Birth Series Intro- New Year’s Baby

Posted by on January 1, 2014 in women | 4 comments

New-Year-Baby-PicWhen I tell someone my birthday is January 1st, I get one of two responses.

A. “How exciting! You’re a New Year’s baby! Did you get money or gifts?”

B. “How sad for your parents! They just missed the tax break!”

The answer to A is, “No. I was the 23rd baby born in Provo, UT.”  and  my response to B is, “Yes, it was sad. They were so disappointed.” (With their firstborn child? Nope.)

I also get comments about how difficult it must be having a birthday near Christmas. It’s not actually that bad. My parents were dilligent about making sure I still got my party every other year and presents as much as the other kids.  In fact, I really love my birthday. The whole neighborhood, state, country, world is celebrating my birthday! And just because it marks a new start, a new year. That’s what birthdays are all about. Marking one year as passed and the next year as starting fresh.

In honor of a fresh start and the birth of a new year, we Exponent Perma-bloggers and guests are beginning a series on Birth and Rebirth.

Our lovely Spunky has organized a schedule of posts surrounding different aspects of this beautiful concept, including  childbirth, surrogacy, birth of the blog, and baptism as rebirth.

When I asked Spunky about  how the idea to start a Birth series began, she reminded me that our death series from a few years ago, required a balance.

So as you enjoy this series, remember that childbirth does not happen for every woman.  But stories about birth are important for us to hear and share. Think, too, about major events in your life that felt like a rebirth. These events may be a marriage, divorce, career change, illness, or other events that helped you see life through new eyes.  Enjoy the start of the new year and join with us as we consider the beginning of the cycle of life.

When I wondered what I could contribute to this series, Spunky asked me to write a bit about the birth of LDS WAVE.

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Birth of LDS WAVE

Last week I did a podcast with fMh Lisa where she asked me about the birth of WAVE. For me, creating WAVE was a natural progression of Mormon Feminists conversations about troubling LDS church policies and doctrine.  In March of 2010, I wrote a blog post here called, “Mormon Feminist Activism” where I asked questions about our duty as Mormon Feminists to move beyond sharing our stories and begin to work toward change. Several bloggers and commentors on the post agreed and joined with me to start an activist group.  While it took several months for us to select a name, LDS WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice and Equality) became a place to have conversations about what faith and activism meant for Mormon women.  Can we ask for equality? How do we find our voice? What avenues for change are open to us and how do we use them? How do we persuade others to hear our views without sounding strident? What types of action are appropriate or necessary?  These questions are a good place for a group to begin considering as we work for change.

My bachelor’s degree in Political Science and work with non-profit advocacy had given me a strong sense of efficacy- that I can achieve change by working for it.  This is where WAVE began, and still strives to make a difference.  We seek to create awareness, speak to church authorities, and organize our efforts so that we have a more powerful effect.  Our Calls to Action strive to accomplish this by reaching to larger groups, setting a goal and deadline, and using each other for courage and strength. We printed a booklet of quotes for women and are working on a pamphlet to aid church leaders.  Additionally, we have local WAVE groups who meet for support, social justice issues, and book groups.

Looking back on that time, I am grateful to have a strong sisterhood of brilliant women who joined me in the birth of LDS WAVE.  We’ve discovered a lot about ourselves as we have experienced both success, failure, and sometimes fatigue in this cause.  It seems that in the nearly 4 years since it’s inception, I have been thrilled to see the birth of several other Mormon Feminist activist organizations. I hope that WAVE will continue to grow as people who care work for change.  And for anyone who would like to be more involved, we welcome you.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Happy birthday, Jessawhy! And thank you for all of your important work at WAVE and Exponent.

  2. Happy birthday! You know…. people say the dumbest things– i.e. “tax break.” Ugh! Birth is a celebration! I am so grateful for your work in founding WAVE and all you do for Mormon women!

    I am really excited about this series, thank you for starting us off with a bang!

  3. I think the call where we finally figured out the name for WAVE was magical or spiritual (or both). We had talked for so long and then, WAVE emerged. It was a privilege to witness.

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