Catherine Doxey White

About a year after we moved to Pittsburgh I had a dream that developed into the plot of a very cheesy romance novel. Over time I got the plots to three different cheesy novels going and actually started writing one, and I even took a creative writing class through the community college to help me along the way. I wrote 20 or 30 pages before the message Mom and Christine had been drilling into my mind started to sink in. I took a hard look at what I was doing and realized that if I really invested the kind of time and emotional energy I needed to write my novel, I would miss out on experiences and time with my children that I could never get back. I decided then that it simply wasn't the season of my life to pursue an interest like that—I had three small children that needed me, and I wanted to be there for them as the mother they deserved.

I put the book away and didn't think about it until a few years later when I read Stephenie Meyer's book, Twilight. I was surprised with how much we seemed to have in common—we were both the second daughter in families with three girls and then three boys, and we were both English majors. Though I was a little older, we were in the English department at BYU at the same time. I was especially interested to learn that she got the idea for Twilight from a dream, and that she'd started writing when her three children were almost the exact same ages that Christopher, Benjamin, and Rachel were when I started writing while in Pittsburgh. She obviously continued writing and went on to international fame, glory, and lots and lots of money. I have no delusions in thinking that any of the cheesy plots I had brewing in my mind would have become bestsellers like the Twilight series did, but the similarities in our experiences certainly made me wonder "What if. . ?" I knew that if I had started writing full-time I never would have chosen to have our sweet little Anna, and quickly realized that I wouldn't trade the privilege of being her mom for anything—even to have money and fame Stephenie Meyer's style.

Our decision to have Janie was actually more difficult than the one to have Anna since it involved legitimate concerns for my physical and emotional health. This struggle is described in my journal entry from July 8, 2007:
"I had a really powerful spiritual experience at church today. Dave and I have both had quiet promptings over the past few months that maybe we should have another baby, and I felt that way again today. Quite honestly, we've both felt so overwhelmed in taking care of the children we have (combined with the fact that we're lousy disciplinarians) that we've talked ourselves out of it every time. I started the day in full resistance, thinking that I'm not going to change my medication to a more baby-friendly anti-depressant, (from lingering post-partum problems) but the Spirit worked on me all day.

At church during Sunday School I felt like our many concerns boiled down to one principle—FAITH. Then I went to Relief Society and Sister Mortley taught a powerful lesson on what else? Faith and obedience. I substituted for the chorister at the last second and was powerfully touched by the closing hymn—"When Faith Endures". It wasn't a coincidence that these were the very words that got me through my entire labor with Anna. The whole day seemed like such a powerful answer to my prayers."

Once we took that initial leap of faith we received so many blessings over the next two years when Janie was finally born. I recognized that our fears of being inadequate parents were coming from Satan, and to accept the fact that it's okay that we make mistakes and aren't perfect parents. I changed my medication, and then through a series of blessings I was able to stop taking the medicine entirely in October (which was especially miraculous since my primary care physician thought I would need it for the rest of my life.) My pregnancy with Janie was by far my most difficult pregnancy, and though I was worried about the delivery, I had an inner assurance that things would be okay regardless of what happened. Surprisingly, Janie's delivery was the very best I've ever had, and unlike any of my other four births, I haven't had any physical or emotional complications since.

I am overwhelmed with such gratitude and humility that Heavenly Father would trust us enough to send this precious little girl to our home. She has already been such a blessing to our entire family, and has brought us joy that I can't really describe. I'm grateful for my sister Carolyn's amazing example in raising Katie and finding joy in motherhood even when life is hard. I am especially grateful for Christine's message so many years ago that "People are more important than your to-do list" and for Mom's almost daily encouragement to make sure that my children and family are my first priority. I'm also grateful for the way my own heart has softened over the years to better internalize this great lesson. I was reaching a stage of life when all my kids were in school and where I had a little more freedom to do some of the many things that have always seemed so important to me, but I realized that nothing could ever bring me as much joy as being a mom.