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Dads

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There was a time during my fifth pregnancy when I couldn’t see an end to my baby creating. I wanted to have as many children as my body could carry. I truly wanted to leave the decision of the number of children I had to the Lord. I was willing to have 9 or more if that was what He wanted. I never wanted to be done.

Recently, I started reading Windows to the Womb by David Chamberlain. As I read his beautiful description of the conception process, I couldn’t help but recognize some familiar archetypes and symbols within that life-giving process. I found it so beautiful that, once again, the words of the family proclamation rang true: “We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed.” The journey that brings the seed of a man and the seed of a woman together as one flesh is sacred and symbolic of the divine missions of men and women on this earth.

I’m so glad I had my friend Cassie and my sister-in-law Brooke there as my doulas/photographers. I created a slideshow with my birth photos that you can view on my Birth Faith blog. But I realized yesterday that I’ve never shared the photos themselves online. Here are some of my favorites, taken by Cassie (and Brooke) at the end of my pregnancy, during labor, and afterward…

Something I used to frequently say regarding childbirth was that I was born in the last days because Heavenly Father knew I couldn’t handle a natural childbirth and knew I needed epidurals. It was something I would always joke about, but also really believed. I might be mentally strong, spiritually strong, but physically strong? No way. That was not for me. I wasn’t a hardy pioneer woman that pushed handcarts and gave birth along the Mormon trail. Heavenly Father knew me and knew my mental and physical limitations. Or so I thought.

Today I’m happy to share the birth of Claire Eleanor, the fourth child of Liz. This birth came after an anxiety-filled pregnancy, and a previous stillbirth. This was her first birth without an epidural. I hope you enjoy it (and Liz’s priceless sense of humor) as much as I did.

A year ago, I thought I knew the will of the Lord for my family: more babies down the road. But now I’m not so sure. I just don’t know what to do about those two spirits I once believed were waiting for us to welcome them. And I couldn’t help feeling a pang of guilt, knowing that my womb may never again give life, when I heard Elder Oaks’ General Conference talk.