The Baby Whisperer

The Baby Whisperer

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

The Baby Whisperer

Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.

D&C 135:3

As I sat in the waiting area of the temple, I overheard a mother talking to her daughter.

“Are you still doing it?” the mother asked.

“I try, Mum—I do—but sometimes it gets so busy that I’m not sure who I have done and who I haven’t. Sometimes before I leave, I have to rush around and tell them all just to be sure.”

The mother seemed satisfied—but I was curious.

After accepting my apologies for eavesdropping on their conversation, they shared their story with me. The daughter was a midwife, and her mother had challenged her to tell all her newborns that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. That was simple enough.

For the rest of the day, I pondered her words. Why not tell the newborns that Jesus is the Christ? Or that each of them is a child of God? Or even that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true? There were any number of deep and meaningful first thoughts you could share with a newly arrived spirit.

Then I realized the answer: If Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, then all the other statements are true, too— because those are the things he taught.

Years later, I also became a midwife. The memory of that day in the temple came back to me, and I became another baby whisperer. As each new spirit arrived, I would snuggle him or her close and whisper, “Joseph Smith is a prophet of God” before handing the precious bundle over to its mother.

There have been times when I have doubted the appropriateness of my actions, especially when delivering babies to parents who were not Christian, or who espoused no religion. But I believe that since I have this knowledge, I have a duty to share it. After all, it may be this child’s only chance to hear the truth.

There have been times, too, when my actions have created treasured memories. Sometimes a pair of newborn eyes gleams back at me with a knowing glow, and I’ve “heard” a child say, “Yes, I know that.”

I will never forget when a woman expecting triplets called me into her room; she complained that she didn’t feel well, and I suspected she was going into premature labor.

Thirty minutes later, with a full delivery team assembled, I received Baby Number One into my outstretched arms. “Joseph Smith is a prophet of God,” I whispered quickly as I rushed the baby to the waiting resuscitation team across the corridor, returning quickly for another.

With Baby Number Three, a girl, safely clutched to my sterile-gowned chest, I mumbled my belief again and delivered a second child to the team. Now I only had to tell Baby Number Two—but which baby was number two?

With all the babies safely delivered, my colleagues relaxed and stood back—but I still had an important quest. “Which one is Number Two?” I asked. Directed to the second son, I took him from his heated crib and softly floated my words across his downy head.

When time allows, I often expand on my message. I welcome the babies to a beautiful world, tell them they are special spirits and always admonish them to look after their mother. This time, Baby Number Two got the full message.

As I swaddled him back into his warm crib, a new doctor came up behind me. “Is it true?” he asked in a very quiet voice.

Oops! I’d been sprung! With a twinkle in my eye and a gleam born of pure joy, I answered, “Of course it’s true. Would I tell a lie?”

“I guess not,” he smiled, and then drifted off to check on the new mother.

Alone with my newly arrived “children of God,” I finally had time to thank God for all of His gifts—and especially for allowing me to be part of this miracle called birth.

Patricia McKenna-Leu

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