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Al Fox -The Tattooed Mormon Shares Her Thoughts on Motherhood

Getting to Know God: Al Fox Carraway on Pregnancy and Expecting the Unexpected

Motherhood was something I never sought after growing up in the culture that I did.

I was adamant that we would not have a baby until at least two years after Ben and I got married, and he agreed. I never grew up around kids or in a big family so it was never an urgent passion of mine, and I wanted ‘us’ time for a while. Plus, Ben was an unemployed full-time student; he would have hated to be expecting while he’s in his first semester of school without his share of income to provide as the patriarch of our house. We’d wait and that was that

Then right around our first month of being married, Ben told me he feels like we should have a baby.

Wait, what? He’s kidding, right?

He wasn’t. I laughed and laughed until a week later we were in the temple and Heavenly Father told me that’s what He wanted us to do. I was mad at first actually.

Once I finally accepted that it was God’s will, it was nothing but excitement! We had never been more pumped in our lives! We spent all our time talking about the fun traditions we’d start, names that we liked, and I’d fantasize how cute I’d look with a baby belly. Pregnancy, however, brought a level of humility that never seemed to go away or get easier. Being pregnant was literally the hardest, most consistent trial I have gone through to date, and yes I do view it as a trial. I hated it. I hated almost everything about it. It was a struggle throughout all of it and I hated that not only did I not feel like myself, but that I couldn’t seem to do anything about it because of how sick I was. Those pregnancy perks never came for me. My hair never became silky, my nails never grew faster, I never felt like I had that glow. I was in and out of the hospital most of my pregnancy, experienced a 70 lb weight gain, was induced early, had a 43 hour labor, and the list could go on and on. I hear you forget most of it afterwards, and how lucky you are if you are one of them because I remember vividly everything, haha.

Ben and I were listening and singing to a Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson song when Gracie was born 43 hours after being induced. At first, all I could see was Ben when he first saw our daughter and he didn’t just cry. He wept. He collapsed on my shoulder and wept. I had never felt the spirit as strongly as I have than I did in that exact moment.

Ben told me soon after that he didn’t believe in God anymore. He knew Him.

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Ever since my baptism nothing has gone the way I had in mind. Things I really wanted and prayed for usually didn’t ever come to pass. Things were unquestionably difficult and more times than not, hard to understand at the time. I often feel like I have a good idea of how I want things to go in my life, only to find out that, although they are righteous desires and goals, God usually has something very different in mind.

It is hard when nothing goes the way we planned. That’s when we have those fleeting thoughts of, “Does God really care about me? Is He even listening? Is He even there at all?” But how grateful I am that things haven’t always gone my way, because they have been profoundly better than what I ever could have imagined on my own— greater than I ever knew existed and was available for myself. And that’s how Heavenly Father always works.

Though there were a million reasons why having a baby would be difficult or bad timing, things are just right. I would hate to imagine them any different than how they are right now. It breaks my heart that I almost avoided getting pregnant because of my own narrow vision of how I think my life should go. What we think is a sacrifice today will prove to be one of the greatest investments we’ll make for our life. Gracie is my world. I have an incredible feeling of fulfillment in my life when we fall asleep on the couch with her, and when she holds my finger and smiles. When I look her in the eyes, I feel the spirit. Time freezes. I see a glimpse into heaven. I have a better understanding of the love God has for me because of the love I have towards her.

God’s way, though usually more difficult, always leads to the greatest things life has to offer. I wouldn’t have anything I do now without my faith and without strength from my Father in Heaven. I am weak without him. Happiness is fleeting and fake without Him. We must never forget whose hands we are in. When we do, fear can never be an option. With God life is perfect. Perfect to learn from. To grow from. And to receive the greatest there is to ever exist.

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About Al Fox Carraway

Al Fox Carraway
I am Al Carraway. I am a convert. A blogger. A wife. A new mom. And I just launched a Christian clothing company with my husband this past month, Believer Clothing Co. We both just left our callings in the youth presidencies and are now singing and coloring with our new sunbeams. I really can't pick a favorite apostle because they all speak to me so differently, but Boyd K. Packer I always love because I love and admire his boldness and bluntness.

58 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this and being honest about your feelings before and during your pregnancy. I think I needed to read this today. I’m in the fifth month of my second pregnancy and still sick as a dog haha. Truly though, I hope many more young couples will read this and understand the importance of children. When my husband and I first married, we intended to wait three years to have kids. Everyone advised us to wait, even those inside the church who should know better! Anyway, a few months into our marriage Elder Neil L. Anderson gave a talk on children and parenthood and what a wonderful privilege it is and the importance of it. We knew we shouldn’t wait. Along came our daughter just over a year later. She is the greatest blessing in our lives. I am grateful every day that we did not wait to have her. She has given us a perspective we could not have gained any other way and unified us as a couple in powerful ways. Money is tight. VERY tight. My husband works full time hours while going to school and we have felt strongly that the best place for me to be is in the home, raising our daughter. We’ve had miracles, financial and otherwise. I don’t know how we do it, but we do with Heavenly Father’s help. It’s been so hard at times that I’ve broken down and cried wondering how we will ever get my husband through school, but I always feel a peaceful reassurance that as we are doing what the Lord has commanded and are paying an honest tithe and fast, the Lord will not forsake us.

    We decided to let children come as Heavenly Father sees fit. We’re now expecting a boy next March. I’ve been so sick with this pregnancy and so tired and so overwhelmed at times. Some days everything has seemed hopeless. I had a powerful spiritual experience confirming to me that we are meant to have this second baby at this time, even when all through the summer I questioned it, wondering how we would possibly manage. Yet, we have had our prayers answered in regards to finding a suitable apartment within our budget- a task that seemed impossible for several months. I’ve had been small and large blessings come concerning our daughter as well. My husband and I have drawn closer through all we’ve been through. I am so, so grateful for our family and that we will be together forever. My testimony and understanding of the Gospel have blossomed over the past couple of years. They have been hard but most of all, they have been so wonderful.

    I know this a long reply, I’m sorry. I just want to share my testimony of family and that Heavenly Father WILL bless you for any sacrifices you may have to make to start one. I want anyone questioning whether or not to allow children to come into their marriage to know that everything does work out, and the joys of parenthood are the most extraordinary experience. Heavenly Father recognizes righteous desires and truly rains down the blessings of Heaven. Sometimes we don’t see it right away and we have to go through trials of faith (I’ve had so many now!) but if we keep trying our best to do what’s right, they will all work out to our benefit.

  2. You are so COOL! Congrats!

  3. Well, now I am a very grateful thankful grandmother of 30 and 31st on her way!!! Looking back I am so so thankful we didn’t put off having children. We too were poor college students, in fact when my husband received his Masters degree we had three children (and yet one of those blessings, as we see it, for paying faithful tithing) no debt and no family financial we lived on love and a stipend that by all figuring would not take care of us—BUT it did!!!…wait our only debt with to the hospital for our third child;-)
    I’m not so sure pregnancy is supposed to be ‘wonderful’ but for me it was ‘wonderful’ in those first feelings of movement/life and with the knowledge of the Plan of Happiness, it made six plus pregnancies all so so worthwhile! I say six plus because there were a couple mis-carriages along the way. These too brought learning!
    Thanks for sharing the different feelings…….the most important one is God’s plan is the Best and the world opinions are just that the ‘world’s opinion’… there is much more but I’ll stop for now….;-)

  4. While I can empathize about pregnancy being physically difficult I cringe when I hear stories like this. My husband and I tried for 8 very long years to conceive and it was only after thousands of dollars and trying every fertility treatment that we were blessed with our twins. They were born premature and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. They have also had surgery. I had a horrendous emergency c section and was close to dying twice. I wasn’t able to hold my (tiny) babies until a week after their birth and I could only weep every time I saw them both from my physical pain and also knowing what they were going through physically. Over those 8 years where we wept and prayed and experienced physical, emotional and physical trials that made me feel like I was being turned inside out, I WANTED NOTHING MORE THAN TO BE PREGNANT. And I used to listen politely and then come home and sob when women would talk about “deciding” to have a baby and how hard it was to be pregnant. Although a twin pregnancy was so hard physically, all I could do was give a prayer of gratitude that I was able to experience this miracle. I know we all have different experiences that flavor our views and what we consider difficult but please think of those who desperately want children and would happily go through something like what yoy experienced.

    • I have a similar story to Laura. While reading your story, my first thought was, “how nice that you just decided to have a baby and then you had one.” I also endured years of infertility, 3 IVFs, and a difficult pregnancy with 70+ lbs of weight gain, a very long labor that ended in c-section in which I had to be put to sleep. I didn’t even get to see my baby be born. However, despite all that, because of what I went through and sacrificed financially, spiritually, and emotionally, I am just grateful I got to experience it at all – no matter how hard it was. I used to always say, “I don’t love being pregnant, but I’m so grateful to BE pregnant.”

      I think your story is beautiful and you are honest. I know you don’t intend to offend anyone. You can’t know what you don’t know. But I think Laura said it well when she said, “please think of those who desperately want children and would happily go through something like what you experienced.” Those are my thoughts exactly.

      • Brittney,
        Thanks and our stories sound very similar. It was always very hard for me to hear people say- we decided to get pregnant and we did. What I have found interesting is that even though I now have children, the pain of infertility is still so very real and I don’t think it will ever go away. My comments weren’t intended to offend anyone, I am just asking for more sensitivity than saying I HATED BEING PREGNANT. I can’t remember the title of the hymn but something along the lines of: in every heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see…
        Sensitivity for trials and pain that others are going through…

      • It bothers me that in our politically correct world, one person cannot talk about a trial they faced because it might offend someone else. We all have different trials, and we should be able to talk about our personal challenges without being criticized or judged by someone else. This woman was not being insincere or unkind. She just said that pregnancy was very difficult for her. Each and every trial is different and most of the time we have no idea what someone else is going through.

        I am one of those fertile myrtles. I’m expecting #4, and my oldest will barely be 6. I have amazing pregnancies. I hardly get sick, gain little weight, exercise throughout and have amazing energy. It’s a great blessing! To someone faced with infertility, it might seem like I have it all. Yet I have struggled through different challenges that were almost harder than I could bear.

        I don’t say this to compare trials, but to say that we have NO idea what anyone else is going through. Only the Savior does. He is the source of true peace. Turn to Him when you have a trial, but please don’t criticize someone else for sharing theirs.

      • I felt the same way while reading this. It’s hard not to be in the infertile mind thought process since I was there and struggled for 4 years and a miscarriage and now finally am expecting. But I know that it’s hard to feel sympathy when people just decide to have one and they do… It seems not fair but at the same time that is our trial, and if the pregnancy is hard well we know more than anyone how grateful to feel sick and be happy for every pound gained because we fought so hard to get there. For someone who never has to go through that they will never ever ever understand what we had to do and to them that will be their struggle. It’s hard to be sympathetic but you gotta just accept that.

    • laura.

      Infertility and difficulty conceiving sucks. I cannot say I have been through it but so many people I love dearly have been. I was there after each negative pregnancy test and through the fertility treatments and in one case as they made the relinquished control and transformed their dream of a pregnancy into one of adoption.

      But… there is no harder…. there is just hard. We should never discount one persons trial because we feel ours was more difficult. We are different, our hardships are different. But when each of us is in the face of our trials they can feel like a mountain too great to climb no matter what those hardships are.

      • Thank you Ashley. I was trying to convey that in my comments…I have no doubt her pregnancy was very difficult. However like you said- you haven’t gone through infertility personally. It isn’t the same to “be there for someone” going through infertility (although that is wonderful that you were such a great support to those you love). If you haven’t gone through it you really can’t understand how deeply painful it is (just as I would never say I could understand how it is going through cancer because I have never had cancer). Reading stories or hearing comments about how difficult pregnancy is or how hard it is to be a mom are definitely understandable and of course difficult to those in the situation but do make a lot of infertility sufferers feel sick. Like I said about cancer…reading stories like this is like saying: it is SO hard to run a marathon, I hated every second of it! And the cancer sufferer thinking…wow I would love the chance and health to be able to do that. We all have different trials and need to be sensitive to those around us and what they are going through.

    • Laura,
      Thank you for leaving this reply. My husband and I are going on 9 years of trying now with no success. We don’t have the money for fertility treatments, so I just pray and leave it in God’s hands now. I have cried so many tears, and felt so out of place in a church that places so much emphasis on families. Although I realize that pregnancy can be a trial for some, those of us who are not blessed with that trial sometimes feel like we would give anything to trade places.

      • Madelaine,
        My heart breaks for you. I am right there with you- I know the tears and the pain and the wondering if it will ever happen for you. I know the awkwardness of the Sacrament Meeting on Mother’s Day…when the Young Men are handing out Mother’s Day gifts, I know the crushing feeling of yet another friend announcing a pregnancy and despite being thrilled for them you can’t help but go home and weep. There isn’t anything else I can say but that I know what you are going through and I love you for it.

      • Laura. You are not alone, I for one was not blessed with children.
        I always planned to have at least 4 children.
        I can truly relate to your feelings.
        I had failed treatments, surgery And the trials and feelings of dispare that came with to name but a few.

        We atr all different but for me.
        When it was confined I would never be blessed on earth with my own children.
        I thought well I can’t have my own children so I will share others.
        I had brothers and sisters,
        And they allowed me to spend time with their children.
        As they have grown up an now have families,
        I spend time with their children.
        I worked as a classroom assistant in a school.
        From reception aged Nursey aged 3 through to year 2 aged 6-7.
        Whilst working full time in the school ; I later decided to qualify as a teacher.
        I again worked with children in the same age range.
        I have work voluntary in the scout movement working with the Beavers aged 5-6year olds.
        We decided we would apply to be foster carers,
        We had two brothers aged 9 and 11 years of age.
        They were staying for 6 weeks. They never left us.
        I can honestly say fostering as been the hardest thing I have ever done; but by far the best. That was 16 years ago. My youngest has just returned to stay at home for a while.
        My eldest is now settled whith his partner.
        Whilst serving my mission I decided later in life when my children had grown up I would work as a Social Worker in Childten and Families.
        So when my youngest boy was aged 14. I decided to attend university as a mature student.
        I then went on to work as a social worker on a fostering team.
        When I look back I’ve been so blessed and had many opportunity to share so many children.
        As children moved on through the school system; so many parents of the children have and still do keep me upto date with how they were doing.
        Like I said at the beginning we are all different and react differently to challenges we have as we go through life.
        This is how I chose to suround myself with children.
        Try to remember “The Sun Is still Shining Above The Clouds.
        I used to use this thought in my darkest hours.

    • Everyone has different trials. I had 6 miscarriages, and struggled with secondary infertility, and as much as I desperately wanted a baby, when I finally had a successful pregnancy, I was miserable. Other’s trials are meant to be different than your own. Sharing a trial publicly should help us to understand one another better, and help us to have empathy for one another. Just because it’s easy to get pregnant for some and not for others doesn’t make the people that struggle with being pregnant any less valid, or any less of a trial. Comparison is the thief of joy, we should share our trials, and not judge or be envious. It took me a long time to learn this, and after many years I have come to realize that God’s timing is everything, my family got here in the perfect time and way, and everyone has a specific plan filled with joys and trials made just for them, and we are ALL tested to the point where we have to rely on Christ. Never belittle someone’s trials by saying yours were greater. They weren’t. My darkest spot, I’m sure was as dark as yours. I promise. It’s part of God’s plan.

      • Beautifully and thoughtfully worded. Thank you.

      • Thank you!
        My heart hurt to read the replies that Al should not talk about the difficulty of pregnancy. This response is spot on. We each have the trials that are tailored for our needs and for our growth. When others share their stories and their trials with us, we need to receive them with empathy and without judgement.
        Your response was beautiful! Thank you!

      • McKenzie Papenfuss

        Perfectly said. Thank you!

    • Laura and Brittney, I’m so sorry for the difficulty you experienced with infertility! That is, NO DOUBT, a difficult trial! I have to second what Ashley said though! Perhaps you should look at your own situation as “a glass half full”. Maybe you weren’t able to “just decide” to become pregnant but you DID get pregnant. There are MANY women who righteously desire children who are NEVER able to conceive even with intervention. So please consider THEM when you talk about your own experience. There is never reason to compare ourselves (strengths, weaknesses, trials, talents, etc) to others because God’s plan is different (and yet totally PERFECT) for each of His children and in the end when we have a perfect knowledge of that plan we will feel complete humility and gratitude for how we were shaped and used to bless the lives of others because of our trials. I can’t wait ’til that day but in the meantime I accept and submit to God with faith and trust in His perfect love! 🙂

      • Sarah,
        Thanks for your sympathies : )
        If you read my comment to Brittney, you’ll see that I say the pain of infertility never goes away. When I did become pregnant, after the joy, I immediately felt INTENSE GUILT. I felt guilt for getting pregnant when there are so many that hadn’t yet or won’t ever. I felt such guilt that I didn’t tell anyone outside of my family until I was showing and had to tell others. I never announced it on social media and I wanted to cry when I had to tell my friend who was still suffering from infertility. Please don’t assume that just because I’ve been pregnant and have been blessed with children that the pain of infertility is *poof* gone and I’ve forgotten what I went through and others are still going through. It is a club I will always belong to. Even now, because I do want more children…I’m already planning- ok, how do we come up with the next $30,000 for IVF, and are we going to be emotionally able to handle it when or if it doesn’t work. Like I have said, we all have trials. You have trials that I haven’t had to go through and therefore I have no idea what it feels like. I would hope that I would try to be sensitive to others.

    • I would never wish infertility on anyone. I’ve had a lot of close friends and family members who have struggled with this. But I also wouldn’t consider anyone ungrateful or inconsiderate because they are struggling with a hard pregnancy or with the decision to become pregnant. For me, although I love my son with all my heart, it was not an easy decision to become pregnant again. While I was pregnant with my son, I would have been thrilled if I had gained 7 pounds, let alone 70. The time I spent in the hospital and the physical, financial and emotional toll from the starvation and dehydration and not knowing if the baby and I would make it was one of the greatest trials of my life. And I was older when I got married, so I was thrilled when I finally had the opportunity to be pregnant, but this still didn’t diminish my trials during pregnancy. I am now pregnant with my second, and it took a lot of faith on my husband’s and my part to choose to become pregnant again knowing that I would likely have the same condition again. I think we all go through difficult trials. For some, those trials may be becoming pregnant while for others those trials may be being pregnant. I would hope we would all help to “bear one another’s burdens” no matter what our individual trials may be.

      • I would like to point out, that your trial of infertility may be envied by somebody who has never had the chance to even try. Those who havent met their spouse and feel lonely and isolated in a church that specializes in marriage, may look at infertility and think “at least they have somebody to cry with and try with”
        You have a great many blessings and it really is unkind of anybody to dismiss somebodies trials.

    • I feel the same. My husband and I did not wait long to try and have children. God told us it was time! And now we have been married for almost 5 years and are still childless. I have a very hard time reading stuff like this. I’m sure it was a trail for her, I’m not discounting that. But I have to speak up so those feeling the same know they are not alone.

    • Laura,

      I am in the interesting place of having experienced both. I have two sweet babies here and six on the other side. I know the pain of infertility, I know the pain of a physically/emotionally devastating pregnancy, and I know the stress/guilt of an unexpected pregnancy.

      I’ve been where you are, getting upset and hurt every time someone talked about pregnancy and how hard it was. All I wanted was to carry a baby to term. I kept seeing that second line turn and then six weeks later the blood, so much blood. It was terrible. But it was worth it.

      Then we figured out what was wrong and I became pregnant with my son. As grateful as I was to be pregnant and that I stayed that way spending my life in and out of the hospital being pumped full of fluids because I couldn’t keep anything down, loosing 30 lbs when I was suppose to be gaining. And then the third trimester hit and I got GJ and gained 70 lbs in 3 months. I spent nine months unable to be myself or do anything. I hate pregnancy. It was terrible. But it was worth it.

      People should be allowed to be honest about the fact that things are hard and not perfect. Being able to talk about infertility and sympathize with those who are going through it does not mean that those who are having a hard pregnancy should just suck it up and be grateful.

      Someone sharing their trial honestly does not discount the trials of others.

      Remember I understand your pain. I’ve been there. But I also understand her pain. I’ve been there.

    • “When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”

    • Even if it were hard to get pregnant… your trial shouldn’t cause you to judge someone else on what they perceive to be a trial. When I found out I was pregnant we were on a family trip… my sister-in-law completely ignored me and didn’t talk to me for the whole week because they had been trying to get pregnant for 8 months. It made me cry, it left a wound that still hurts. She got pregnant shortly after and apologized later but it was still a dark cloud with what should have been a happy moment for me and my husband. I was TERRIFIED to get pregnant again and have her act the same way… do you know how backwards that is?? I don’t think it’s right to make people feel bad based on their fertility.

      • Britney this happened to me as well. It can be so hurtful to be shunned because you are pregnant. I totally understand that you shouldn’t rub it in their faces by any means, or “boast” of it all, but I honestly have felt like I shouldn’t even talk about it whatsoever. One gal in a group of friends I get together with is dealing with infertility and I’ve been told to not mention my baby at all. I basically have to pretend that my pregnancy and my beautiful baby girl never happened because it will remind my one friend that it hasn’t yet happened for her. I hurt for her. I hurt for her pain and her sorrow. But to feel like you have to hide your trials because someone will be upset with you hurts too. I was the same as Al. Pregnancies are butt hard for me! I literally feel like I am being slowly poisoned. But it is hard when you feel so sick and feel that you can’t say anything about it even though it is quite the trial for you. It’s hard.

  5. Thank you for sharing. It is interesting how the Lord puts wee ones on our path when we think we are not ready. Our youngest daughter is the result of many promptings from the Lord and many prayers from me:”Are you sure? Are you REALLY sure?” But He was and so our beautiful, wonderful Leah came unto this world.
    I wish you all the best with your beautiful little family and new business endeavours!
    Hugs from an LDS mom in Norway

  6. When my husband and I first married, we decided to have a year of ‘us’ time before trying for a baby and then adopting. Two weeks later, he suggested we start ‘trying’. His reasoning was that if we were waiting for a perfect time, it would never come. We started trying a few weeks later, with no success. 3 years after we married, we adopted 3 children, and while in the process of trying to adopt our 4th (which ultimately failed) we became pregnant – After 7 years of infertility, 9 foster children placements and years of grief over beloved children leaving our home. It was a very difficult pregnancy, physically and emotionally. Bed rest, insane weight gain, preeclampsia, and other complications, all topped off by nearly dying and an emergency C-section AND in and out of the hospital after. I can tell you that no matter how long you’ve suffered with infertility, or how long you’ve longed for a baby – A difficult pregnancy is HARD. As in: my husband does not want us to ever EVER be pregnant again, even though we KNOW we’re not ‘done’ and we have literally suffered through childlessness, foster care, adoptions, adoption loss, and related difficulties. I don’t know how the rest of our children will come, but hopefully not through another pregnancy like that. You’ve got my sympathies, Al. I know what you’re talking about! I’m not yet to the point where I can appreciate the Lord’s plan, though. Maybe one day.

  7. I hated being pregnant. (and not a big fan of kids in general) Those feelings ruined some very close relationships. I felt very guilty that I couldn’t just appreciate and be grateful for the ease of getting pregnant and how easy being pregnant was for me. I was “this” close to leaving the church. Over time, I began to understand that I wasn’t weak, I wasn’t selfish, I wasn’t wrong. Heavenly Father knew me and knew what I needed in order to grow. I had three boys in three and half years, two and three where not planned. (yeah, fertile Mertle, that was me) It was the year from hell. It took me years to recover emotionally and mentally. I suffered, my children suffered and my marriage suffered. But slowly, after years of prayer, thought/mediation, and frankly just enduring, I changed. I love my kids (four boys), my hubby and the place I am in now. But it was the. hardest. thing. I have ever done. And it counted.

  8. I just wanted you to know that I had almost the exact same experience. We got pregnant on the honeymoon, I was sick as a dog (in and out of the hospital for IV’s because I couldn’t even keep fluid down) and absolutely miserable. I gained a TON of weight and swelled up everywhere. Then their was the birth….I was in for 47 hours (not that it is a competition 😉 ) and it was miserable. When she was finally born she wasn’t breathing and they had to take her into the hall where the crash cart was. My husband rushed out to give her a blessing. We have before/after blessing pictures and you can see the collapsed lung and then her fine after the blessing. It was such a miracle for us. We wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

    And just so you know…..we are now 6 kids in. Each pregnancy is miserable with IV’s and hospital visits but the births have gotten easier, sometimes. 🙂 It is all worth it. I never thought I would have more than 3. I am not saying you have to have 6 or even 3 but don’t let this experience discourage you from having another. It is totally worth it!! 🙂

  9. For all of those on here who are struggling/have struggled with infertility, I am so sorry that you have had to go through that pain. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be. I do want to point out though, that this article is not meant to diminish the trials of others. It’s not meant to be insensitive. I know that hearing anything on the subject must be heartbreaking, but I think we do need to bear in mind that just because we would rather have another’s trials does not mean that the other person’s trials are not just that- trials. For example, my mother passed away not long after I graduated from high school. It was and still is a very difficult and painful subject. Many, many people say things that I have found insensitive, and I have hurt because of it. However, I have realized that just because my trial is so difficult for me does NOT mean that theirs aren’t hard for them. I had one friend, for example, who complained to me because her mother was overseas on Mother’s Day and she would only be able to speak to her on the phone. She was going through difficult times and wanted to see her in person. My initial reaction was anger and hurt. Who was she to complain about only speaking on the phone with her mother?! I needed just as much or more to speak to mine, and hey, I couldn’t even get a phone call! I then had a powerful realization: just because my trial was so clear to me didn’t mean that hers was not difficult for her. I still needed to have compassion and not let my own pain harden me to that of others. This is just one example of many things people have said and done. I am NOT saying this to minimize the difficulty of infertility or to compare losing a parent to it. The point I’m trying to make is that everyone has trials. When we hear about others’ trials, it is easy to compare them to your own and sometimes even scoff. But that is not what the Gospel is about. It’s about mourning with those who mourn and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. No clauses.

  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I got married and we waited a *gasp* years before we got pregant. A little strange in the Mormon community. Plus, pregnancy was a nightmare for me. Don’t even get me started on how bad my second pregnancy was (and 1 and 3 were no picnic). I was able to squeeze out three kids in ten years. I’ve always struggled with seeing those that have a lot of babies or start having babies right away. I think they’re nuts. But then again, they’re not me. Maybe they think what *I* did was nuts. Truth of the matter is, we’re all different, and there’s nothing wrong with the feelings you had. I totally get it! (just don’t let him talk you into too many kids, unless he can puke and carry them and nurse them too…lol 😉 )

  11. …one more thought, as I read other women’s experiences and thoughts which I appreciate being able to do so, I am so thankful we didn’t put off having children for many reasons (to each couple that is their decision)….for us it has meant we kinda ‘grew-up with our kids, were probably more patient etc.’. Then when they were grown on their own from their missions and college graduates we were still young enough to go do things like teach English in China and go on missions and still be able to run and play with our Grands. The harder or more difficult things in life are many times those things that ultimately bring us the greater joy! …..my two cents….what joy it is to see our children and their choice companions want to have children………hummmmm, I’m thinking that’s how our heavenly parents must feel.

  12. Wow this was very inspiring and I found this on a day I feel it is too much. I was raised Lds and converted my husband right before I was planning on going on mission. I ended up staying and marrying him. Although I felt the same as you about children. I never dreamt of being a mother and honestly the thought still terrifies me. I was able to keep my anxious husband patient for four years of marriage and then boom we got pregnant on “accident.” It literally has been the hardest 9 months of my life. I have lost my job due to being on bed rest for four weeks, preterm labor and super sick. So I totally share your pain on pregnancy. However you know the reward that comes out of it. It is so nice to hear that you were in the same head space but are happy with the end result. Thank you for your honesty and openness. Sometimes I think we feel pressure to love pregnancy and be ready for children the minute we get married and somehow that’s not always the case. Xoxo

  13. Thank-you for your honesty & insight. I am pregnant with my 3rd child & suffer from hyperemesis gravidarium. I actually had a PICC line for my first pregnancy because of the severity of the morning sickness. Even with multiple anti-nausea medications I experience debilitating nausea & frequent vomiting 24/7 until I give birth.I have also lost a pregnancy in miscarriage. After successfully having 2 children, my husband & I had given up hope of being able to have any more children due to my advancing age & inability to conceiver for some time. But to our surprise and pleasure we are finally expecting again. The morning sickness has been especially hard this time as we are living away from family and have 2 older children to care for. Pregnancy is literally the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Yes, I feel very blessed to have my children. But it’s hard for me to hear women who’ve experienced infertility giving those who’ve been able to have children a hard time for being honest about their feelings during pregnancy. Infertilility & difficult pregnanies both have theirown agonies and it is good for women to have a place to safely share their heartaches.

  14. Agreed! I just admire you cause if I would have felt as awful as I did through my first trimester I told my husband we’d never have another baby! Haha

  15. It’s like you are telling my life story. Down to the tiny details. Convert–check. Getting promptings I would never think up–check. First child born in first year of marriage–check. In the hospital to try and stop the unrelenting sickness–check. FORTY-THREE HOURS OF LABOR–check. (My second was 53. Ridiculous.) Really not ready for all of that, but not at all unsure about it. My babies are 35 and 32 now, and looking back I too have great clarity of memory. People who don’t remember it all probably can’t find their keys, either. But it all did work for my good and it makes sense and fits together like a puzzle that I could never have understood back then.

  16. Thank you for your post…I loved how you have learned and grown from your trial, to me, that’s what this life is about, learning and growth. I’ve been saddened we by many of the comments that seem to say ‘my trial is harder then yours, and be grateful for your trial’. I myself have had my share of trials in trying to have a family, I struggles with years of secondary infertility and when we finally got pregnant this year our daughter died in the womb at 26 weeks and was stillborn. I could go on and on about my ‘trial’ but I can also go on and on about all the amazing blessings I have been given over these last two months since her birth/death. One thing that has been shown to me through this is that EVERYONE has trials, no one is exempt, it’s not a comparison, it’s a time for us to try to be, as pres monson said in oct 2013 “however such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were, better then what we were, more understanding then what we were, more empathetic than what we were, with stronger testimonies then we had before”. I have a 6 year old daughter and I have always struggled in raising her, I feel like I’m expected to always be happy that I have her because of my recent loss, like I’m not allowed to struggle as a mother but I do…some days, most days, are just challenging, and that’s part of my life journey. I am grateful for my trials in life because I know that as I face each of them head on I given another opportunity to become more like my savior,

  17. Thank you for this reminder – I especially loved the part, “Ever since my baptism nothing has gone the way I had in mind. Things I really wanted and prayed for usually didn’t ever come to pass. Things were unquestionably difficult and more times than not, hard to understand at the time. I often feel like I have a good idea of how I want things to go in my life, only to find out that, although they are righteous desires and goals, God usually has something very different in mind.
    It is hard when nothing goes the way we planned. That’s when we have those fleeting thoughts of, “Does God really care about me? Is He even listening? Is He even there at all?” But how grateful I am that things haven’t always gone my way, because they have been profoundly better than what I ever could have imagined on my own— greater than I ever knew existed and was available for myself. And that’s how Heavenly Father always works.”

    It brought tears to my eyes, because that is exactly where my husband and I are in our lives. He is in his final year of a Ph.d. in humanities, and we have felt that was where God has led us, where we are supposed to be, through impressions, patriarchal blessing, other blessings, etc. And yet, here we are, and it turns out that the Job market is fundamentally broken, with a far, far greater supply than demand, and our chances of getting a job in academics is not very large, despite all that we have done. I have spent a lot of time struggling with this, wondering why when we have done everything right, tried to do everything that God has asked us to do, and yet nothing seems to go right from it.

    Reading this was the perfect, God-given reminder that good things are not easy things – and that what God has in mind for us may have nothing to do with security and a job at all.

    Also, as far as pregnancy goes, I think that being pregnant six times, having one miscarriage and five kids, has been the hardest trials that I have EVER had. Yes, they are trials that are worth it, but between the morning sickness, fatigue, post partum depression I have had after the last three, and post partum thyroiditis as well, well, it has felt like a trial with a big T (and then after all that, I still have to raise the kids.) But, I can also say that although nothing has been easy, that I have, like you, learned more about God’s love from my own love of my children. And I have learned that it is okay to acknowledge and realize that life is hard, and to also acknowledge at the same time it is worth it. Now if I can just manage to apply what I have learned about having children to the job search 🙂

  18. I have been on both sides of this. I went through several years of heartbreaking infertility then experienced a very difficult pregnancy and delivery. For about 6 months after my delivery I was in and out of the hospital with different medical problems related to my pregnancy/delivery. I know the author didn’t mean to offend but I do hope it will be a good lesson to all of us to just be sensitive. I know how she feels, having gone through a very very difficult pregnancy and delivery but I also know how hurtful those types of comments (‘I HATED pregnancy and viewed it as a trial’) can be…they feel like a knife through the heart of someone who wants a baby so much. For all the ladies who have not experienced infertility and are making some pretty aggressive comments- please step back and think about how desperately sad it would be to want children but not be able to have them…then have a popular public figure say how much she hated it and viewed it as a trial. Pregnancy ends…and in the best cases it ends with a baby in your arms. Infertility, for some, never ends…and for all who experiences it…it is a constant “what if”. Everyone has trials, yes…but I think it is important to remember that someone ALWAYS has it worse than you. Brittney, Madalaine, Laura and others you have my deepest sympathy.

  19. I’m wondering what Al is thinking of these comments. Al, there is nothing on your facebook page to update…are you going to acknowledge that you hit a nerve and used some pretty insensitive language?

    No one is saying that you have to love being pregnant. But to say you HATE it and it was a TRIAL… well, ugh. At the very least I hope you make a comment on your facebook page to put an end to all the fighting and nasty comments going on.

    • I think your comment was the nasty one. Al had every right to say whatever she wanted to say. This “I’m so offended” stuff needs to stop. She has just as much right to her experiences and her reactions to things in life as anyone else does. Tis PC baloney is just that – it’s baloney.
      And it’s not her job to try to get some of you to grow up. Utterly ridiculous.

      • I agree, she has NOTHING to apologize for. She is allowed her feelings and she is allowed to express them. I love how she shared a deep and personal trial that I’m sure she knew some wouldn’t agree with, but also shared her testimony with it, that’s what this life is for! I hate feeling like we can’t share our feelings because we might ‘offend’ someone. If you don’t agree with her, that’s fine, don’t read her article, I’m sure there’s plenty of other articles on the internet that you can read to make you feel like your opinions is ‘right’ but we don’t need to make people apologize when they are being open and honest with their feelings. Did pres bednar say to be more real in our social media? I’d say this was article was spreading good.

      • I agree. I understand that people are hurt and I can definitely see why, but Al was being forthright about her trial and I’m glad she was. Everyone’s trials are different. Having children is an absolute blessing. But there’s also no getting around the fact that nine months of sickness is a big trial too! Women shouldn’t have to be afraid to express their feeling about it. It seems that if they do, they’re guilted for not being grateful enough to be able to bear children. Expressing their emotions isn’t wrong. I’m pregnant with my second child, and while I’m indescribably grateful to be having this child, I’ve been really sick and it is still HARD. Being happy to be having a child does not negate the difficulty of caring for yourself, your home, your spouse, and for some women, their other children and career while nauseous and throwing up every day. Not to mention the nutrient deficiency and dehydration that can accompany it. I am sure that no matter how much a baby is wanted, hyperemesis gravidarum (extended, severe morning sickness) is indeed a trial.

      • You put things much nicer than I did. Thank you. I sure hope you feel better; I’ll pray for you.

  20. All these comments are interesting to me. As someone who has and IS struggling with infertility, it is always hard to hear about pregnancy in all it’s forms (hard and easy). When I read this short article though, I came away with a completely different response. I think the second half of Al’s story is what should be focused on, because it hits the nail on the head for both those struggling with infertility, and those with babies that weren’t in the original plan: LIFE DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK OUT THE WAY WE PLAN, BUT GOD IS STILL AWARE OF US, AND HE STILL LOVES US AND CARES ABOUT OUR DEEPEST PERSONAL TRIALS. I came away feeling uplifted. Just like Al feels the blessing of having her baby girl, I feel like I’ve been blessed in my trial of infertility. It has allowed my husband and I to grow closer together, travel, and experience things that couples with children right away might not ever be able to experience. And we get to do all those things without feeling guilty about procrastinating bringing children into the world. Of course we are doing everything we currently can to get pregnant, and infertility is the worse emotional pain I have ever experienced in my life. But we can always search for the good in life, and the blessings in our trials, which is the point Al is trying to make here.

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  22. I feel like you touched on something so real about being a parent. That doesn’t even matter if it was unexpected or years in the making, biological or not. My first pregnancy was good I felt great, but we had a NICU baby which was scary and brought its own understandings of the working of the Father. But we tried for years to have another, when I finally got pregnant I struggled with depression and anxiety for the first time in my life my pregnancy was a trial and I almost couldn’t comprehend how I would be happy after having him. But he has brought such peace to our home. I know babies are crazy and sometimes hard in their own right but there is a peace to it as well. The Lords plan is made clearer in those moments where a tiny hand reaches out towards yours. You can glimpse the love of the Father in those small eyes.

  23. I sit here reading this, with tears in my eyes, holding my 3 month old baby boy. Thank you for making me feel better about how I felt being pregnant. This is my second child, but my joys are 16 years apart and I am now 37 years old and had concluded that I’d never have another baby. That it was not in my cards. I remarried last year on December 7, and found out in Christmas Eve I was pregnant. I had do many emotions and feelings about it. Having a baby at 37 was a whole other experience then the first time at 21. With that being said I hated pregnancy, and had aches and pains in places I didn’t new I had. When my don was born it was the most wonderful day of my life. The c-section was rough, and nursing was hortible, but it was all worth this little spirit we were blessed with. I have never been more in love.
    I love your story and can relate in many different ways.

    • Jana,

      You and I have a similar story. I had my two children 16 years apart, my son when I was 21 and my daughter when I was 37. The pregnancies couldn’t have been more different. First of all, I had a very easy, almost too easy pregnancy the first time, with only one incident of nausea and a 4 hour delivery (don’t hate me, Al!). I realized then that I might be like my mother, who had short deliveries and cut her time by at least an hour with successive pregnancies. I had always wanted four children but, sadly, my marriage did not last and when my son was 2 years old, I divorced his father who had been very abusive.

      I struggled for over 13 years being a single parent, but remained faithful. Because my first husband had not been a member, I had not been to the temple. I had to wait until my bishop thought it appropriate for me to go – that was a common thing not so long ago for single women – but when I finally got the opportunity, I grabbed it. The temple provided (and still does) a great deal of comfort. For those who are upset with Al, just remember, the trials are all tailored to us. I was so lonely for a husband as a single parent. I had grown up as the eldest of 4 sisters. I knew NOTHING about raising boys, and raising a son on your own is very difficult.

      I wanted to marry again, but had bad experiences with dating. After much frustration, I told our Heavenly Father that He knew what was right for me, but if I didn’t see something happen on the dating front soon, I was going to give up and stay single the rest of my life. A few months after that I met my husband – online. This was before internet dating really took off. I met him through my work on a bulletin board. He answered some of my questions and we got to talking off board through email. He lived in another country and was not (still is not) LDS. I had just turned 35 and did not know where this would go. I spent many hours praying about him, as I did not want another non-LDS marriage. Like Al, I went to the temple and got a confirmation that I would be asked and that I should accept his proposal. And, like Al, I was mad about that to a point – I figured Father knows him better than I do, so I had better stop worrying about it.

      After we had known each other about 4 months, he came to visit me. I took him to the temple – we were having an open house before its dedication – and told him how important my faith was to me. We spent a wonderful vacation together seeing areas of the USA he had never visited. At the end of his visit, he proposed. He had come with a ring in his pocket the whole time. We married 8 weeks later and I moved to his home country to help him with his mother, leaving my teen son behind with his grandmother to finish high school. If you want to discuss trials, think about those of us who have to leave beloved children behind. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

      Our daughter was born a little over a year after we married. That pregnancy was diabolical – I was lactose intolerant in a country that seemed to put milk and whey in everything. I was ill for the first two trimesters and only began to feel good toward the end, but the end just never seemed to come. My daughter was 3 weeks late and I had to be induced. The delivery was so difficult, my husband and I have not had any more children – and it was NOT MY DECISION. I was never asked. My husband decided he couldn’t take it again.

      Despite that, we love each other and have had great joy bringing our children together. She is 17 now and her elder brother 33. I so wish we had had more children, and there is pain there, but we don’t know, nor never will until we reach the other side, why we have the trials we do. I believe there are many sisters out there who would willingly have had many children, given the opportunity. I believe they will be rewarded in due time with families of their own. The prophets have promised this. We need to remember that, as tough as life on earth is, there are so many reasons for our trials. How many of you have sat through a particularly emotional testimony in RS or Sacrament meeting and thought, “I’m glad that isn’t’ me. I couldn’t do it,” and admired the sister speaking for her courage and grace under pressure? We have to trust Father’s wisdom in all things. He knows us best of all.

      Thanks, Al, for your delightful and thoughtful post. You have created a great venue for this conversation.

  24. I sit here reading this, with tears in my eyes, holding my 3 month old baby boy. Thank you for making me feel better about how I felt being pregnant. This is my second child, but my joys are 16 years apart and I am now 37 years old and had concluded that I’d never have another baby. That it was not in my cards. I remarried last year on December 7, and found out in Christmas Eve I was pregnant. I had so many emotions and feelings about it. Having a baby at 37 was a whole other experience then the first time at 21. With that being said I hated pregnancy, and had aches and pains in places I didn’t new I had. When my don was born it was the most wonderful day of my life. The c-section was rough, and nursing was hortible, but it was all worth this little spirit we were blessed with. I have never been more in love.
    I love your story and can relate in many different ways.

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  26. I loved your post! I didn’t expect it to be a place for everyone to tell you that it’s not OK to say that pregnancy is a trial, because it is. I’ve had hard pregnancies, and losses, and sometimes I wished I could just deal with infertility because if you adopt, you don’t have high anxiety wondering if something will happen to your baby. Everyone has their own trials, and I feel bad that people who have a different trial than yours can’t have compassion. I appreciate your testimony, your appreciation of motherhood, and your honesty. I’m also sorry that you had such a hard pregnancy. Enjoy that family of yours!

  27. I want to thank you for this wonderful program. After years of trying to conceive and a failed IVF and a failed FET, I ordered Pregnancy Herb @ fiokporspiritualtemple@gmail.com According to my infertility doctor it was “very unlikely” that I could be pregnant. But here i am pregnant for the first time in life. I got pregnant naturally just 2 months after my failed FET and after following the Instructions given to me by Dr. I am now 7 month pregnant . I am spreading this story to whomever I meet and who suffers from infertility. he can also restore a broken relationship and make your wish come through.. Do not delete this post, i am helping somebody out here… believed me this is real

  28. I am very appreciative of the things Al has shared. These are HER experiences. Since when is she supposed to be absolutely perfect in how and what she shares? None of us are perfect. I see envy, jealousy, judgement, and outright meanness here. Why? One of Elder Uchtdorf’s talks addressed this. “STOP IT”. Even when we have trials, we cannot beat someone else up because they didn’t have the same one as ours. I lost my first husband to cancer. Would it be right for me to be indignant and mean to a sister because she shared her story of how she and her spouse won their battle and her spouse lived? NO. I will love her and be truly happy for her and still know that God is great!

    I am sharing Al’s story with my son and daughter in law that just welcomed their first baby 2 weeks ago… because my son has been inactive and I hope he will connect with Al’s story, especially “Ben and I were listening and singing to a Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson song when Gracie was born 43 hours after being induced. At first, all I could see was Ben when he first saw our daughter and he didn’t just cry. He wept. He collapsed on my shoulder and wept. I had never felt the spirit as strongly as I have than I did in that exact moment.

    Ben told me soon after that he didn’t believe in God anymore. He knew Him.”

    That is SO beautiful!!!!

    Unfortunately, I cannot share the link to this, because some of these comments are anything but uplifting, and absolutely chased the Spirit away. I pray for each of you who have had such difficult trials and longed for children, and that you will one day have perfect understanding of whatever you have endured.

    Julia

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree about Al’s post being beautifully written and then the Spirit being driven away by the comments.

      I have had seven VERY hard pregnancies. I HATE being pregnant! I wind up with post partum depression every time. I’ve had pre-eclampsia twice. I have dealt with fibroids, I’ve had excess amniotic fluid 4 times (which makes me feel and look like I’m carrying babies quite a bit bigger than they are, and with my biggest being 8lbs 14 oz, they’re big enough on their own, especially as I’m very short waisted and don’t have much room for big babies!), I don’t sleep through the night once during the whole 9 months, so I go into the newborn phase absolutely exhausted, I’ve had one shoulder distocia delivery, one HORRENDOUS c-section, I literally wondered repeatedly if I would live through my 6th pregnancy and birth, my breathing had gotten worse and worse with successive pregnancies and literally walking from room to room in my house left me feeling like I had to sit down RIGHT NOW or I would pass out, and a 16 week miscarriage with the last. Those are SOME of the issues I’ve dealt with.

      To make life more exciting, we’ve been trying for almost a year and a half to have another, and it hasn’t happened. So now I get to see what it feels like to experience secondary infertility and watch my friends having kids and know that God is telling us no every month, even when I know that we’re not done.

      My mother in law had 10 kids. No miscarriages. No issues. Easy pregnancies and births. She told me a couple times that if her pregnancies had been like mine, she would’ve wanted to stop before 10.

      When I woke up one night during my 6th pregnancy choking on stomach acid, I was crying and asking God why *I* had to bring all these children into this world when I was totally willing to adopt. The answer that came was, “Because you promised you would.”

      Really, the reason I shared all that is to emphasize that no one has it easy. We all go through the trials we go through to teach us sympathy and empathy and so we can bear one another’s burdens. And I believe we had a choice in the trials we would face in this life, so that we could grow and become more like our Heavenly Father.

      Brigham Young is quoted as saying:
      He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.

      Let’s not be fools.

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