Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thoughts on a Mother's Day

Today in church our Bishop came in and spoke to the women in Relief Society. He started out by saying that many women have different feelings when it comes to Mother's Day and he would like to hear and have an open and candid conversation about some of the feelings that the women in our ward had. Many women expressed that Mother's Day was a day they dreaded and just wanted to get over with. They have feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Every year in many wards it is tradition for men to speak on mothers. During these talks they always praise mothers for the hard work, love, and effort that they put in to raising children. Some of the women expressed that these talks made them feel like they weren't doing enough. I know as a women we compare ourselves to other women around us. We compare ourselves to the best part of the women that we see. We see other women at their best and often forget/don't realize that they have their moments too. I know I have struggled with this feeling in other aspects in my life, as I am not yet a mother. Some women expressed how hard Mother's Day was because they weren't able to have children of their own. I am a wall flower and don't mind being that way. I don't comment or share very often in meetings because I am very shy and private. I did however keep having this thought the whole conversation and felt like it needed to be said. So here, in my wall flower way I am expressing it. Whether anyone see's this or not, agrees with it or not, is angry with my perspective I feel like what I have to be said needs to come out.

I feel like I have been on both sides of the pre-motherhood spectrum. I can relate to the women who are saddened by Mother's Day because they are not able to have children. We tried for 3 years to have children and then another 2 trying to adopt. In the early years I wondered what I had done wrong in my life that Heavenly Father wouldn't entrust me with his spirit children. Over those 5 years I learned so much! I learned that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. We can't compare our lives with others because we are all different people. He is our perfect parent and wants us to become the best people we can be. Sometime, in order to grow as a person we have to go through trials and sorrow. Sometimes we need to make mistakes and learn from the heartache that comes from the consequences that follow. Heavenly Father knows this, and knows what is going to benefit us the most. I know this without a doubt in my mind because of the experiences that we went through with adoption.

It took us about a year to get our papers and profile up and ready with our adoption agency. Once our profile was up (over the period of just over a year) we heard from 3 birth mothers. The first was a woman who had two children from a marriage and was pregnant with her third who was not. She had made some mistakes in her life and was struggling to change her circumstances. We talked with her for about 2 months and things were looking good. She let us know that she was considering us and another couple. It was at this point that I started praying that Heavenly Father would direct her little boy to the family that he was meant to be with. I know that when children come to this Earth they are placed with the family they are meant to be with. We didn't want just any baby, we wanted the baby that was meant to be apart of our family. From the conversations we had with her we felt like she might place her baby with us. A few weeks after I started praying about this baby going to the family it was meant to be with we found out that she had lost custody of her two older children. The courts had placed her children in the care of another family to adopt them. She wanted to be able to see all of her children and so she decided to place her baby with the same family as her older children. The second birth mother contacted us a few month later. We talked with her for a couple of weeks and fell in love with her. At our first meeting she told us that she had already decided to place her baby with us. I got to meet most of her family, go to doctors appointments and I grew to care for her and her family quite deeply. Again I continued praying that this baby would go to the family it was meant to be with. It may sound strange that I was doing this after she had already chosen us. Couldn't I tell if it was right or not? The emotions you have while you are going through the adoption process are so strong and many confusing. I knew that I wouldn't be able to tell and that I needed Heavenly Father to guide and direct both the birth mother and myself to make everything work out the way it was meant to. I knew He, and He alone, had a perfect knowledge of what was supposed to happen. After a few months she and her ex-husband decided to get back together. The last birth mother we only had a brief acquaintance. We exchanged several emails and we quickly felt a bond with her. It was during this time that we found out we were expecting.

You may read this account and say that it was coincidence. I know without a doubt that the events that took place were part of a plan. There were lessons that I needed to learn. Many of them came with heartbreak, many of them came after continued prayer. Now that I have these two sweet boys growing inside me I feel like I have a small taste of what it is to be on the other side of motherhood. Pregnancy is hard. More days are hard than easy. I have often wondered how mothers are pregnant and take care of other children. They are SUPER HEROS! It is hard enough to just take care of myself. Going back to what was said today by some of the women in my ward. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. This plan is not easy, the things that are most worth our efforts in this life are often the hardest and most trying to go through. Heavenly Father never asked us to be perfect. He is our perfect parent and he will always be there for all of his children. He asks us as mothers to teach and love his children. He alone knows the plan for each of his children. We need to have faith in him that he we guide us. We will make mistakes and that is OK. He knows and understands that. He just wants us to show our children unconditional love like the love he has for us.

I look at my own mother who has told me on many occasions that she has felt less than adequate. She blamed herself for many of the mistakes her children made. As I think about her I don't think about all of the times she yelled at me growing up, or the times when I got in trouble, I think about all the times that she was there for me when I needed her, about the times when she could have been doing something else but chose to come to another one of my performances that she had heard a thousand times, or the times when I needed someone to talk to and she was there to listen and to hold me. I know my mom, just like everyone else on this Earth, is not perfect but, she is a WONDERFUL mother! She did and continues to do exactly what our Heavenly Father asked her to do, she unconditionally loves her children.

I hope everyone this Mother's Day who is a mother enjoys their day. The day may not be perfect but know that you are doing a great and important work.