Why Did I Christen My Child: The Pressure To Baptise

"I know I am not alone in feeling this way."

Are you a parent who baptised your child for all the wrong reasons? Did your parents want you to? Was it to please an elderly grandparent? Or maybe it was to increase your child's options when it comes to deciding on which school they might attend. You would be one of the many Irish parents who did  just that.
Many of us baptise our children because it's one of the things that is expected of us. Families might assume that baptism is just a given. Talks begin to flow about christening gowns and booking a place for the “afters”. A casual talk soon turns in to a costly affair and a substantial amount of stress. Your Facebook feed is full to the brim with adorable christening photos. Your friends have christened their babies so naturally you should too, right?
For many people religion does not even come in to it. The church is considered the venue and the focus is on the fashion and the celebrations after. Babysitters are booked (usually a grandparent) as a big night out is what usually follows the event. A night out which may resemble everything that the church might object to. It's kind of ironic but is similar to an Irish wedding in that sense. I have spoken to people who found it really hard to believe that they would have to attend a kind of pre-baptism event at their church. It might be an hour some evening where the priest and church volunteers explain the procedure and the way the day will unfold. This is the moment where the religious element of the event is explored. It is like a sudden realization that this event is actually a sacramental event associated with the church. With religion.
I am not a religious person but we did christen our baby. It was the thing to do. I am respectful to practising Catholics but I would not consider myself one. And yet I found myself planning a christening and celebrating this moment in my baby's life. I looked at it as a milestone and a thing I was expected to do. Two years later I find myself wondering if I made the right decision. If the reason behind the occasion was good enough. The fact is that a christening or baptism is a religious ceremony. A promise to a certain faith. Even as a grown adult woman I found myself making a promise and including my child in something that I genuinely do not believe in. I am a woman with opinions and education and yet this seemed to happen in a bit of a blur.
I look back now and feel a bit embarrassed, unsure about what this means for my future children. I find myself considering the pressure felt from our families, from society and from social media. I find myself feeling a bit ashamed about it all. Disrespectful to invest in a ceremony related to a religion that I do not believe in.
I also know I am not alone in feeling this way. 
Written by one of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous but would love your feedback.

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