Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flourishing: Womanhood and Motherhood (Part I)

Nothing is lost. Establish your family early. You will not be misled. These are three bedrock, important impressions that have returned to me over and over again during my adult years, when I've been seeking answers to some of my troubling questions, fears, and frustrations. The ideas have come to me at different times and in different ways, but are interconnected in my daily life as well as my long-term goals.

When I see news and headlines undercutting the value of childbearing, or claiming that women need to put economic productivity first rather than 'using up' the world's resources on more people, I really stop and take stock. This isn't new, of course. My high school best friend, before we each headed off to college, warned me in all seriousness not to 'waste myself' by getting married and having kids.

I've recently been thumbing through various anti-natal articles and book reviews, trying to understand the perspective of their proponents; I've also been keeping an eye on the budding "Ordain Women" movement in the LDS church. With both groups, I feel keenly aware of our differences; but I also have a strong sense of obligation to give the benefit of the doubt and to act on the assumption that they, too, are thoughtful and prayerful people who have women's greater welfare in mind. I've always prayed and reflected deeply about my role as a woman and a mother, but I've had chances again to examine and pray more in the context of these modern movements.

As Mormon women, we uniquely in the world believe that we have a heritage from a glorious mother Eve. She was intelligent, faithful, and incredibly courageous, and I have always been taught to honor her. That goes hand in hand with the understanding that when I chose motherhood, I affirmed something eternal and innate in myself. And yet, there have certainly been long, long stretches of motherhood when I did feel 'wasted', as my friend had predicted.

Those wilderness years were very hard, but were also when I received many of those precious answers and feelings that have meant so much to me. I particularly have a strong witness that nothing I have done, sacrificed, or changed on behalf of motherhood caused me to lose anything of myself. I am so grateful that I had the faith to start down that path early and let my personal answer come as it did, slowly and through struggles, until now it's a shining light in my heart. Nothing is lost. Establish your family early. You will not be misled.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE, LOVE this. Thank you for sharing, and explaining, these very personal impressions.