Marilyn Knudsen Bazinet graduated from BYU with a master's degree in marriage, family and human development. “I walked in to defend my thesis with a gigantic belly,” she said. “My professors looked at me and said, ‘Your thesis is ready.’ My perfect baby was born three days later.”
American Mothers Inc. recently honored Sister Bazinet as Utah's Young Mother of the Year.
As a single sister, she served as a full-time missionary in three countries on two continents and one island nation: Kentucky, in the USA, while waiting for a visa to the European nation of Portugal; Portugal, where she initially had been called to serve; and Cape Verde, about 400 miles off the western coast of Africa, where she was transferred to serve the remainder of her mission.
She met Jacques Bazinet through a mutual friend in their ward at BYU; they married and have three daughters. They are members of the Lehi 36th Ward in the Lehi Utah East Stake.
At BYU, she picked a major simply to stay in school. She asked, “What are the open majors?” As the seventh of 11 children and with her experience as a nanny for a small family for “double digit years,” she looked at an available one and said, “How hard can marriage, family and human development be?”
“I walked into parenting class on the very first day, and I have never been the same since,” Sister Bazinet said.
Her first professor quickly became a mentor to her through her entire college career. “He taught a lot of the principles of moral agency theory, and it helped me internalize the gospel in a tremendously specific way in my life,” she said. “Somehow it just turned on some kind of insight; it continues to be a foundation of my whole life.”
One concept that stood out to her was the idea of responsibility and what that means. “As agents we are responsible. We have the ability to act and not just be acted upon. We contribute to our own happiness and misery in so many ways.”
“Becoming a new mom was super difficult for me,” Sister Bazinet said. She was surprised at how difficult it was despite her experiences of being in a large family, being a nanny for many years and earning two degrees on the subject. “The transition to motherhood was so hard that I literally developed a research piece,” she said. “I wanted to talk to 300 moms and just say, ‘What was your experience like in the transition to motherhood?’ ”
“I’m not sure anyone can have this magic bullet that will really prepare you,” Sister Bazinet said. “You just have to experience it.”
Sister Bazinet teaches gospel doctrine classes and is a visiting teacher. She also serves on the board of an LDS-oriented home school co-op.
“In my family in particular, I’m trying to create shared memories and experiences,” Sister Bazinet said. They strive to “reach dreams individually and as a family.” She is continually “trying to connect with heaven on a regular basis in a way that changes my soul so that I know what Heavenly Father wants for me.”