Confessions of an Instagraming mom

Since when has Instagram become the template for perfection?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent far too many moments scrolling through dozens of seemingly perfect pictures of immaculately clean Pottery Barn inspired homes, children reminiscent of Baby Gap models and families that seem to have a professional photographer to capture everything from breakfast to lavish European adventures.

And I’m over here with blurry Iphone pictures and a baby who spends a shocking amount of time in a diaper because her non-designer clothes are covered in puke or poop.

But luckily, one of the truths parenthood has taught me is this: Things aren’t always as they appear.

I’m just as much of a perpetrator. If you look at my Instagram feed alone, you would think I have the sweetest, most docile infant in history. While she is absolutely wonderful, there’s more to the story.

We only publish the good stuff, folks. No one wants to see diaper rash and my fourth Diet Coke of the day to pull me out of my zombie-like state.

Someone should invent the anti-Instagram that captures life’s non-photo-worthy moments.

While I’ve only been a parent for barely over a month, I’ve had my share of unpictured moments that I didn’t find newsfeed worthy.

Let’s take a look, shall we.

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CAPTION: Waiting to meet our daughter.

NOT PICTURED: Violently vomiting up after an epidural.

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CAPTION: One of my first, precious moments with my daughter, Bellamy.

NOT PICTURED: The sheer panic flowing through every cell in my body as I realized I was responsible for the care and nurture of this child. The panic tripled as I realized just how clueless I was (am).

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CAPTION: Loving this skin-to-skin time.

NOT PICTURED: The one hour of sleep we got the night before.

 

 

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CAPTION: Sweet, tender moments that feel like heaven.

NOT PICTURED: The two hours I spent sobbing as my crazy hormones tried to return to normal.

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CAPTION: Milk drunk.

NOT PICTURED: The absolute nightmare of getting this girl to breast feed. And so much pain.

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CAPTION: Besties.

NOT PICTURED: Feelings of utter hopelessness. Thanks, postpartum.

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CAPTION: Baby love.

NOT PICTURED: Feelings of overwhelming inadequacy.

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CAPTION: Serenity.

NOT PICTURED: Bellamy peeing all over our sheepskin rug and pooping all over her father as our photographer battles ticks in the meadows of Idaho.

 

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CAPTION: What a good husband.

NOT PICTURED: A thousand more bags of diapers. And all the money we spent on them. 20150629_153312

CAPTION: My sweet family.

NOT PICTURED: The unflattering truth that I got dressed for the day for the sole purpose of taking this picture for Instagram. At 4:00 p.m.

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CAPTION: Late night snuggles.

NOT PICTURED: Projectile pooping just moments before.

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CAPTION: Finally asleep.

NOT PICTURED: The moments of agonizing worry over any harm, illness or injury happening to this sweet, perfect human.

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CAPTION: Chillin’ with mom.

NOT PICTURED: The three hours of non-stop screaming, rocking and pacing to get to this state of “chillness”.

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CAPTION: Tuesday.

NOT PICTURED: Well, that’s actually pretty accurate.

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Also accurate.

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Again, right on point.

If you’re thinking right about now “Why would anyone have kids?” I’ll help you out.

It’s moments like this.

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CAPTION: Joy.

NOT PICTURED: The absolute joy of watching your baby sleep in your arms.

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CAPTION: Dad meets his girl.

NOT PICTURED: My heart bursting.

So the next time you feel the urge to fret when you’re scrolling through social media, comparing yourself to the seemingly perfect lives you see online, stop.

Instead, share in their joy as you hope they share in yours. Just remember things may not always be as picture-perfect as they appear.

But most importantly, find joy in your own journey – regardless of whether it’s photo-worthy or not.

 

Pants optional: A birth story

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I wasn’t thinking about labor or delivery when my water broke. I was thinking about the two ice cream sandwiches I had just eaten and was contemplating a third.

But then, all of the sudden, whoosh.

The Teton Dam 2.0 broke.

And the panic that followed could have rivaled the original 1976 disaster.

The last nine months flashed before my eyes like a horrific montage as I realized one jolting truth: We were having a flash flood baby.

With shaking hands, I made a few phone calls — including one to my husband who rushed home from work like a gallant white knight wearing a Broulim’s apron instead of a suit of armor.

Also the hospital, because in the few short moments of water-breaking-panic all common sense leaked out of my ear with the rest of my brain.

And after the good nurse reminded me that babies are born in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, I decided it was probably a good time to start packing a hospital bag.

To those of you who have never experienced water breaking, I apologize for what I’m about to say next.

Hollywood is a liar. Because well, it just kept… coming.

So, with a towel wrapped around me like a sumo wrestler, I came to the evening’s second jolting truth: Every pair of pants I owned that fit my massive belly were currently on the permanent press cycle of the wash.

“That’s it,” I thought to myself. “I’m just going to have this baby here.”

But luckily, at the eleventh hour, my husband found a pair of old leggings shoved in the back of our dresser. Out to the car I waddled.

And with a hastily packed bag filled with probably useful baby things, we headed toward the hospital, my anxiety — and contractions — intensifying by the minute.

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As we got settled into the delivery room, in came the nurse on the night shift.

“Are you preregistered?” she asked.

And I’m thinking, “Lady, I don’t even have clean pants. What do you think?”

Secondary thought: “Give me all the epidurals.”

Twenty minutes later, I was hooked up to beeping machines, gritting my teeth through contractions as the nurses asked me dozens of questions about my medical history as I tried not to offer profanity laced answers.

Cue my husband, who having to run back to work to solve a problem, walked back into the room carrying a bag of tacos.

Trying to play it so cool, I turned my focus to my breathing rather than the putrid smell of the tacos wafting from the chair next to me.

My husband — bless his soul — does not have a sense of smell.

But my resolve lasted less than four minutes.

All sense of decency and willpower gone, I demanded the removal of said tacos, as a sheepish looking husband shuffled past two nervous looking nurses to remove all evidence of the smelly offenders.

A couple hours, a few laps in the hallway and a thousand ice chips later, sweet redemption came.

The epidural.

A few hours later, as I watched the sunrise on what I knew would be my daughter’s birthday, my doctors began wandering in.

One looked at me with a wry smile on his face.

“You’re shaking an awful lot. Let’s check and see how you’re doing.”

It was around 6 a.m.

“Sure, Doc,” I thought, “But the nurse said this baby probably won’t be coming until about noon today. So…”

But apparently, it was time to push.

So I huffed and I puffed, strained every muscle in my body, threw up a bit and squeezed the life out of my husband’s hand on repeat for an hour.

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Holy crap. It was hard.

And here’s a great big shout out to all the women who did it WITHOUT drugs. You are champions!

Then, as I sat in a delivery bed — pantless once again I might add —  three doctors, a handful of nurses and BYU-Idaho nursing students, a blurry face who said they were either a baby snatcher or catcher filled my room, because the more the merrier, apparently.

Suddenly, it was showtime.

And in that moment filled with fuzzy memories of blue scrubs, silver sterilized medical tools and my husband’s comforting voice, my life forever changed.

Because there she was, a purple screaming miracle.

The first thing I noticed were her perfect fingernails. That’s all it took. I loved her instantly.

And then I saw her face, mouth wide in a wonderful scream. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.

Bellamy Jane Whitlock was finally here. Seven pounds 13 ounces of perfection.

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And she was all ours.

I’ll never forget holding her for the first time. It was a moment filled with equal parts inexplicable joy and indescribable fear.

And it was perfect.

I’ve held onto that thought this past month as we’ve welcomed Bellamy into our family.

Because that’s the beauty of it, really. Going forward despite the fear, enjoying tiny moments of quiet perfection along the way.

Why I can’t just “check my religion at the door”

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“When you come into work you leave your religion at the door,” a former boss told a group of us reporters during a staff meeting months ago.

My eyes were wide. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.

My mind flashed back to a devotional given years ago. The booming, powerful voice of one of the twelve apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, rang in my ears.

“You never check your religion at the door!”

The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me. All of this had started with the Mormon leader. I had come full circle.

I sat there reeling. If my boss had said, leave your race, your gender, your sexual orientation at the door, well, I can imagine the lawsuit that would follow.

But he hadn’t. He said religion. As if somehow, faith was less important than other characteristics that innately make up a person.

You don’t often think much about religious discrimination in a place like Rexburg, Idaho.

It just doesn’t happen, some might say. But a few months ago, I learned firsthand that Christians will be called to stand for what is right in some of the most unlikely places – including the heavily LDS populated town of Rexburg.

When it was announced that Holland would be speaking at Brigham Young University-Idaho, on a whim I contacted University Relations and requested an interview.

I was working as a reporter for a local news organization at the time, but was doubtful that an interview was even possible. Generally speaking, when a high profile leader for the LDS Church visits locations like BYU-Idaho on assignment, most of their time is calculatingly scheduled, leaving little time to sit down with the media.

I was shocked to receive a call a few days prior to Holland’s address informing me that I would get 10 minutes of his time.

Elation. I couldn’t believe the news.

This was the man that I sustained as a prophet twice a year at our church’s general conference.

This was the man who, after speaking to a large congregation of Latter-day Saints in Orlando, Florida that I happened to attend, gave me the courage to go on a proselyting mission.

This was the man who had spoken so many prophetic and inspired words that had bolstered my faith during challenging times, pointing me back to Jesus Christ.

After mentioning my golden opportunity to a boss, I found myself sitting in his office, all the joy and excitement leaking out of me.

He expressed to me his desire to ask Holland the “hard” questions. Questions that I felt were thoroughly inappropriate to ask in the short-term setting we would have, or indeed, of a man I sustained as a religious leader.

The questions surrounded controversial issues like women and the priesthood, and in my opinion, seemed more like an attack on the church than on hard-hitting journalistic inquiries. His proposed questions would have me publically question the integrity of the man that would sit in front of me.

Because I was a reporter, it wasn’t just me asking these questions inappropriate for a brief, 10-minute interview. I was representing a community. In essence, I would be saying, “We question your integrity, Elder Holland.”

And that I simply couldn’t do.

Though my boss assured me I would simply be a voice for the voiceless, I disagreed. I felt it came with a price, and compromised my own religious convictions.

I expressed these concerns to my boss, and left his office with a heavy decision weighing on my mind.

What was I to do?

I knew very well what I should do, I thought. I should absolutely not ask those questions.

But the conversation I had just had was still ringing in my ears.

“It’s your job,” a small, boss-like voice seemed to say.

And he was right. I had always taken pride in being that voice for the voiceless, in asking hard questions, in finding truth.

I had asked the hard questions before as I reported on countless stories about mental health, a financial crisis in education and concerns for open meeting violations in city government. The hard questions weren’t the issue. It was the morality of the questions that bothered me.

If I asked Holland these questions, I felt I would be betraying my faith. I would be betraying the sustaining vote I gave him and the other leaders of my church.

Are questions wrong? I asked myself. No. Is it wrong to question our leaders? No, because I don’t believe that God expects us to blindly follow. But the issue was rooted in one simple fact: I had already gained a testimony for myself on the questions I was told to ask. And I personally couldn’t ask the questions without feeling like I was betraying my faith.

So I prayed. And prayed. And cried. And prayed.

I knew what I needed to do. But the questions and the worry still came.

Would I lose my job? How mad would my boss be? How could I graciously stand up for what I believe without offending?

And then suddenly, there I was, shaking with nerves as I sat on the couch across from my hero, Elder Jeffery R. Holland.

I asked him about the missionary effort. We talked about the place for differing opinions in the church. We talked about how technology is changing our religious culture.

We talked about being strong; standing for our convictions.

I finished my questions, I attended his address, I wrote the story. My boss was clearly disappointed, but said very little.

Until a few weeks later at our monthly staff meeting.

I knew one of my boss’s comments were directed at me.

He told us we had to leave our personal issues aside, that we had jobs to do.

“When you come into work, you leave your religion at the door,” he said.

I sat there firmly, resolutely grateful for the decision I had made.

For me, my religion, my faith and my ability to practice that faith is everything.

Eventually, I left the news organization, largely in part of this experience.

And I have no regrets.

Because in the end, it wasn’t hard to decide to stand for what was right.

Because in the end, my interview with Holland taught me something so valuable.

Sometimes, we have to stand up for our beliefs even when unintentional offense will be present. The price of discipleship is not cheap.

I certainly don’t think poorly of my old bosses. I just believe in a way different than they do. And for me, living that belief would never allow me to “leave my religion at the door.”

 

 

What I want my daughter to learn from me instead of Pinterest

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I’ve taken a pledge to love my body.

And it was my un-born daughter who was my spark of inspiration.

Halfway through picking a photo filter for a recent Instagram post, I stopped dead.

It was like someone had finally turned up the volume in my head on all of the negative self-talk I had been forcing my soul to listen to whenever the body hate started.

“Oh, look at how stupid my hair looks,” I said.

“Look at how fat my face has gotten! I look so puffy!” I complained.

“I look so… bad,” I thought dejectedly.

This stream of self-hate started as I looked at a picture of myself on Mother’s Day, taken at 31 weeks pregnant.

And well, it was a wake up call to how toxic social media, coupled with my own insecurities, can be.

A few days later I decided to share the picture.

But as I tried to find a filter that made my face look thinner, that stream of negativity returned. But one solitary thought cut off the gush of self-hate like a jerky turn of a faucet.

“What if your daughter heard you say these things about yourself?”

I suddenly felt sick.

For months, I have been thinking of how I wanted to raise this sweet, precious spirit growing inside of me. I have prayed every night for her body — that it would be healthy, strong, beautiful and perfect.

But more than I want her to have a “perfect” body — a perfection that is twisted, contorted and altered by the voices of our materialistic society — I want her to love herself. Especially her body.

And I have to be the one to teach her how. That means I have some changing to do.

If I could be bold enough; if I could be brave enough; if I could put aside my own inadequacies fueled by years of listening to the mendacious media, I could teach her this one, invaluable truth: You are enough.

If I could do this brave thing — learning to love my own body — then maybe, just maybe, my daughter will learn what I still am. That beauty can’t be measured.

Beauty is a lifelong cultivation of goodness.

Because if I don’t, if I’m not a good example of positive body image and healthy self-talk, she’ll surely turn to other resources.

And I know what she’ll find there.

Pinterest will teach her through sayings like “I want to know what it feels like when I DON’T give up,” plastered over visually appealing photos of women with chiseled abs.

Instagram will teach her that the more likes you get the more loved you are — and worth loving.

Facebook will teach her that being “hot” is more important that being kind.

She will learn the false idea that anything less than a photoshopped, flawless figure is the result of “giving up.”

She will learn that loving herself is the product of meeting a standard — one not set by herself, but by the merciless, unforgiving meter called society.

In short, she will learn lies.

And so it has to start with me.

I pledge to be kind to my body. I pledge to not hang my worth on the number I see on the scale. I pledge to work out not because I hate what I see in the mirror, but because I love it. I pledge to fuel my body well — no more cookies and peach candies for lunch.

And perhaps most importantly, I pledge to speak kindly about my body, turning off that stream of negativity for good.

So I challenge each of you to take the #pinterestpledge in your own home to cultivate an atmosphere of positive body image. Encourage your family, your friends, your roommates to speak kindly toward their bodies. Start by sharing an unfiltered, unphotoshopped photo of yourself on social media with the hashtag #pinterestpledge, declaring your own personal pledge to love yourself.

Because you and I? We are enough.

I’ll call you Caitlyn

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I, along with the rest of social media, have watched the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner debate unfold over the past couple of days.

Some of what I have read has been kind. Some has not.

And it’s left my mind spinning.

I cannot relate with Caitlyn or the rest of the Jenner family.

I have never struggled with transgender feelings. As far as I know, neither has anyone in my immediate family. Or extended family.

But what if they did?

What if it was my father? My daughter? My brother?

I’d like to believe I’d treat them with love. Truthfully, knowing so little about a transgender lifestyle, that’s all I could do. Love them.

I am not related to the Jenners.

Nor is it my responsibility to judge their actions. Do I form my own opinions about the situation? Sure. Do I have strong beliefs about it? Yes.

At the end of the day, it’s true: I am not my brother’s keeper.

But as someone wise recently said, I am my brother’s brother.

Or in this case, my sister’s sister.

Right now, it doesn’t matter how I feel about transgender issues. It doesn’t matter how I feel about same-sex attraction. Whether I share my opinion or not, it’s not going to change the fact that Bruce Jenner has asked to be known as Caitlyn Jenner.

What matters is how I act.

I’m not trying to glorify the transgender lifestyle. The media has done that enough.

I am talking about love. About kindness.

I’ve never regretted being kind. I can’t imagine that would change with the newest cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

But I offer this caveat. Showing love toward someone does not mean I agree with their actions. It does not mean I agree with their lifestyle. I believe in the family. But that shouldn’t get in the way of kindness.

In fact, kindness was how I first came to know my Savior, Jesus Christ.

My family was introduced to the LDS church when I was five.

Before my parents were officially baptized into the church, I attended meetings with my aunt, Marney.

I loved going to church. I loved attending Primary, the children’s Sunday school.

I trilled with excitement each week as we learned new songs that came with fun, sometimes silly hand gestures.

The first song I learned while attending my beloved Primary class was simple.

“If you don’t walk as most people do, some people walk away from you, but I won’t. I won’t.

“I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.”

This was my favorite song for years.

I have never struggled with transgender issues.

I have struggled with depression. With anxiety. With the pain of making bad choices.

I’ve struggled through a parent’s divorce. Through countless personal battles fought within the depths of my own heart.

Through them all, I had people who embodied the lesson I learned as a child.

They walked with me, they talked with me. That’s how they showed their love for me.

I don’t understand why God gives some of his children trials that are viewed so controversially.

I don’t know why God gave me the trials I’ve had.

But I do know that he sent a Savior to be the example for us.

A Savior who teaches 5-year-olds and 50-year-olds to love one another.

And so, to the woman I’ll never meet, I say this.

I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you. I’ll call you Caitlyn.

That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Dear Mom: A love letter

Dear Mom:

I hate shopping for Mother’s Day cards.

Sure, they are sweet and floral and sometimes frilly. They have nice sentiments.

They say nice things to make the moms in our lives feel good about themselves.

But each year, I stand in the same overpoweringly pink aisle, picking though rows and rows of cards only to return the 38th rejected, cliché “Life wouldn’t be the same without you,” card.

You probably haven’t seen “500 Days of Summer,” Mom. I know you well enough to know that you’d probably hate it. But there’s this line from the film about greeting cards that keeps coming to mind.

“Why do people buy these things? It’s not because they wanna say how they feel, people buy cards ‘cause they can’t say how they feel or they’re afraid to.”

Now, I’m sure this is not sanctioned as card-buying law. But I can see some truth to it.

Because you see mom, if I had to sum it up, life wouldn’t just be the same without you. Life simply wouldn’t be without you.

And it’s taken me the better part of 26 years to realize how deeply I feel that.

And now, here I am, nearly two months to the day before my own daughter is due.

You know my excitement, but you also know my fears.

But now it’s time for you to know something.

One springy, Sunday afternoon, you said something that changed everything for me.

“What if I can’t do it?” I asked you tearfully, visions of labor and delivery tormenting my head.

“You do what you have to do for your children, Emmilie,” you said.

And then you told a story I had heard a hundred times. But this time, it was different.

When I was born, I was diagnosed with meningitis, Group B strep and phenomena. The doctors told you that if I made it through the night, I’d probably be OK. But the odds were not good. 10 percent. They gave me a 10 percent chance to make it through that first muggy July night.

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Yes, I’d heard this story before. Countless times.

But you had never told me the rest of the story.

“So just after giving birth, I sat on a hard metal chair all night long next to you in the ICU and sang to you,” you told me. “I had sung to you when you were in utero, and I knew that you needed my voice.”

It was a moment of beautiful, grateful understanding.

I’d always thought about those traumatic first few hours of my life very disconnectedly. I certainly don’t remember them. I’ve heard the stories, sometimes heard them through yours and Dad’s tears.

But you’ve always told me that I made it because I was a fighter. Always have been, always will be, you said.

But it was you. It was you all along, Mom. It’s because of you — in so many ways — that I’m here today, waiting to welcome my own daughter into my arms.

It’s no secret that I have not always enjoyed my pregnancy. It’s been painful, uncomfortable and highly emotional.

But I too have sung to my daughter, Mom.

And if — heaven forbid — something should happen to her, I would sit on that metal chair for hours with her. I would sing to her until I didn’t have any breath left in my body. I would do what my mom did. I would do whatever I had to for my child.

Your life has been a beautiful tribute to that notion, mom. You have done whatever you had to do.

And my gratitude is beyond measure.

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Thank you for sitting through every choir concert, play and dance recital.

For taking me to countless doctors appointments, for wrestling me (once literally) into the dentist’s chair.

For the late nights helping me with homework.

For long talks laughing together no matter how many miles apart we are.

For showing me that faith, prayer and courage can change lives.

For your excitement to be a grandmother.

For always, always being my mother.

Because it’s true, mom. Without you, life wouldn’t be.

You’ve taught me to have joy, to be strong, to be brave.

But most importantly, you’ve taught me to be a mother simply by being you.

So happy Mother’s Day, mom.

And thank you for the life you continue to give me.

What Jesus Christ taught me about pregnancy

This weekend was basically one giant meltdown for me.

I am sneakily suspicious of the hundreds of pregnancy hormones surging through my body resetting every emotion inside of me from neutral to crazy. Yes, they are the ones to blame.

Regardless, it didn’t stop me from becoming a blubbering mess more than once.

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This pregnancy has been difficult for me.

I know I join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of women who have uttered similar laments.

But tonight I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at the dusk turning into the grey of evening, feeling hot tears pour down my face onto my growing belly.

I had just said something unkind to my husband. My mood has been a constant roller coaster these past few days and I was regretting letting my irritability get the better of me.

This weekend was an exciting one for us. We moved into a bigger apartment and started setting up the nursery for our baby girl.

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Maybe it was the wonderfully crushing reality of an imminent addition to our family. Maybe it attending a new ward where the number of newborns practically outnumbers the parents. Maybe it was the sleepless nights battling increasingly sharp sciatic pain, and burning acid reflux.

But something inside me snapped. And as it did, fear trickled into every portion of my heart.

I had expressed some of these concerns to my husband and my mother. They both responded confidently that I would make a great mother.

I’ve always known you would be a good mom, even before I married you, Eric said.

I’ve never had any doubts about you raising a child, my mom reassured.

But as I listened, all I heard was hollow praise to satiate my moment of crippling fear. Deep down, their words filled me with more dread. I was certain I would disappoint the people I loved most.

And so I sat there weeping, wishing I could take back my last conversation with Eric, thinking about how unprepared, unfit and unbelievably terrified I was to be a mother.

My husband, my hero, came in quietly and put his arm around my shoulder as I cried and cried.

No one tells you about this part of pregnancy. It’s real and it’s raw.

I apologized for my unkind words. He forgave me quickly and once again poured out words of affirmation.

My head began to scream.

“He doesn’t understand what I’m going through. I feel crazy! Can’t someone just tell me it’s okay to be scared as hell? That it’s okay to want to drown into the sea of despair that I’m wading further and further into? Can someone just tell me that fear is normal, healthy even?”

What I heard was silence.

And then, a still, small voice from inside my heart spiraled slowly up into my weary and frenzied mind.

It took me back to a snowy road in Kalispell, Montana.

I was a missionary and my companion and I were teaching a woman, Taz, who has always been very dear to me.

As we taught Taz about the restoration of the gospel, Taz discovered she was pregnant. One night in particular, she was having a rough time.

Before we left, she asked us a question I’ve never forgotten.

“Sisters, will you find me in the scriptures what it says about pregnancy?”

My eyes were instantly wide.

Was she serious? All I could think of was Mary, the mother of Jesus, bringing forth her first-born son, lying him in a manger.

While it was a beautiful story, I didn’t think it would be much help to Taz.

Her question was in the back of my mind for the rest of the week.

Finally, the answer came.

Christ

As we returned to Taz’s home, we sat down and taught her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That her Savior, our Savior, felt every pain, every fear, every heartache she would ever experience.

“Jesus Christ knows what it’s like to be pregnant, Taz.”

And then we read to her the words an ancient Book of Mormon prophet named Alma taught to the people of Gideon.

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that he bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

As we read her those words, tears poured down her cheeks.

And a million minutes and miles a way, as I thought of this experience, fresh tears trickled down my own face as well.

“Christ knows what it feels like to be pregnant, Emmilie. He knows what it’s like to feel crazy. He knows the growing fear and the feelings of inadequacy, the pain of carrying a child.”

And suddenly, my thoughts were in an olive garden called Gethsemane.

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There was fear in the garden that night. It was nothing to be ashamed of. It was the crushing realization and acceptance of the responsibility placed upon our Lord’s shoulders.

“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me,” Christ plead with the Father.

Hours before the brutality of Gethsemane, Christ sat with his apostles, those who knew and loved him best.

I can only imagine that if the Savior of the World told Peter, James or John that he was scared about what he was about to do, that he didn’t want to disappoint the people — all mankind — whom he loved so much, they might respond in a manner similar to my sweet husband.

We have never doubted you, Lord.

We will follow you forever, Master.

Essentially, You will be an incredible Savior, friend.

And because he couldn’t turn back, he couldn’t — and wouldn’t — retreat, Jesus took upon him the sins of all of us.

You. Me. Eric. Our daughter.

And because of him, I can do ALL things.

I can face the fears rooted in the deepest corners of my heart.

And I can know that someone infinitely greater than I, “whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose,” knows my pain and heartache and fears as I enter motherhood.

And as I sat on the edge of my bed, my husbands arm around my shoulder, different tears poured from the corner of my puffy eyes.

Grateful ones.

Tears that bear the testimony of a Savior, who loves and knows me perfectly every day — even on the crazy ones.