Dawn Eden sent me a link to a post from a frustrated mother currently going to graduate school.
Dear Pro-Lifers who Hate Babies,
Your position does not make sense. If women do not have abortions they will have….BABIES!!!! Yes, BABIES! I am aware that babies make loud noises and sometimes even distracting smells. But, alas, they are the product of NOT HAVING ABORTIONS. Let me outline a few things that you might have to change now that you have begun to understand that spreading the anti-abortion message means that there will be more babies around:
1) You can no longer condemn parents of crying babies, either by making *tsking* sounds, shaking your heads, or muttering under your breath.
2) If you happen to be a conservative theology professor, you can no longer forbid the presence of an infant in your office hours. Guess what? Your student didn’t have an abortion. Now she has a baby whose daycare is over before your office hours. Throw a blanket on the floor and shut up about it!
3) Catholic universities (such as the one I attend) cannot forbid babies from entering buildings because they are crying. Babies cry. It’s cold out. Babies need to be warm. Deal with with.
Thank you for attention,
Ironically in a latter post she visits Planned Parenthood clinic to have a breast lump checked to find out that they also don’t allow infants to accompany them. She considered this odd, but I consider it consistent – they don’t want women with actual babies walking around their clinics. Now as for a Catholic university with policies such as these they should be changed. I am also against cry rooms in Church. Sure crying babies are distracting, but they can also be distracting in a good way. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." In a pro-life society we should make every accommodations where possible to make it easier for parents and not be annoyed by the signs of life. Parents of course also have a responsibility to try to calm their children and others have the responsibility of not treating parents with little children as second class citizens to be disdained. Especially during the Christmas season when we welcome the Christ child, we shouldn’t at the same time be banishing crying babies to the outer darkness or cry rooms.
I am also definitely against crying rooms. I have no problem with crying babies at mass. In fact, it reminds me to be grateful for the gift of human life. I’m sure Christ cried as an infant as well…
As a parent with an active kid, I am grateful for the cry room. It’s hard to concentrate on the mass when people are casting dirty looks at you and your extremely squirmy 9 mos old!
(Full disclosure – other people’s squirmy babies don’t bother me, and until I had my own I didn’t like the cry room either. But why place stumbling blocks for those who have trouble keeping their minds on the mass while a cute child babbles in fron of them?!)
I’m not against “respite rooms”. They’re not for babies who are babbling, or little children who make the occasional child-like outburst.
They are for the screaming three year old having a temper tantrum who is in desperate need of “time out”.
Why make the priest and the rest of your congregation suffer?
As a frequent user of cry rooms, let me tell you they are there for the PARENT’s comfort, not the congregation’s. Many mothers of infants (like my wife) are not comfortable nursing in the pew. Would you send them off to a bathroom, away from Mass, or give them a secluded area to nurse? We also have an 8-year-old who is clinically hyperactive. It is physically impossible for him to sit still or refrain from noisemaking for more than about 5 minutes. In the cry room, we know we are not distracting other worshipers. At least, other worshippers who are not already distracted by their own children.
Don’t dis the cry room.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a cry room. But an attitude (in a congregation or individual Christians) that does not welcome children is disordered.
As a parent of two rambunctious boys, ages 6 & 2, I am against the cry rooms. My boys have learned to be good in church. Sitting in the front row helped because then they could actually see what was going on. I have a saying: people who don’t like babies in public should go to hell because there are no babies in hell.
If I have to bring a baby to an “adult” environment (such as prof’s office hour), I would tell the person in advance ask a permission. I found that most people will say it’s OK (or at least will feel bad about saying it’s not) and be gracious about it.
I think humans are wired to be annoyed by baby cries – it’s perhaps the nature’s way to ensure that crying babies get what they need. Maybe some people who get annoyed by crying babies are merely acting on this instinct, only that they don’t know how to deal with the annoyance. Indeed, the most annoying and frustrating baby cry is from your own – because the natural instinct is that YOU have to do something about it. Which is why we only go to “family” restaurants where other people’s babies cry louder than ours and other people’s children behave worse than ours.
It is not fair for the baby or for the congregation to keep a crying baby in the church. Change of scenery distracts the baby to calm down and how else would they learn how to behave in church? My kids were active and could be VERY noisy so I appreciated having an enclosed space in the church where we could shut the door and not worry about where the kids may be wandering and not get nervous whey they fussed. Once we tried sitting in the back of the church and, before we could stop it, our 1-year-old was running down the aisle half way up the altar!
And lastly, please let’s not stick this up to the pro-lifers. How does she know that all these people she describes are pro-lifers? When I TRY to control my baby’s crying or child’s misbehavior in public (I say TRY because one will NOT always succeed), I found, most bystanders are sympathetic and understanding.
95% of the time, we don’t use the cry room. We have a 4 mo old and a 2 yr old. But when you need it, it is so good to have one available. We use it mostly for when the baby is too young to know any better or for nursing. There are other occasions when the older one is sick or tired or whatever OR maybe we’re too tired to deal with it after being up all night with a crying baby.
A crying room can sometimes be counter-productive if a child learns that by misbehaving, he can be rewarded with getting to ‘play’ in the crying room. That’s why, for an older child who misbehaves in church, we’re more likely to stay in and then talk with him afterward, and usually it’s much better the next time around. Or, if we do take him out, we just hold him in the back, so he doesn’t get to ‘play’. I appreciate people around us who undertand that and don’t give us the evil eye if we try to deal with it in the pew. Then again, we’ve got a naturally low-motor kid. Other families need to do what works for them.
Ditto what someone else said, don’t diss the crying room.
Kudo’s to Archbishop Flynn in Mpls/StP. I have often been at special masses that are heavily attended with big families and cryin babes. At the end of the Mass, he always says “and don’t you worry about any of those crying voices. It’s such a delight to hear them at a time when so many infants’ voices have been silenced” …by abortion.
I don’t have crying babies anymore, but the Sign of Peace still turns into the Sign of Puppies when three boys scramble over each other to shake the hands of neighbors. When they used to cry, I had a criteria:
Mere wimpering: stay in pew, hug and pat to sleep
Out loud crying: stay in pew, attempt to console
Unceasing crying: leave pew (Mom and Dad took turns), go to car and car seat and remind myself that God made the little darling. Pray for better next week.
I made the early on mistake of trying to bring Cheerios, toys and books. This turned into a free-for-all and ultimately the boys were not learning why they were at Mass and what is required. As they grew, I could explain to them that I believed they really could give their very best behavior for 45 minutes to God.
I have been saying this for years. There was a very odd fish in the parish where we used to live, obviously carrying some serious emotional baggage, who was violently hostile to Cacciadelia whenever she made the slightest peep. Our local state senator’s wife, a wonderful no-nonsense hardboiled Irish mother of eight, finally told him to shut up and act his age. One of the priests was also very tetchy about it, and claimed he couldn’t concentrate if a baby was making a sound. After much discussion I finally told him that anyone who says that to parents has to expect to be laughed at. If I let myself become distracted whenever a baby fussed, we’d all be dead by now. Our present pastor, God bless him, is not fazed by babies in the least.
Ben: “…people who don’t like babies in public should go to hell because there are no babies in hell.”
You win the comment-box prize today, Ben! (…at least, you have my vote.) I’m going to have to remember that one.
I do stress out a bit about keeping my two-year-old from being distracting, but I have never minded hearing babies crying in Mass, and really like seeing all of the children out there.
“People who don’t like babies in public should go to hell…”?…Now, that’s a Christian attitude…!
I think babies are great in public or in private, but when the little ones start raising a sustained ruckus that disturbs others around them, considerate and classy parents will take the little ones into a quiet area until they are more composed.
Narcissistic parents, on the other hand, who believe that the Universe revolves around them and theirs, and that everyone around them is just so much part of the scenery, will not have the class to do this.
That’s the world of parents divided up: Parents with class, and narcissists.
We use the crying room if the child is not in a co-operative mood. However it is for training and is a punishment – “I’m sorry. Until you behave you can’t be with mummy.” They don’t want to go to the crying room so it all works out well.
I rarely use the cry room, mostly because I want my girls to learn to behave in church (actively bad behavior gets the little miscreant taken outside and disciplined), but also because it’s usually choked with families who simply sit back there every Sunday regardless of whether or not their children are misbehaving. And no one offers to give up the rocking chairs to a mother coming back to nurse…
The concept of the cry room doesn’t bother me, as used in moderation, but to banish children there for making the slightest peep seems silly. There are far more distracting things at mass than a fussing child! And believe me, parents are exquisitely aware of how much noise their child is making in a given situation — usually much more than those sitting around them.
One of our old parishes (we’ve moved a lot) had a ‘cry room’ that had nothing to do with crying. Parents would sit in this one-way-mirrored room filled with books and toys munching on their children’s cheerios and chatting idly about their vacations to Aruba and their new BMW’s. The children would be running about climbing over chairs as though it were a city park. It was utterly appalling in there.
But we had a child who had serious problems very much like autism. We were under tremendous pressure from our parents to take her weekly to Mass and ‘control her’ and ‘make her behave’ and we were too young to know better. We should have done split-shifts and left her home and saved ourselves ulcers and embarrassment, but were trying to please our parents against our own instincts.
We HATED the cry room because it was our only alternative, and the behavior of the parents and children worked against our efforts. None of them cared that we were trying to participate in Holy Mass inside that little room. But if our child got overwhelmed, she would not only cry, but scream and we’d have to leave. The noise & activity level, in which she was not permitted to participate was as overwhelming as the sea of disapproving faces in the church.
Eventually, we did do split-shifts because we got very nasty comments from older (mostly male) parishoners if we sat in the church, and had to endure constant worldly chatter and children playing if we sat in the ‘cry box’. Shouldering parental disapproval was the lesser of three evils.
When I only had 2 children I didn’t use the cry room and likely acted holier than thou when other people’s children acted up. Our kids had been going to mass all their lives and acted properly, plus we had one set of hands for each kid.
Now, we are expecting our 5th, and the oldest is only 7. I use the cry room for our toddlers weekly, its just too much, especially after the baby tried to bean the priest with his bottle during the homily last month. I get sick of the chatter about pediatricians and new outfits, but I just sit up front looking at the closed circuit TV with my missel in hand. Until my little 18mo old wild child calms down you will find us… in the cry room.
We don’t use a cry room and never have. (I don’t have any children but I’m the second oldest of 10.) We were expected to sit, stand, and kneel appropriately, and if a little one would start crying we’d walk the baby at the side of the church where it wasn’t distracting. If the child was a little older we might take them behind; the sacristy only took up half the space behind the sanctuary. We did and do sit towards the front, and I have heard that doing so encourages the children to behave as they can see what’s going on. We were generally considered to be very well behaved, but we would flip through the song books/missallettes.
And I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the two kinds of parents thing. It’s not narcissic to have your children attend mass and to expect them to behave and to train them to behave. It is certainly not narcissic to say that congregations should not hate having children around that distract them occasionally. People that hate children that way are in fact being selfish, and God can often work through distractions. And believe me, simply hearing children does NOT equal an extremely distracted mass. Try being in the choir, being responsible for a bunch of children, and worrying about/prompting the altar servers. After that, any mass where I’m free of responsibilities feels blissfully prayerful, no matter how many children are crying.
Maria wrote: “People that hate children that way are in fact being selfish, and God can often work through distractions.”
I don’t hate children. Hardly anyone hate children. People think children are great. It’s not babies’ fault that they cry or scream or wail or coo or play.
They’re just babies being babies.
People have a problem with selfish, narcissistic parents who refuse to consider others around them, who refuse to take pity on their fellow parishoners after a certain point – when the little one has been slamming a metal toy on the pew, for example, or shreiking, or hollering for more than a minute, and refuse to take the little one out into the vestibule or cry room where the little one can be comforted, and then when she is composed again, brought back in to rejoin the service.
It’s very true that God works through distractions. God works through pain also, Maria, does that mean that if I go up and slap someone in the face, that’s OK, because God works through pain? No, it’s inconsiderate and rude and wrong to harm and to inconvenience others.
And blaming the people who are bothered by prolonged loud noises, and to say “they’re selfish” is very typical of what narcissists do. They’re the ones with the problem, the narcissist says. But polite, reasonable parents, who are considerate of those around them, at a certain point, will say, “enough is enough” and take baby outside.
A narcissist would never do that. For them, other people don’t matter. Only the narcissist and her baby matter.
No cry room where I go to Mass, so it isn’t a issue here. Basically, a wail or two from a baby isn’t bad, and most toddlers are fine. We did have one incident two Christmases ago, in which a 3-year-old kept running up and down the nave, shrieking and giggling. This wasn’t one cry-this was a floor show, drawing the attention of almost everyone there. It was so distracting Fr. David had to stop and restart his homily.
Last month a toddler at my church went into full blown tantrum mode. He acted like the scene in The Omen when little Damian flips out at the sight of a church. This fussed, cried and yelled repeatedly that he wanted to leave. People turned around and stared at the family. The priest kept on talking, the cantor kept on singing but when the kid’s father finally stood up and took him out there was an audible sight of relief from quite a few people.
I really think a trip to the cry room would’ve been the best thing for everybody.
I think I might be agreed with you, Janet. The people I was referring to as selfish are those who glare at parents whenever the children make a noise or don’t behave perfectly. And the staying-in-pew-ness that I was defending was that which trains the children to behave appropriately and participate in the mass. I don’t like the resolution to the scenario you presented, because the children shouldn’t be there to play in any case, whether in the pew or elsewhere.
I wasn’t defending letting children make whatever ruckus they feel like.
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