband and I are just taking it one day at a time. We have talked to him about remaining chaste just as any Catholic single is called to do. Right now, he does not feel that is an option. He wants very much to meet someone… to have a life partner. I fear the day that he tells us he has met someone.
What I find most frustrating is how matter-of-fact people become when asked how they would react to such news from a child. A common response is: “I would love my child without condoning their behaviour”.
Obviously, I do not condone this lifestyle either, but when my son told us he was gay I felt like I was punched in the gut and had my heart ripped out all in a split second. There was nothing matter-of-fact about it.
Lots of heartache and struggling is involved. And even though I have only told very few people, I still ‘feel’ judgement from Christians because of the way some of them talk about gay people.
My fear is that because I am not following my son around all the time trying to convert his heart, that I am being lukewarm and that I am teaching his siblings to be lukewarm.
Because we are living peacefully and not constantly being confrontational with our son over this issue I am afraid it looks to be acceptance.
I just pray, pray, pray. I have to believe that God hears this mother’s cry for her son and that He loves my son even more than I do.”
This is an extract from a piece originally published by an anonymous guest contributor on the Little Catholic Bubble blog belonging to Leila Miller. Leila is the author of a newly released book, Raising Chaste Catholic Men ) which offers Catholic mothers practical strategies and advice for guiding boys through a sex-saturated secular culture. She has eight children, six of them sons. Read the whole article
Grieving for my daughter’s innocence
Here I was in my mid-30s, married six months, and my teenage daughter was telling me I was about to be a grandmother. She was 18 – the same age I was when I had her.
I left the room in a daze. I could hear her heartbroken wails but could not bring myself to comfort her. I just couldn’t. The only emotion that could compare to how I felt was the initial shock of a bereavement.
I had begun the process of grieving. Yes, there had been a death. The death of my daughter’s innocence. I had no idea that she had a boyfriend, much less that she was sexually active. Was that naive?
As a Christian, I had to stand by my conviction that abortion is wrong, so it would not be an option. My daughter felt the same way so that was that. ‘We’ were having a baby.
In the next two weeks, I was a maelstrom of emotions. I cast my mind back to all the things I saw as evidence of my failure as a mother. I looked back over the years and questioned everything. Perhaps I didn’t spend enough time with her – when was the last time we had a ‘mother-daughter’ date? Perhaps I didn’t discipline her enough. Perhaps I didn’t do enough to instill a moral code.
Perhaps I didn’t realise early enough that despite our close-knit family, there were always going to be severe consequences from growing up in a one-parent household. Perhaps a male role model early on would have made a difference?
My grief was worsened by the fact that only close family members knew. I told no one else, and I was isolated by the secret.
Excerpted from ‘My teenage daughter is pregnant’. Originally published in The Guardian.
What do I do when my child makes poor choices?
Only one woman in the history of mankind has raised a perfect child and she would be the first to assure you that it was all by the grace of God.
Where does that leave us in our mission as parents? What hope do we have? We can walk together, just as Jesus walked and worked with Peter, every day, day in and day out, endeavouring to be Christ to one another, sure that we have free will, but we can have grace, too. We can be confident that they will leave home and that they will all make poor choices and some of them will make very poor choices.
However, we can cling to the truth that as we wait for God to work in the hearts of these children in whom we’ve invested so much, it is we who can rely on the grace of all those years of doing.