I Too Am a Mother

By Wendi Shurtleff

“No, thanks; I don’t like flowers,” I said one year when the deacon in the ward handed me a flower on Mother’s Day. In reality, what I didn’t like was being reminded that after four years of trying to have children, my husband, Devin, and I still did not have any.

I was blessed with a wonderful mother. Likewise, my husband has a wonderful mother, so it was easy to focus on and honor these two great women on Mother’s Day. However, as the years rolled on (it has now been eight years), there remained an underlying sadness within my heart. When would I be a mother? Would this precious responsibility be given to me as well?

Priesthood blessings and my patriarchal blessing clearly promised that I will “be the mother of an eternal family and have an endless increase.” But sometimes, with limited mortal eyes, we get classified into categories according to time frames and become discouraged. However, through pondering, praying, and searching, I’ve found some truths that help me have an eternal perspective about motherhood.

One of the most profound truths about motherhood I learned from Sheri Dew, who served as the second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency from 1997 to 2002. She said: “While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve ‘the mother of all living’—and they did so before she ever bore a child.”1

Those words—which I found surprising but remarkably touching—fell like water upon my parched soul! Adam and Heavenly Father already saw Eve as being a mother before she was blessed with children! Therefore, Heavenly Father must already see me as a mother. The Spirit bore witness of it, and I felt my heart start to heal. My view of motherhood and of my role as a mother began to change.

Sister Dew continued by saying: “Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.”

When I realized that motherhood was part of my divine nature, not something dependent on whether I had children, I was able to focus on what I could do in my life now.

Right now, with or without children, I can develop mothering characteristics, such as concern for others, sacrifice, service, compassion, the ability to teach, and the ability to be encouraging.

Right now, with or without children, I can learn and progress. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency has said: “Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves . . . when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty. . . . The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.”2

Right now, with or without children, I can nurture.

As I focus on the things I am able to do now, it gives me reason to rejoice and hope rather than to despair because I know Heavenly Father sees my complete potential. He doesn’t want me to feel bad and refuse a flower offered on Mother’s Day. He wants me to participate in activities and discussions about motherhood. I can enjoy all of that now! He wants me to rejoice in my identity nowand develop an eternal perspective. He values me for who I am presently, for who I was from the foundation of the world, and for who I will be in the future! And since He sees the end from the beginning, in His eyes I already am a mother.