Serve your spouse, love your kids, be awesome!

Justin Bertelsen

In my sophomore year at BYU-I, Jill and I decided that we wanted to start our family. We still had a couple more years of school, but we had always wanted to be parents and felt that it was right. We got pregnant and things were going pretty well. But Jill started getting these pains in her side… It was her gallbladder. We were concerned with how serious it was and we were worried if it would negatively impact our unborn child. We weren’t happy with the medical care we were getting so Jill was 32 weeks, we switched doctors. At 37 weeks Jill was induced and the next day after a pretty quick labor, our sweet little Ross came into the world. Ross was born on November 21st, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving which was 2 weeks before finals… Bringing him home was rewarding but also super stressful. Thankfully, my mother-in-law came to stay with us for about a week. She made us Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, the whole nine yards. It was a new experience trying to balance school and having a kid, but it was and is well worth it.

After that semester we went back to my in-laws house in Boise because Jill had to get her gallbladder removed. I tried to be the best husband and dad that I could be but… let’s face it dads, that first few months is hard. Staying with my in-laws (who are some of the most angelic people I know) was difficult as I felt powerless to help my struggling wife. Jill was having a hard time with breastfeeding, was recovering from surgery, and trying to bond with our new baby. I thought to myself, “how can I fix this?” I learned in that small orange room in the corner of that house, that as a Dad, there is only so much you can do. Your role in situations like these is to support and uplift the best you can. I suggest that instead of worrying about not being able to breastfeed, try doing the dishes or sweeping the floor. These small acts of service can show your spouse that you two are a team and that she can rely on you. When she feels that you become more united and develop a stronger relationship.

Those initial few months were really difficult for our family and maybe some of you are struggling with similar issues. I encourage you to look outside yourself and serve. Now that the first months are over, coming home to Ross after a hard day of studying is the sweetest part of my day. I am motivated by their smiles and my responsibility to provide and care for them as a dad.

I maintain that being a parent is the most rewarding experience we have in life. It is our job to raise the next generation of good people, who through their good examples can help other people become better people. 

Serve your spouse, love your kids, be awesome.

Thank you!