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Motherhood: An Essay 3 of 3

One of my best friends in the world suffered a severe blow to her morale several years ago when her husband filed for divorce. My friend 'T' lost everything she had save for two things... her faith and her son. In the subsequent years I have watched as my friends unwavering faith in Jesus Christ has molded the very fiber of who she is. During difficult times, 'T' attends the temple as frequently as she can. Sometimes even daily. When she is struggling she seeks out priesthood blessings. When she is sad or lonely she prays. She truly, and thoroughly relies on the Lord for everything in her life and by extension enables her son, now 9, to witness the daily miracles that are wrought in their lives.

We, as women, proudly proclaim our role every time we sing
“The errand of angels is given to women; 
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim: 
To do whatsoever is gentle and human, 
To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name.”

And yet we shy away from the opportunity of allowing others to grow from our struggles. When we should be open with our spiritual sisters we instead withdraw into our own rooms of self-recrimination.

Sister Kathleen Hughes, former First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency said, All of us long to possess Christ's pure love, called charity, but our humanness—the "natural woman" in us—gets in our way. We get angry, we become frustrated, we berate ourselves ...—and when we do, we cannot be the conduit of love we need to be if we are to become an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands. Being willing to forgive ourselves ... becomes an integral part of our ability to have the love of the Lord in our lives and to do His work.”

In this next story I want you to pay closer attention to the power and strength that the women have upon one another. “[I knew the minute she was placed onto my belly], the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me [different]. I held her and looked at her and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of those moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over...she locked eyes with mine and stared...bore holes into my soul.
Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me.
That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story.
My pediatrician …. knelt down next to my bed so that she could look up at me...not down. She smiled so warmly and held my hand so tight. And she never took her eyes off mine...She was our friend as she beautifully shared the news.
I need to tell you something.
...and I cried hard... "I know what you're going to say."
She smiled again and squeezed my hand a little tighter.

The first thing I'm going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.
...I cried harder.
...but there are some features that lead me to believe she may have Down Syndrome.
I felt hot tears stream down and fall on my baby's face. My beautiful, perfect daughter. I was scared to look up at my husband, so I didn't. I just kissed my baby.
And then the Dr. added...
...but, she is beautiful. and perfect.
I asked for my dad to be let back in the room. And when he walked in, I cried again. He smiled as his eyes welled up with tears and he said, "[It's] okay. We love her." He scooped her up and I asked him to say a prayer. And there, in the delivery room where moments earlier she entered the world, we huddled around my bed...[My husband, my two best friends, even the doctor] kneeled down beside my bed. [My dad] prayed and thanked God for giving us our baby and thanked Him for the wonderful things he had planned for us. For our family.
When my sister arrived the next day ... with tears in her eyes, she excitedly and passionately told me how lucky I was. She told me that I was chosen and that it is the most special thing in the world. She told me it was going to be just fine. -enjoying the small things, Kelle Hampton

Speaking to the women of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith said: “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the … women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and … purifying to the children of men”

It is my hope, as a mother and a woman, that my imperfections are neither hidden from nor scorned by those around me. It's a delicate hope, and a precipitous position to put myself in, but I truly feel that by being honest with those around me I allow others to find that same honesty within themselves. We are not failing at motherhood, we are progressing and we will continue to progress as long as we do not give up.

And like Stephanie Nielson says, let's just hope there's cupcakes involved.


Anonymous said…
Love that!It's so true. I feel like I'm not allowed to show weakness through negetive feelings no matter how real. I believe it requires a lot of strength to let others know that we hurt, that we're struggling and that we desperately need the strength of another to help get through. And that absolutely does NOT mean we need someone to tell us we're right when we're not. I hate being patronized! I just want someone that HEARS what I feel, and understands without the need to make it right but just support and understand.
Cannwin said…

I totally cried when I wrote that AND when I recited it in front of everyone. I've never cried during a talk but I sure did that time...

::polishes fingernails::

Gr8Life said…
I love your Essays on Motherhood! So thoughtful and encouraging! I love the quote by Kathleen Hughes how she said "our humanness -the "natural woman" in us gets in our way" I don't think it could have worded any better than that. That is so often my problem that holds me back from become a better person. And your paragraph at the end "It is my hope, as a mother and a woman, that my imperfections are neither hidden from nor scorned by those around me. It's a delicate hope, and a precipitous position to put myself in, but I truly feel that by being honest with those around me I allow others to find that same honesty within themselves." I loved that I don't have a problem loving others despite their imperfections but it has always been a hang-up for me that I don't feel I'm worth knowing because I know my imperfections. I always feel that I am being judged unfairly for my imperfections. And I know it's just negative thinking on my part and that I need to work on realizing those thoughts are not necessarily what others are thinking about me that they might see something more in me than what I see in myself. But I think that comes from being raised by a mom I love but was and still is extremely critical. Although I do not live near her now I have let the effect on me be long lasting and it's something I have a difficult time dealing with. It is ironic though that I love my mom despite her imperfection of being critical but find it hard to love myself because of my imperfections! Twisted!!!
Anyway thank you for your thoughts it's something for me to think about.
Cannwin said…

Thank you for you comment.

I didn't know if anyone would even read it because it was so long, but I wanted it out there just in case... and because it's easier to find my own writing when I've put it all on the blog. (so next time I have to talk about mom's I'll have one ready.)

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