Holding On to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness
When hopes for motherhood are deferred…
Childlessness remains a taboo topic in today’s culture, especially in Christian circles. Many women feel isolated, ashamed, or uncertain of how to reconcile this trial with a loving God. The death of the dream of motherhood—whether from infertility, barrenness, miscarriage, or the loss of a child—is one of the hardest journeys women can walk through.
In Longing for Motherhood, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik speaks to these burdens specifically. She shares vulnerably about her own journey of childlessness and how she has ultimately come to view her story through the lens of Scripture and our hope in Christ. While remaining tender and empathetic toward suffering and longing, she discusses the comfort we have in knowing that the Lord is sovereign over all, and that His love is sufficient to carry us through any and every situation.
A timely book for women struggling with childlessness, as well as for pastors, friends, and family who want to care for them well, Longing for Motherhood is a tender, truthful companion for a difficult journey.
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“Trials have a way of revealing where our hearts are, where we’ve been placing our trust, and where we’ve been seeking joy, hope, and security” – Author Chelsea Patterson Sobolik
Unlike many other books that only address the issue of childlessness via infertility, this book acknowledges other causes such as child loss, medical conditions and even through life circumstances. It offers great comfort and advice on how to deal with this trial, how to draw closer to God in your grief and how to allow God to work in your life throughout the hardship. This book also has a wonderful chapter written to Pastors, church members and loved ones on how they can help support those who are experiencing childlessness. I particularly loved the last chapter in the book that contained prayers to pray and 30 scriptures to sustain you in the midst of your childlessness.
Throughout this book the message is the same. Childlessness does not define who you are and you should be particularly intentional on not allowing it to. That hope and grief can coexist and that they aren’t at odds with each other.
“The greatest role of a woman is not to be a mother, but rather, to glorify God with our whole lives in whatever circumstances we find ourselves” – Author Chelsea Patterson Sobolik
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At the age of nineteen, Chelsea was told by a doctor that she will never be able to get pregnant. The grief and sorrow she experienced from letting go of the dream to carry her own children threatened her faith in God. Over the years, she still longs for motherhood but can now come alongside others who are experiencing childlessness for different reasons such as infertility, miscarriages, or prolonged singleness.
This book is a powerful and heartfelt resource that reminds women they are not alone in their pain. Chelsea doesn’t shy away from grief, loneliness, and sorrow. The first half of the book is centered on validating those painful emotions rather than ignoring or avoiding them. So much of these chapters were applicable to general grief, sorrow, and loneliness as well as the specific experience of not being able to get pregnant. She then moves on to one of the best explanations I have ever read about the hope we have in Jesus (an assurance of something you can lean on and trust) versus the earthly term of longing for an uncertainty (“I hope it is sunny tomorrow”) in the chapter titled We Have This Hope!
She provides practical ideas for “living out the longing” for motherhood by serving others (such as mentoring) and finishes with a chapter on how our communities can care for those struggling with infertility or other forms of childlessness. Chelsea is honest about her struggles and does not try to appear like she’s figured this whole thing out and she understandably still struggles with longing for motherhood. Her honesty and vulnerability coupled with Scripture-focused explorations of grief, suffering, hope, and healing make this book a valuable resource for anyone who is either experiencing the heartbreak of childlessness or who desires to learn how to serve them better.