To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. . . She has been placed here to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. —Spencer W. Kimball
As often happens after I attend a birth, I have a hard time sleeping. My mind has a tendency to go over and over the details and events of the birth. And my friend’s birth that I attended was literally a joy to witness. I don’t think I have ever been to a birth where there was so much laughter. Even though the mother was in hard labor, she was laughing, chatting, and relaxed as she welcomed her little Elizabeth Jane into the world.
Since I could not sleep I finally got up and started to read my scriptures. I opened my Daughters of the Kingdom Relief Society manual and enjoyed reading about women as “guardians of the hearth.” I thought about my sister, living on the other side of the country, ready to give birth any day. We both knew that I would not be able to be there for her this time and it was hard. Her husband is a wonderful birth partner but she also yearned for her sister. I yearned to be there too. But I also knew that there would be other “guardians of the hearth” to take care of her. And I was right. She was surrounded by just the right women at just the right time. I was grateful I could be guarding someone else’s hearth as she was so close to her birthing time. It seemed to bridge our separation for a day.
It also occurred to me as I was reading why I have found so much joy in serving as a doula and childbirth educator. It is because this work is at the center of what Relief Society is about — serving others, strengthening home and family, and developing charity. It is one of the ways in which we are “guardians of the hearth.”
Whenever I teach childbirth classes or attend a birth I feel in tune with God’s plan for me. I do love this work but I only embarked upon it because I felt “called” to it. I have heard many other women say that as well about becoming a midwife, doula, or other kind of childbirth advocate.
So thank you baby Elizabeth Jane, for once again reaffirming my faith in the gift of giving life. Your mother and I have seen life full circle. After grieving the loss of our little ones together we both welcomed babies into this world a few months apart. And then today as I arrived for your birth I watched your parents work together in a very celestial manner. Your daddy very lovingly stroked your momma’s back while speaking words of encouragement and love. I rarely, if ever, saw him leave her side.
My part in your special day was small but I felt great joy in performing it. I picked up things, fetched water, made scrambled eggs, took pictures, encouraged your momma, gathered your siblings so they could witness your entry into this world, took lots of pictures and just basked in the heavenly feelings that filled that room. You are a blessed little soul to have come into this world with so much love.
There have been times when I have been discouraged, feeling like maybe I should just give up birth advocacy work. Even though this work is full of ups and downs, I can’t leave it. It is simply a miracle to witness birth in action and I thank my God for it.
So to all of those guardians of the hearth I say thank you!
You can read Elizabeth Jane’s full birth story here.