Entrusted with Her Care

“Entrusted with Her Care,” Ensign, July 2003, 66–67

Entrusted with Her Care

On an early morning in January, my husband and I drove to the hospital for the birth of our fifth child, Charlotte. I had been anxious during my pregnancy, and now I fretted to my husband, “What if our baby isn’t all right?”

“Then we’ll love her just the same,” he answered consolingly.

When my daughter finally lay beside me in the delivery room, I examined her. She looked perfect. But when she was whisked away, I asked in alarm, “What’s the matter? Is my baby all right?”

“The doctor will talk to you,” the nurse responded. My stomach knotted, and my worst fears began to surface.

The doctor soon told us that our baby had Down syndrome. Sorrow, disbelief, anger, and guilt boiled up.

“Why us? Why Charlotte?” I questioned. My world seemed to have changed forever, and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Charlotte’s birth was the beginning of the hard times. A short time later my mother-in-law had a stroke; two of our cars broke down; our business struggled; Charlotte required surgery on her eyes, ears, and heart; and the medical bills flooded in.

One particularly overwhelming day, I took Charlotte to our bedroom and said a discouraged prayer. “Heavenly Father, this is more than I can bear. Please help me.” Slowly I got to my feet and turned on the television news, looking for a distraction.

The top story described a plane crash that killed all the passengers. For the first time, I listened to the news in a different way. “Someone’s husband was killed in that crash,” I reflected. “If I had the power to trade places, would I rather be a widow?”

The next story told of a young man arrested for selling drugs. I thought, “That is someone’s son. Would I rather be his mother?” Dawning understanding brought a simple but important realization: we all face trials to help us progress.

I looked over at Charlotte, and some words came clearly to mind: “Why are you so sad when Heavenly Father has sent you a sweet little baby to love?” That was my answer. No plane crashes or drugs—I got to love little Charlotte. Rather than deserting me, Heavenly Father was entrusting me with a child who needed extra care. Realizing the confidence He had placed in me, I felt my bitterness slip away.

Charlotte has taught us peace and appreciation. Although frustrating times come, she is an integral part of our family. She is a little piece of heaven sent to us to love.

  • Annette Candland Alger is a member of the Enterprise Second Ward, Enterprise Utah Stake.