With two more semesters to go before my college graduation, my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant. How could I do what the Lord wanted while fulfilling my own goals?
As a young woman, I always had a fear that I wouldn’t get married or have a family. But all that and more happened. I found a guy who really loved me and wanted a future with me—a gospel-centered future. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and we’ve been incredibly happy ever since. So I joined the thousands of LDS college students who are married while they’re in school. Then, several months ago, we discovered that we were going to have a baby. Two more semesters to go until graduation . . . and I was pregnant.
I couldn’t quit school, not after all the work I’d put into it already. But how could I keep working and finish my classes while getting ready to have a baby? I put my trust in the Lord and pushed forward, not knowing beforehand everything that pushing forward would require.
Here are some of the things I’ve experienced in the last several months:
- Going to class in the morning, throwing up for an hour in a campus bathroom, and then hurrying off to my next class
- Texting my boss to tell her that I couldn’t make it in to work (again)
- Having my hip come out of place because walking all over campus doesn’t combine well with pregnancy
- Getting weird looks from other students all the time
- Not fitting in the desks at the testing center because my belly is too big
- Having contractions in the middle of class (and yes, during these I have to close my eyes and focus on breathing)
Moreover, the last several months have given me a very difficult and sanctifying change of perspective: my life is no longer about me. The internships I’ve done, the degree I’m about to receive, the jobs I might have had right after graduation, the traveling I expected to do—I need to put all of those things on the back burner as I focus instead on raising a very small, sweet human.
In my desperation one day, I found a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about motherhood called “Because She Is a Mother.” In it he gives this counsel to young mothers (and I’d include young fathers in this as well): “We acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever. . . . Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.”
Needless to say, his talk got me through that day. And the next. And the next. I’ve felt myself changing my perspective from my own challenges and sacrifices to the sacred opportunity I’m about to have to raise one of God’s precious children. I relish putting my baby’s needs ahead of my own, and I look forward every day to the moment when I finally get to see his little face and realize what it was all for.
I’ve felt angels watching over me and my little one. I’ve felt the power and authority of my new calling. I’ve felt the Lord making more of me than I am, and I don’t ever want to turn back. I really feel that the Lord wants us to start families, even while we are young and have other goals in mind. He wants to see us grow and become like him, so he will open the doors for us to start families of our own and “cherish this role” of becoming parents in this final dispensation.
Read or watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s full talk “Because She Is a Mother” for more apostolic counsel on motherhood.
—Camille Lazelle, Mormon Insights
feature image by William Stitt and Bonnie Kittle
Find more insights
Read or watch Elder L. Tom Perry’s April 2015 general conference talk “Why Marriage and Family Matter—Everywhere in the World” to see an apostle’s desire for people everywhere, “even among the millennial generation,” to prioritize the family.
Read or watch “The Family Is of God,” Sister Carole M. Stephens’s April 2015 general conference address on the the importance of families.
I just found out that I too am going to be a mother shortly after I graduate. I wanted to get pregnant after getting my PhD or at least after getting my Master’s. But I had to follow the promptings I received. I am very excited but also very worried about the path ahead of me. I do not know if I will have to give up my career aspirations (I believe that I will not have to), but this article helped me realize that this baby will be a huge blessing in my life. I have not always thought of motherhood or babies as blessings, but I do now, and I am confident that no matter where my life takes me, if I follow the promptings of God, it will all work out.
I can’t imagine the difficulties of going to school while being pregnant, but I respect your conviction and divine perspective of your role as a mother. Motherhood truly is one of the most selfless callings and I think God wants us to start families young to help us avoid selfish habits characteristic of young people today.
Excellent article. Still relevant today as ever. Thanks for sharing. Cheers. Traci
I’m so grateful for the honesty of this article. Motherhood certainly doesn’t seem easy but how wonderful that you’ve learned to look to God for support. That’s a powerful example.