I have had this passage on my mind for quite a while now,
And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.
2 And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
4 And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness. (1 Nephi 17:1-4)
I recently moved a few months ago from a home that I had lived in for thirteen years. Going through the process of relocating has had me thinking about the last time I had moved. I had just had my first baby. We were living with my parents in transition after leaving our apartment before our house would be ready for us to move into. We were experiencing a lot of change all at once. I know I’m not the first woman to move while in the childbearing cycle. I have actually noticed a lot of women doing this.
I come in contact with a lot of women and families as they have babies through my work as a childbirth educator, doula, and midwife assistant. And over the years I have noticed a pattern of change, transition and rebirth as women go through the childbearing process. There is usually more than the change of a new life coming into a family that takes place. I have also noticed a lot of families move during this transitional period either right before or after a baby comes. This is actually not unusual, even in the scriptures as noted in the scripture passage above.
Nephi talks about the women of his family bearing children in the wilderness and being in the process of moving for “the space of many years, yea even eight years” (1Nephi 17:4). That is a long time to be have your life up in the air. I thought moving was difficult but I am sure it would it have harder for me to be doing it for eight years. Why so long? Nephi explains that they did “wade through much affliction” however, “so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings“ (1 Nephi 17:2). The process was intended to make them stronger and to bring them to a place where they no longer complained. I’m sure they had plenty of reasons to complain, these women had left comfortable homes with servants. They would likely have had midwives to attend them. Here in their journeys, they became each other’s midwives and did all of the menial tasks their servants would have done. God was in the process of teaching them. This transitional period became one of rebirth and refinement.
Have you beared children in the wilderness? Or in other words, have you ever moved while pregnant or with a newborn?
What tips would you give mothers who are moving while pregnant or with a newborn?
I came up with a few ideas. Please add to my list!
- Reach out and make friends. Create a circle of support. Find online groups and in person play groups. The ward, or even La Leche League are a few ways to get in contact with other mothers. (Don’t forget those more seasoned mothers and grandmas nearby. They are often aching to hold a baby for a few hours or engage in meaningful conversation while taking a walk.) Shortly after we moved we became friends with a family who had four children already. The mother became the one I went to with questions and watched her example as she patiently raised her children. I still look up to them and try to model many of their parenting choices.
- Ask for help or accept help when offered. If you are pregnant or still healing from birth you have to be aware that you should not be doing it all. Physically it is different for a time. I was healing from a cesarean birth and felt blessed that my mother came with me and helped with unpacking and setting up our new home.
- Take your time. Your house does not have to be perfect yet. It takes me months (or more) to get pictures on walls. I didn’t have a newborn this time and I’m still working on that three months later. First things first. Take care of you, baby and family and the rest will follow.
- Let the process refine you. Just as God reached out and blessed the women of Nephi’s camp, God will reach out and help you. It is your promise. He is aware of you and wants to help you while you transition. In this last move I felt very emotional. I had become so attached to the home itself, five of my children had been born there, along with many other treasured memories. While we were not moving all that far, it was far enough. It was a different neighborhood, ward, and stake. I loved my neighbors and ward. But we felt “called” to go elsewhere. We knew it was where we were supposed to go and we are seeing the blessings and tender mercies that have come with this change.
What has helped you in the process of moving?