Maybe it’s the infant and the toddler…Maybe it’s the two tweens and spouse…Maybe it’s the chores, the calling, the expectations…Maybe it’s because spring hasn’t committed to being spring yet…Maybe there’s something in the air. but I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, and it seems like everyone I know has been feeling the same way…
It got me to thinking (watch out!)
I was thinking in the shower, (Realize, please, that this is a miracle…I had time to take a shower. And that I was able to be with it enough to think!) when I remembered:
“22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” – Moses 4:22
When reading this scripture, I’ve always put more emphasis on our sorrow coming from actually having children. However, as I read and think about this, I realize that it is more than just the act of having children that will be hard – our sorrow in bringing forth children has been multiplied. So…children are more than just nine months of pain. Pregnancy is just the first little glimpse of how difficult motherhood can be.
Also…I realize that we, women, are a little bit hormonal…We get a little crazy. But this craziness enables us to have children. So…our insanity is kind of a part of the design (or at least a side effect of it). Once Eve partook of the fruit, she became mortal, and after doing so, she became potent – but also susceptible to the difficulties of mortality – including the ups and downs of the very hormones that gave her power to conceive.
Maybe when we, women, recognize that – as a part of our nature – we’ll suffer from bouts of depression, they will become easier to deal with. I have struggled with depression at times. I have had the feeling of wanting to leave it all. Luckily, when I felt depressed, I knew that it wasn’t me thinking. There may be some kind of scientific reasoning for why depressing thoughts come more at certain times than others. I don’t know. However, I actually find comfort knowing that suffering from bouts of depression may be a part of my design – and that I’m not, specifically, flawed.
Hysteria came from the greek – meaning a disease of the womb. After child-bearing years, Greeks thought that sometimes a woman’s womb floated up to her brain and caused her to become a little crazy. (Menopause, I guess?)…We understand more about the body, but this is telling – women have been dealing with depression for centuries. And we know, now, that so much of it is hormonally driven.
None of this hormonal stuff even figures in all of the emotional stress that actual child-rearing causes. More sorrow! We worry about our children, we have conflicts with our children, and all along we know that everything we do will be interpreted by them in their own way for the rest of their lives. There is so much pressure to perform.
And then, we have Satan. He wants us to be miserable. And He knows how we work. He isn’t stupid. I think that he tries to play at our weaknesses. He knows that we are susceptible to sorrow. I don’t mean this as a “weakness” or in a sexist way. Men have their own foibles. However, Satan knows that we, women, were designed to have children. Just as there is great power in this design, there are also a few difficulties – based on our mortal nature.
Satan knows that we bring forth children, and that if he can destroy a single family, he can destroy generations of people. He wants to attack the source – the mother.
Look, for example, at the Lamanites. Laman and Lemuel left the gospel around 588-589 BC. They, as a people, were cut off from God for the next 497 years – until Ammon and his brothers served a mission to the Lamanites. Satan was pretty effective in this instance. It took centuries, and countless numbers of souls, before the Lamanites could again receive the blessings of the gospel. Satan didn’t sway the nation – he simply worked on a single family.
The most important thing to remember is that Christ is so much more powerful than Satan. We have Christ. When we are baptized, we take on His name, and then we have real power available to us always. We just need to call on Him. “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls,” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Not only will Christ help us to overcome Satan, but he can also help us to withstand the pains of our mortal nature. He created us. He understands exactly how we work. Additionally, He suffered every pain of the flesh, so He has perfect empathy. The comfort He offers is perfect.
This is a process. There is no real fix. Every single day of our mortal lives is a fight. In Doctrine and Covenants, we read: “Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning:…” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:5. Even though this sounds a little overwhelming, it doesn’t need to be. I’m grateful for eternal perspective because when I remember that these struggles will last through my life, I feel less pressure to perform perfectly today. Sure, we need to do our best, but Heavenly Father doesn’t expect perfection now. He just wants us to do what we can.
Heavenly Father loves us. He will give us all of the strength and help that we need. Some days are harder than others, and he is completely aware of this fact. He knows exactly what we need, and He wants to give it to us – we just need to ask. Life, as hard as it is, is an open-book test.
So…we can take comfort knowing that mothering is hard and that it’s supposed to be. There are joys, pains, pleasures, and peeves…and HORMONES. We will have our ups and downs, but all of these difficulties can and will be tempered as we come to the Lord for strength – so that we can live up to the calling of bringing forth children.