My Patriarchal Blessing and My Children

By Emily Cottam

As a young woman, I looked forward to and carefully prepared for my patriarchal blessing. Once I received it, I read it over and over, particularly the part promising that I would be blessed with a righteous posterity. I never realized how important those words would be to me later in life.

My husband, Michael, and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 2002, when we were both college students. Shortly after our wedding, we moved to Florida, where my husband pursued a graduate degree. Having children was on our minds, but we were not preoccupied with it.

Three years and no children later, I had begun to wonder if something was wrong. I went to see my doctor, and after some tests, she referred me to a specialist, who ran several more tests. The results indicated that several large fibroid tumors were preventing me from becoming pregnant.

The physical, mental, and emotional turmoil I felt during this time was tremendous. Did Heavenly Father not think that my husband and I would be fit parents? Why were friends and family members all around us having their second or even third child when we didn’t yet have one?

I sought solace in frequent temple attendance, even though it involved a two-hour drive. I looked for opportunities to nurture children around me, as I had heard Sheri Dew, a former counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, talk about. My nieces and nephews became very important in my life. I thought about the influence in my life of my great-uncle Jerry and great-aunt Bev, who had never had children even though they very much wanted to. They treated my siblings and me as their grandchildren, and we were blessed for it. I wanted to follow their example with the children around me.

I tried to cheerfully serve with my husband in our calling as nursery leaders, a calling we held for several years. While our service certainly brought us a lot of happiness, it was also painful at times. I wondered if we’d ever have children of our own.

Through all of these ups and downs, I clung to my patriarchal blessing. I didn’t yet know if the blessings promised me would be fulfilled in this life or the next, but I trusted Heavenly Father to keep His word. I saw my patriarchal blessing as a “letter” from him, a form of scripture that was directed just to me. And I believed Him when He said “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10). With that in mind, I determined to keep plugging along and do the best I could, remaining faithful to Him and obedient to His commandments.

In time I had major surgery to remove the fibroids. My doctor explained that I would have to wait a year before trying to become pregnant, and due to the amount of scarring that would occur, pregnancy was still unlikely. During the time preceding and following the surgery, I continued to study my patriarchal blessing and received additional priesthood blessings to help me heal and to prepare my body for children. These blessings and the promises in them helped me maintain hope of having children and got me through the next few years.

In 2008, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Caitlin. Today she is a healthy toddler, and as I watch her play, I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me my patriarchal blessing. My husband and I hope to have more children one day and realize that it may take a while to have another child, but we know how blessed we are to have Caitlin. My experiences through this and other situations have taught me that what Heavenly Father promises will come in His time, and that His time, while not always something we agree with, is what is best for us, His children.