So many young women today are choosing not to bear children, thinking that they will be more fulfilled if they are not tied down. They choose to focus on their career, on their own personal happiness, or--with their spouse--on fun and travel. "Childless by choice" couples are increasing throughout the world, especially in developed countries.
LDS young women need to be wary of this trap. It is not more fulfilling to be childless! It may be easier early in life (but definitely not in old age!) to be free of the commitment of children, but the greatest joys in life come with a family. Our prophets tell us:
A careful look at the attributes required to develop through life for the role of mother shows that motherhood requires the greatest skill in all areas, and is indeed the closest to the attributes needed of a god.
(The first chart is for the teacher's reference. The second [blank] chart is for the Laurels to fill in as the discussion ensues. They are entered here as pictures, so just click on them to enlarge, right-click to save, and print as a photo.)
In these perilous times, many women are thinking that freeing themselves of the trials and obligations associated with motherhood is one more step toward the advancement of women's rights. Have you ever heard the phrase, "throwing the baby out with the bathwater?" It means noticing that there is something bad and getting rid of it, but in doing so, getting rid of the thing that was worth keeping. These women are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They want to throw out all oppression and inequality suffered by women, which is good, but in throwing out motherhood, they are giving up the greatest opportunity offered to females. It is motherhood that will truly develop them to the highest level a human being can obtain. (It is my personal belief that men must be the sole active priesthood holders in order to give them opportunities to develop these same attributes and to elevate themselves somewhere near the level that motherhood elevates women. And it was a man who first shared this opinion with me.)
My children make fun of this photograph of me with my characteristic intense facial expression and my doll pointed like a sword. It reminds them of the great call to arms in "The Lord of the Rings" movie. So I use it to call the young women of the church to battle against the misguided directions the world would lead them:
It takes courage to choose to be a mother these days,
but it is SO worth the risk, the pain, the sleepless nights,
for the JOY that comes only through children,
and for the GROWTH that comes only through mothering.