Through my struggle with infertility and miscarriage, motherhood and my dreams of becoming such have remained just outside of my grasp. The Family Proclamation to the Family states, “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”1 Well, try as we might, the replenishing is just not happening successfully.
I am the mother of 2 babies who only got to experience life in my belly for several short weeks. I believe that I will be able to raise them and be their mother in eternity, but I am always concerned over being a mother NOW. I have no living children and may never be able to bare them, so how can I fill the measure of my creation?
Sister Barbara Thompson, a single sister in the church and former member of the Relief Society General Presidency, said, “ I was in the Tabernacle when President Gordon B. Hinckley first delivered the proclamation on the family at the general Relief Society meeting in September of 1995. That was a great occasion. I felt the significance of the message. I also found myself thinking, ‘This is a great guide for parents. It is also a big responsibility for parents.’ I thought for a moment that it really didn’t pertain too much to me since I wasn’t married and didn’t have any children. But almost as quickly I thought, ‘But it does pertain to me. I am a member of a family. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, and a granddaughter. I do have responsibilities—and blessings—because I am a member of a family. Even if I were the only living member of my family, I am still a member of God’s family, and I have a responsibility to help strengthen other families.’”2
I have been guilty of sitting in church and turning off my attention because a lesson is about motherhood or family and it hurts sometimes. But, I can follow Sister Thompson’s example and help to strengthen families because I am a member of a family and a member of God’s family.
Sister Thompson continued to say, “Elder Robert D. Hales said, ‘Strengthening families is our sacred duty as parents, children, extended family members, leaders, teachers, and individual members of the Church.’”2
“…We are given opportunities to serve in many capacities. We constantly come in contact with children and youth who may need just what we can offer. You older sisters have much good advice and experience to share with younger mothers. Sometimes a Young Women leader or a Primary teacher says or does just the thing that is needed to reinforce what a parent is trying to teach. And obviously we don’t need any particular calling to reach out to a friend or neighbor.”2
“The greatest help we will have in strengthening families is to know and follow the doctrines of Christ and rely on Him to help us. So often as I have worked with families with problems, I have found myself wishing that these families knew of the Savior and were teaching their children the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”2
- Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102
- Sister Barbara Thompson “I Will Strengthen Thee; I Will Help Thee,” Ensign, October 2007.