Saturday, December 5, 2009

What the Proclamation on the Family Says About Pregnancy and Birth

I was reading the Proclamation on the Family today and am in awe of how well it is written. It is short and succinct, yet covers everything. It is specific and leaves no room for misinterpretations. I can only describe some of the word choices as perfect. For example, the word “entitled” in paragraph seven. Normally I dislike this word, but in this case (“children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony”), it is the only correct word. Deserve wouldn’t work.

There is one line, however, that I always thought was repetitive. Let me set it up for you: In paragraph four, it says “…God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are only to be employed between a man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

The next paragraph say:

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed.”

I always thought this was a repeat of the chastity admonishment, but I notice now that it being in its own paragraph is significant. On closer study, it is apparent that “the means by which mortal life is created” includes pregnancy and birth.

I am amazed that this sentence that has been in front of me all this time. Heavenly Father is affirming that the process of gestation and birth are divinely appointed--that we were created in the image of a Heavenly Mother, who has done it herself, and has blessed it.

Maybe this is obvious to some people, but to me it was a huge rubber bat to the head.

I have always thought of procreation, and therefore sex, as our one divine power—hence the reason Satan has attacked it so hard, and not subtly. Sex is money nowadays. It is commercial, recreational, fun, and anything but sacred. Now I see that pregnancy and birth are and extension of that divine power, and their sacred nature is being attacked/undermined in more subtle ways. The spiritual, sacred nature of the gestation and birth process has been slowly pushed into the background in favor of a more scientific, medical or mechanical focus. There are almost no books at the mainstream bookstore that speak in-depth about the spiritual journey of pregnancy. Even with the knowledge we have as Latter-Day-Saints about the divine nature of women and motherhood, when it comes to pregnancy and birth, many sisters are still floundering.

Seeing the de-sanctification of birth as a tool of the adversary shocked me a little, and put a new urgency on this project. I am not in favor of bashing all modern American maternity care, because I believe there are exceptions to everything, but it is, to put it precisely, a disaster—especially when compared to other countries. Reaffirming the sacred nature of pregnancy and birth is a slow, grassroots effort that I have often heard compared to missionary work. And after reading the last line of the Proclamation I am at it with a new zeal.

So spread the word: Our physical bodies were created after the image of our Heavenly Mother, and the process of pregnancy and birth ("the means by which mortal life is created") are divinely appointed. Amazing.


  1. I never noticed that connection either, but you're so right! It has reminded me of something else. I'll email you about it.

  2. Beautifully written...the proclamation and your post.

  3. Thank you so much for this post (and your blog and book project)!

    I'm a relatively new convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (21 months now) and am one of only a few natural birthing mamas in our ward.

    When I shared my recent birth with women in the ward I received so many negative reactions! She was born at home and this was my second homebirth, but first UC birth.

    My husband and I chose UC this time not because we wanted to thumb our noses at physicians and hospitals (or midwives, for that matter) but because I was being told by the Holy Ghost that this was appropriate and right for this baby.

    No one else understands and they all think I'm looney.

    It's so nice to find another LDS woman who understands the spiritual nature of birth!

  4. Lovely! I just found your blog and love all that you have said! Indeed pregnancy and birth is so undervalued and attacked in our society. It is such a shame.



Related Posts with Thumbnails