Resources for Pre-Partum and Post-Partum Pastoral Care
Category : Uncategorized
Welcome to our resource page surrounding pregnancy and birth!
Prior to Birth
For those who desire to conceive
Couples will sometimes ask for prayers to be said. Such prayers may include asking the intercessions of the Mother of God, of St Irene Chrysovalantou, or of St Xenia of St Petersburg. These are best prayed in the church, though special circumstances may have these prayed in the home.
Please speak with Fr Andrew to arrange these prayers.
Congratulations! One of the natural responses to pregnancy is to thank God for the gift and responsibility that He has given to us. These can be prayed in the home or in the church. Please speak with Fr Andrew to arrange these thanksgiving prayers.
There are a wide variety of other responses as well – confusion, nervousness, fear, and others. If you would like to make an appointment with Fr Andrew to discuss these (and more), please speak with him directly.
In addition, there are some prayers that have been written that can be prayed by expectant mothers. You can find them by following this link here.
Expectant mothers are reminded that pregnancy is a dispensation from fasting. Please use this time in prayer for your family.
Sometimes this tragedy happens. Just as we thank God in the good times, we ask for the consolation of Christ in the bad times. The prayers for miscarriage can be prayed in the home or in the church. Please speak with Fr Andrew to arrange.
Birth and Infancy
Among the things to prepare for during labour and birth (and ‘birthing bags’), many find that it is especially beneficial to ensure that an icon is brought with them, along with the contact details of their priest. Fr Andrew’s contact information is at the top of this page, and some potential problems are below under ‘Emergencies’.
- Prayer for surgery (coming soon)
The Church has given us a number of prayers on set days after birth. Please contact Fr Andrew to arrange these.
On the First Day (that is, on the day of birth, or as soon as practicable), we have a short prayer. On request, the priest will come to where the mother & child are and will pray these prayers.
On the Eighth Day, we have the prayers of the naming of a child. These prayers happen on the eighth day of a child’s life (for example – if a child was born on Monday, then these prayers are said on the Monday after). This timing recalls when circumcision was done under the Old Covenant. On request, the priest will come to where the mother & child are and will pray these prayers. (Note: if it is pastorally beneficial, these can also be prayed at the same time as the First Day prayers).
For the first forty days of a child’s life, both mother and infant are released from the normal responsibility of an Orthodox Christian to attend church, and are instead advised to use this time to bond with their newborn. Fathers are asked to do everything possible to share the burden of parental responsibility (which may require absence from church). If you would appreciate pastoral guidance about this, please speak with Fr Andrew.
On the Fortieth Day, we have the prayers for the churching of mother and newborn. These prayers happen on the fortieth day of a child’s life (for example – if a child was born on a Monday, then these prayers are said, 5 weeks later, on the Friday). On this occasion (or on the subsequent weekend), mother and infant are brought to the church, where the priest will welcome the mother and infant back to the community.
The first sacrament a child will receive is called the Sacrament of Baptism. During this service, the child will also receive the Sacrament of Chrismation. Through these, they become full members of the Orthodox Church, and are able to commune from the next Liturgy. While a child can be baptised as soon as they have been born (one custom has the child being baptised on the Saturday after birth), another option is that the child is baptised soon after the fortieth day – thus combining the ‘churching’ prayers with the baptism itself, and allowing the mother to also be present.
- Please watch this talk on Baptism and Chrismation, from our Catechism series.
- Please click here to fill in the form to book a baptism.
Even with modern medicine, childbirth can be challenging.
If the infant’s life is in danger, call Fr Andrew immediately. If there is sufficient time, he will attend the hospital (or where the child has been born) to baptise the child; otherwise, the baptism can be done by any Orthodox Christian, and he will be able to step you through how this can be done – as well as visiting afterwards to provide pastoral care and to advise further details.
If the mother’s life is in danger, call Fr Andrew to attend for prayers or Sacraments.
Parents are sometimes worried about the noise that is made by a child during services. As a general rule, a child that is fussing is not a disruption. However, it can be beneficial for a child that is wailing to be taken outside to settle before being brought back to worship.
When selecting a place to stand during Liturgy, parents are welcome to utilise the Confessional room, as this is an arched-off space that allows more movement of child and parent.
During services, nursing mothers are invited to breastfeed in the Bojko Room. Also, nursing mothers are reminded that for medical reasons, breastfeeding is a dispensation from fasting. Please resume fasting in consultation with your priest or confessor.
Some prayers include:
- Akathist to the Mother of God, ‘Nurturer of Children’.
- Individual prayers which can be prayed by parents.
- Another individual prayer which can be prayed by parents.
We wish you all of God’s blessings in this new stage of life!
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