Agnostic Me

"True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness." – Albert Einstein

My mother, the Irish Catholic girl from Brooklyn, NY, dislikes the fact that my sons are not being raised in any sort of organized (ahem, Christian) religion. She cringes and gives me “the look” when it is noted that my children have not been baptized, communion-ized or received any other sacrament.

I try my best not to dwell on it or debate it with her. My kids. My choice. I am not a “believer” and as such feel I would be hypocritical in forcing the Jesus juice down my son’s throats when I don’t drink it myself. 

Yes, agnostic me.

However, should my children express an interest, ask, etc. I am more than happy to take them and allow them to make their choices. They can be Buddhist, Catholic, Wiccan, whatever they wish.

Amusing at best since I was myself marched off every Sunday to Holy Name of Jesus. I sat through Father Pitoniak, the fat, ugly and presumably bald nuns, the hours of catechism lessons. I memorized my prayers (I was always partial to the Apostles Creed), I picked out a confirmation name (Elizabeth) and found a sponsor (not surprisingly, the black sheep of our family, my Puerto Rican aunt).

Oh yeah. I was a good catholic girl (cue Billy Joel…”You Catholic girls start much too late..”).

Until I got pregnant that is.

I then had offended not only the morals of my family but the laws of God. Is it any wonder that religion was an effective tool that agency used against me?  I remember them telling me their name, Easter House, was meant to reflect the re-birth of Christ, Easter, new beginnings. Blah, blah blah, BARF! (Intriguing that the propaganda some adopters received from this agency was Jewish – not Catholic).

I was quite sure that not only had I forfeit my right to my family home but my entrance into heaven. I was going to hell in a hand basket and woah, I was going quickly!

BUT, BUT, BUT, hold the crucifix, darling, you can redeem yourself.  Yes, indeedy, you can make yourself right with God and the universe.

You can give your baby away.
Do the right thing.
Make another childless couple happy and
Here you go, little girl, a guaranteed ticket into heaven.

God wants you to do this.
God wants you to save your baby. (From myself?)
No need for confession, Acts of Contrition.

The golden pearly gates await  you. St. Peter is tapping his foot.

This is a limited time offer.

Now hand over the baby.

I mentioned religion in my adoption show interview. During my pregnancy, it hung around me like Kazoo hung over Fred Flintstones shoulder. (Hello Fatty…Hello DumDum).  I was a resident in a home, formerly a convent, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Vincent DePaul. I was working full time, paying for my stay in that lovely concrete establishment by working at St. Joseph Hospital.  There was a chapel in the home. My sparse room (cell) was decorated with the daintiest of little crosses. Oh, so lovely. (not).

When my mother berates me for the lack of religion in my children’s lives, you know what I think? I already gave God one of my children, must I really give him two more?  Didn’t I pay enough already for my alledged sins?  Lookee here (waving wasp of paper titled "FINAL AND IRRECOVABLE CONSENT TO ADOPTION"), I have a gar-on-teeeeeeeeeeeeed ticket to visit St. Peter (should I want to go there). You promised. They promised. This ticket is good, right?

If there is ever a doubt in my mothers mind about the influence of religion on my daughters placement, she need only read the poem I wrote in the home, fully pregnant, alone, in that stark, dank room with that wee cross hanging over my head.

by S. Bednarz 03/05/1986
Lost and alone,
In a city, so strange,
Walking the streets,
Feeling the change.

Eighteen and pregnant,
A mother, unwed
Crying inside her
Too many tears shed.

Left home months alone,
To bear child alone.
Brought shame upon family,
Yet still yearning for home.

The days passing by,
Her body expanding,
Inside she cringes,
The world, so demanding.

Nine months of pain,
Nine months of hell.
What purpose it serves,
The Lord will not tell.

The child inside her,
She will not keep near.
She will pass it onto,
Someone else, out of fear.

She cannot support it,
She has no degree.
And things for the child,
Just aren’t free.

She knows what its like,
To grow up sad and cold.
Shes felt the pain,
And the tears of the old.

She’s not ready for children,
Not ready for life,
Not ready for motherhood,
So tired of strife.

The pain thats inside her,
Will not go away,
It will be buried and dealt with,
Some other day.

Her child will go,
To the parents, unknown
By giving it up,
Her love has been shown.

She prays that the Lord,
Will forgive her, her sin.
And allow her to laugh,
Her life to begin.

She prays that the Lord.
Will appear from above,
And tell her she’s guilty,
Of nothing but  love. 

8 Thoughts.

  1. Your poem captured the moment extremely well. I hope by your sharing it, others will make consider/reconsider the influence religion can have on a decision with lifelong consequences. A religion that encourages women to give up their babies out of love in order to get to heaven is very twisted. I would not have been surprised it you told me you were an athiest.
    I am glad that inspite of everything, you have an open mind when it comes to allowing your children to choose for themselves what they will believe.
    I hope to see you on the show tonight!

  2. looking forward to hearing your show.
    it’s sad and really annoying that people from all angles use religion to guilt trip, make sense of and justify the theft of children from their natural parents.
    i’m sorry that you went through that. are still going through, always will be.

  3. Oh you, I’m sorry, but you made me laugh. Being raised a Catholic myself with both parents Irish Immigrants straight off the boat, I fully understand what your saying, yet, that ‘Jesus Juice’ really got me. lol
    Remember one thing if nothing else. It wasn’t GOD who told you to give up your child .. it was all the damn man-made freaken laws and lies of the church that did.
    Plus, I feel you are right. It is YOUR decision how you want to bring up your sons’, not your mother’s, or anyone else for that matter.
    You should be commended for the way you have been handling things regarding the boy’s and your daughter. Bravo~honey~Bravo
    Then your poem made me cry. I feel for you, but as before things will turn around and you will be truly happy once again .. you’ll see!
    Mo xooxox

  4. We have similar, Irish Catholic, backgrounds. I am from the Bronx. Sounds like we are also the same age.
    I hear what you are saying about not letting other people shove religion down your throat or your children’s. My Mom is the same way regarding my daughter not being baptized. I cannot do something I don’t believe in. I am not comfortable with the Church.
    I wish I could have helped you during the time you were so alone and in need.

  5. I finally heard you on the adoption show and it was great. you have a lovely voice Suz.

  6. Blah. I got the same thing. ::sobsobsob:: “What kills me is that because you haven’t BAPTIZED MY GRANDSON, I won’t be able to see him in heaven!!” :sobsobsob::

  7. They tried to tell me what God wanted and what a Christian girl would do too – when I was single & pregnant. I don’t know why I didn’t buy it cause I was raised to be a good little girl. I just have to say again -it wasn’t – IS not God who says that. Watch out what men say God is saying. God has God’s own voice and it is love.

  8. what an aweful thing for someone to tell a person. Reminds me of what was going on before the reformation. Buy your way into in Heaven. YOu can’t do that. You can only ask and God will say yes.

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