“Mothers’ Poem” was collectively written by twelve women from the Santa Monica CA Stake on the occasion of Mothers’ Day, 2011.  The genesis of the poem occurred at one of the Westdale II Ward’s Friday “Park Days” (moms chat, kids play).  On one of these days, the topic of conversation was the article on Mormon women’s ritual healing that had been published in a recent issue of the Journal of Mormon History. We discussed the nearly century-long legacy of Mormon women laying on hands to bless the sick.  We were especially touched by the beautiful ritual of sisters coming together to bless women about to give birth.  One of the sisters in our group, who was eight months pregnant at the time, mused about how powerful and meaningful it would be to receive a blessing from sisters who shared the experience of birth as a physical and spiritual passage.  We wanted to draw on this rich spiritual legacy while showing deference to the Church’s current policy governing blessings, and hit upon the idea of writing a collective poem. Each section of the text represents the contribution of an individual sister (plus an introductory section at the beginning).  This poem contains the words that we would say if we lived during the time when Mormon women gave blessings, or the words of a prayer that we might offer today on behalf of a sister among us preparing to cross the threshold into motherhood.

This poem was written by Marcella Capasso, Darin Epperson, Melissa Erekson, Rachel Gee, Lori Hulbert, Melissa Inouye, Neesha McKay, Leslie Paugh, Tanna Romero, Donna Simon, Kim Wilson, and Gwendolyn Wyne

Mothers’ Poem
As sisters in Zion, to cheer and to bless

Dear Sister:

As you prepare to birth your baby, we stand around you, united. May you feel our love and support as women who have crossed over the same threshold into motherhood, and as women of faith who offer prayer on your behalf and know that God will hear.

We rejoice with you in this time of celebration, as you prepare to reap the reward for the hard work of many weeks and months. Finally, your baby is coming.

Remember how pleased Heavenly Father is with your desire to give birth to His spirit children in a world in which a growing number of women choose not to become mothers. Cherish the special spirit that will fill your home with this new child who just left the presence of God. We are sure that ministering angels will be at your side and the side of this new infant as it gets accustomed to its new existence.

We release you from your everyday concerns: from professional, church, and family responsibilities, and even from your obligation to interact socially with people around you. Feel free, instead, to focus entirely on yourself and on your baby, to get comfortable, to preserve your strength.

We pray that your mind, heart, and body will be one as you prepare to birth your little one. Remember that this is a means to an end. The moments of pain are nothing that time won’t mend. Think of your baby’s tiny hands, feet, and face, and the beautiful spirit that you are bringing into the human race. May God grant you strength and peace of mind preceding his gift of the greatest joy you’ll find.

We bless you with strength through your faith and Divine Nature, with the knowledge that you were chosen by Heavenly Father to fulfill this beautiful role; and may you feel honored to do so.

We invite you to be filled with peace, that you will welcome this wonderful time of motherhood. Understand that your body has been divinely designed to birth your baby and that you are doing so beautifully. As your birthing continues allow your mind to be at ease knowing that your body and baby are working in harmony. We ask that you receive patience to pass through time as your baby descends.

We bless you with our diverse experiences and perspectives. We remind you that our babies came in many different ways, sometimes in ways that we did not expect or see as ideal at the time. We assure you that courageously adapting to changes as your birthing progresses does not make you any less important, committed, or successful as a mother.

We give you assurance that even when things seem to be going “wrong,” you are entitled to seek and receive the Spirit’s confirmation that God is mindful of you and that all things will work together for your good.

We say to you: be strong; have no fear.

We bless you that pain will help you understand how much the Savior values you; that just as the pain of this pregnancy and birth has taught you how precious your child is, so the pain of the Atonement must make you more precious to the Savior than you can possibly imagine.

Once your new little one has arrived, we bless you with the patience and endurance to make it through each new day having had little sleep, and a fair amount of frustration. It will all be worth it as you watch that precious little baby sleeping quietly, and loving you unconditionally.

We bless you that in your birthing and new motherhood, when the time comes to search for courage and grace, you will remember us, your sisters. You will remember that we have felt what you feel, that we walked with God through the shadow of the deep valleys, that we laughed and cried for joy when at long last our baby came.

October 24, 2011

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10 Comments

  1. Deborah

    October 23, 2011

    Just beautiful. Before I gave birth to my little girl, several of my friends gathered for a spiritual shower of sorts, offering thoughts, poems, songs, prayers along with a bead. That string of beads came with me into the delivery room and one day I will give them to my daughter and tell her about women who loved her before she was born…

  2. mmiles

    October 23, 2011

    So beautiful!

  3. Roberta

    October 23, 2011

    Wow. That is beautiful. And, I’m dripping with envy and jealousy that you have a group of Sisters like this.

  4. CountryHungry

    October 23, 2011

    Amazing. This was so beautifully written. What a wonderful source of support.

    I love this
    “We release you from your everyday concerns: from professional, church, and family responsibilities, and even from your obligation to interact socially with people around you. Feel free, instead, to focus entirely on yourself and on your baby, to get comfortable, to preserve your strength.”

    With each of my kids I took the full 6 weeks before going back to church.

    My husband would even as “are you ever going back?” and I would say “Yes when we are ready.” I knew that when I came back just for sacrament meeting people would think that meant I was back for everything (yw pres) and I was not ready for that so soon.

    There is no better feeling than when you say “sorry I can’t, I just had a baby” but not really feel sorry at all.

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful.

  5. Catherine

    October 23, 2011

    I love the idea of this. We’re so culturally encouraged nowadays to view other women, even our sisters in the church, through a competitive or comparative lens. I love this idea of coming together to bless and give strength. Thanks for sharing!

  6. The Gift of Giving Life

    October 23, 2011

    We’re thrilled to see this beautiful poem, honoring the tradition of mother blessings given by our foremothers in the gospel. This is a tradition we talk about in our new book. We have also encouraged our sisters to consider more mother-centered baby showers including aspects of our mother blessing legacy. What a wonderful collaborative poem and message.

  7. Patricia Alepuz

    October 24, 2011

    Dear sisters, I LOVED this poem so much I just had to share it with my spanish fellows. I have translated it and post it on my blog. I hope you don’t mind, you’ll find it here: http://familiaarcidiacono.blogspot.com/2011/10/comadres-en-sion.html

  8. Sandra

    October 24, 2011

    I loved this and felt a similar longing when I read about women giving blessings. I think of the powerful ritual, the comfort, love and support those sisters passed from one to another and I wish I knew how to do that so tangibly with my own sisters and dear friends. This a lovely answer. Thank you for sharing.

  9. mormonhermitmom

    October 24, 2011

    My great grandmother mentioned such blessings in her journals. I had never heard of the practice before reading her journals and when I asked my then bishop and stake president about it – if it actually happened, not if I could have permission to do it – I got a vague “we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a practice” kind of answer. I’m glad somebody else knows of it!

  10. Lisa

    October 24, 2011

    This is so beautiful, both the poem and the spirit of sisterhood. I have been the recipient of female blessings similar to this and I can tell you there is much power in our united strength and spirit. Blessings to you, our Santa Monica sisters, for sharing.

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