Why LDS Women Must Proceed With Confidence in Their Choices

Did you guys love love love love General Conference like I did? Wow. My devotion to God and my love toward all of His children completely expanded! I can’t remember the name of the speaker, but he was a mission president in Washington. One of the missionaries under him came to him saying, “President, I just don’t like people!” Ha! I totally laughed out loud. Sometimes it’s hard to get along with people but I was taught throughout this conference that I need to more earnestly love others as God loves and take seriously His call to “be of good cheer.” There were several other thoughts I was able to apply to my personal spiritual development but one I feel I should mention is Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk from Sunday morning. He spoke of the divinity of the Holy Ghost and how we must act on the first prompting and be confident in it. We dismiss or question divine council if we avoid even the second or third prompting. He also said, “First promptings are from heaven to help someone in need, family and friends in particular.” I don’t know who, if anyone, might need to read what I’m about to say, and it might just be for my own understanding, but it’s something that has been heavy on my heart. I’ve thought deeply and approached it prayerfully the last several months yet have avoided the prompting to speak up. I am thankful to have heard Elder Rasband’s words because he gave me the confidence to proceed with this prompting and I was able to make a promise with myself: I will try my best to respond immediately to promptings and commit myself to them even if I don’t have exact understanding of why I’m being asked to do so. This subject that I will be discussing might be difficult to convey but it is an experience that many young married LDS women share but rarely speak of.

Motherhood.

For some women, it’s the decision to be or not to be a mother. For others, it’s the matter of when. I got married in December of 2015.  I was 23 years old. In the months approaching my marriage, people in my religious community told me “what an adjustment” it would be to live with my spouse, how “difficult it is” to agree on money and trade traditions, how it’s all about sacrifice and compromise, so on and so forth. To be completely honest with you, it was exhausting. I began to feel slightly unprepared and scared: Am I ready for marriage? Will this be more difficult than I’m prepared for? With time spent in the temple, I knew that not only was marriage the right decision for me at that time, Aaron was the right decision for me. My Father in Heaven knew I’d face emotional challenges where I’d need his kindness, his patience, his understanding, and his spiritual guidance. I understood before marriage that challenges would come within it and we are learning everyday how to handle them together, but what no one told me, and what I wish they would have, was how the pressure to become a mother in the LDS culture is as strong as it is.

As Latter Day Saints, we are taught, encouraged, and commanded to replenish the earth. It’s a beautiful commandment. Because of it, however, it seems as though recently married couples start their families within months of being sealed. I have several friends and family members who have done so. Some of them are my age, some are younger, and some have been married less than Aaron and I have been so I have become slightly envious. If our friends were becoming parents, why shouldn’t we? Aaron and I were married for eight months before I caved into the pressure and we seriously considered it. We discussed it weekly after busy days at school and work and we prayed about it even more, sometimes several prayers a day. I began to feel slightly unprepared and scared: Am I ready for motherhood? Will this be more difficult than I’m prepared for? With time spent in the temple, God gave us the greatest reminder as we sat hand in hand on a cold December afternoon.

“It’s your choice.”

A mortal gift we’ve been so graciously given by God is agency, the ability to choose. We choose what friends to associate with, which school(s) to attend, who to date, who to marry, whether or not to attend church or accept church leadership and teaching positions — the list is unending. We choose, and He guides us through it. Elder Dallin H. Oaks offered a talk in the October 2007 General Conference titled Good, Better, Best. He prefaces his talk by stating, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” Aaron and I know without a doubt that parenthood is a commandment and a righteous desire and we desire to fulfill the commandment someday, but we don’t desire it yet. The decision of when has been faith-testing, exhausting, and gut-wrenching for me and it’s an emotional challenge I have had to navigate through (this is where Aaron’s kindness, patience, understanding, and spiritual guidance comes in). Because our desire to become parents has been longer than the “cultural norm”, Satan has slithered himself into my emotional little mind and made me believe that because I don’t have the desire to have a child yet, I am not righteous and I am not of paternal worth. Clearly, Satan is a liar. Don’t believe him. What I have learned though through deep discussions with my Heavenly Father is yes, parenthood is a commandment. But it’s a commandment that does not have to be immediate. I am (we, Aaron and I, are) sincerely happy for our friends and family members who have started their families, but what I think Latter Day Saint {women} need to learn is that our choices don’t have to match each others. Aaron and I could choose to have a child now, and that would be wonderful I’m sure, but we are choosing to wait. We are choosing to travel, to finish college, to save more money, to develop even more our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and strengthen each other and our relationship for our future family. It’s a choice that we feel at peace with and we are thriving in our spiritual learning through this choice. Our children will arrive in God’s time, not mine. He will continue to guide us through it and I’m patiently waiting until then.

So if you are feeling pressured to choose something, please don’t. Your choices are yours and they are your choices with God. Proceed with confidence in your choices and do not make them just because it seems like everyone else is. He knows your needs more than anyone else and we are blessed to have His kindness, His patience, His understanding, and His spiritual guidance. May we all be faithful in our lifelong quest for righteousness.

Also, the next time someone might ask me, “So when are you going to have a baby?!” (because it happens A LOT) I will kindly respond: “I’m excited to be a mom, but not yet.” And the next time someone might say to me, “I’m pregnant!” I will sincerely reply: “Good for you! But not for me…yet.” I’m happy to have come to peace with this choice and I am excited to proceed with confidence in it.

All my love,

 

 

 

 

PS: Mommin’ isn’t easy — and I’m not even a mom yet! But one day I will be and I am indescribably grateful for the practice. #babysittersclub

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