I was two and a half months shy of my twentieth birthday when I found myself delivering my first child. My husband was a young twenty-three. We had been married a short fourteen months. We were young, naive, and inexperienced, but we loved each other and were excited for our new baby to arrive.
It was a short labor, but there was a minor complication that resulted in a painful twenty-two stitches to recover from. I had no epidural; only a local anaesthetic that made me feel groggy and disoriented. My baby was finally born and given to me to hold for a few brief seconds before being whisked away to be examined to make sure she was safe. Almost right away I began to feel cold and my body began to shake uncontrollably. The nurse came in and wrapped me in a warm blanket. I didn't understand. When I asked the nurse why I was shaking, she explained to me that my body was in shock and that it was normal. I didn't fully grasp the reality of what that meant then.
I've been told that a woman comes near death in the process of bringing a new life into the world. We sacrifice part of ourselves in order to create that life. For most of us, it is a sacrifice we are more than willing to make. Bringing a new life into the world is one of the noblest of sacrifices and one of the most sacred of gifts we can give as a woman. We come nearer to God than any other moment in our lives at the very moment we give birth. In that moment we are one with Him.
As women, we have been entrusted by God to bring these lives into the world, to love them, care for them, nurture them. We must surely have angels on our right and on our left to attend us in our sacred responsibility. Our Heavenly Father has a kind heart towards women and the responsibility we face in caring for his children on this earth. He loves and respects our Heavenly Mother. We know this because we are not allowed to even know her name. He would not allow her to be defiled and degraded the way that He is. He protects her. This is how it should be.
Since I have this knowledge and understand my divine roll as a woman, I often wonder how it can be that so many men have so little respect for their counterparts. To elevate themselves to the point where they feel they are superior or authoritative is an insult to the very mother who gave them life. It is demoralizing and wrong.
Men are not better than women and women are not better than men. We should be equal partners, exercising our genetic differences to work together for the betterment of each other, our families, and our communities. Embracing our unique inherent gender abilities in a team effort will almost always result in success. There should be common respect and appreciation, both women for men, and men for women. At any time where one does not value the contributions of the other, unequal ground is established and discord will invariably emerge. The relationship will break down and eventually all communication comes to a halt if not corrected soon enough. When communication stops, relationships end.
I have encountered men who make me feel inferior because I am a woman. Not only does it hurt my feelings, causing me to doubt myself and my abilities, it makes me not trust men. As a woman, I have been born with tender feelings. Those tender feelings are what make us feminine and help us to raise compassionate and loving children into good, honest adults. It is what attracts men to us, but there are some men who stomp all over our tender feelings and make us feel small because of them. It. is. wrong. It is ALWAYS wrong.
Thankfully, my husband is not one of those men. We will be married for twenty years in a few months. Not even once has he made me feel that I am less than he is. He is kind and caring and has taught our children to love and respect me as their mother. He is my defender, my confidant, my support, my best friend. He has taught our daughter to never allow others to treat her badly, especially boys or men. He has taught our sons to respect and honor women and to be kind and gentle towards them. He has been able to teach them this because his father taught him. He understands the divine roll of women.
But I understand that I am one of the lucky ones. There are many women who have not been blessed to have a man like mine in their lives. My heart breaks for them because it doesn't have to be. Somehow we have to break the cycle of abuse. I'm afraid it is too late for the older generation. They are set in their ways and refuse to remove their blinders and see, but I have hope for the younger generations to come. If we teach our children, they will teach their children and the cycle will break. If we can teach our children to honor and respect women, girls will grow into good mothers and wives who understand their divine purpose. Boys will grow into committed, loving, responsible husbands and fathers. Families will be saved. Society will prosper.
Oh, if I could have just one wish, it would be that.