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char713

Mental Health and Worthiness

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As for the suggestion that missionaries who have "suffered" according to whatever standard someone picks are superior, that's a load of crock. 

 

Really? If you're struggling with something and need to counsel with someone about it, you seek out a specialist. The Savior is of course the most obvious and correct choice in all situations. A human with wisdom gained from experience and their own solid testimony has to be the next best option, surely?  

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I'm not sure what your point is. Your friend is working through her difficulties as best she can. If she tried to tell another woman, as you have, to "just adopt" or "just foster parent" as you have, she would probably get a very similar response to the one I gave you. Search any infertility support group or forum and you will find several articles and posts about some of the most unwelcome, most insensitive responses to a woman struggling to become a mother. The top two universally despised responses are "just adopt" and "maybe it's not God's plan for you."

 

For some parents, adoption might be the answer. But they make that decision, reach that conclusion on their own and through very careful counsel with the Lord. It is not for everyone, and no one is wrong for deciding that it is not the right path for them. Just as no missionary is wrong for being counseled to maybe consider a local or service mission and then deciding to turn it down. It also does not give them any less "right" to grieve the loss of the opportunity they had been raised and taught to expect. 

 

 

Frankly, problems with fertility is one of those few issues where, if you haven't been through it, you don't get to have an opinion.

 

I'm not sure what Y'ALL are getting out of my posts... I was NEVER minimizing the STRUGGLES of infertility.

 

I was simply stating the Gospel Principle that MOTHERHOOD is not just for those with biological children and therefore any teaching in YW that involves MOTHERHOOD is not just in preparation for one's own biological children and not useful for those who don't have any.

 

And frankly, saying I don't get to have an opinion because I am not infertile is so rude it doesn't belong on LDS.net.  We all have our own special struggles and we all are here as a community to talk about it.  If you don't want my opinion on it, don't post it.

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Really? If you're struggling with something and need to counsel with someone about it, you seek out a specialist. The Savior is of course the most obvious and correct choice in all situations. A human with wisdom gained from experience and their own solid testimony has to be the next best option, surely?

Everyone has been through something. You have absolutely no right to judge who is most worthy to serve. You have no right to say you have suffered more than I, that you have more wisdom.

Missionaries are not out there to solve people's problems. There is a big problem with people converting because of missionaries and then falling away from the Church. Plus, we're not sending out missionaries to counsel people with problems. They're teaching a gospel message. Counseling and life wisdom have their own places. If you think missions are about bonding over life experiences you are sadly mistaken.

Edited by Backroads

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Really? If you're struggling with something and need to counsel with someone about it, you seek out a specialist. The Savior is of course the most obvious and correct choice in all situations. A human with wisdom gained from experience and their own solid testimony has to be the next best option, surely?  

 

Yes.  But that is if he does not pose a risk of being an undue burden on the full-time mission field.  There are many, many, many ways to serve a mission outside of the full-time mission field.

 

This is what I've been trying to say - both in the missionary and the infertile woman.  There are many many many many ways to fulfill that calling of being a missionary or a mother.  When a door closes, there's always the window.

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I have no problem with "non-infertiles" having opinions about the struggle and everything else. Provided they've trained themselves a bit either through open discussion or reading. My parents and grandparents and three of my four siblings have done none of this "sensitivity training" and it is extremely difficult for me to believe they really care about me if they are not willing to even look up the subject online. 

 

The opinion of many, if not most victims of infertility or child loss within the church, is that the "every woman a mother" type of talk is well-intentioned, but still, very condescending. It is an easy way of lightly addressing the members of a congregation who suffer childlessness in silence, acknowledging them, but not their feelings. To me, it is just another way of saying to the child (as I said in an earlier post here) who got nothing for christmas that he is lucky because now he has time to perform selfless service for others. 

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While I agree with anatess' point there are countless ways to fulfill the calling of motherhood and these shouldn't be slighted, I always was taught my response should be nothing beyond a listening ear offer.

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I have no problem with "non-infertiles" having opinions about the struggle and everything else. Provided they've trained themselves a bit either through open discussion or reading. My parents and grandparents and three of my four siblings have done none of this "sensitivity training" and it is extremely difficult for me to believe they really care about me if they are not willing to even look up the subject online. 

 

The opinion of many, if not most victims of infertility or child loss within the church, is that the "every woman a mother" type of talk is well-intentioned, but still, very condescending. It is an easy way of lightly addressing the members of a congregation who suffer childlessness in silence, acknowledging them, but not their feelings. To me, it is just another way of saying to the child (as I said in an earlier post here) who got nothing for christmas that he is lucky because now he has time to perform selfless service for others.

If you think that a "every woman a mother" type of message from the church is condescending, then you are not understanding the message.

Sometimes we have to be willing to look past...and move past...our pain.

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Though I'm not sure what's wrong with baby machines, another name for which is "mothers". If we believe, as I surely do, that one way a woman fills the measure of her creation is through bearing and nurturing children, then we should be the first to celebrate and exalt that role -- perhaps even at the risk of bruising the feelings of those who don't share that blessing. To do otherwise is like refusing to have the Primary children sing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" for fear of hurting the feelings of those children whose father is absent.

 

It is not an uncertainty or possiblity that celebrating and exhalting the role of motherhood or fatherhood is hurtful to infertile couples. It is certain that it does. We are told almost constantly that to have a family is the height of possible happiness, and much of the reason for which we are here on earth, and that parenthood is the most perfect realization of either gender's role. The reminders are nearly constant, that blessings and experiences and relationships are being withheld from us, for whatever reason.. and that there is so very little we can do about it except wait to patiently and faithfully on the Lord's timing. We are persecuted by our peers, often on purpose. Your comment about "bruised feelings" grossly minimizes the problem. There are faithful members who are driven to attempt suicide over this, brought down and so emotionally weakened that they are, in moments of desperation, willing to risk their lives and salvation to be freed from their grief. I am not saying that because a few people are brought to such dangerous thoughts and actions that we should do away with all teachings about the family, that would be insane. But there has to be more room made for sensitivity and consideration. Something as insignificant as a feel-good primary song, or a holiday to recognize the "elite" is hardly more important than the depression, shame, and grief that is experienced by (statistically) dozens of couples in every ward and stake across the world.

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If you think that a "every woman a mother" type of message from the church is condescending, then you are not understanding the message.

Sometimes we have to be willing to look past...and move past...our pain.

 

Thanks for telling me that I ought to get over it. I've definitely never heard that one before. *eye roll*

I'd like to see you try it. Seriously, something that affects every decision you make, financially and personally and professionally and medically and that leaves you feeling unspeakably empty every day, weakened, and of no importance to anyone except your spouse. Something that makes you hate your body, hate your other life goals, and that robs you of your friendships with other women because they cannot, or will not, accept you and attempt to understand you. That makes you afraid to go to social events and your nephews and neices baby blessings for fear that you will break down crying and furthe damage important relationships and lose more of your own self-respect. I could go on.. but I hope you see that this is something to not simply be moved past or gotten over. It takes decades, if it ever happens at all. 

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Thanks for telling me that I ought to get over it. I've definitely never heard that one before. *eye roll*

I'd like to see you try it. Seriously, something that affects every decision you make, financially and personally and professionally and medically and that leaves you feeling unspeakably empty every day, weakened, and of no importance to anyone except your spouse. Something that makes you hate your body, hate your other life goals, and that robs you of your friendships with other women because they cannot, or will not, accept you and attempt to understand you. That makes you afraid to go to social events and your nephews and neices baby blessings for fear that you will break down crying and furthe damage important relationships and lose more of your own self-respect. I could go on.. but I hope you see that this is something to not simply be moved past or gotten over. It takes decades, if it ever happens at all. 

 

That's not what she's saying.  What she's saying is that... the Gospel of Christ is Hope and Joy.  Not just for some people but for ALL people.  Marriage and children is the foundation of eternal families, yes.  This message is universal.  It applies not just to some people but to ALL people... regardless of the challenges one faces in life.

 

There are many many people who struggle.  Different things for everyone.  Infertility, Homosexuality, Social Anxiety, Depression, Phantom-of-the-Opera-like disfigurements, Addictions, etc. etc... all giving challenges in the fulfillment of the commandment to marry, multiply, and replenish the earth.

 

We are here on earth to rise above these challenges and fulfill God's commandments in whatever capacity we are able through the hand that we are dealt.  This is the message of the Gospel Church Lessons.  This is not supposed to minimize your pain and make you feel worse.  This is supposed to give you hope that even with your difficult circumstance, you are still a Child of God and the Gospel still applies to you.  Mortal Life is just one part of the Eternal Plan of our Salvation... and it is simply a preparation for the life to come in the eternities.

Edited by anatess

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It is the culture, not doctrine or policy that is the problem. Not a lot that can be done about that other than by individuals, and maybe bishops. Well, the YW lessons as I remember them could use a little more reality.. acknowledging that not everyone will get married, not everyone will have children, and that there is much, much more to womanhood than either of those roles contain. The lessons themselves ought to say as much because leaders might choose to shrink from talking about those subjects if left to their own discretion alone. And I really wish the holidays of Mother's and Father's day might not be part of sacrament meeting. If the opening prayer mentions it, or if the Bishopric says something brief at the beginning or end of the meeting is one thing. But making it the subject of the whole meeting, and of the second and third block meetings as well is quite inappropriate. I have heard the same opinion from people other than those simply struggling with childlessness. Sisters who have lost their mothers, or who have wayward children, and single sisters especially, I have read that most of them would rather it be done away with altogether. 

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I agree with you, Anatess, about the essence of the gospel being one of peace and happiness. But that is NOT what Leah was saying. 

 

Sometimes we have to be willing to look past...and move past...our pain.

 

My pain is not keeping me from being worthy to serve, my pain is not making me lash out and hurt others or drag them away from the truth, my pain is my own personal burden and whether I move past it or not, the fact of the matter will remain. Why does Leah think that I must be "willing" to look and move past my pain? Because it is inconvenient to her, because she does not think it is valid enough to express concern for. I very much doubt that I am misinterpreting this. Sympathy does not move people to tell others how they should feel. 

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Char - I'm sorry you're struggling with infertility.  If you've only been to Western doctors, know that they don't have all the answers (obviously!).  I've heard of an herbalist/naturopath that's taken on 'difficult' cases/clients that are now raising kids. I've also heard that the BodyCode can help with this (go to healerslibrary.com to find a practitioner).  Also, candida overgrowth may be a factor so you may need to address that (both spouses because it can be passed from one to the other).

 

I hope this helps.  I have more to say but I've got to go right now.  x

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Frankly, problems with fertility is one of those few issues where, if you haven't been through it, you don't get to have an opinion.

It's popular to say that if you have not been in [insert situation] you are unqualified to so much as offer an opinion. But in most cases, this thinking is faulty; on the contrary, sometimes the people unaffected are most qualified to offer opinions by virtue of their unbiased position. For example, most here would reject the idea that, since men don't get pregnant, they are therefore are unqualified to offer opinions or insights on killing a prenatal baby.

 

In the case of infertility, I can't think of any reason why someone who has not struggled with it can't hold, or even voice, an opinion on the matter. According to the scriptural record, Eve was named "the mother of all living" before she ever had any children. Motherhood appears to be part of the nature of women, even if all women do not get to develop and explore all aspects of that nature during their mortal life. Pointing out this rather obvious and profound scriptural fact is neither insensitive nor condescending, and not the privilege only of those who can't bear children. Even fertile people get to read and expound on scripture.

 

Char has accused me of sounding "terribly condescending and insensitive", yet has not explained how or why anything I wrote is either condescending or insensitive. I realize that she is very sensitive, perhaps hypersensitive, about this issue, and I'm happy to cut her some slack on the matter. But I certainly disagree with the general sentiment that if you have never struggled with Issue X, you have no business voicing an opinion on the issue. Perhaps if we were talking about resolutions or treatments for Issue X, I would be more likely to agree; someone who has never even seen pornography is unlikely to have much insight to help the porn user abandon his/her nasty habit. But simply discussing the issue and making general comments and insights? I can't see any problem, morally or philosophically, with that.

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I have no problem with "non-infertiles" having opinions about the struggle and everything else. Provided they've trained themselves a bit either through open discussion or reading. My parents and grandparents and three of my four siblings have done none of this "sensitivity training" and it is extremely difficult for me to believe they really care about me if they are not willing to even look up the subject online. 

 

The opinion of many, if not most victims of infertility or child loss within the church, is that the "every woman a mother" type of talk is well-intentioned, but still, very condescending. It is an easy way of lightly addressing the members of a congregation who suffer childlessness in silence, acknowledging them, but not their feelings. To me, it is just another way of saying to the child (as I said in an earlier post here) who got nothing for christmas that he is lucky because now he has time to perform selfless service for others. 

Char713, looks like you have taken over this thread with your woes of unfulfilled desires of motherhood. We are way off topic, but my 2 cents, which is about all my advice is worth is this:

 

If you are not in therapy you should be and if you are you need to fire your therapist. Do something about the way you feel, because you can't change how others feel. The church is never going to not celebrate mothers day in sacrament, they are never not going to promote families and parenthood. I understand that you can't just "get over it" of course you can't but your expectations for others need to change. No I am not going to go research infertile women so that I can learn to moderate what I say in front of them. That's ridiculous. 

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Char713, looks like you have taken over this thread with your woes of unfulfilled desires of motherhood. We are way off topic, but my 2 cents, which is about all my advice is worth is this:

 

If you are not in therapy you should be and if you are you need to fire your therapist. Do something about the way you feel, because you can't change how others feel. The church is never going to not celebrate mothers day in sacrament, they are never not going to promote families and parenthood. I understand that you can't just "get over it" of course you can't but your expectations for others need to change. No I am not going to go research infertile women so that I can learn to moderate what I say in front of them. That's ridiculous. 

 

It was my thread to begin with and I have tried a few times now to bring it back to my original subject, but also cannot ignore when people have made surprisingly ignorant comments.. because chances are they know at least one person, if not several who are suffering in silence about this and whose feelings they hurt whenever they say such things. 

 

I am sorry that you are not interested in learning how to be kind to those who are suffering. Statistically, 1 in 8 women will suffer from this issue at some point. Very few of them are any less sensitive about the subject than I am.. most of them are much more so, if the members of two facebook groups and three forums I am involved with online are any evidence. And every one of them who attends church, wishes that mothers day would not be such a big focus of their church services. It is a very popular subject of discussion in our community.

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Char has accused me of sounding "terribly condescending and insensitive", yet has not explained how or why anything I wrote is either condescending or insensitive. 

 

See post #34.

 

And the first half of post #30.

Edited by char713

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Char - I'm sorry you're struggling with infertility.  If you've only been to Western doctors, know that they don't have all the answers (obviously!).  I've heard of an herbalist/naturopath that's taken on 'difficult' cases/clients that are now raising kids. I've also heard that the BodyCode can help with this (go to healerslibrary.com to find a practitioner).  Also, candida overgrowth may be a factor so you may need to address that (both spouses because it can be passed from one to the other).

 

I hope this helps.  I have more to say but I've got to go right now.  x

 

I have tried a few of these things, candida and gluten have been ruled out for myself and my husband. We've tried two popular herbal regimens over a three year period, no dice. I'm not familiar with BodyCode, I will have to look that one up. Thanks! 

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Really? If you're struggling with something and need to counsel with someone about it, you seek out a specialist. The Savior is of course the most obvious and correct choice in all situations. A human with wisdom gained from experience and their own solid testimony has to be the next best option, surely?  

 

I agree with Backroads. The notion that those who have experienced what have you are automatically better missionaries is a false idea. Not only does this not give credit to all life experiences as well as talent and the presence of the Holy Ghost, I'm under the impression that missionaries are discouraged from spilling out their life stories to investigators.

 

Missionaries are to preach the gospel. They are not licensed therapists and counselors. Sending them out to say "I've been through such and such and therefore the gospel is true!" ignores the very nature of preaching the gospel.

 

There is a quote out there, paraphrased, about how our valor only shines through in time of adversity--it is not completely created at that time. Those who have been through many trials are not necessarily better. Those who have little drama in their lives are still capable of growing and perfecting themselves as much as anyone who has been through terrible things.

 

This isn't to say life experiences aren't important, only that missionaries are not out there to counsel investigators.

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See post #34.

 

And the first half of post #30.

I have read both, thoroughly. Neither explains in any way what is either "condescending" or "insensitive"  about my post.

 

Instead of pointing me to vague posts you made earlier, just quote the parts from MY post that are "condescending" and "insensitive", along with an explanation of what makes them so.

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I don't think I ever said that youths who have experienced fewer apparent trials have no business being missionaries. Or that those who have faced more challenges are automatically better or more worthy than the rest. I am sure that I never said that. What I did say is that a few of my friends are more likely to listen to someone who can understand and relate to them.. that's all. I know that missionaries are not set up to be counselors, but they are involved in the investigator's process of repentance. In the case of my brother's friend, her experience seems to be keeping her from being considered able or worthy to serve. Her parents and friends are all greatly confused and praying for her to find out the real reason why, because she is doing incredibly well nowadays considering what she has been through. 

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Condescending: adjective
 
  1. having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority.

 

Insensitive: adjective
 
  1. showing or feeling no concern for others' feelings.
     
     
     

The parents are the haves, the childless are the have-nots. A blessing that is necessary for the exhaltation of everyone has been withheld, often for a lifetime, from some people for reasons which no one can fully understand or explain. Saying, as you have, that no one should have to exercise any extra measure of care, or that they ought not get to say or sing whatever they want to because of the chance of hurt feelings in the have-nots is simultaneously condescending and insensitive. You and everyone else who have had this huge blessing and life's work virtually fall into your laps, without having to give up almost everything to get there - as infertile couples do - say that no changes need to be made or extra thought given, because the chance of "hurt feelings" is insignificant and beneath your notice.

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