This guest post is by Mandy Williams, who I came to know through my work with ICAN (Internatinal Cesarean Awareness Network). Mandy has shared part of her inspiring journey in the past on our blog. She also happens to also be a talented photographer. You can find her beautiful work on her blog MandyJaneDesigns. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. It brought me to tears. Thank you Mandy for sharing these beautiful thoughts with us. -Robyn
by Mandy Williams
I recently went through a period in this pregnancy where I felt intense emotional pain. I was overwhelmed and exhausted and fearful. Sadness forced me to call out to my Savior and plead with Him as my face was buried in my pillow. “Please help me, please help me,” I begged. As I was compelled to ask for His help, I felt Him draw nearer to me. Impressions have come in moments of light, even if they are fleeting, but enough to notice.
It is in this time that I catch myself looking at my growing belly, wondering if I can be strong enough. I worry if I am ready to handle the pain of labor and to deal with the fear and uncertainty I feel in my heart.
Then I think of Jesus Christ. He was willing to take my burdens upon His back and save me from my weakness and sin. He did it for me. I have the thought come into my head. “Here Am I, Send Me.”
I look around at my three precious children, quietly playing in the room. I glance at my oldest daughter and remember the long months of morning sickness so severe that I spent days and months between the bed and the bathroom floor. I remember the panic I felt as I was being wheeled into an unexpected cesarean section. And then finally being able to hold my precious first baby.
I see my sweet and sensitive son. I think of the strong feeling we had that he was waiting urgently to come here. I remember as it was time to deliver him and the doctor suggested another c-section and the spinal failed. I remember being so afraid of dying as my husband kissed me and as I was put to sleep for the surgery. I remember being so happy that my son nursed well and always wanted to be close to me.
I look at my strong and fearless one year old. Her courageous spirit told me that she was coming and that her birth would be different. I was forced to educate myself and study and rely on God instead of voices around me that were critical of my choices. And she came too, this time, with quiet and peace, and with an intense power that I didn’t know my body possessed. I felt myself pushed to my physical limits and beyond my capacity. And I felt ever so humbled as I held my baby and felt Jesus’ sacrifice for me in a way I never had comprehended before.
I start to imagine a beautiful meeting up in Heaven before this earth life began. I see lines of women. Groups of women. Some strong, some timid, each looking toward God and the other Heavenly Angels next to Him. They are accepting of our Savior as He utters the words, “Here Am I Send Me.” Then it begins.
A noble spirit is brought in front…A question is asked, “Who is willing to bring this child into the world?”
One of the many women step forward as the others look at her and she boldly proclaims the words, “I will.” More and more spirits need help coming to earth and more and more women bravely volunteer to bring them there.
And this continues, one at a time, as women come forward to claim a special part of their earthly mission. Our Heavenly parents and Jesus Christ are joyful as they watch the women who are willing to be a type of Savior themselves and assist in the work of bringing men and women to earth.
I come back to the present and I look around at the beautiful and innocent little faces of my children. I imagine myself up there, waiting in line and responding with their need to come this earth, by crying out, “I will do it. I will be their mother.”
My body has stretched and been broken. My intense love for them has also given way to anxiety and panic in the middle of the night as I worry for them. I cry when their hearts are hurt and cry when I don’t feel I’m meeting my own expectations as a mother. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I try to distract myself from feeling worry and stress. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and I say mean things to myself because of my imperfections. But in losing myself as a wife and mother, I have begun to truly find myself. I know who I am more than ever before. I feel love and joy like I have never experienced. The act of bringing them here has brought me closer to my Savior than I have ever felt.
I look down at my growing belly again, but this time I feel the radiating peace and a calm assurance of my Savior’s love for me. I tremble as I say, Here am I, send me. I will do it for YOU. Because I love you already.