10 May

Making Amends

Posted by Jenna, Under Personal

I’ve had this post on my mind for a long time now, but I felt I couldn’t write it until I revealed the enormous shift I’ve made over the past year. If you didn’t know that I had left Mormonism how could what I am about to say come across as anything other than pandering? I needed you to know that I am in a different place so that I could atone for my past mistakes. I choose the word atone carefully, knowing that my recent declaration could make it sound as though I am trying to be clever. But I know of no better word than atone to convey a complete cleansing, which is what I need. Some of the things I’ve said in the past hurt people in really deep ways and I want to shed the baggage that comes along with realizing that. This does not mean I recognize all of the mistakes I’ve ever made or will continue to make, or that I have the ability to own up to each and every one of them. I am deeply flawed, and within that bundle of flaws comes pride and shame, both which prevent me from being all that I want to be. I’ll keep chipping away at those stones that burden my progress, but for now I hope those I have hurt will accept the apologies I am offering up below and know that they come from the truest part of myself that I am mentally and emotionally able to lay bare.

fire sunset chicago eclipse

Most of these apologies are related to my Mormon mindset, but I will start with one that has no relation to the faith of my childhood. While I was pregnant I wrote a post called I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain (those who were hurt by this post have requested that it be made unavailable to the public so that the hurtful messages I voiced within it can’t be spread any further). I’m not sure anymore what I was trying to convey, but reading back over it I can see that it was a terrible post and I said a lot of hurtful things. I’ve been ashamed of that post for a long time, but haven’t allowed myself to take it down because I didn’t want to hide behind my ability to make posts private or delete them altogether. I think women should birth how and where they want. I am sorry that I made any woman feel like her birth plans or birth experience weren’t good enough. I think mothers should have every opportunity to choose the birth experience that leaves them feeling empowered and triumphant, because that is how I felt after the births of my babies and that is what I want every woman to have as well. I think that some women do everything they can to give birth a certain way and it turns out to be something else entirely. Those women should have the opportunity to grieve the loss of a great dream while they simultaneously celebrate the arrival of their little one(s), and no one should ever criticize them for doing so. There is no mountain. There’s just a pregnant woman doing her best for the life she carries inside of her, and then there is a beautiful mother doing her best for her child.

And now for the opinions and thought processes that were a product of my personal history and religious tradition. A wonderful thing to note is that not all of those who come from my community or belong to the Mormon faith think or act the way I did; they are much better people than I. But when I shifted away from Mormonism and a worldview shaped by my youth I left old hurtful attitudes behind and I can’t untangle where these attitudes began and how much of a role my past played in nurturing them. All I can do is acknowledge that they were a part of the Jenna of the past and that I want to leave them behind forever and move toward the better Jenna of the future. 

LDS Church leaders spend/spent a lot of time teaching that homosexuality and gay marriage are wrong (more recently the stance has evolved to say that acting upon homosexuality is the sin, that existing as a celibate homosexual is acceptable) and because I thought that they were receiving messages directly from God I listened attentively and formed my opinions exclusively based on theirs. I now reject that mindset entirely and I want to paint rainbows all over my body and march proudly in a Gay Pride parade and shout at the top of my lungs how sorry I am and that I choose love. I am deliriously happy in my relationship with my chosen life partner, and I want every man and woman to have that with the person of their choosing no matter their orientation. I am sorry for the attitudes I espoused in the past regarding the LGBTQ community and am proud to say that I am a straight ally. 

I judged people who drank alcohol or coffee. I thought they were weak-willed and gluttonous. I thought that everyone who drank turned into a black-out prone bumbling fool and I was somehow better than them for abstaining. I know now that those substances do neither of those things and that they can be rather delightful to indulge in. I am sorry I indicated that people who drank alcohol or coffee were somehow lesser than me.

I bought into rape culture and spoke negatively of women who didn’t dress to a standard I personally deemed appropriate. I made negative assumptions about people who got tattoos or multiple piercings and was unable to recognize the beauty found in those forms of self-expression. I am sorry I judged people for the things they put on their body instead of the content of their character.

As I tried to explain what Mormonism is, I often maligned the religious beliefs of others. I am sorry that I communicated that systems of belief other than Mormonism are inferior. Two very clear examples of this stand out starkly in my mind and are painful for me to reflect on because it must have been so awful for these women to have me speak to them this way. A long time ago a commenter spoke about how nature was her temple, that whenever she needed to reconnect with her personal conception of the Divine she would head into the mountains and use nature as a conduit for the bond she desired. I dismissed her. I dismissed her and acted like her method was invalid and I am so ashamed that I would do that. Another example of my cruelty can be found in my comment section in an interaction with a woman who spoke about how difficult it was for her to be a Mormon. She couldn’t believe all that the church and the culture dictated, and she struggled to find a way to make the LDS faith work for her family. I read her words and instead of reaching out to her and enveloping her in a virtual hug I told her that she should just leave. That if she couldn’t do Mormonism the way I thought was right that it would be best if she wasn’t associated with Mormonism at all. I somehow thought that her approach to her beliefs was ruining it for the rest of us. Several years later, deep in my own crisis of faith, one of my closest friends communicated the exact same thing to me and I was able to personally experience how bitter and poisonous that message is.

One of my Awakening posts was on my evolving attitudes toward Stay-At-Home-Moms, but reading back over it I realize how selfish that post was. I went on and on about how I had arrived at a place that allowed me to choose how I would spend my time, but I devoted no words to offering penance for the hurtful and damaging attitudes I held regarding all women and their right to choose whether to work out of the home, work at home, work at raising children, or any combination of the three. I am sorry that I piled on to the mountain of guilt women feel about their choices. Have children. Don’t have children. Work in a big building an hour away. Telecommute. Start your own business. Become Mom, Inc. All are valid, and all are good and I support a woman’s right to decide what is best for her own life.

I am sorry for a lot of things. Most of all though, I am sorry for shutting family and friends out of our wedding. It is difficult for me to describe how emotionally painful it is for me to reflect on this, a piercing sorrow that burns to the point of physical pain. My husband’s parents are good, kind, generous, thoughtful people who gave everything they had to raise the man I love so fiercely. I treated them horribly, leaving them outside to wait and wonder as we walked inside the LDS temple and spoke our vows to one another. I loved the details of my wedding; the photos, my dress, delicious food, a sweet and tender choreographed dance, a thousand moments that I dreamed up over months and years of planning. I would give it all up if only it meant I could take back the choice to exclude some of the people that mean the most to us from our wedding ceremony. For this I have shed many tears, and will continue to do so. I am so sorry to all those who were hurt by this.

I am sure there are other things I’ve done. There are many things I know I’ve forgotten, and these are the things which I hope you can forgive me for so that we can move forward. Things I refuse to acknowledge out of pride that I hope to be able to own up to in the future. For now, I will start with the confessions found in this post. I will take these weights that have been holding me back and heave them into the deep, progressing toward something better from here on out.

81 Comments


  1. Jenna- I am beyond impressed. We all have parts of ourselves that we wish were different. We all have things in our past that we regret and wish we could go back and change. It’s really hard to look at yourself honestly and admit your faults and mistakes. At least I know it is something I have struggled a great deal with.
    I’m so impressed by your transformation. I’m impressed with your honesty. I’m impressed with your ability to look at yourself, ask the hard questions, admit mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. It take guts.
    I’ve been following you for 4 years (wow! THAT long?! how did that happen?! ha!) and seeing these recent posts have been really touching. It’s neat to see how much you have changed and grown. I also think it’s a great lesson that we can always change. I look at myself and some of the things I am unhappy with. It’s never too late to be the person we want to be. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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  2. Rhiannon says:

    It’s okay Jenna!
    :-)

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  3. Natalie McG says:

    Two words… Well said.

    I have followed your journey for a few years now and very proud of your new outlook. Very proud.
    It takes a very strong woman to say those things you said in the past, but a stronger one for admitting her faults.

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  4. Another very brave post so soon! You must be feeling emotionally drained and fairly vulnerable. I hope it helps with forgiveness of yourself and moving forward in your life in a positive, loving way.

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  5. I think it is amazing that you are prepared to front up on your blog and acknowledge that you have changed and no longer hold the same opinions that you did in the past. I think it is even more amazing that you are apologising for the hurt you may have caused people in the past. Admitting mistakes, especially in such a public forum, is not easy so thank you.

    I wish you peace going forward.

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  6. I was reading this over breakfast and told my husband about how proud I am of you. I want to just give you a big hug right now. To own up and apologize for hurtful things you’ve said and done in front of your readers is truly brave. I commend you for another great post. I am excited to see what the future holds for you.

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  7. Jenna, I may not comment often but I have been following you since the days of wedding bee as well as several of my close friends to the point that often late night coffee stints in a local diner have included long conversations about what was on your blog that day. Or we might talk to each other about you like we knew you personally “hey did you see what Jenna said today?” “Jenna had the baby!” “Jenna’s outfit was really cute today” and sometimes depending on your post we would have long discussions about your views on gay marriage or the Mormon church and maybe it was your age and maybe it was your upbringing but that it seemed like your views were a bit narrow minded. As an ex-catholic who has been pagan since I was 9, a mom who wanted a natural childbirth but ended up with a c-section, a coffee and wine drinker, a working mother, and a supporter of the gay community I have found myself often at odds with your opinions. And sometimes I would take breaks from reading your blog but most of the time I was following your journey. I just want to say that I have seen how far you have come and I have really enjoyed watching you learn and grow as a person over the last few years. Good on you for knowing you made some mistakes and apologizing for them, that shows a lot of strength and I really admire it. it is never easy to admit you are wrong. I know there will always be haters, it is the nature of chronicling your life on-line, but know that to many of us you are wonderful person, and getting better every day.

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  8. Hi Jenna,
    I am a long time reader but first time commenter! I know your blog through my older sister, Mrs. Octopus. I have always enjoyed reading but I just wanted to reach out to you to say how truly incredible your recent posts have been. (The part about you deciding to choose love actually made me tear up. Yay!) What a difficult, rewarding and life changing journey you are on. I applaud you. I look forward to reading along as you share more about your new perspectives!
    Lauren

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  9. Jenna, I am in such awe of your strength and courage in sharing your heart so completely and so beautifully. I have no doubt that the people around you feel no need for you to atone these things, as the beauty that lives within you has always been there, no matter how your personal belief structure has evolved. As people we’re imperfect and constantly evolving and I truly believe that what makes us good people is being open to that evolution and to the ways we can do good and be good in the world. While not related to matters of faith, I know I’ve gone through my own evolution the last several years and it has helped guide the way I treat people and how I look at the world. I’m a much better person than I used to be, but there’s always more we can all do to love each other and spread love in little ways. I think I may speak for many people when I say I admire you and it’s just as much for where you’ve been as for where you’re headed.

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  10. I like that you are distinguishing between the Mormon culture – which certainly does not always align with the gospel of Jesus Christ – from the LDS Church itself that tries to teach the gospel, though admittedly it is administered by human beings who make mistakes and beg forgiveness and understanding for those mistakes. Truly the gospel is something that teaches love and tolerance and service and compassion and understanding and faith, not division in any way, shape or kind.

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    Old Coyote Reply:

    I take exception to the idea that LDS people always share that “the gospel is perfect, the people are not”. The LDS “gospel” is formulated and communicated by these imperfect people. The gospel according to Brigham Young was that black people were less valiant than white people and could only enter the highest degree of heavenly glory as slaves. The gospel according to all LDS prophets up until the 1890′s was that it was not only ok, but a requirement for a man to have multiple wives, included women in their early teens. So, what part of your gospel today will be changed tomorrow because the men who defined it were “imperfect’?

    Clearly, your leadership is imperfect, and the gospel they have constructed is imperfect, yet they teach that all members should follow their counsel without question. There is no justification for abdicating your own ability to think for yourself to blindly follow the teachings of men who have proven time and time again to be no more (and often very much less) well informed on the social, political and scientific issues we face as a people.

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    tf Reply:

    clearly you are not a member and everything you wrote is false. let’s leave the Mormon bashing out of this. thanks.

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    D Reply:

    Ouch. Not sure if it’s fair just to straight out say one person’s opinion is false. I think the poster above just stated facts/mistakes from the past asides from the last paragraph. Again, everything said above was an opinion but you could also be much more gentle towards them and leave bashing them out of “this” as well. :)

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    tf Reply:

    when you try to use quotes and state things about a church that are not true, is not an opinion. they are simply false accusations.

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    tf Reply:

    there were no true facts in any of it.

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  11. dankrist says:

    It’s hard to admit having done something wrong or hurtful, especially in a very public way. This was a lovely and genuine post.

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  12. Jenna, this was a beautifully written post. Acknowledging mistakes and apologizing for hurtful statements takes a lot of courage and humility.

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  13. “Hindsight is 20/20″ is a phrase I tell myself TONS when I start to feel bad about things I did and said in the past. I have no doubt that you were making the best decisions you could, based on the information you had at that time. So while I think it’s good that you are making amends as you feel you should, I hope also that you are forgiving yourself.

    As for the last thing, I have always thought (even when I was Mormon) it was wrong that the LDS church excluded people from wedding ceremonies. I thought, why not showcase the most beautiful thing about the religion, the whole together forever thing. Let others see what they have.
    I too, excluded people from my first wedding and I will forever be sorry, even if that bastard abused me and I divorced his sorry ass. My wedding to my current husband was so lovely, and free, and joyful, with all of the people that we loved surrounding us.

    Perhaps someday you can do a renewal of vow with your in-laws there. It won’t change the past, but it might be fun, and it might be healing.

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  14. Aww Jenna. I love your honesty. *hugs* You’ve had a lot of heavy posts this week! I hope your excitement yesterday was helpful!

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  15. Wonderful post! So proud of you that you are now seeing a more encompassing point of view!!

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  16. This is such a well written, humble, and lovely post. We are all flawed and it takes a lot of courage to own up to our mistakes.

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  17. You are a beautiful person inside and out, and this post proves it. Speaking up and apologizing for the hurts we have caused others is never an easy feat, it’s difficult and humbling, but it is also amazing in its ability to heal, not only yourself, but others as well. High five!

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  18. Heather S says:

    Thank you for this, Jenna. My twins were a little over 8 weeks old when you wrote the mountain post. I had to have an emergency c-section for the safety of my daughter, who had lost all of her fluid and was struggling. I had been in labor 14 hours and was devastated by that turn. I remember crying reading your post, feeling like I was less than as a mother and using it as an example of how women are cruel to each other.
    I thank you from the bottom of my c-section, working mother’s guilty heart for this. I appreciate it more than I can express.
    Your journey has been beautiful and I’m so proud for you.

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  19. Justine Megan says:

    Jenna, your recent posts are filled with such self-awareness, kindness for yourself and others, and open-hearted reflection & love. I’m so profoundly impressed and appreciative of how you choose to share your life with your readers. xo.

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  20. Honestly, I and many of your readers don’t care much about a lot of these things (except your mountain post – I found that offensive despite having had a natural birth myself). What we are put off by is largely your treatment of T1, none of which have you apologized for or come to any sort of “awakening” about. I honestly liked your blog until you started making very questionable choices concerning him. I have a three year old and I know how hard it is. But it seems that most of your readers (and I) left you because of a genuine uncomfortableness with some of your parenting choices, about which you seem to have very little self awareness. Putting him in a pack and play in a bathroom for years, contemplating forgoing therapies because of cost while buying new iPhones, pulling him out of therapy, leaving him for six weeks at a time, etc. I’m not trying to be snarky or mean here, but it truly hurts my heart for T1 to think about some of these things and imagine my son in the same position.

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    Jenna Reply:

    [Edited] A lot of the things you bring up come across as a twisted view of reality based on incomplete information by people who want to assume the worst. For example, I did leave my child with my husband and parents for 6 weeks to finish college. My husband worked to fund my schooling so we could stay out of debt, and my son was able to spend a concentrated amount of time with extended family who adore him. We worried about the cost of speech therapy before we knew anything about what we would have to pay (it sounded like something that could potentially cost thousands of dollars a month) and we did discontinue after 6 months because we watched and listened to our son and felt that he would thrive in a preschool environment. No medical or educational professional that we have voiced our concerns with thus far has indicated that he has a need for speech therapy anymore. For each of the things you brought up I think there is additional information that adds context to the situation which leads people to shrug their shoulders and think that my parenting choices might not be their own, but they aren’t going to devote time to worrying about it as my children are having their needs met.

    All parents make mistakes. All of them. We don’t need to apologize to the internet at large for that. I have made, and will continue to make, many mistakes when it comes to parenting and interacting with my children. Our children don’t care if the internet thinks we are good parents. They, and they alone, are the only judge who can rule on our efforts, and it is only to them that we owe our contrition. I think if a person has been wronged, I owe *them* the apology. Apologizing to bystanders isn’t going to make any difference for the person who has been hurt. I will continue to strive to be a better parent and if my children have been hurt by my actions, I will make it up to them and them alone.

    And this is the one and only comment that I will allow through on this topic. It’s a waste of my time, and frankly it’s a waste of yours to be fixating on this. If you think that my children are in danger I suggest you contact the proper authorities to resolve the issue.

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    M Reply:

    I appreciate the response and the thought you put into it. All parents make mistakes, of course. I do every day. Parenting is hard work.

    I realize you don’t owe an apology *to me* for anything – I may have phrased my comment poorly. And of course I’m only working from the limited information presented on your blog. But *you* chose why and how to present all of it, so from a reader’s perspective I would just hope you’d have some recognition of how it came across.

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    LifeonMulberry Reply:

    This was an excellent response to an off-topic issue, Jenna.

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    D Reply:

    I agree that this was an excellent response. You are a wonderful mother who struggles with what’s best for your son. Not everything is so black and white but as I told Mandy, as long as you’re trying to do you’re best, you are doing the best for your child. Don’t let anybody else make you feel terrible about their judgements.

    Make suggestions, yes.

    I don’t think leaving your child with your parents for college for 6 WEEKS was terrible if not beneficial. I remember going to my grandparents without my parents for 4 weeks at a time every summer and they have enriched me for the better.

    Therapies don’t equal the cost of iphones. It can add up ridiculously quickly. It can also be difficult when therapies are needed.

    We are very lucky that Jenna shares her trial and tribulations very openly, as many mothers struggle over the same decisions every day.

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  21. Jenna, this is such a brave post. You didn’t have to answer for anything, but this post proves a thoughtfulness and sweet spirit that speaks of you. Lots of hugs and peace to you.

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  22. Jenna, you are growing as a person! It’s so amazing to see, especially when we live in such a selfish world. I’ve been reading for a while and to be honest even though I did not agree with some of your views, I have always admired your passion and strength in your beliefs. Nobody is perfect, believe me, nobody. We are all very flawed and most of the time very unaware and unrecognizing (is that word?) of our flaws. It is very inspiring to see somebody not only grow but take responsibility for their actions so openly. It must have taken a lot for you to get the point of being able to be so public about it. I can only say how proud of you I am, even though we do not know each other in real life.
    Now, as far as your parenting choices, children do not come with a guide. You make the best decisions for your children as you see at the time and guess what, that’s all you can do! I have no children yet, but on the opposite end I know I’m being judged by society for not having children even though we have been married a while. Trust me, you can NEVER WIN. NEVER! There’s always somebody who will judge you for being one way or another, and it’s only you who can make yourself whole by being at peace with your choices and decisions in life. I really wish we were real life friends, because I do miss having strong women like you in my life. You are a strong woman, and I am so happy that you chose not to be defined by your religion or anything else. You are – you.

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  23. Kirsten says:

    Hi Jenna,
    I’ve also been reading since your Wedding Bee days, since we got married around the same time. I always found all of your posts fascinating and interesting, even if I didn’t agree with the content. But I always used your worldview to challenge my own thinking about things, and to understand why people like you (at that time) might have thought the way you did. So, while I am excited to hear about your new perspectives on things, I hope that you also understand the ones you held didn’t always have entirely negative ramifications. Take care.

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  24. OnceAndAgain says:

    So, so happy for you, Jenna. These posts make me so deeply glad that I’ve stuck around since your Mrs. Avocado days. What a wonderful, inspiring journey you are on.

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  25. I know this isn’t about me at all, but the Mountain post offended me, before I was even pregnant. Then I went and had a c-section that I neither wanted nor planned for. It was necessary. And I remember thinking briefly of myself as some kind of helicopter-riding (or whatever the metaphor was) failure and wanting to flip you off, because that was hateful language to put out there. I was a new mom and my hormones were crashing and I was in a shit-ton of pain from major surgery and I wished I could have just un-read that post.

    So thanks. If I could offer a suggestion, maybe just take that post down after the dust has settled from this. Those are hurtful words that don’t need to be out there. You have written many compelling posts about natural birth. That one is not one of them.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I think the post is about you in some way. It belongs to everyone who felt the way you did.

    I was thinking that maybe I should take it down and do what I can to stop spreading that horrible message. Unless someone can make a compelling argument otherwise I will make it private in a few weeks.

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    schmei Reply:

    1) I have to add: this is all amazing. I do really wish you were in Chicagoland so I could give you a hug or some organic produce or something. You’re doing some hard work. Sorry I responded more viscerally than I should have: Just seeing the title of that post brought me back to some dark moments and I probably should have taken more of a pause before I wrote the above. I really, really appreciate that you mentioned that post first and that you get it.

    2) There are parts of my wedding and early marriage that I would give large sums of money to do differently, if I could – people I slighted, often unintentionally, for totally stupid reasons. This is a pretty common regret, I’ve found, and actually an argument I’ve heard for waiting until one is older to get married (which doesn’t follow – I think in both our cases we feel the Big Decision – whom to marry – was made well). I’m sorry you’re feeling such pain about not having included your in-laws at your sealing and I hope you can talk with them about that. Hopefully it is more valuable to them to have a strong relationship with you, TH and the kids now than to have been in the room for that one moment in time.

    And this brings up 2b) what are your feelings now on things like sealing? I’m sure that’s an incredibly loaded question, and probably one you’re not comfortable posting about publicly, so if that’s the case, that’s cool. I’m familiar with being part of a tradition that has beautiful, sacred, and exclusionary rituals at its core. So I’m always interested to see how other women work through their thoughts about these things. (Because it’s women who are so often excluded, one way or another).

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    D Reply:

    Jenna, would you consider having a vow renewal with your in-laws invited? This is just out of curiousity

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  26. Good for you Jenna. My heart is really warmed by this post!

    I remember being super put off by the mountain post and I wasn’t even a mom– I just birthed in January after spending 9 months being a psycho researchy natural birth crazy woman– hypnobabies, Ina May, yoga, meditation, everything. I got an epidural after having 24 hours of early labor and 20 hours of active labor (including 10 hours of doubled up 2-3 minute contractions). If someone said to me “Taking the ATV, eh?” I think I would have, actually, hit them. I agree completely with the last poster– maybe just put that post to bed– haha!

    Anyway, bravo on this. Thanks.

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    Katherine (aka Sparkles) Reply:

    Love this comment. Ha! I can definitely relate!

    Now being a mom- & JUST became a mom to a second kiddo… Birthing and perspective on our own personal experiences should be the only thing we focus on. I find others birth practices fascinating but wish they werent so “judgy” or opinionated on my journey…

    I am so dang proud of my own birthing accomolishments from my first to my second for different reasons. And i think parenting journeys for 1 child vs another child within the same family should be respected too.

    This is a journey. Exchanging personal paths helps bring us together, learn from the village we create/surround ourselves with and hooefully to uploft one another as we struggle thru those paths.

    I dont think anyone needs to apologize to anyone else. But it was thoughtful to be self reflective on how we may have inadvertently hurt people we learn from or embrace into the “village” of birthing/parenting…

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  27. Jenna, I admit that I haven’t always been a fan of yours, but I am so impressed by your recent posts. It can be very hard to apologize and admit wrongdoing, so kudos to you for your introspection and acknowledgment of how your words and actions have hurt others. I got a little teary reading the part about your wedding; I hope those who were excluded receive your heartfelt apology (I’m not sure if TH’s parents read your blog?). I love the suggestion of holding a vow renewal where TH’s family can be present and involved – that sounds like a beautiful, healing gesture.

    How you deal with your past posts is entirely up to you, but if you’d like to keep them as a marker of your growth, you might consider a note at the top of the post that touches on your change of heart and links to this post.

    Also, I find it inspiring and encouraging to see examples such as yours, showing that there is always room for change and growth. No matter how old we are or what we’ve been through, we don’t have to be who we’ve been in the past or who people think we are, and it is never too late to be a better mother, wife, daughter, or friend. I truly wish you and your family nothing but the best.

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    schmei Reply:

    Hm, adding a disclaimer at the top may be the most artful way to handle the old posts – that’s a good thought.

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  28. This is amazing, Jenna.

    We came to serious blows over the ‘I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain’ post. I was angered by it because my cousin’s wife has recently nearly died (along with their baby) during childbirth and despite her desire to have a drug-free, intervention-free birth. I was super put off by it and I am still yet to have children or experience birth.

    When it comes to your wedding…I don’t think you did a bad thing, as such. Did it hurt TH’s parents not to see their son marry? I am sure it did. But you both included them to the best of your ability within the bounds of your beliefs at the time. It wasn’t a personal attack on them, as such, and I think that while it is something that worries you I do not believe that it was a poisonous thing to do. Don’t be too hard on yourself, y’know?

    Finally I wanted to say that sure, you’re flawed. Everyone is flawed. Gosh, I am the most flawed person I know. I think people have harshly criticised you at times (for good reasons, for bad reasons, and some for pure fun) but I do think for some people there was a frustration and deep concern at the heart of it that a core unhappiness was driving some of the decisions you made and things you said. I don’t see that same unhappiness and I think that’s a really wonderful development and I am super happy for you.

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  29. Welcome to the other side my dear. You’ll like what you find.

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  30. Jenna, while I’ve always enjoyed your photos and you’re a good writer, I had stopped reading your blog for some time because some of the things you were saying were rubbing me the wrong way. You can imagine how shocked I was when I randomly stumbled my way back here and saw that you had left the LDS church! I’m not going to applaud you for leaving Mormonism, because it’s not necessarily about that, but because it’s more important that you’ve learned over the years to have a more open mind. And that is beautiful and exciting. :) Random question, but does this mean you’re going to start trying things that were considered taboo by the LDS church? (Different styles of dress, alcohol, etc) No judgement either way, just curious.

    As for your wedding, I think you’re being too hard on yourself. Yes, I know your in-laws would have very much liked to have been present during the ceremony, but TH is/was(?) also Mormon, and probably also pushed the rule that non-Mormons couldn’t be present? At any rate, I think the vow renewal is a great idea. :)

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  31. It’s interesting how you owning up to your judgment immediately diffuses others’ judgment of you. It’s a love-snowball.

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  32. Oh, I hope you can cut yourself some slack on the wedding stuff. You made the best decision you could for the level of consciousness you had at the time, with all the best intentions and a desire to stick to your values. No one can fault you for that. We’ve ALL made those decisions that we later come to regret. I tell myself that Maya Angelou quote all the time: “You did the best you could at the time. Now that you know better, do better.” Here’s hoping you really can heave it all away and move forward lighter. Here’s hoping we all can, over and over.

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  33. Christy says:

    Wow – This is really amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Wherever I am at any stage of my life, this is probably an exercise I should undertake.

    Thank you.

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  34. Brianna says:

    It’s a brave, brave thing to own up like this. I look back on my life, and there are so many things I’ve done that I wish I had the courage to confess to and ask for forgiveness for. And I haven’t. Yet, here you are, doing it so publicly. I think, in terms of bravery, this is right up there with the “It gets better” video from the BYU students that was out maybe a year ago.(?) Kudos, Jenna. And I hope someday to have this level of bravery.

    There are things that you’ve done and said that I disagree with, but overall, I’ve always really liked your open and honest approach. Glad to see just how seriously you take it. Again, I wish I had that in myself. Maybe someday…

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  35. Danielle says:

    Hi Jenna, I have been reading your blog since we were on Weddingbee (Spring Roll here) together and have never commented. I just wanted to let you know that I am so moved by your recent posts. I personally was hurt by some of the statements made regarding birth plans (had to have a c-section with my daughter due to a high risk pregnancy with Protein S Deficiency) and regarding tattoos (I posted that I had tattoos on the “Secret Life of Bees” and remember being so anxious, worried over how you would think of me, silly I know). I just wanted to let you know that you are so brave and strong for writing these posts and I am so happy for you. Don’t be so hard on yourself regarding your wedding, it is a very stressful time (one of the reasons I dropped off Weddingbee completely, I do wish I would have done it differently and regret it often) and you made the best decision at the time. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  36. Marissa C says:

    I don’t really see the need to apologize about your wedding. It isn’t like you intentionally decided to exclude your in-laws. It was a strict rule of the religion you AND your husband were practicing at the time. While I can understand how it could be hurtful, I think apologizing for this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given your only other choice at the time was essentially to get married out of the church you then cared about. If anything, your husband is more “at fault” here for converting away from his family’s religion–and by “at fault” I mean not at fault at all.

    I say this as a practicing Catholic who would be honestly a little upset at missing a child’s wedding were they in the same situation, but could hardly blame it on the child.

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  37. Jenna, another brave post for you to write. And although you’re in the middle of a thought shift, please don’t feel guilty for things that are in the past. They’re in the past for a reason!

    About your wedding – I’m not sure if this is something you believe in at the moment, and coming from a non-denom. Christian, I will tell you that it’s a tactic from the enemy to make you feel so bad. You had that lovely ring ceremony, and I thought it was so great that your inlaws were right at the temple doors to celebrate. They were genuinely happy for you, and that’s what matters. :)

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  38. Annie @ Marry You Me says:

    Jenna, you are amazingly honest and brave and you have done more soul searching and atoning than most people will ever do in a lifetime. I applaud you and support you on your journey!

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  39. Krzysztof says:

    Hi Jenna, you don’t need to apologize about your wedding. We felt a little bit strange the very moment we had to stay outside the Temple but we accepted this. The whole your wedding was so different from weddings we had participated in Poland and so wonderful and touching that we had treated this particurlar experience rather as a curiosity than as a reason to worry or sorrow.
    We are happy that TH has marvelous wife and now we have phenomenal grand children.
    Hugs&kisses. K&J

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    Jenna Reply:

    I love you guys. We all do.

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  40. Oh Jenna, this makes me want to sit down and have a coffee with you. How I’d love to hang out with such a humbling, honest and beautiful person!
    Is it weird to say I miss you?
    Love to you, Maddy

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  41. maria maria says:

    What a powerful post. Also reading TH’s dad’s reply above made me tear up. What wonderful, sweet in-laws you have.

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  42. Thank you, Jenna.

    I will admit that I had to unfollow you because of how hurt I felt after some of your posts. Your mountain post made me feel less of a mother for both of my deliveries (c-section then vbac) because I failed to do it naturally. I wish we could have met up when you were here in Chicago when you had the cooking classes but I could never get off of work in time.

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  43. LifeonMulberry says:

    LOVE that TFIL posted here. Sending you hugs.

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  44. Bravo! I remind myself every day that they are “mis-takes.” The opportunity to have a second take and do it better the next time.

    “Your willingness to take the risk of making mistakes is actually an expression of courage and a willingness to grow from them. Mistakes are about getting the blessing in the lesson and the lesson in the blessing” – Michael Bernard Beckwith

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  45. Another incredible post! It’s remarkable that now that you’re no longer religious, it seems to me that your soul is opening up and growing in leaps and bounds, shining light on parts of yourself that were dark before. Pretty amazing that you can do that kind of growth on your own – without the guidance and support system and rules of a major religion. I think you should be so proud. Grow Jenna grow!

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  46. Hi Jenna, I’m a regular reader bit an infrequent commenter. I don’t think I can say anything better / different than what’s above, so I just want to say bravo! You’re incredibly brave, and it’s inspiring to see your transformation. PS. I live in the East Bay and would LOVE to be your friend if you need any more. :-)

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    Jenna Reply:

    We just signed a lease for a Fremont home today! Though when people say East Bay they usually mean closer to Berkeley. Why is the area called “East Bay” so large? It’s confusing.

    A few weeks ago I tried to put together a Happy Hollow get-together with a bunch of random people I know from the internet. That one was mom-centered, but I think one that’s desirable for all women, whether they have kids or not, would be really fun!

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    Kellis Reply:

    Jenna, I grew up in Fremont, although I haven’t lived there for about five years. My brother actually still lives in Newark (right next door). I live right at the intersections of where Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville all meet but essentially live and work in Oakland. So you were pretty spot on with your estimation of where I live. haha. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for your next meet up even though I am not a mom. :-)

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    Hannah Reply:

    Are you moving again? So soon!

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    Jenna Reply:

    Too soon. Just over to the southern end of Fremont though. Costs less, better neighborhood, better schools.

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    Hannah Reply:

    Yeah, I was just looking at the pricing for Fremont, it looks like amazing value. Interesting to hear about the schools. Even in the expensive area we are in the schools can be hit and miss. I guess we’ll worry when our children are real and not hypothetical, haha.

    South Bay, Palo Alto in particular, is so expensive! For us it is still cheap compared to Sydney (yay for being the second most expensive city in the world) but compared to Mid West etc it’s crazy!

    Well good luck with the move – hopefully all your lovely new decor fits the space :)

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    Hannah Reply:

    I’d love to come to a non-mon one (though I am used to hanging out with moms and kids) too! This expat wife is getting kinda lonely :/

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  47. The church is a very powerful, manipulative tool. Your apologies are huge, but not necessary. I think when you come out of something like that and can see clearly for the first time you’re even more aware of how distorted your thinking became.

    I am so glad that you’ve found some community. I think that’s the thing that people really need when they are coming out of the Church.

    Thinking of you and cheering you on!

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  48. It’s been a pleasure following your journey. I followed you over from weddingbee (we have a bee friend in common) and while I always found your voice compelling, at first I read your blog because it gave me insight into someone who thought so differently from me. When I read things you wrote that seemed intolerant or exclusionary, I felt sad and fascinated at the same time, since you were clearly also trying to be a kind and well-meaning person. I stuck with your blog when I started noticing signs of evolution–about your childbirth experience, about your consumption of meat and organic foods–and it seemed like you were struggling with a desire to be more free thinking even while you still clung to a rigid belief system (about childbirth, about organics, about religion) to cling to. The leaps you have made recently have been really courageous. I don’t think you need to apologize to me, but your ability to apologize and see others’ perspective shows how incredibly far you have come in your thinking.

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  49. Hi Jenna – I just wanted to say that your posts recently have been so beautiful and moving, and I am really impressed by your bravery. I am motivated by your honesty, and which that more people could be as brave as you.

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  50. Wow. Jenna, I’m floored. I was blown away by your awakening posts and I had a feeling that these posts weren’t too far behind. To be honest, when I saw the huge amount of critical thinking and research that went into your decision to birth T1 at home, I felt like these posts were somewhat inevitable.
    You owe no apology, although I think it demonstrates phenomenal amount of self introspection and humility. I admit, I could have written that “climb that mountain” post when i was pregnant. the realities of labor and motherhood certainly altered my thinking!
    you’re great! you’re wonderful. keep on keeping on! you’re a wonderful mother. and if I ever run into you, I”ll buy you a glass of champagne to toast you!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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