Help! I have five children which I can barely cope with. My youngest is eight months old. I have found out I am pregnant again. Both my husband and I cannot cope, but the guilt and shame of termination is killing me and tearing me apart. Could God ever forgive me for taking a child’s life? I am also sure to be excommunicated from my church. The Mormon Church is so wrong to be selfish and want my already big family to prosper.
As you are deeply aware, large families of small children can be extremely challenging. You undoubtedly need some help at this particular critical period in your family life. But this I can promise you, if you terminate your pregnancy your misery and frustration will not be lessened at all, but will be multiplied a hundred fold! You should know that by the fact that the very consideration of such an action is tearing you apart. Such a course would be the worst thing that you could do in an attempt to bring some relief to the frustrations of trying to cope with a very difficult situation.
Trying to ease your burden by blaming the Mormon Church for your difficult situation won’t help things either. Although the Church is in favor of large families, that is not the reason that you became pregnant for the sixth time. You didn’t plan to have another child in order to comply with some notion of having a large family in spite of your present parental difficulties, you just “found out” that you were pregnant.
However, the Mormon Church could be of much aid and assistance if you would be prepared to accept it. There are several potential avenues of possible assistance–number one, your own family. Can your older children share more of the load of taking care of family duties, or are there other family members that could take some of your children for short periods from to time? Number two, if you would consult with your bishop and ask for his advice on what help might be available to assist you in your difficult circumstance, you might get some practical help–from instruction by Social Services specialists on how to better manage your situation to assistance by other members coming into your home from time to time to help out.
Further, although it is very hard to consider in the middle of the frustrations that you now experience, if you could manage your circumstance for the present, the conditions will all change. Your children will grow older and will be able to help out more and you will gain more coping skills.
Now, in spite of your feelings of abandonment by the rest of society–I imagine feeling quite alone in trying to cope with your situation–you are not alone! Your kind, loving Heavenly Father knows all about your circumstance and your feelings of frustration. If you were to appeal to Him for relief and direction He will surely hear your prayer. However, for God to act in your behalf, it is important to do your part by complying with all of the principles of the gospel, simply because they are designed to generate the happiest state of being of which we are capable. You must also pray in faith– in other words with full confidence that the Lord hears your prayers and will give them due consideration. How He answers your prayers will be according to his own will, and in his own time and in his own way.
It is important that we pray for strength to meet and overcome the challenges of life rather than asking the Lord to remove all our problems so that we could have an easier time. Although it is difficult to understand in the middle of our extremities, the difficulties we are called upon to wade through often represent the very experience that the Lord would have us endure to strengthen us and prepare us for the further work for us that he has in store for us.
The experience of the Prophet Joseph Smith while crying out in very dire circumstances is one such case worth considering. In 1839 the Prophet and several of his companions had been put in jail on false, trumped up charges, and had been held for several months without any relief. Finally, Joseph appealed to the Lord in prayer and received the following answer–
The appeal found in D&C 121:1-6
O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?
How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?
Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?
O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol–stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us.
Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs.
Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever.
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.
And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun;
And also that God hath set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons, and to blind their minds, that they may not understand his marvelous workings; that he may prove them also and take them in their own craftiness;
Also because their hearts are corrupted, and the things which they are willing to bring upon others, and love to have others suffer, may come upon themselves to the very uttermost;
That they may be disappointed also, and their hopes may be cut off;
And not many years hence, that they and their posterity shall be swept from under heaven, saith God, that not one of them is left to stand by the wall.
Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.
But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.
And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage and death–
Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house.
Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.
They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation.
It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea. (D&C 121:7-22)