You know you’ve found a good book when you want to buy extra copies to give away to friends.
I’ve read a lot of infertility books in the last few years and Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss by Jennifer Saake is my favorite so far.
Saake suffered through over ten years of failed infertility treatments, miscarriages, and adoption loss. She ultimately gave birth to three living children, but endured very difficult pregnancies and post-partum depression. She beautifully weaves together elements from her own experience and from the Biblical story of Hannah while asking the question, “Would I choose bitterness and self-destruction, or growth and renewed hope?”
One of my favorite things about this book is that it’s not just written for people going through infertility. Each chapter ends with a section called “Burden Bearers” with tips and ideas for family, friends, or clergy who want to support their loved ones suffering from the disease. I found the Burden Bearers section for the chapter of miscarriage especially poignant:
“If my baby has died, please do remember my child. Remember that I am a mother… If my miscarriage was “early,” don’t think my baby was any less a person, any less my child, any less significant, than if he had died later in life… I know that somehow God can work even this for His good purpose, but right now I need you to validate my grief.”
Saake is not shy about how she wrestled with God and the church. She’s one of the only Christian authors I’ve read who acknowledges how difficult it can be to attend church during infertility, and dedicates an entire chapter to exploring this struggle. Here she writes about the lack of support after a miscarriage:
“I begged the body of Christ to offer me biblically grounded answers about my baby’s eternal security after death, only to find a double standard among many pro-life Christians who insist that a baby should never be aborted, yet treat a miscarriage as a nonperson.”
I particularly resonated with how she felt about attending worship services:
“The drama of fertility challenges often painfully performs on the stage of church participation. Public worship, in and of itself, opens the floodgates of my emotions so that I react to all stimuli more intently. Music is designed to open my spirit to connect with The Lord, but in doing so, it can also peel the scab off my hurting soul. Prayer is a window from my heart to God’s. The Word of God is a double-edged sword that can painfully pierce my heart in ways I may not be able to publicly handle when I’m already so fragile…these feelings are fine between God and me, but in church they easily become a public spectacle.”
But the real beauty of the book isn’t in her ability to so accurately describe the pain of infertility; it’s in her challenge to serve others and to choose hope despite the pain. There’s an entire chapter on how churches can minister to people struggling with infertility. And in the chapter entitled “Worshipping While Waiting,” she challenges readers to view their waiting time as an act of worship and faith.
“Living in the ongoing unknown made worship a true sacrifice. Blind faith was sometimes fearful, painful faith, especially whenever I tried to exercise it in my own strength. Fortunately, each time I made even the meekest attempt to reach out to the Lord, my Father was there to hold my hand and guide me along the way.”
I highly recommend Hannah’s Hope to anyone who is struggling with God or with the church during infertility. It’s the most honest, well-written Christian book on infertility I’ve read and I wish I had read it earlier in my journey.
Have you read Hannah’s Hope? Does is sound like something you’d like to read? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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