Monday, August 29, 2011

Excerpts: You don't have to die to be reborn

(From a letter to Ada)

When I was only a few months into my pregnancy, a girl asked me if I felt like having a baby meant that in a sense I was dying. She asked if I felt like I wouldn’t be my own person anymore, or if I was scared that I would have to sacrifice to the point of self-destruction. She asked if I thought that I was killing all chances of adventure and opportunity. To be honest, many of these thoughts never crossed my mind when I was expecting you.

I told her that not once had I feared many of these things. I didn’t think that giving birth to a new life would mean the death of my own. I thought it would only add to my person. In regards to sacrifice, I asked her about the Savior: Did his atonement make him less of his own person? Did it diminish him as an individual? Did it take away from who He is? No. Not at all. In fact, I would argue that his sacrifice made him more in almost every capacity you could think of. More unique, more admirable, more powerful, more loving, more understanding, more forgiving . . . If motherhood could deepen any of these traits in me, then I wanted it even more than I already did. The sacrifice that motherhood calls for can be a tool for self-creation.

I expected a rebirth, of sorts, but I didn’t think I had to die to be reborn. I told her that some parts of me might die, but they are parts I’ve been trying to kill off for years: the selfish part of me; the isolationist part of me; the impatient part of me . . .

I did admit though, that I was scared that my plans for graduate school or my goals to travel would be left as only dim flashes of my girl-heart dreams.

If there is one (additional) lesson I’ve learned in the last 3 years it is that life always surprises you. It got married young. I got pregnant quickly. I had a beautiful daughter named, Ada. I graduated and spoke at commencement. We’re moving to Italy. I am going to paint (I am going to paint! I am going to paint!) again. I’m going to learn another language. And all the while I get to have you along with me. I can't remember feeling more alive. This I know is true: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine ownunderstanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths.  

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