People think I'm crazy when I tell them I love childbirth. It's not that I like pain--I don't. But there is just something about working really hard to get something really good. My husband and I have the routine down: we do whatever it takes to get through a contraction, then I slump back on the bed, as limp and peaceful as a noodle (as peaceful as a noodle can be) and rest before the next one hits. It's hard work, but when the baby is finally born, the pain doesn't matter anymore--and I experience joy beyond description. (Then I swear I'll never do it again.)

It has recently occurred to me that childbirth can be one huge metaphor for motherhood. We "labor" day in and day out, moment by moment--scrubbing, brushing, wiping, flushing, buckling, holding, washing, folding--it's a wonder more mothers don't drop dead from pure exhaustion!

So here's my theory: Heavenly Father knew how challenging motherhood would be for each of us--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. So He sends us "mother mercies." You know the moments--the ones that sneak up on you and make you smile or laugh or get teary-eyed. It's like the time I caught a whiff of my five-year-old and realized he'd put on his daddy's deodorant that morning. Or when he used to pray nightly, "Please bless that morning will come in five minutes." It's the time I found a bar of soap in my bathroom with one (and only one) set of teeth marks in it. Or when my preschooler asked me, "Why did Jesus cover our bones with skin?"

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