Monday, August 23, 2010


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Pregnancy is a time of upheaval and reevaluation. During pregnancy, many women (and men) find themselves with unexpected feelings about the past and contemplation about the future. Evaluating who you are and where you are going is a normal part of pregnancy. Through this process, however, many old wounds may be exposed and forgiveness and/or repentance may be necessary.

Pregnancy and fertility issues can bring up sadness about old losses or old transgressions, guilt, shame, anger (at prior caregivers, family, spouse, self), and a number of other feelings.

Pregnancy is also a time when many women re-evaluate their faith or lack of faith, and have a desire (and a deadline) to be better. This almost always requires forgiveness of self and others.

For what might you need to repent/forgive yourself?
Here are just a few thoughts:
  • years of selfishness
  • poor care of your body
  • disobedience to commandments
  • prior miscarriages (it is not your fault)
  • bad decisions
  • bad behavior toward family or spouse
  • jealousy
  • omissions
For what might you need to forgive others?

  • omissions
  • rejections
  • inconsiderateness
  • abuse
  • scaring you about birth
  • wasting your childbearing years (this comes up a lot when there are fertility issues)
  • not being who you want them to be
  • dishonesty
  • breaking the commandments
This where the second principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important. Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand with healing, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what makes it all possible.

In D & C 64:10, God says, "I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." Forgiving others takes time, especially when the hurt is deep or the offenses grave. Don't beat yourself up if your heart doesn't fill with forgiveness right away. However, if you diligently pray and leave a space in your heart for forgiveness, I promise that one day you will notice it has gradually filled in.

I also want to mention v. 13 of that same section--because while turning the other cheek gets a lot of mention in Christian thought, God has also instructed us that at times it is necessary to bring some people to judgment "not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver— ." I think this applies not just to the Heavenly lawgiver, but also the earthly constitutional lawgiver. I don't envy you if you are dealing with these dynamics, but I know from some experience that forgiveness is possible, even in this situation.

On the other hand, if you feel that it is you who need to need to be forgiven, start now. Kneel down and allow yourself to believe that loving Heavenly Parents want to give you all the blessings they have. Repentance is so worth it. I can't say that with enough emphasis. And if you don't even know where to start or what to change, take Elder Neil A. Anderson's advice and "humbly petition the Lord 'Father, what wouldst Though have me do?' The answers come. We feel the changes we need to make. The Lord tells us in our mind and in our heart."

Just like baptism is a rebirth (a water birth!) and literally symbolizes the death of the old self and rebirth of the new, so is pregnancy. Some part of your old self must die and be buried in order for you to be reborn as a mother. But even though baptism (and the moment of birth) happens in just a few seconds, the journey to getting there is personal and has different levels of difficulty for everyone.

Another great lesson I just learned is about why we remember our sins and regret them so long after we have forsaken them. Elder Anderson says in his October 2009 conference address:
"The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget. The forsaking of sins implies never returning. Forsaking requires time. To help us, the lord at times allows the residue of our mistakes to rest in our memory. It is a vital part of our learning. "
If you have some sadness or regret about things you have already cleared up, allow yourself to believe that it is because great blessings are coming. Sad memories may be a gentle reminder to use the lessons we have learned in a new situation.

Many of life's big issues come up during pregnancy to give us a chance to heal and transform. Everything you are feeling right now has a purpose and if you aren't sure what it is, then ask the Lord. Seek answers in the scriptures. Meditate. Try to greater understand the Atonement. It works if you work. You will find the answers you need and feel the healing forgiveness brings.

Remember that any time a woman does something to positively change herself, her entire family will be blessed.

If you have a story you'd like to share about forgiveness or repentance, please share it.

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