Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 13 years ago, Julie S. Jensen, a California mother of five and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, found that as her physical abilities changed, she experienced an equally dramatic transformation in understanding her role as a mother.
In her recently published book, "The Essence of a Mother: Being Conscious of the Sacred Moments of Motherhood" (Skirt!, $22.95), Jensen writes, "as my body has become increasingly disabled I had no choice but to deeply examine my beliefs and to redefine for myself what makes for a truly ‘good’ mother.”
Her definition fills 19 chapters, each examining a different aspect and giving tips and exercises to fill in the sentence starting with “A conscious mother ".
Here are five of them:
Takes 100 percent radical responsibility. “I may not be able to control my health situation, but I can control how I will show up every day,” Jensen writes in this chapter. “It is not reasonable or healthy to depend on others to make you feel good about yourself.”
Values being together. In addition to spending time together, this also means listening to your children. “Being a ‘good’ mother is about so much more than doing — it’s about being there for our children.”
Teaches her children that they come from the Divine.
Teaches her children that they come from the Divine.“Our children should also know that we can commune with God, go within and receive answers to anything — anytime.”
Is a model of gratitude.
Is a model of gratitude.Jensen suggests keeping a gratitude journal.
Loves unconditionally.“The greatest single gift we can give our children is to love ourselves and work on ourselves,” Jensen writes.
Her website, with information and additional tips, is at www.pure-essence.org.
Cecily Markland is a freelance writer, book editor, publicist and author of "Hope: One Mile Ahead" and the children’s book "If I Made a Bug." She owns Inglestone Publishing and produces cecilymarkland.com, a calendar of LDS events in Arizona.