(I wrote this in April 2016)
My baby turns two today. On the day of each of my children’s birthdates, I reflect on the miracles of their births. Courtney’s was a difficult delivery for many reasons, and when she was finally born, and they laid her in my arms, I was so exhausted and all my physical strength spent, I could only take one peek at her and close my eyes. My husband had to hold her on my chest until I had the strength to lift my arms around her. My precious child, the tenth in our family to be born, but unique, most welcomed and loved immensely.
Yesterday took a lot of my strength as it was spent in many useful ways. I’m five and a half months along with another precious child. With each pregnancy, I’ve learned to be more gentle with myself. I’ve learned to listen to my body. I’ve learned to take the ebbs and flows of energy and make use of the increases, but not so much that I deplete myself, and to be joyful in the decreases. As a young mother, I still had a lot of the false sense of invincibility that comes with youth. As a result, I wasn’t careful about my eating habits, neglected sleep, exhausted myself, and pushed myself to my limits on all levels. In short, I was careless.
Over the years, the precious gift of mortality is becoming increasingly a part of my consciousness. I am grateful for each day that I have on earth and with my posterity, dear friends, and extended family. This past year brought on many more health challenges for me and three miscarriages. I knew there was another child waiting, but each time I became pregnant it was followed quickly by another disappointment and loss. However, before I officially found out I was pregnant, I was serving in the temple and had a powerful impression that I was expecting a new child and immediately it was followed with a promise, “I will carry this child full-term.” I was so grateful to have this spiritual reassurance after a string of loss and sorrow. I have often leaned back of these lines of inspiration for comfort when I fear or have a small complication.
Sometimes we get caught up in our own trials and frustrations so much so that we forget to look outward. In reading the book Choosing Motherhood, I’ve laughed, cried, felt connected to those mothers who share a similar goal, and was reminded how blessed I am in many ways as I read of the struggles of other women.
In the essay, “Now is the winter of our Discontentment made Glorious by Summer”, I was so touched by her faith during such heavy trials as losing her second child, her fourth being born with Spina Bifida. I thought back on the beginning of my current pregnancy. I always turn to God with complete faith and trust, but more so when pregnant. As Richard G. Scott reminded the mothers in his book when we bear children we place our lives in the Hands of the Lord. And trust the outcome no matter what. But sometimes this easier said than done.
As mothers, we feel such deep pain, worry, fear, and love without end. We feel hope, renewal, faith, and experience charity, the pure love of Christ, in numerous ways. I love that the author named her chapter from the lines of a soliloquy in a Shakespearean play. Spoken by Richard, Richard III, Act 1 Scene 1
“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of ….”
We could fill in the blank by the glorious blessing that comes only after the trial of our faith. In her case, she named her precious child “Wynter” as a reminder of the glorious summer she has brought in their lives. I loved the words she wrote at the end of her essay, “What a grand relief to know that I can, in a coming day, run to my Heavenly Father’s embrace, exclaiming, “I am so glad that I trusted you! I am so glad He trusted me.” I echo her words.
As a mother, we learn so much from our periods of trials with our children. But I also learn so much from the examples set by our children. Richard G. Scott was right on when he said,
“Children can teach you how to find joy even under the most challenging circumstances. Children haven’t yet learned to be depressed by concentrating on the things they don’t have. They find joy in what is available to them.” pg. 165 Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy
Motherhood—the endless blessings and growth that comes from a willingness to bring children into this world and raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I will never regret my decision to make this my main calling in life and to dedicate over twenty years, thus far, to its cause.