I don’t know where to begin, or what to say. My journey has been a long one, and it is far from over. Thankfully, there have been many flowers and beautiful scenes to meet me as I have walked this path, and the Lord has never left my side.
I grew up on a small farm in a tiny little town in Idaho. There is much I could say, but what you really need to know is that I dealt with a lot of health problems growing up. I grew to know the doctor’s offices quite well as I dealt with such concerns as luxating patella (floating kneecaps, which caused my legs to buckle randomly), bulging disks in my back, severe tendonitis in both wrists (for a time, it was agonizingly painful to even fold my arms or hold a pencil), and others. It was very uncommon for me to walk out of the doctor’s office without the doctor telling me at least once that I had him stumped, and he didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to fix it. By the time I got married I had gone through countless blood tests, many x-rays, more than a year of physical therapy, two MRIs, two surgeries, and about 12 million doctors.
After getting married, we knew that it would probably be very difficult for me to get pregnant and that it was likely that we would miscarry many times throughout our journey to get our family on this side of the veil. We decided to start trying to get pregnant right off. This was a scary decision, but we knew it was right for us. After getting mono, working, going to school, tracking my temperature and ovulation, going to the doctor some more, and crying every month for 10 months, we finally got a positive pregnancy test.
I will never forget how I felt, sitting there staring at the test in disbelief, sobbing in joy, and praising the Lord. I never believed then that I would actually hold this child, but I was grateful to know that it was at least possible for me to get pregnant. Within weeks I had to quit my job as my back pain became debilitating. I very quickly ended up in bed on an unofficial bedrest. I was not confined to bed, but whenever I was up, I would get very dizzy and weak within minutes and would nearly pass out.
Thus began my many months stuck in the house, in the same room, in bed. Every day, my sweet husband would take gentle care of me, bringing me every meal in bed, keeping the house in order, comforting me in my moments of frustration, and loving me, regardless of my changing body, emotions, and heart. Did I mention that he was also working part-time and going to school full-time for a mathematics degree? How he carried these many heavy burdens on his own for so long, I will never know. He never complained, never made me feel guilty, but always loved me unconditionally, and cared for me however he could. When I asked what he needed, hoping there was something I could do to help him without having to try to get up, he usually answered, “I only need you to be happy.”
I really did try, but sometimes it was not easy. Yes, I was bored and frustrated. Yes, I sometimes was able to get up and clean the house, or make bread, although it usually meant feeling far worse for the next few days. We visited with our midwife and doctor, trying to figure out why I was so weak, but, as with nearly every other time in my life, they scratched their heads, and said that they didn’t know. Yet again, I had them stumped. All the blood tests and questions were for naught.
But really, all of these things were not my main problem. The hardest thing for me throughout this pregnancy was the way that I felt inadequate as a wife, and even as a mother. These two things had always been my greatest dream. For as long as I can remember, when people asked me what I wanted when I grew up, I told them I wanted to be a wife and mother.
I studied these roles in books and in my scriptures. I observed my mother, and others that I respected, and watched how they fulfilled these roles. Eve was called the “mother of all living” before she ever bore any children. It was a part of her identity and I have always known that it is also a part of mine. I wished to be the greatest wife and mother that I could be. The woman that the Lord wished me to be. I knew I wouldn’t be perfect at it, but it was what I had dedicated my life to, and I was determined to do my best, and never give up.
While my sweetheart never agreed with me, or made me feel inferior, I felt throughout the pregnancy that I was failing at this. The little things that I used to do for him when he was stressed or struggling were no longer possible. I couldn’t keep house, I couldn’t keep meals on the table, and half the time, I couldn’t even make up my mind on what I could handle eating. I was often unable to go to church, and when I was able, I rarely lasted through more than Sacrament meeting. I think through the whole pregnancy I was only able to attend Sunday School and Relief Society two times. I still didn’t think we would ever bring this baby home.
I also was dealing with a lot of anxiety and some depression. It was common for me to cry as my husband left for work or school and he hated leaving me like that. I tried to hold it in until after he was gone, but it didn’t always work. All of these things added up into a big burden for my sweet husband. I think the worst for him was the lack of emotional support. I didn’t have a way to help him emotionally because I was lost and struggling. He only wanted to help me and make me happy, and yet I was so often so sad, scared, or frustrated. I saw the strain that this put on him, though he tried to hide it. Seeing this, and hating the pain he was in because of me, I would feel worthless and like I wasn’t supporting him enough. Yet I didn’t know what else to do. Seeing me feeling worthless and inadequate worried him, and thus the vicious cycle continued.
I eventually got to a point where the Lord told me that I needed to trust him. I knew that I was supposed to be a wife and mother and I felt that I was failing on both counts. But the Lord reminded me that he would not ask anything of me that I could not handle. And so my journey of being a good wife while bedridden began. This was not an easy journey and I only really felt there was hope during the last two months or so of my pregnancy.
I am not going to tell you the things I learned. They were little things, usually small moments day to day, when the Lord taught me something new or showed me how to apply something I already knew. They inspired me, but may not be what you need to hear. What these thoughts and promptings were are not the reason I am writing this. The important thing is that they came. Little by little, every day, the Lord taught me how to do something that seemed impossible.
During our pregnancy, the Lord worked so many miracles in our lives. He showed us so much. He taught me so much. Even a week before our baby was born, when we had a scare, thinking that he had not grown in four weeks, and that something was wrong (as I had suspected and worried about all along), the Lord whispered peace to our hearts. We knew it would be okay.
Our sweet son was born safely into a beautiful, peaceful environment. It was one of the most sacred, incredible experiences of our lives. He was born healthy and strong with a good set of lungs. He is the most precious miracle baby! Even now, nearly two weeks after his birth, I look at him in awe. We got to take him home. Our son survived. He made it! I didn’t really think he would through most of the pregnancy. But he did and he is peacefully asleep in the other room as I type. He is such a blessing in our lives, and a miracle.
I testify to you that the Lord lives. He can work any miracle, great or small. He can change your heart. He can teach you to be the person that he desires you to be, regardless of your circumstances. No matter how hopeless and helpless you may feel, he will always be there to walk beside you, guiding you on the path that you need to be on. He will always take you in his arms if you will let him, and he will guide you home. I know these things are true. I have seen them my entire life, especially during the last nine months, and still in the last two weeks. He will never leave us alone. And if you will allow him, he can teach you the things you need to know and be, regardless of where you are on your journey. He lives, and he loves us. I know these things with all of my heart, and I testify to you of them in the name of Jesus Christ.
Story written by: Kendyl Cox
This story appeared first on Real Imprints.