Mother’s Day

Episode 86–‘Longing for Motherhood, Holding onto hope in the midst of childlessness’, My Interview with Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.  Civilla Morgan here! I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.

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  • Jordan Morgan

Well, today we have a special guest!

Intro: Chelsea Patterson Sobolik says about herself, ‘There are many ways I could describe myself – wife, author, Congressional staffer, daughter, friend, lover of coffee, fresh flowers, and acoustic music, but the most important thing to know about me is that my heart, mind, and soul belong to my Savior, Jesus Christ. He saved my soul from the eternal separation that I rightly deserve due to my sin, adopted me, redeemed me and calls me His own.

When I’m not writing, I’m working my full-time job, as a Legislative Assistant on child welfare policy on Capitol Hill – basically, I get to help work on policies that would make adoption and foster care better, and help improve the lives of children.

My heart lights on fire whenever I get to write or talk about adoption! A large part of that stems from the fact that I was adopted from Bucharest, Romania as a child. Apart from my salvation, being adopted is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I grew up in North Carolina, with five adopted siblings from Eastern Europe!  I am a graduate of Liberty University.

My husband Michael and I call Washington D.C. home as of a couple of years ago, and it’s been the adventure of a lifetime. While I do miss parts of the south – for instance, people smiling at me and being generally more kind, D.C. quickly became home. I live on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks away from the Capitol, and  I work for one of my heroes. DC stole my heart, and I love getting to do life here.

Welcome, Chelsea!

Well, I think I wrote down 20 questions and points that stood out to me as I read your book. It was so hard to pull out just a few. But let’s get started!

  1. The Gospel Coalition website has a blog post you wrote back in January 2017.  I’ve put the link to that post in the show notes under your contact information. But some of us were not able to adopt.

In fact ‘why don’t you just adopt’ is a question every childless not by choice woman I know has been asked.

It’s actually a pet peeve in the childless not by choice community, because if we had wanted to or were able to adopt, we would have.

The average adoption these days is about $30k. Your job description is to work ‘as a Legislative Assistant on child welfare policy on Capitol Hill – basically, I get to help work on policies that would make adoption and foster care better, and help improve the lives of children.’

Was that on purpose? Do you ever have moments when you feel left out?

2) As I read the foreword to your book ‘Longing for Motherhood, the author of the foreword said, he ‘fully expects that sometime after this book is published and in your hands, Chelsea will, in fact, find herself a mother of children…but if not, she is not deprived.’ I had to read that a couple of times…but I was a little confused, especially after reading the reason for your childlessness–Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser syndrome (MRKH). I even wondered if he referred to your job of helping to make the adoption process easier?  

3) I recognized so many parallels between your experience and mine as I read your book. Grief is truly a globally felt and understood, or maybe I should say misunderstood, language; regardless of anything else that may differentiate us.  I begged and bargained with God. I told my mom she has five children of her own, and that she did not really understand my pain. Grief made me angry. Would you speak to the woman who is currently in the midst of the anger phase of her grief?  

4) In the chapter, ‘Equipping the church to care for the childless’,  Thank you by the way, for highlighting the fact that some women are not only childless, we are husbandless. It’s what I like to call the double whammy. What do you think it will take to get the church to realize that the congregation is now more than ever, made up of more than mom, dad, and kids, but that there are single never married people, there are widowed people, there are childless people?

5)  In chapter two, you talked about redeeming the dead time in the day. It is so important to protect our thought life, isn’t it?

6) You mention that it is OK not to be OK. Can you encourage the woman or man out there, that is not feeling OK and wonders how to get through those feelings?

7) Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, I had so many notes, but as we wrap up, would you leave us with a word of encouragement with something you said in chapter 3: ‘your trials have an expiration date?

8) Chelsea, thank you so much for your time today. You are speaking to women and men who listen all around the world. You have a global audience. Is there anything else you would like to add that we should have covered?  

Thank you for your time today Chelsea!

Chelsea’s contact information:

Website: http://www.chelseapattersonsobolik.com

Book: ‘Longing for Motherhood, Holding onto Hope in the Midst of Childlessness’

Blog posts:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/today-is-my-birthday-because-my-mom-chose-life/

(January 2017)

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/profile/chelsea-patterson/

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” Elisabeth Elliot

Books suggested by Chelsea:

‘The Broken Way’, by Ann Voskamp

‘Spiritual Depression’, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Articles and links of note:

If you have not listened yet, below is a link to my episode ‘Adopt for the Right Reasons’

https://childlessnotbychoice.net/episode-82-adopt-for-the-right-reasons/

My contact information:

Website: https://childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com

Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan

Twitter: @civilla1

Instagram: @joyandrelevance

Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM

LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM

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Thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice.

I appreciate it!

Until next time! Bye!

I Feel Like a Fraud

‘I feel like a fraud.’ That’s what I told my brother. And that’s what I told a very good friend of mine. It was a few days after Mother’s Day here in the US. I had been afraid to verbalize it to anyone because I wasn’t sure what reaction I would get.

How could I possibly be two years into building a platform created to help women who are childless not by choice feel better about themselves? Feel better about their lives? Many of you know, my byline: ‘Living a joyful and relevant life although childless not by choice.’

It all started a few days before Mother’s Day. It always does. I thought I had gotten over the feelings of loss enough to make it through Mother’s Day without feeling like a second-class citizen when the pastor asked all the mothers to stand, as I remained seated. It’s a feeling only childless not by choice women could understand. At least the ones who are not over the pain. Because I hear tell there are childless not by choice women who are ‘over it’.

My brother said, ‘maybe one day you will realize how many people you have helped.’ He just could not understand how I could feel this way after telling him how the platform was finally taking a hold and growing.

My good friend said ‘you are not a fraud. Your primary audience is the women who feel the way you do. How could you talk to them if you did not understand how they feel?’ Then she recounted the multiple organizations and platforms that were created out of someone’s grief. I understood what she was saying. I understood what they both were saying. But will there ever come a Mother’s Day when my heart will be OK with remaining seated while all around me mothers stand up and accept their due recognition? 

How could I possibly encourage childless not by choice people when my heart still breaks on Mother’s Day. It’s not too bad the other 364 days of the year. And I do not want to dim the light of recognition for mothers. After all, I have a mother. And every day I am thankful for her. But the fact is, the way God answered my prayers, my begging, my deal-making, was to not answer. Healing did not come. The adoption did not come. Honestly, I would have been more than OK with never marrying if I had had the child. But to hit a brick wall every turn I took was hard. 

How am I supposed to convince other women that we can live relevant and joyful lives when I still battle sadness and a broken heart? How could I not be a fraud? But  I am not. I am not because I battle those feelings and I help the childless not by choice anyway demographic anyway. When I battle and help, I am being transparent. And there is no such thing as a transparent fraud.

 

Childless not by Choice? Fight The Urge!

It can sometimes be difficult to watch others so easily get what you have begged, prayed, even bargained with God for.  Negative thoughts and feelings can start to creep in, and start to overstay their welcome.  And before you know it, the wrong comment at the wrong time could create an unwanted firestorm!

Allowing negative thoughts and feelings such as jealousy, envy, bitterness, and even hate; can create an emptiness inside.  Life is too short to allow this negativity to live inside you.

 Good news! You have all the control within you to fight those thoughts and feelings. You must fight them! But please know it boils down to choice. To live your best, most relevant and joyful life, you have to choose to deal with and manage your emotions and feelings.

These feelings are real. Every emotion and feeling is real. There have been many moments in my life when I had to fight back the tears. But I did not get envious or jealous. I never wanted what the other person had, I just wanted what I thought I deserved.  What I did do was to question God a lot. ‘Why not me?’ ‘What did I do to deserve this childlessness?’ ‘What is so wrong with wanting a child?’ ‘Why was it so difficult for my prayers to be answered?’

I finally decided that entertaining negative emotions and feelings would not help in the long run. I realized that having children is something that is typically taken for granted. But I could not allow how easily children came to others, to affect my heart and my mind. I had to choose.   

Choose instead, to entertain good, positive, self-affirming thoughts instead of the negative ones.  Choose instead to manage your thoughts and feelings. Choose instead, to think about the good in your life although you did not get the children you wanted. Life did not work out the way you expected, but there is some amount of good happening for you. If there isn’t, create it! You have the power to do so!

Creating and living your best, most joyful life is your role. No one else can do that for you. Observing or envying the life of another woman is not healthy or good.  And you do not need to live a negative, subpar life. Fight the negativity. Choose life.