"Charity is the pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47). All parents know this "pure love" when they take each of their newborn children into their arms. As co-creators and participants in the miracle of life, they experience the love that our Heavenly Father feels for each one of His many children. That "pure love" that families have for each other and that the Savior and Heavenly Father feel for each of us is an integral part of our Lord's plan of happiness for all mankind.
Adam's and Eve's role in our Heavenly Father's plan provided the beginning for so many of life's important opportunities. Among them were agency, mortality and the gift of the ability to create life. The plan also provided for opposition in all things and it provided for trials and challenges. No truly great experience in life occurs without some great sacrifice or some significant price to pay. The marvelous gift of creation comes with a high price. When Eve exercised her agency and partook of the forbidden fruit, mortality entered the world and along with it came the ability of a man and a woman to procreate. As a consequence of her choice, Eve was promised that, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children" (Moses 4:22).
As a provider of women's health care, I have been blessed to witness the happiness and the sorrow that accompanies this miraculous process.
For some the joy of giving birth is followed too soon by the tragedy of premature death. The miracle of life is a process that requires the exercise of great faith. This past year one expectant couple that I care for found in the middle of their pregnancy that their child was afflicted with a serious cardiac defect. They completed the pregnancy knowing that open heart surgery would be required to sustain their child's life. The surgery was not sufficient to keep this little boy alive and he died within two weeks of his birth.
These valiant parents squeezed a lifetime of love into those few days. Though burdened by grief they have been sustained by their knowledge of the resurrection and of eternal life provided by our Savior, Jesus Christ. "Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity" (Moroni 10:20). They have ultimate faith in Heavenly Father's plan, they have hope and a sure knowledge that they will be reunited with their little boy again, and they have charity, that "pure love," for their little spirit who preceded them through the veil.
Throughout time women have experienced the many challenges that come with the great privilege of bearing children. Many women experience bodily aches and pains that few men would be able to endure. They suffer extreme physical privations but do so willingly in order to provide this magnificent creative process. "Charity suffereth long" describes the extended travails of some pregnancies. One such patient delivered recently and her nine months of traversing the "valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4) were immediately supplanted by that "pure love" felt for the very being that had caused her previous problems. Her love for her newborn son is all-forgiving and perfect, just like the Savior's love for us.
One other couple I am currently caring for is experiencing another aspect of the "pure love" that comes with child-bearing. After years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, they have finally been successful and are bearing twins. Three months prior to their expected delivery date they have been challenged with the prospect of premature birth. They are being called upon to do all that they can to prevent this too early birth. The mother has put her career on hold and remains home at strict bed rest. Her husband and her family are sacrificing their time and efforts to assist her in her time of crisis. Their daily acts of support and kindness are part of the sacrifice that they so willingly offer in order to provide an improved opportunity for survival for these soon-to-arrive-spirits. Each participant's willingness to sacrifice so much is patterned after the sacrifice that God the Father and Jesus Christ made in behalf of all mankind. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
"Charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:8) and as parents, sons and daughters we must not fail in exercising that pure, perfect love born in the crucible of faith, hope and sacrifice that was taught to us by our elder brother, Jesus Christ. "And now abideth, faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Corinthians 13:13).