Sara: For the first few weeks of Gus’ life, I was terrified to take him to Mass. I just knew that as soon as we got there, Gus would decide to “go crazy” and be loud throughout Mass. I didn’t want to be “that parent” with the screaming baby.
Justin: Sometimes Gus feels like a ticking time bomb. Often it is impossible to predict when he is going to cry and he can go from perfectly happy to screaming at the top of his lungs in no time flat.
Sara: Thankfully, for the first several weeks of Gus’ life, he fell asleep during the car ride to church and then slept throughout Mass. I have to admit I did pray several times that he’d stay asleep at least through the homily or stay good!
When I said something to Father about my concerns, he said if Gus was loud, at least he’d keep everyone else awake!
Justin: I told Father that I was sure there would be at least a few times that Gus would be sure to help.
Sara: Now, for the past couple of weeks, I felt like we have had the screaming baby. During Mass, Gus would start crying and the only thing that could calm him down was to eat. Even though I’d take him out to the cry area, I still felt self conscious about having a screaming baby. Thankfully, most of the parents out in the cry area gave me understanding smiles.
However, it was still difficult because I felt like I wasn’t able to participate in Mass as fully as I would like. Instead of being able to concentrate exclusively on both individual and group prayer, I needed to focus a lot of attention on Gus and making sure his needs were met. And sometimes, when we went to the cry area, it was hard because then Justin, Gus, and I weren’t together through Mass as a family. Although our church offers childcare during Mass, Justin and I feel it’s important for Gus to be in Mass with us as much as possible because Gus is a baptized Christian.
Justin: It was also hard for me because I knew Sara was nervous about being able to settle Gus down and I found my mind was outside with them rather than concentrating on the Mass.
Sara: This week, however, I feel like we had a breakthrough. I went to daily Mass one day and fed Gus at church before Mass started. He then proceeded to fall asleep throughout all of Mass, and I felt I was better able to pray. This weekend, Justin and I did the same thing. After Gus’ initial feeding, I gave Gus to Justin to burp and hold. For about ten minutes before Gus filled his diaper, I was able to pray and more fully concentrate on Mass. When we got back from Gus’ diaper change, Justin proceeded to hold Gus for as long as he could until Gus was once again hungry. It was very nice to be able to be together as a family for ninety-five percent of Mass. We felt like Gus did a very good job during Mass, and it was helpful for both of us to be able to share childcare responsibilities!
Justin: We were both very proud of his behavior during Mass.