Becoming a Godmother

I was recently asked to become a godmother to my cousin’s little boy — a huge honour. The slight problem is that to become a godmother you do actually officially need to believe in God, which I don’t. I was brought up Catholic, but as a teenager decided that the Christian faith was not something that worked for me and have since cobbled together my own little philosophy — I think you could describe me as a happy agnostic. I do have great respect for all the religions of the world, but do not suscribe to any of them. So becoming a Godmother was a bit of a dilemma for me. I wanted to be someone special for this little boy and for him to have another adult person to turn to other than his parents. But I would not be able to promise to bring him closer to god.

I myself have also asked friends to be “godparents” for my girls, because I really like the idea of having friends become part of my family and my children having an adult other than me or their father to identify with… although we didn’t have a celebration of any kind, which I now regret as it would have been great to have a moment with friends and family to celebrate the birth of my daughters. This is the big advantage of organised religions: the important moments in life have a ceremony organised around them: weddings, births and funerals.

I did decide to become his godmother in the end. My cousin and his wife are completely aware of my religious beliefs or lack thereof, so I figured that if this was not a dilemma for them it wasn’t going to be one for me.

By the way, ceremony was great and was fascinating to watch Coco, who is now 5, trying to take it all in. It was the first time that she had ever been inside a church for a service and throughout the whole ceremony I was bombared with the “why” questions that she is famous for (Why is the lady at the front dressed in a white gown? Why is the baby boy wearing a long white dress? Why are people sitting, standing up and sitting down again? Why are they pouring water over the baby’s head? And who is this Jesus guy that they are talking about all the time?).


Comments (7)

September 15, 2011

in french as you probably know we call them parrain / marraine and i much prefer the absence of the word “god” and the fact that a godfather can also be an agnostic person. both our children have dear friends of us as godfathers and we never made it a religious ceremony, rather seeing it as a spiritual connection…was great to read this very personal experience of yours…thats what makes such a difference on babyccino so big thank you!

September 15, 2011

i wonder. do you consider the godparent as someone who would take over care of children should something happen to their parents?

growing up (largely agnostic) this is how i understoon the role of my “godparents.”

and now we are faced with choosing such a person or people for our little guy. we have the dilemma of choosing family or friends. such an incredible decision!

but either way, i do like the idea of attaching some ceremony or meaning to it, even if it is not a religious one?

Emilie in Paris
September 15, 2011

Hi Jamie, Actually no, for me a “godparent” is someone for the kid to relate with emotionally, not as a legal guardian. Choosing a guardian is an “incredible” decision as you say!

September 16, 2011

I too am very attached to that role. I am the godmother of two children: my best friend first child – now 16!!! – and my oldest brother’s son.
When I had my first child, I picked my son’s godmother (marraine) and his dad picked the godfather (parrain). We wanted to have a ceremony, so being agnostic, we chose to do what is called a “parrainage civil’. It’s a ceremony that takes place in your city hall – much like a civil wedding – and threw a party afterwards! I think it’s a great thing to do and you can even do it when the children are a little older so they can appreciate the moment!

September 19, 2011

It was it a bit strange, to read so personal story out here. I think our religions believe, should be shared with a friends/family.

Emilie in Paris
September 19, 2011

Agata, thank you for you comment. It is always great to have varied feed back. I have to say I disagree with you, I think especially religious beliefs are varied and are interesting to hear about. I love the fact that people can believe different things and respect each other without judgement.

Esther in Amsterdam
September 19, 2011

This is a great topic. We have never chosen Godparents for our children. Tamar and I are also not religious, and we felt that since we were not married in church and never really attend church in general, baptising our children was not ‘in place’. I do love the ceremony though, and really like the thought behind ‘Godparents’! xxx

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