For those who are religious, like I am, your baby's baptism can be a very special, memorable time. It signifies a new beginning, a new life and the hope that, one day, your child will accept your faith as their own. For many families, this is a crucial life moment and one that is looked forward to for years (sometimes before the baby is even conceived). However, for as joyous a day as it can and usually is, it can be stressful, too. I mean, think about all the things that could possible go wrong. I don't doubt that there are things every mom thinks during her baby's baptism that aren't entirely positive and, in turn, are things those moms refuse to say out loud.
I know I sure did. A baptism may not seem that intimidating for the parent because, well, the focus is on the baby and what is being represented to and for them. However, when a baby is involved it's not uncommon for even the most mundane situations to quickly turn into epic disasters the likes of which, well, only the bible has really seen. A simple photo shoot can end with a stream of poop (ew) and a dinner can turn into a screaming, tantrum-throwing debacle (ugh). You get the gist.
With a baptism, there are a slew of potential problems you probably didn't even consider until your baby was beautifully dressed, standing in front of the church, waiting for the pastor to begin. It's almost like a wedding, I would imagine: you're under a lot of pressure and in front of a large crowd and you don't really think about it until you're standing in that dress (or tux). Turns out, your baby really isn't the only focus, you are too, and with a baby, trying to juggle what you need to say and do (with the impending doom that may or may not occur) can turn a beautiful celebration into a stressful situation. Here are just a few things I thought during my daughter's baptism, because just like any other part of parenthood, the wonderful and the taxing just go hand-in-hand.
"There Are So Many People Here. Seriously, Who Are All Of These People?"
I always knew there were a lot of people in our family and in our church, but it didn't really hit me until I looked out at the crowd and at all of the faces looking back at us as we stood up in front of our entire congregation. I mean, wow, there were a lot of people there. Honestly, I can't really say I knew all of them...
"I Hope I Don't Say Or Do Anything Wrong"
As the parent, you're required to say certain things and make certain promises during your baby's baptism. What if I accidentally mess up or forget what I'm supposed to repeat? I mean, I have one job, you guys.
"Please Don't Pee On The Pastor. Please Don't Pee On The Pastor. Please Don't Pee On The Pastor."
I spent the majority of my baby's baptism silently pleading with my child that she wouldn't pee or poop or leak out of her diaper and onto our pastor. I could almost imagine the pastor's expensive robes being soiled by my child in the middle of the service. Ugh.
"Alright, Child. Please Don't Pee On Me, Either."
I got all dressed up nice and fancy for my baby, my church, myself and that special day. So, of course I spent a significant amount of time asking my baby to please, oh please, don't mess up my outfit. In fact, I struck a silent deal that she would be free to mess up any other outfit I may or may not ever wear, just not the outfit I wore for her baptism. Please. Please.
"Please Don't Mess Up Your Beautiful Outfit"
My baby's baptism gown was so beautiful. In fact, her grandmother made it just for her on her special day. I was deathly afraid of messing it up in any way, including my child getting it messy (you know, the thing children tend to do with their clothes).
I guess this very valid thought and fear begs the question: why do we dress babies in such frilly, dressy, nice outfits when we don't know if they're going to mess them up or not? I just don't understand. I couldn't stand to see such a beautiful outfit all messed up with no way to save it.
"Please Don't Cry. Please Don't Cry. Please Don't Cry."
There comes a time during a baby's baptism when the pastor has to hold the baby. This was the part I was dreading the most, not because I didn't trust the pastor, but because I was afraid my baby girl wasn't going to be OK with someone else holding her.
So, I silently promised that I would hold her as quickly as I could, and kind of sort of wishes that the pastor would hurry it up so my baby would be back in my arms and the crying would be held to a minimum (if at all).
"Please Don't Misbehave"
Asking a baby to remain calm, still and quiet for any period of time is a tall order. To ask that baby to do all of the above in front of a room full of strangers, being held by someone they don't know and getting water on their heads is, you know, pretty ridiculous.
So, all I could really do was hope that my daughter wouldn't get upset.
"Here Comes The Water. It's OK, You Got This, Baby."
I can imagine a random drop of water (multiple drops, actually) would seem sudden and strange and somewhat startling to a child, so when it came time to actually baptize my baby, I was curious and somewhat worried about her reaction. In the end, it can only go a few ways, so it wasn't really worth worrying about.
"You Can Sleep On Me Soon, I Promise"
The day of your baby's baptism will be a long and exhausting one, for all involved. I knew that the hustle and bustle of the day (the family members and church goers who were showering my baby with love and praise) was taxing on her. The picture taking, the gifts; it all sounds like a good time but for a baby that likes to spend the majority of their day sleeping, it can be overwhelming.
So, I spent a good amount of time promising my little one that, before she knew it, it would be over and she could fall asleep on me. The kid was a trooper, to say the least.
"You'll Eat As Soon As This Is Over"
This one is pretty self-explanatory. There's no food allowed in the sanctuary of the church, though, so my baby had to hold out for just a little while before I was able to give her anything to drink.
"I Would Love To Be Wrapped Up In A Warm Blanket Right Now"
Because water was going to be poured on my baby's head (and AC is a very real thing) we had a warm blanket ready for her the moment her baptism was over. I can't lie, that comfy blanket looked like a thing dreams are made of, and I was slightly jealous that no one was around to wrap me up in a warm blanket and take me away.
"You Don't Know This Now, But This Moment Means Everything To Me"
I can imagine that, for a baby, a baptism is overwhelming. After all, the entire day was pretty overwhelming for me, too, and there was so much to do and plan and accommodate.
However, that day has a very important, special purpose that I take so very seriously. One day, I hope my child will understand the magnitude of her baptism, and just how near and dear that moment was and is to me, as her loving mother. One day, I hope that she looks back at it and thinks of it as fondly as I know I'm going to remember it.