Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Gift of Giving Life

If there is one thing I hope people visiting my blog know about me it is this: Motherhood is a joy and a gift in my life, even through the ugly days.

I have known when it was time for each of my children to join our family. It is amazing to me how similar, yet different, each of their births have been. I have learned that though they come from the same gene pool they are each unique with talents and abilities God has bestowed upon them. Motherhood is hard. Knowing what to do, what to teach, how to teach, when to teach is hard. Through it all I have learned that first and foremost they are the Lord's. And because they are His He will help me.

The Gift of Giving Life is a new book which shares the experiences of many women as they journey through pregnancy and birth, relying on spiritual guidance to help them in their choices, whatever those choices may be. It is so wonderful to read these amazing stories that draw us together as women, as mothers. I have asked Sheridan, one of the book's authors, to write a guest post for today. I hope you make her feel welcome!

I am excited to be doing a guest post as part of the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life. My name is Sheridan Ripley. I am one of the co-authors of the book and a Hypnobabies Childbirth Educator and a Birth Doula, I also blog at Enjoy Birth.

Personal Inspiration for Each Family

In the March Ensign I read an interesting article called Follow the Prophet by Elder Randall K. Bennett. In it he explains how while listening to the prophets and apostles during General Conference both he and his wife were inspired to return their engagement ring so they could use that money to start their food supply. Neither wanted to offend the other by suggesting it, but both were so impressed at the need to they finally did only to find each had felt the same impression.
“But the prompting each of us had felt was too strong to ignore, and the more each of us thought about it, the more glaring that diamond ring became. When Shelley raised the subject a few days after Christmas, I was relieved that she had arrived at the same conclusion I had.”
What is your first reaction to reading this? Are you quick to judge this couple for following a spiritual prompting? Are you feeling judged because you didn’t get the same prompting? Do you feel the need to defend yourself for having an engagement ring? Or are you just supportive of their choice?
“Please don’t misunderstand me and please don’t sell your rings! … the Spirit had directed US to follow the prophet by selling our engagement ring, in our case the choice was between keeping the ring and following the prophet. This helped us establish two patterns in our home from the very beginning: following the prophet and following the personal, spiritual promptings we received.”
This couple had many different responses, from support to outrage. But they stood strong, knowing that they were doing what was best for them! They didn’t judge others and they rejected others judgment.
“…they told us we were crazy. Other women Shelley’s age couldn’t believe she’d been willing to do what she had done. Very few were encouraging or supportive. Shelley was strong and knew that she would be OK no matter what people thought; she had confidence in knowing that she was following the prophet.”
Personally when I read this article it was with interest and I found it easy to accept their decision. I didn’t judge it and I didn’t feel judged that I had kept my ring. It just reinforced that we can receive revelation to guide our families. It won’t be right for everyone, but it can be right for us.

Inspiration for Birth?

I have spent the past few years co-authoring a book about spirituality and birth called The Gift of Giving Life. Approaching birth from a spiritual perspective can help end the judgment regarding a woman’s birth choices.

Sadly in some arenas it is as if there is a birthing war going on.

Natural vs Medicated
Vaginal vs Cesarean
Home vs Hospital

Why are we so quick to judge others in the birthing choices they make? Isn’t birth just as worthy a topic to receive revelation on as food storage is?

Of course it is! The gift of giving life is one of the most precious responsibilities we have. We can expect to get spiritual guidance along the way.

I think part of the reason birth creates so much drama is that it is of such importance in God’s plan. Satan wants us to be confused about the topic and so creates this type of contention.

Robyn (a fellow co-author) said on a post recently on our blog: “Really it is Satan’s deceptive plan to undermine womanhood and motherhood in any form (see Revelations 12). He wants to take away its value in any way possible.”

War of any kind whether it is between countries or between birth choices is going to create conflict and fear and that will drive away the spirit. Which in turn undermines motherhood!

What is the simple solution to ending this war? In the Prophetic words of President Uchtdorf
“Stop It!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters”
Each family has the right to receive spiritual guidance on what type of birth is best for THEM.

For some moms an elective cesarean is the best choice. For some moms an unassisted birth is the best choice. For some moms scheduling an induction is the best choice. I really loved when Cocoa shared her birth story about Ganache where she had first hand experience of this herself.
Miracle #2: There was a tight knot in Ganache's umbilical cord that we did not know about. It could have proven potentially fatal for him had we decided not to be induced on Monday and waited for his due date of July 25th. This, especially, made me realize how very precious and miraculous it is that so many births go "right" when they very easily could go so "wrong." It also helped confirm that our decision to be induced on Monday was the right one, even though in the end he came on his own.
It isn’t for us to decide or judge a mom for her choices regarding her pregnancy and birth! It is for us to love and support.

Loving and Supporting All Moms

This is why in our book The Gift of Giving Life we support all moms and all birthing types. There are birth stories of elective cesareans, unassisted births, medicated and un-medicated births. But in all of the stories there is a thread of inspiration guiding these moms.

There is no one right answer for everyone. The only way for a mom to find the right answer is through information and inspiration. As Sisters in Christ let us be open to the spirituality of birth, however that “looks”. So we can support each other as we fulfill this invaluable role as mothers in the plan of salvation.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for our newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.

The Gift of Giving Life

For Cocoa’s readers I have a coupon code for 10% off a copy of The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and after you add the book to your cart use this coupon code. GWFWXR3F The code is good until Father’s Day 2012. Enjoy!



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