Monday, November 16, 2009

Divine Design

Back in October, I posed this question on the Birth Faith facebook fanpage: "Do you believe the birth process was divinely designed?" I got some great responses and decided that I'd write a full blogpost on that very topic soon. Well, "soon" came and went. Then a couple of weeks ago I took a poll of my facebook fans asking what they'd prefer to see next, and "spiritual roots" won. So here it is. At the risk of opening myself up too much, I'm going to share some of my most cherished and personal beliefs (interspersed with relevant quotations I like). Whether you agree or not, I ask that you please be respectful.

I believe the human body is a sacred temple, a masterpiece patterned after the divine. I believe the functions and processes of the human body, particularly the birth process, are magnificent.
I marvel at the miracle of the human mind and body. . . . No camera ever built can compare with the human eye. No method of communication ever devised can compare with the voice and the ear. No pump ever built will run as long or as efficiently as the human heart. No computer or other creation of science can equal the human brain. What a remarkable thing you are. . . . Look at your finger. The most skillful attempt to reproduce it mechanically has resulted in only a crude approximation. The next time you use your finger, watch it, look at it, and sense the wonder of it.

-Gordon B. Hinckley (“The Body Is Sacred)
I believe my female body was created in the image of my Heavenly Mother's body. I believe we are all spirit daughters of a divine Mother--the eternal companion and equal of our divine Father.
God is your father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure. They gave your eternal intelligence spirit form, just as your earthly mother and father have given you a mortal body.

-Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters”
I believe our Heavenly Mother can and does lend us her uniquely feminine help, strength, wisdom, and love.
[K]nowing how profoundly our mortal mothers have shaped us here, do we suppose [our Heavenly Mother's] influence on us as individuals to be less?

-Spencer W. Kimball
I believe the male-female pair has been the pattern for eternity. There could not have been a man without a woman to complement him. I do not believe the creation of Mother Eve was an afterthought. She was part of the picture before her physical body was ever brought into being.
Having looked over all of this, He declared it to be good. He then created man in His own likeness and image. Then as His final creation, the crowning of His glorious work, He created woman. I like to regard Eve as His masterpiece after all that had gone before, the final work before He rested from His labors.

-Gordon B. Hinckley, "Daughters of God"
I honor our glorious Mother Eve, for her courageous choice to bring about the conditions necessary for humankind to procreate through conception, pregnancy, and childbirth.
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Eve. In the Garden of Eden, she and Adam were instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, they were also reminded, “Thou mayest choose for thyself.” The choice was really between a continuation of their comfortable existence in Eden, where they would never progress, or a momentous exit into mortality with its opposites: pain, trials, and physical death in contrast to joy, growth, and the potential for eternal life. In contemplating this choice, we are told, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, … and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” And thus began their earthly probation and parenthood. . . . If it hadn’t been for Eve, none of us would be here.

-James E. Faust, "What It Means to Be a Daughter of God"
I do not believe the sensations of childbirth are a punishment inflicted on women.
The Hebrew word for “multiply” is rabah (raw-bah), meaning to repeat over and over. It does not suggest greater sorrow, but rather repeated sorrow. The Hebrew word for “sorrow” in the Genesis account (Genesis 3:16) is from atsab (aw-tsab), which means “labor” or “pain.” While these words suggest that toil and suffering would be a part of Eve’s life, Eve did not view the conditions that came upon her through the Fall to be a curse (see Moses 5:11). Moses 4:22 “is a great revelation to women. Eve and her daughters can become cocreators with God by preparing bodies for his spirit children . . . . Mothering would entail inconvenience, suffering, travail, and sorrow; these the Lord foretold as natural consequences and not as a curse" (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993],17). . . .

“If Eve must labor to bring forth, so too must Adam labor . . . to quicken the earth so it shall bring forth. Both of them bring forth life with sweat and tears" (Hugh Nibley, Old Testament and Related Studies, John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton, eds. [1986], 90).

-Moses 4:20–32, The Consequences of the Fall
Rather than a curse, I believe the travail of childbirth is a blessing for our own and our babies' benefit.
* Pain in childbirth serves a physiological purpose. When a woman feels her labor, she can allow it to prompt her movements and changes of position. Women who can be mobile in labor will almost always move their bodies and adopt positions that will facilitate and speed-up the birth process.

* It facilitates the release of hormones which prime mother and baby for smoother delivery, bonding, and breastfeeding.

* It instills confidence and self-worth in a woman. Women who have given birth without drugs often describe the experience as life-changing. I believe God knew that new mothers would benefit from the trial of labor because it would allow them to see the strength and power within them. What better way to begin motherhood than on a springboard of power and strength?

-Me, "Nobody thinks you're a hero"
I believe our heavenly parents care a great deal about how (and even where) their spirit children are born into this world, and I believe they are eager for us to pray for guidance as we make those pivotal personal decisions.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.

-Alma 37:37

Other posts you might enjoy:
Birth in the Bible
The Curse of Eve
Eve's "Curse"?


Fig said...

I really really love this.

Missy said...

I love this post! I completely agree with everything you wrote, and I love the quotes and scriptures. It all rings very true to me.

Faithful Lurker said...

Love it!

Liz Johnson said...

Amen, amen, amen.

Deanna said...

Thank you! I love the quotes from Latter-day prophets and the scriptures backing up this philosophy. So true!

The Fifes said...

what a neat collection of quotes! :) love it.

Miriam said...

Amazing. I really appreciate your clarity and forthrightness.

Sarah H said...

Very inspiring.

Sarah said...

Wonderful. Thank you for that beautiful post!

Mother Earth said...

Beautiful. Inspiring as always.

Martha said...

Beautiful stuff! I believe and love all of it.