“Mom, do you like growing our baby?”
My five-year-old daughter’s question surprised me. I’d often had this conversation with my peers, but I’d never been asked by a small girl. At 36 weeks pregnant, what do I say to her? Actually, I really loathe being pregnant? It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done? I find very little of this whole process joyous? I feel like a beached whale whose personal bubble has been burst?
No. I tell her none of these things. At five, my daughter is looking forward to being a Mommy. She takes better care of her plastic dolls than I do of her and her brother. She thinks being a Mommy must be the most important job in the world and she wants it.
Much has been said recently about womanhood and women’s rights. I used to consider myself a feminist, but I don’t want to be a worldly feminist. When I look at my daughter, I see all the beautiful, feminine traits that God intended for women to use to make the world a softer, more loving place. I see the way she cares for her little brother, the way she shares with her friends, the way little things make her cry and hurt her feelings. I see the kind of mother she can and will be.
I hope to teach her that motherhood really is the world’s most important job. Although I am not very good at it somedays, and although baby-growing is definitely not my body’s forte, this is my choice and one I’m grateful to have made.
President Gordon B. Hinckley says this about motherhood:
God bless you, mothers! When all the victories and defeats of men’s efforts are tallied, when the dust of life’s battles begins to settle, when all for which we labor so hard in this world of conquest fades before our eyes, you will be there, you must be there, as the strength for a new generation, the ever-improving onward movement of the race. Its quality will depend on you.
So instead of telling my daughter all about the woes of pregnancy, I tell her about the joys of having a baby to hold, cuddle, and love. I tell her that although growing a baby is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it is also the most worthwhile, and I am excited for her little brother or sister to come and join our family.
In the end, she smiles, and our dinner conversation moves on. She doesn’t think twice about her question and my answer, but I do. That night, when I attempt to crawl over my gigantic and well-loved maternity pillow into bed, to settle my sore hips and somehow elevate my swollen feet, I think about how blessed I am to be so miserable.