MIRIAM: Before dawn at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, my first child was born after a very quick labor. The nurse had told me to signal when I felt pressure so that she’d know when I was ready to push. The pressure came, and I did not push, yet my body pushed out my new daughter with no voluntary effort on my part. She was born so quickly that our doctor missed it; the room where my body gave her precipitous entrance filled with half a dozen excited nurses.
Within the hour, my baby had been whisked out for a bath, Daddy following her according to our plan. The doctor—a fellow Mormon—had arrived and was examining me to ensure the delivery of the placenta when he began cussing under his breath. The nurses hadn’t noticed that I was bleeding out.
A year later, I was pregnant with our second child. I had just started blood thinning treatments because my obstetrician and ultrasound technician found a blood clot forming in my left leg, a clot caused by this pregnancy. I would be injecting myself with Lovenox for the next six weeks until the birth of our son.
On this night, it was late and dark and my husband was fast asleep. I had put our baby to bed in her crib, and then curled up to my own tears. I was so scared that the injections would not be enough against the clot, yet I wasn’t frightened to die as much as I was frightened to leave my child without her mother. “Please, Heavenly Father, let me live!” I prayed silently as my shoulders shook. I couldn’t leave my baby. She needed me. I wanted to raise the yet-unborn life growing inside me, too.
I’d not felt this kind of fear during my first pregnancy. Somehow, a youthful naiveté shielded me even as I traversed that valley of the shadow. Now, though, my mortality was a clearly visible, cutting reality. This moment could be all I had left. After my son’s birth, the knowledge of my increased risk for blood clots unearthed that fear every couple years, and I would go back to my doctor to check my legs.
This clarity has stayed with me. One part terror and two parts experience has kept the Existential Question ever before me. My children had filled the center of my life, making my life instantly essential to someone other than myself. This is how I grew the most outside of myself. While those who grow in an outwardly direction can do so in various ways, I did so as a mother.
My babies are the only people I have tended from birth onward and on a day to day basis. I’m not a nurse, nor have I been quite so close with any other people. Caring draws humans together along a common thread. More than once, I’ve had nightmares of monsters attacking my family. Fortunately, I am a lucid dreamer, and I ripped those monsters apart with my bare hands. As a mother, I may be flawed, but I’m also the universal action hero, ready to break bad guys. I join the legions of Ones who Care, and I am fierce.
I understand mama bears now. In public, I make the conscious effort to wind around, not between, parents and small children. My youngest ones are no longer infants, but I feel that kinship when I encounter a mom guiding a double stroller with one hand and a small person with the other. I see you, mama.
Mothers know other mothers, and carers know other carers. We frequently see and identify familiar dramas play out among strangers. The mom crouching next to her stroller-fastened baby, pointing at the tractor across the road. Sometimes we can tell by a cry if a baby is hurt, or tired, or hungry. There are cries that can send any parent—or anyone who has learned how to care—sprinting, even if it’s not their own child crying. They know when something is wrong.
Mothers hear. Those who care hear. And my child-heart cries for the One who will hear me. I cannot be sure of Your name. Are you Asherah, are you Tiamut? Demeter? Isis? How might I call the Eternal You? Do I say Gaia? Without Your name, how do I affirm your Person, beyond the vague titular of Heavenly Mother?
Nevertheless, I call You. My Mother, do you hear me?
My Mother sings,
Of cosmos power
And stardust I have made you.
I have blessed this space
With you and for you.
My love eternally,
My mama-heart repeats my Mama’s song to my children. I want to sing it to anyone and everyone.
Of course, I am only singing through my own filter. So what does Heavenly Mother say to us all? What do our mothers say of Her? What blessing has She sent on the winds of space to the ears of her mortal children? Our fathers have been telling the collective “us” that, through them, Heavenly Father has told us, or will tell us, all that we need to know.
And in this last LDS General Conference, twenty-six men and one woman spoke in the general sessions. Three men and three women spoke in the women’s session. What if the voice of The Divine Mother of all Creation is speaking to our women, to mothers like me, to mothers of position in the Church as she has to me? What if they can hear, because they also know the mother sounds? If there is any of that chance, I want to hear from more mothers!
Please don’t tell me that my divine Mother has left me to only know Her as silence. Please don’t tell me that the rest of us have not heard Heavenly Mother.
Please let Our Mother be heard.
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