I am unable to have children. I had problems with my body from the time I was young and the hysterectomy I had four years ago kind of sealed the deal. On top of that, adoption is very difficult and expensive, and with depression at the level I suffer it, impossible.
When I was younger, I imagined that I would grow up, get married, and have kids. I always thought getting married would be the hard part. It was hard…but at least it’s possible. Now I have a great husband, and I’m getting used to not having kids. It’s…interesting.
The LDS church is a very family-oriented church. After Christ, family is the number one focus. I have heard many people complain that because they are single or because they can’t have kids, that they don’t fit in or feel welcome. I find that not to be true. While it is true that there have been hard times and even a few misunderstandings (especially in the early days when people didn’t understand why I was childless), I have found my faith invaluable to coping with loneliness and childlessness. Any offense that was felt was because I took it — not because it was given.
There is a parable about a young man who went to God and asked him to make him strong. God told him to go to a certain large boulder and push it up a hill. Excited that he would be strong, the young man went to the boulder and pushed and pushed, but was unable to budge it. Discouraged, he went back the next day to God, who told him to try it again. Again he tried, but again he failed. Over and over again the young man was told to push the boulder up the hill, and over and over again he could not do it. Finally, in despair, he went to God. “I guess I will never be strong,” he said. “Go look in the mirror,” said God. When the young man did, he found that he was bulging with muscles. Pushing that rock every day had made him strong, though he had never been able to move it.
So it is with life. I have realized that the Lord gives us exactly what we need. If we are bad, He often lets bad consequences happen to help us learn to stop. If we are weak, He often gives us hard exercises to help us to become strong. If we continue in faith, obedient and true to the course, we will be blessed, though often not in ways that we originally anticipated or wanted.
I know that many people struggle with depression while having children. But for me, that wasn’t what was best. Whether I am too weak to deal with both challenges or whether I have other roles to fulfill, or both, I don’t know. All I know is that there are blessings in this life, with or without children, with or without spouses, with or without many blessings we once thought of as necessary. If we are faithful, we shall have everything good in the eternities. Does the Lord know best, or doesn’t He? I believe that He does.