Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Sacred and Transforming Weight of Motherhood

I recently read an article on titled "A Sacred Weight". In it, the author described two different kinds of weight that we feel as mothers. I haven't been able to stop thinking about these weights and how they mold and shape us in our lives. Allow me to try and articulate the thoughts that have been running around in my mind since reading this enlightening article.

The first weight I have been thinking about is the actual physical feeling and presence of our children. For me, this weight started when my children were in the womb. I had average to large sized babies and by the end of each pregnancy I was REALLY feeling the weight. Soon after they were born, the weight shifted from my belly to my arms and chest. It was the greatest feeling in the world even during those long, sleepless nights. The physical weight can also be a toddler on our laps, a child's head resting on our shoulder or a the subtle weight of a hand clasped in our own. Physical weight is one you never forget, it is one that you sense is missing when apart from your children for too long. When I am away from this physical weight, I have found that I miss it. It is a weight that I still to this day long for after the stillbirth of my second son over 9 years ago. Leaving the hospital with both an empty womb and empty arms was a stark absence of that sacred physical weight mothers are privileged to know, and an overabundance of the emotional weight that also comes with motherhood.

Which brings me to the second weight I have been pondering and that is the emotional weight of motherhood. This can come from anxiety, grief, exhaustion, feelings of failure or inadequacy, worry, the constant whines and cries of "mom!", endless decisions that need to be made, meals to plan, lessons to teach, mouths to feed, tears to dry and the list goes on and on. Or maybe it's the all consuming emotional weight of dealing with infertility. The emotional weight is at times an incredibly burdensome and heavy one. It is not a weight that would be missed if you were ever lucky enough to get a break from it, yet it too can be sacred. Without this emotional and actually, very spiritual weight of motherhood, we would never be forced to turn to our loving Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ for help. It is with this weight that we realize that we can't do this motherhood thing alone. We need the divine power that comes into our lives only when we desire it and ask for it. It is also with this weight that we can become who we were created and intended to be. We are transformed by this weight as we learn to rely on our Savior.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has always been a favorite speaker of mine. His love, compassion and personal relationship with the Savior is evident in each talk he gives. His talk titled, "Because She is a Mother" is no exception. In this talk he touches on exactly what I am trying to convey:

"When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, 'pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,' that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.

You can’t possibly do this alone, and you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be."

The weight of motherhood may at times feel like too much to bear (or maybe it feels that way all of the time). However, the weight that comes with motherhood is not one that comes without assistance. How blessed are we to have help in this endeavor? How wonderful is it that we have someone who knows exactly how this weight feels and knows just how to help us carry it? I know that there have been many times in my life when feelings of anxiety and worry and inadequacy have consumed my entire being. It is in those times when I have had no other choice but to turn to my Savior and ask Him for help. Not only has He helped share my burden and made it much easier to bear but at the same time has allowed me to be transformed, to grow and become stronger in this journey.

Elder Holland ends his talk saying:

"Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And 'press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.' You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, 'Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.' And it will make your children whole as well."

The weights we carry as mothers are sacred and are something that shouldn't be taken for granted. Knowing that what I am doing is God's work makes me realize and recognize just how willing He is to help me in my times of need.

And for that I am forever grateful.

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