14 May 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was an interesting experience this past Sunday. For the last few years, Mother's Day has been more of a day of sorrow than celebration. I spent those Sundays grieving and did not want to attend church. Listening to the talks seemed pointless because it would "never apply to me," regardless of what Sheri L. Dew said.

I shed much fewer tears this Mother's Day as we anticipate the birth of our baby boy in 24 days. In fact, I was at odds with myself, experiencing two paradoxical emotions. I rejoiced in the impending moment when we will be blessed with a child, but I still found myself grieving. I know there are women in my congregation that cannot have children and their pain is still very real to me. There have been a dozen or so pregnancies in our ward in the last few months. If I were not one of them, would I be able to delight in everyone's happiness? Hearing of my dear friends' pregnancies left me crying tears of joy and self-pity simultaneously. Even the success stories about how someone tried for so long and eventually conceived were far from comforting. For every success story, the bitter part of me seemed to open my eyes to the handful that still could not have children (or worse, the many that are having children but refuse to take care of the lives they bring into the world). I searched the scriptures for comfort and found 4 women who were barren (Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elisabeth). All 4 women were eventually blessed with prophet sons, but I didn't want to wait until I was 90 years old before I could finally have my Isaac. I wasn't asking for a prophet. I just wanted a regular kid. On my worst days, I was angry with myself and with my body's inadequacies, as if I were purposefully holding Patrick back from experiencing the challenges of parenthood. I could be a martyr, but why did I have to get married and take someone down that path with me? Irrational? Yes. But I have never been one to think rationally when I mourn.

Raising children is a righteous desire. President Monson mentioned at the Worldwide Leadership Conference that if a person remains righteous, that desire will not go away. The constant gnawing feeling at your heart is a gap that cannot be filled with material things. Often, spiritual things only temper it, never fully healing you. The limbo that accompanies hope--should I wait and see if this works or should I move on with my career--is agonizing. The derisive thoughts--what is my purpose here if I cannot raise a family--only contribute to the torture, and the guilt from entertaining such thoughts is overpowering at times. The despair felt in finally giving up because it hurts too much to continue hoping is unbearable.

We are truly in the Lord's hands. Despite my dark moments when I was unwilling to receive comfort and companionship, He
still found ways to quietly assist me without my knowledge. Will every infertile couple conceive? Unfortunately, no. I am grateful to be numbered in those that are blessed with pregnancy and thank God daily for His mercy.

And by request, here I am at a point in my life I thought I would never reach--36 weeks.

17 comments:

B. said...

I didn't even know you guys were expecting! Julianne is due around the same time (maybe a week later or so). Congrats! Boy or girl?

natalie said...

And you look absolutely beautiful, Jen! Best of luck with the next couple weeks! I cannot wait to see the little guy!

vigues said...

Thanks so much for that post. It's always such a good reminder.
We are excited for you guys! Good luck with everything (I love childbirth! It is THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!).

kt said...

I love you, Jen. I know that all of our trials can increase our capacity to succor others in their trials. Also, I know you will treasure baby Hunt after such a long wait.

I love you!
Karren

Kara said...

What a sweet post! Good luck in the next few weeks. I hope all goes well during your labor and delivery! I can't wait to see your cute little boy!

Jen said...

Good post...just wanted to say that...good post!

mojo said...

lookin' good mommy!

The Sorensens said...

You look great! Can't wait to see that little boy!

jessica said...

you're beautiful Jen and that baby is so blessed to have you and Pat looking after him in this world

Janae Walker said...

jen - wow, i almost cried reading your blog. i don't know if i ever told you, but sometime after people found out you were pregnant, i bore my testimony about miracles and about your pregnancy. that was one of the only times i have pretty much cried bearing my testimony. i am so grateful for your miracle. i often feel bad because it was not hard for me to get pregnant. there are many women in my ward who struggle with that and girls at my work as well. i wonder why it was relatively easy for me and not them. i guess there is no answer. i am so grateful that you are doing well! your picture is amazing - you are beautiful! today, we go in for reed's 2 month check up! weird! i am excited for baby boy hunt!you are amazing!

whitney said...

jen, you're such an amazing woman. i'm so happy for you two... you guys will be the funnest, most awesome parents. you look absolutely beautiful. good luck on the delivery!

We are... said...

I didn't even know.... I miss being able to feel the emotional side of Jen Spooner Hunt. I am so grateful you were able to get pregnant after all. He--from what I've gathered--will be a very lucky person to have such a wonderful mother. Congratulations and good luck these last few weeks! I will pray for you!

Scott, Erin, & Ellie said...

i know how hard it was for us when elizabeth took so long to come into our home - but i am forever grateful for the slight understanding of those who cannot have little ones when or how they prefer. with that being said - i am excited for you guys! i really never understood how much joy a precious, little spirit can bring to your home. enjoy the last little bit as a couple though! we'll be waiting to see pictures...you look great!

Chris, Heather, Gabe, and Marissa said...

Jen
Thanks for that post. You are just an amazing person and I always thought that when ever we hung out. When I found out you were pregnant I was so so happy for you. I'm so glad that you are going to be a mommy soon. Love ya

Kara said...

Jen! I'm so glad you posted this! I have fertility problems too and was very emotional when I found out had some fertility problems. Long story short, I ended up doing IVF for both my girls and was lucky enough to get pregnant both times the first try. Good luck with your upcoming birth. I really enjoyed my births since they went so smooth! Yay!!

p.s. I made my blog private so if you'd like to be added email me at karalwood@yahoo.com I know I had your email before but that was awhile ago. =)

Tiara said...

Jen and Pat,
This is Tiara, I am not actually sure if I am doing this right so I don't know if you will get this. I just wanted to say that I am so excited for you guys! I cannot wait until the little guy is here! We have all waited for this for a very long time. Cheers!

The Heebners said...

Jen this is beautiful. This post made me realize how grateful I need to be and how blessed I have been. I was pregnant so quickly with all of my 3 boys that many times I was aggravated, never once thinking of those women, those couples that have been trying for ever to have a family. Thank you for helping me see how blessed I am. And Congratulations again :)