There was a time in my life when I wondered if the picture above would ever be taken.
I still remember where I was when my mom told me that I wouldn't be able to bear children. She said that the oncologists told her that if I had the radiation treatments I needed to save my life, my reproductive system would be damaged or even destroyed. My parents were heartbroken. As members of the LDS church, we believe very strongly in families and that they are forever. We also believe that one of our main responsibilities in this life is to bear children and create families. We are told that we would find joy and happiness in our posterity.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I didn't tell anyone but my closest friends that I even had cancer as a child. I still felt that stigma that plagued me when I was undergoing treatments. Many people didn't understand then what cancer was, and some even thought it was contagious. I was teased and made fun of, and had few friends.
I was always worried that I would start dating a man and fall in love. He'd ask me to marry him and I'd tell him that we wouldn't be able to have children of our own. He'd back away and tell me that it was too important, and he'd break up with me. This was the scenario I'd created in my head...even when I started dating Gordon. For a while, I even convinced myself that I didn't want children.
Early on, Gordon told me he was adopted. I hoped that he would be open to my situation and would still love me when I told him. A few days before he proposed, I told him we'd need to adopt our future children, we both cried and he was so supportive. I knew then that I had found the person Heavenly Father had sent to me. He was actually excited about adopting...imagine that! I felt a sense of peace and gratitude that I hadn't felt since learning of my infertility.
We waited six years for Ian, and another four and a half for Courtnie. I tell them all of the time that they were worth the wait. I am grateful every single day for their unselfish birth mothers. They knew that they weren't ready to have a child yet, and thought of their unborn child first. They wanted their child to have a mother and a father, to be brought up in the gospel, and be sealed to an eternal family. I know that they think sometimes that others will think they took the "easy way out," but I can't imagine anything more difficult. I am just so blessed. I am also grateful that the birth mothers of both of my children have gone on to lead happy lives, have been married in the temple, and have children of their own now.
Being a mom is the greatest! It brings me a sense of pride, happiness, joy, and peace I could have never imagined. As I look at my children, I wonder what they will become and how I can help. I hope that I am teaching them all that they need to know to become good people. I want them to be happy and lead productive lives. Most of all, I want them to love the Savior as I do. I want them to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that if they follow its teachings, they will know true happiness.
This morning, I woke up Courtnie for school and told her to get in the shower. When I went back into my room, she was "hiding" under my covers. I pretended she wasn't there and squished her. We giggled for a bit, and then just laid there, snuggling, for a few minutes. It felt so good to just be quiet and "listen" to each other. I hope she knows how much I love her and am so grateful for her. Sometimes words just aren't enough.
I'm so grateful for a Father in Heaven who knows my needs. He knew that I'd need these two very special children in my life...especially at this time. When things are tough and I just don't know if it's all worth it, I think of my children and can't wait for tomorrow.