When to announce?
Let your Parish Priest know that you are expecting and the due date so that he may pray for you. Let Him also know when and if He may pray publicly for you during services as one of the expectant mothers—usually once you’ve made the announcement to those you wished to tell privately.
If you are interested in holding a baby shower in our fellowship hall, please contact the office for availability.
What to expect when you've just given birth
On the day of delivery: Please have someone call the Priest on the day you go into labor and where. This way he may pray for a safe delivery and be ready in case of any complications to be at your family’s side. There is an Emergency Rite of Baptism should the health of the baby be in any way under question, and if need be, you may baptize your baby yourself if time does not permit the priest to arrive by pouring on water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
There are prayers for recovery and convalescence which are also said the day after birth. Then on the Eight Day after birth there are the naming prayers (once the day of circumcision in the Old Covenant.) Please invite your Parish Priest to come and offer them at the hospital and/or at home! ). It is traditional for the Priest to come and bless the child on that day, and it’s a good time to discuss baptism (see Baptism - Infants) and other concerns about raising a child as an Orthodox Christian. Orthodox others are not expected to attend church until the 40th day after birth, a kind of liturgical maternity leave.
What do I do on the 40th day?
On the 40th day Christ was brought to the Temple in accordance with the Law. Now Orthodox Christian mothers come to the church with their children in imitation of the Virgin Mother and her Son. These prayers are meant primarily for the mother as she returns to Church after her time away. They include prayers of forgiveness for any sins incurred during pregnancy or after birth (we recognize it is far from an easy experience!) and prayers to prepare her to once again receive communion. They also recognize the awesome holiness involved in giving birth to a new life! Mothers who are otherwise prepared for communion that day should approach the chalice. Welcome home!
How often should I bring my child to church?
Church with Infants/Toddlers: At first, attending church with your infant is usually fairly trouble free in the beginning, but as they grow and make their needs known more vocally and physically, it can become challenging. Talk with your Parish Priest and other experienced mothers in the church about what worked or didn’t work for them and their children. See also the article “Toddlers in the Temple”.