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Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood

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"Jamie Sumner's book is wonderful. The story she tells is so honest and encouraging and her writing is terrific. I love it and I am happy for her and the release of such a wonderful book. I know God's going to do great things with it, and with her." ---Rory Feek, singer/songwriter In UNBOUND, JAMIE SUMNER helps women who are struggling with the pressures of motherhood find "Jamie Sumner's book is wonderful. The story she tells is so honest and encouraging and her writing is terrific. I love it and I am happy for her and the release of such a wonderful book. I know God's going to do great things with it, and with her." ---Rory Feek, singer/songwriter In UNBOUND, JAMIE SUMNER helps women who are struggling with the pressures of motherhood find comfort, hope and companionship by detailing her own difficult journey and highlighting women of the Bible who triumphed in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Women, especially Christian women, do not talk enough about the reality of motherhood: the enormous struggles it takes to get there, the loneliness of it, the unspoken or unmet expectations. We are often too afraid, ashamed, or unwilling to share our stories of disillusionment or pain. We quietly absorb the posts of sonograms and happily messy houses on Facebook as we inwardly wonder what's the matter with us. We listen to friends coo about their child's latest success as we watch our own terrorize their sibling or scream for an hour. We struggle to raise kids with special needs, physical disabilities, and social challenges, caught by surprise that this is what motherhood looks like. With honesty and vulnerability, JAMIE SUMNER walks readers through each chapter of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting and pairs it with that of a woman in the Bible so that readers can find comfort, hope, companionship and honesty rooted in biblical truths. The book is broken into four parts: The Wanting, The Waiting, The Getting and The Appreciating. UNBOUND will share the heartbreak of infertility and offer encouragement from someone who has had to wait for the fulfillment of motherhood; detail the specifics of infertility treatments, miscarriage, and raising special needs children through a Christian lens; honestly discuss the expectations versus the reality of being a mother; and highlight specific biblical women in each chapter who did not fit the expectations of their times through verses, scriptural anecdotes and guiding questions. UNBOUND shows you through Scripture how to be thankful for each step wherever it leads. Happiness is found as we release into His hands our own well-laid plans for His better, and more beautiful one, no matter how different it may look from what we first imagined.


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"Jamie Sumner's book is wonderful. The story she tells is so honest and encouraging and her writing is terrific. I love it and I am happy for her and the release of such a wonderful book. I know God's going to do great things with it, and with her." ---Rory Feek, singer/songwriter In UNBOUND, JAMIE SUMNER helps women who are struggling with the pressures of motherhood find "Jamie Sumner's book is wonderful. The story she tells is so honest and encouraging and her writing is terrific. I love it and I am happy for her and the release of such a wonderful book. I know God's going to do great things with it, and with her." ---Rory Feek, singer/songwriter In UNBOUND, JAMIE SUMNER helps women who are struggling with the pressures of motherhood find comfort, hope and companionship by detailing her own difficult journey and highlighting women of the Bible who triumphed in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Women, especially Christian women, do not talk enough about the reality of motherhood: the enormous struggles it takes to get there, the loneliness of it, the unspoken or unmet expectations. We are often too afraid, ashamed, or unwilling to share our stories of disillusionment or pain. We quietly absorb the posts of sonograms and happily messy houses on Facebook as we inwardly wonder what's the matter with us. We listen to friends coo about their child's latest success as we watch our own terrorize their sibling or scream for an hour. We struggle to raise kids with special needs, physical disabilities, and social challenges, caught by surprise that this is what motherhood looks like. With honesty and vulnerability, JAMIE SUMNER walks readers through each chapter of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting and pairs it with that of a woman in the Bible so that readers can find comfort, hope, companionship and honesty rooted in biblical truths. The book is broken into four parts: The Wanting, The Waiting, The Getting and The Appreciating. UNBOUND will share the heartbreak of infertility and offer encouragement from someone who has had to wait for the fulfillment of motherhood; detail the specifics of infertility treatments, miscarriage, and raising special needs children through a Christian lens; honestly discuss the expectations versus the reality of being a mother; and highlight specific biblical women in each chapter who did not fit the expectations of their times through verses, scriptural anecdotes and guiding questions. UNBOUND shows you through Scripture how to be thankful for each step wherever it leads. Happiness is found as we release into His hands our own well-laid plans for His better, and more beautiful one, no matter how different it may look from what we first imagined.

30 review for Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michele Morin

    Motherhood: Learning the Ropes of Joy Motherhood, for me, started out like a tightrope walk. To keep my balance and maintain my place on the tightly stretched wire, I read all the books, analyzed all the angles, second guessed all the decisions, and the only thing that saved my sanity is that Google had not been invented yet. I’m still in the process of taking grace for this mothering gig, and one huge encouragement along the way is the shared experiences of others. Jamie Sumner is also a mother w Motherhood: Learning the Ropes of Joy Motherhood, for me, started out like a tightrope walk. To keep my balance and maintain my place on the tightly stretched wire, I read all the books, analyzed all the angles, second guessed all the decisions, and the only thing that saved my sanity is that Google had not been invented yet. I’m still in the process of taking grace for this mothering gig, and one huge encouragement along the way is the shared experiences of others. Jamie Sumner is also a mother who walks on the tightly-wound side, and Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood is a memoir of her mothering journey in which she allows her own story to tell itself, while weaving in fresh re-tellings of the familiar life stories of biblical women. It was none other than Sarah and Hannah, Elisabeth and Naomi who walked with Jamie in The Wanting and The Waiting of infertility. It was Mary Magdalene, Martha, and a choir of lesser known biblical women who sang her through The Getting and The Appreciating of a high-risk pregnancy, a ten-week endurance test in the NICU, and the white knuckle gauntlet of learning to parent an extremely fragile special needs infant. The conflict that persists throughout the book’s narrative arc is Jamie’s struggle to “stay present, be still, and take notice of the moment” she was in. Being “in” a season of infertility presented a persistent reinforcement of the truth that even a much-wanted baby would not fill Jamie and her husband Jody’s hollowness in a way that was eternally satisfying. Years of shots and pills and finally the roller coaster of IVF made it hard to stay close to their mission statement: What was all this about, anyway? The Wanting and the Waiting As she waited for “success,” Jamie threw herself into her teaching career and went about the business of lesson plans and grading papers as a distraction from the continual pondering of the state of her uterus. Progress was always followed by set backs, and the devastation of miscarriage mirrored the empty/full, empty/full rhythms of Naomi’s life in the book of Ruth. Jamie identified with Mrs. Noah, pacing the deck of the ark and feeling like a spectator in her own life’s story. The Getting and the Appreciating Throughout her first pregnancy, Jamie worked hard to “turn down worry” and “crank up the trust,” which is a continual battle in a process over which one has so little control. Coping with waves of uncertainty and an always-changing prognosis, Jamie was Mary Magdalene, sitting on a hard rock during a long sermon on a Galileean hillside. She was a frayed and frazzled Miriam in the thirty-fifth year in the desert. Learning the ropes of joy meant embracing the blessing of birth and the promise of new life while living with the bitter disappointment that came when waves of bad news continually washed over their days. Images of Motherhood Unbound comes from the perspective of a young mother against the backdrop of infertility, high-risk pregnancy, and parenting toddler twins plus a special needs pre-schooler with a chromosomal defect and cerebral palsy. Jamie’s story will encourage and lighten the load of readers who are living a similar journey, but her insights on mothering transcend any particular season. The voice of Unbound is a dialogue between reader and author, and feels like the conversations that happen among mums over coffee around a mult-generational table. Reading Unbound, I was reminded that Motherhood is: a sky dive into unknown territory where your shoot won’t open until the very last possible second, and only when someone else pulls the cord; (76) an endless attempt to get your legs back; (115) a long way to fall without a net; (107) a continually changing plan that has you kicking the tires and eating fried rice; (140) a continual reminder that we cannot claim possession of either our lives or the lives of those we love. (166) Tracing the Outlines of Grace We come through the challenges of mothering NOT because of our own incredible giftedness or the presence of a “mom-gene” (157) that imparts super powers and exalted wisdom. Women become mothers and thrive in the role because there are “outlines of grace” (153) on our story, even though they are not visible to us all the time. When Mary of Nazareth sang the poignant theology of the Magnificat, she was operating in faith that the new upside-down of her life was part of a bigger plan. When the impoverished New Testament widow emptied her pockets and let those two coins fall away, she was exercising trust for an unseen and improbable future. In the NICU and beyond, Jamie and Jody Sumner have parented their children in the context of a growing faith that prays two-coin-prayers for God to “keep [their son] protected and deliver him to [them] in whatever state He saw fit.” (177) Faith unbound perseveres in prayer no matter what. Hanging on hard to the ropes of joy, faith prays and doesn’t give up during seasons of infertility, during the sturm und drang of toddlerhood, against the hum of hospital emergency equipment, when the engine of the teen’s new truck is revving in the driveway, or when the grandchildren are coming for their first overnight. Throughout our wildly varied parenting journeys, may we find freedom from anxiety and unrealistic expectations as we trust God and pray: “Please help us to be good stewards of our own lives and any life you grant us.” (192) Please. Amen and amen. Thank you to Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. for providing a copy of this book for my review which is, of course, freely and honestly given.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    What Caught My Eye: I spied this on the "New Book" shelf at my local library. Reading the subtitle I didn't really think it was a book for me, as I'm not yet a mother, but I read the back anyway. And this is the sentence that caught me; "With honesty and vulnerability, Jamie Sumner walks readers through each stage of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting." So, maybe, at least a part of this book would be relevant to me now...I added it to my armload to che What Caught My Eye: I spied this on the "New Book" shelf at my local library. Reading the subtitle I didn't really think it was a book for me, as I'm not yet a mother, but I read the back anyway. And this is the sentence that caught me; "With honesty and vulnerability, Jamie Sumner walks readers through each stage of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting." So, maybe, at least a part of this book would be relevant to me now...I added it to my armload to check out and headed home.
The Reading: I'd like to say I picked it right up when I got home from the library, but that was not the case. I actually had to renew it once before I started reading it. When I did dive in, though, it took me less than a week to finish it. The style of Jamie's writing is like she's chatting with a friend and it flowed fairly well. There are questions at the end of each chapter for reflection and Scripture readings that she references, but, to be honest, I'm going to have to read it again and do all of those. The first time through I just wanted to know her story and where it was going. As much as I do appreciate those added details, I just didn't want to be interrupted by them.
My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Going into it I imagined maybe just the first bit would deal with her journey through infertility, but there was so much more than I bargained for. I imagined that the "unrealistic expectations of motherhood" were how some people think it's all going to be rainbows and sunshine. Or how some people think "I'd never do that as a mom." That's not what she was addressing at all. What she spoke of was how the road to motherhood often does not go as expected. It often doesn't go as we plan. It sometimes doesn't even go as we hope.
There were times when it felt like Jamie wasn't telling her story, she was telling mine. I cried numerous times as she wrote of experiences I have also had, thoughts that have also crossed my mind (or just plain have gotten stuck in there), and prayers I, too, have prayed. The beginning of her story is so like mine: I read about how she found out her sister-in-law was pregnant, the joy and sadness felt, only a couple days before finding out that my sweet sister-in-law, whose road to pregnancy was also more difficult than expected, is expecting her first child. The comfort in knowing reading someone's story that feels so similar to mine is really indescribable. I'm touched every time someone shares their story with me to let me know that I'm not alone and I'm thankful to Jamie for putting her story out there where so many women who may be facing similar circumstances can read it an know that they, too, are not alone.
I would be remiss not to mention more of the set-up of the book. Jamie writes each chapter in such a way so that it brings in a story of a different woman from the Bible. There are the expected ones about Hannah and Sarah, but the one that stood out to me the most was the one about the woman with the issue of blood. We never know her name, only that she has been bleeding for 12 years. Twelve years! She hears that Jesus is coming through town and knows she must see Him. Her faith is strong and she knows that if she just so much as touches His robes she'll be healed. And that's exactly what happens.
What I love about Jamie's writing is her honesty throughout. She speaks of the woman with the issue of blood during the time she finds out her sister-in-law is pregnant. She doesn't identify with this woman, but she does identify with someone else in the story; Jairus. Jairus was leading Jesus to his daughter who was ill when the woman stopped Him. In the delay a messenger comes to tell Jairus that his daughter has died. He feels like his opportunity for a miracle has passed. Who ever wants to admit that they doubt the might and power of our Lord? It's not something anyone does with pride (and if they do, they have even more issues). I have great respect for Jamie and her honesty throughout this book. She reminds us what I try to remind myself of often; that God uses unexpected means to accomplish His will. Some of her final thoughts wrap it all up rather nicely:
“Life is a continual etching and erasing. We form expectations, and God forms reality. Sometimes they line up nicely, like tracings at right angles. And sometimes God plays Jackson Pollock and we're all over the place. But the point of it all is that a masterpiece is being made.”
Who Should Read This Book: I highly recommend this book to anyone going through infertility, anyone who has suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, anyone who has found out their baby will have difficulties because of a diagnosis while still in utero, and anyone who has a baby in the NICU for any length of time. I also think this would be a great read for women who have friends, sisters, or daughters in any of these situations. While not all experiences are the same, if someone you love is going through something like this and she seems somewhat unapproachable, this book might give a little insight.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Has your path to motherhood looked different than the other women around you? While many women do have "normal" pregnancies, for some women, there can be challenges. Perhaps getting pregnant was an unexpected challenge. For others, things don't go as planned with the pregnancy resulting in miscarriage or other difficulties. Jamie Sumner in Unbound shares her journey to motherhood, which involved a lot of courage. Through her story, I believe other women can gain courage. Unbound is sort of a moth Has your path to motherhood looked different than the other women around you? While many women do have "normal" pregnancies, for some women, there can be challenges. Perhaps getting pregnant was an unexpected challenge. For others, things don't go as planned with the pregnancy resulting in miscarriage or other difficulties. Jamie Sumner in Unbound shares her journey to motherhood, which involved a lot of courage. Through her story, I believe other women can gain courage. Unbound is sort of a motherhood memoir of her story from trying to conceive to giving birth paired with women throughout the Bible. It is divided into four sections: The Wanting, The Waiting, The Getting and The Appreciating. She shares her story in detail but with beautiful prose as she and her husband struggle through infertility to having a child. It is a beautifully told story where she bares her heart and soul. Through her story she effortlessly tells the stories of Bible women such as Hannah, Naomi, Hagar and Sarah, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, among others. In each chapter she shares details of her life and also shares how the Bible women relate to her story. At the end of each chapter are a few questions to think about as well as Scriptures to reference. Through reading Unbound, I truly have a new appreciation for those women who have faced infertility challenges. That was not my story but I had other challenges that I could relate to with her story after our son was born. This book would be especially encouraging for women who have had pregnancy challenges and/or children with special needs. I especially like how real and honest Sumner is. I also like how she relates her story to the Bible women and really brings their stories to life for the reader. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shelby Spear

    Okay, so I have a confession to make. Up to the point of reading Jamie Sumner’s new book, I’ve taken for granted one of the most precious gifts God’s given me. Not once, not twice, but THREE times God blessed me with an easy peasy experience of getting pregnant, carrying to full-term, and delivering a healthy child into my world. Aside from some morning sickness and a scare with our second son who stopped breathing momentarily at 5-days-old because of reflux, my journey of baby making was simple. Okay, so I have a confession to make. Up to the point of reading Jamie Sumner’s new book, I’ve taken for granted one of the most precious gifts God’s given me. Not once, not twice, but THREE times God blessed me with an easy peasy experience of getting pregnant, carrying to full-term, and delivering a healthy child into my world. Aside from some morning sickness and a scare with our second son who stopped breathing momentarily at 5-days-old because of reflux, my journey of baby making was simple. I even weathered three natural childbirths without the numbing stuff. (But I might have cussed like a sailor during one of them...) I’ve heard many stories and have prayed for countless mommas struggling with infertility, complications, miscarriages, etc. But not until I read Jamie’s book did I recognize how I’d barely scratched the surface of gratitude for my waltz into motherhood. Reading about Jamie’s path towards the birth of her first miracle, Charlie, unraveled me. What this dear woman endured is beyond comprehension for someone on the outside looking in. Yet, somehow Jamie weaved words with delicate precision to draw the reader into every gripping detail with beauty and grace. This book left me awestruck and inspired by Jamie’s courage and resolve in her pursuit of becoming a mom against inconceivable odds. She gives new meaning to spiritual surrender, which is not to say she didn’t battle with trust issues along the way. You’ll find her honesty refreshing as you come to realize she is just like the rest of us who, when facing overwhelming challenges, struggle to put one front in front of the other along our walk of faith. Adding to what is already a powerful and moving testimony by Jamie, is her brilliance in intertwining her circumstances with those of fearless Biblical women. Women who had to overcome what seemed like insurmountable situations. Jamie gives us an opportunity to lean into and find hope in these timeless stories. As far as the specifics of Jamie’s story, I don’t want to give anything away up front. You deserve to hear the details straight from Jamie’s beautiful heart and empowering spirit. Her words are destined to transform you and deepen your faith in countless ways. After you read this book, you’ll want to soak up more of Jamie’s flair for expressing the emotions of motherhood and life. So check out her website at http://mom-gene.com/ and follow her all over social media. Jamie also writes for several online sites including Her View From Home and the Washington Post, and is an editor at http://www.literarymama.com/ You may have seen Jamie’s heartfelt and viral story about Charlie that made the internet rounds on sites everywhere back in April, but if not here’s a link: https://herviewfromhome.com/my-target... God bless you, The Mom Gene with Jamie Sumner Thank you for opening my heart and soul…

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    In Unbound, Jamie tells the full story of how she became a mom through unbelievable trials and heartache while clinging to her faith. I’m grateful she has bravely shared her story with the world. Jamie is a master wordsmith. Each sentence is carefully crafted and well-written. I love her wry sense of humor, her throwback 1980’s and 1990’s references, and her surprising-yet-spot-on metaphors. The book took me longer to read than expected, since I savored the thousands of word pictures she created. In Unbound, Jamie tells the full story of how she became a mom through unbelievable trials and heartache while clinging to her faith. I’m grateful she has bravely shared her story with the world. Jamie is a master wordsmith. Each sentence is carefully crafted and well-written. I love her wry sense of humor, her throwback 1980’s and 1990’s references, and her surprising-yet-spot-on metaphors. The book took me longer to read than expected, since I savored the thousands of word pictures she created. Worth the slower reading speed. She writes about infertility in all its heart-wrenching stages, including IVF. I burst into sobs several times, empathizing with her mama heart. I won’t give her story away here…it’s so rich and beautiful, you simply must read it for yourself. In every chapter of Unbound, Jamie retells the story of a woman from the Bible in her own words. I was impressed with her application of scripture to her memoir, and I gained new perspectives from her insights. She is real and gritty about her faith, and I appreciate her vulnerable honesty rather than candy-coated tomes. Never again will I say trite things to someone struggling with infertility–I’m grateful for Jamie’s lessons. In terms of style, this is one of the finest books I’ve read in a long time. The story will break your heart and make it soar again. Be sure to have a box of tissues nearby, and enjoy the empathetic ride. Five star book! I received a free preview copy of this book from FaithWords.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hillary Baden

    I have to be honest and say I didn't enjoy this book as much as I expected to. I think it would be better described as an autobiography of a journey through infertility. I didn't realize the majority of the book would be about the author's experience with infertility. Not that I don't appreciate her story, it just would have changed my interest in reading this book in the first place. I myself was someone who didn't get pregnant a quickly as I had desired to so it was very relate-able, but did n I have to be honest and say I didn't enjoy this book as much as I expected to. I think it would be better described as an autobiography of a journey through infertility. I didn't realize the majority of the book would be about the author's experience with infertility. Not that I don't appreciate her story, it just would have changed my interest in reading this book in the first place. I myself was someone who didn't get pregnant a quickly as I had desired to so it was very relate-able, but did not end up needing to go down the road of IVF so I thought this was a really helpful perspective of a walk through infertility...there's a lot more to it than I realized...so many highs and lows! I would have appreciated more details of how Jamie specifically spiritually "got through" her miscarriages and disappointments. I think it would have been helpful to know how to better support a friend going through that. I did however appreciate how Jamie examines a women from the Bible in each chapter and connected it to her story, as well as offering questions to reflect on after each chapter. Though this wasn't the "typical" motherhood book I was expecting, I would recommend it to anyone struggling with infertility or anyone who knows a loved one or friend who is as it offers a very real and honest perspective of what that journey looks like. *I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    There is so much to appreciate about this book. Each chapter unpacks a part of one couple's journey in becoming parents, through the trials and injustice of infertility and high-risk pregnancy. Each account is honest and offers the reader a window into an incredibly private and difficult ways to grow a family. Each account is also couched in a spiritual story, mainly with sheroes from the Bible. I learned a lot about fertility treatments as well as major and minor characters in the Bible--both t There is so much to appreciate about this book. Each chapter unpacks a part of one couple's journey in becoming parents, through the trials and injustice of infertility and high-risk pregnancy. Each account is honest and offers the reader a window into an incredibly private and difficult ways to grow a family. Each account is also couched in a spiritual story, mainly with sheroes from the Bible. I learned a lot about fertility treatments as well as major and minor characters in the Bible--both topics of which I only had a cursory knowledge. The Bible stories are well-told and appropriate and give the reader a lot to reflect on without being heavy-handed. My biggest criticism of the book was the overly metaphoric language. The comparisons were overdone and often seemed patronizing. I also found the title to be misleading. There are some universal themes the book covers that the subtitle implies (letting go of the expectations of motherhood) but there are so few books written about infertility, miscarriage, the loneliness of waiting one's turn, that I think this book might get overlooked if it weren't more clear how specific and resonant this story could be to someone struggling with these same situations. I would love to read more by Sumner, particularly faith-based reflections on motherhood.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Ramirez

    I received an early copy of this book and devoured it. Jamie Sumner's honest look at the expectations we put on ourselves as mothers, as well as how to try to release them, is beautiful, hilarious, and gut-wrenching. Sumner shares her journey to motherhood, which included infertility and many unexpected turns, and opens up about all the emotions she experienced while waiting for her life as a mother to begin. Interspersed with Sumner's story are the stories of women from the Bible. Sumner seamles I received an early copy of this book and devoured it. Jamie Sumner's honest look at the expectations we put on ourselves as mothers, as well as how to try to release them, is beautiful, hilarious, and gut-wrenching. Sumner shares her journey to motherhood, which included infertility and many unexpected turns, and opens up about all the emotions she experienced while waiting for her life as a mother to begin. Interspersed with Sumner's story are the stories of women from the Bible. Sumner seamlessly weaves these Biblical narratives in and helps even those of us who have read them a thousand times see these women in a new light. Sumner's voice is unique, her message redemptive, and her story impossible to put down. The messages and lessons she learned are universal and already etched in my mind to recall when I have one of those days where I need to remember to release my expectations and lean into the already-written story. The questions at the end of each chapter make this book perfect to use for daily journaling, and it would also be a great read for any book club or Bible study. No matter how you choose to read it, this is a book worth reading.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan Shipe

    I became familiar with Jamie and their story from her blog at mom-gene. It's funny how one connects to a person online without ever sitting together or sharing a cuppa. But, connect, we did. Her sense of humor is magnetic and her writing is like a big bag of M&M's...saying to the words like the inanimate bag, "NO MORE. Ok, just one more." UNBOUND is the story of Jamie and Jody's journey to family. And, what a story it is. One of anxiety, anticipation, angst, and at times, anger. But it is THEIR S I became familiar with Jamie and their story from her blog at mom-gene. It's funny how one connects to a person online without ever sitting together or sharing a cuppa. But, connect, we did. Her sense of humor is magnetic and her writing is like a big bag of M&M's...saying to the words like the inanimate bag, "NO MORE. Ok, just one more." UNBOUND is the story of Jamie and Jody's journey to family. And, what a story it is. One of anxiety, anticipation, angst, and at times, anger. But it is THEIR STORY and that is what makes it a page-turner. Jamie's honesty in describing her, at times fragile, relationship with God is a breath of fresh air. And, air is a treasured and fought-for luxury in their story. The book touts the theme of Motherhood and yet for me, a 22-year veteran of the empty nest, read it with great gratefulness of God's mercy and grace. I recommend the book to anyone with a heart for a good read, or the young couple facing the challenges of infertility, or a family learning their way with a special needs child. Jamie's and Jody's story will not disappoint.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a free, digital, ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was not what I was expecting, but to quote the author, "Expectations are just that - what you expect. They are ideas. God's reality is much richer than that. God will always give you the right version of your life." I did not know that this book was mainly about the author's struggle with infertility and then the birth of her special-needs son. If I had known that, I probably w Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a free, digital, ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was not what I was expecting, but to quote the author, "Expectations are just that - what you expect. They are ideas. God's reality is much richer than that. God will always give you the right version of your life." I did not know that this book was mainly about the author's struggle with infertility and then the birth of her special-needs son. If I had known that, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it, because I would have thought that her struggles weren't the same as my struggles as a mom. I was shocked when I discovered that although our circumstances were different, she learned the same lessons that I needed to learn as a mom and a Christian. Each chapter tells a portion of the author's struggle tied to a character in the Bible. The author does a wonderful job of choosing just the right characters to emphasize her spiritual truth. I have bookmarked several pages in this book that I know I will go back to often.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Oak

    Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood by Jamie Sumner is a book about infertility, motherhood, and gratitude. It is a relatable, encouraging book, showing that a vast number of people often share the same struggles, but also share the love of a loving God. My favorite part of the book was reading about Sumner’s own motherhood journey. Sumner divides the book into four sections: the wanting, the waiting, the getting, and the appreciating. She takes the reader on a j Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood by Jamie Sumner is a book about infertility, motherhood, and gratitude. It is a relatable, encouraging book, showing that a vast number of people often share the same struggles, but also share the love of a loving God. My favorite part of the book was reading about Sumner’s own motherhood journey. Sumner divides the book into four sections: the wanting, the waiting, the getting, and the appreciating. She takes the reader on a journey, showing the stories of women in the Bible, from Hannah, to Naomi, to Hagar. The book demonstrates how women have often faced similar experiences no matter what time they were born in history. One of my favorite chapters was “The Upside” and God’s Humor, reminding us that there are laughable moments in the middle of darkness and despair. I like the guiding questions at the end of each chapter that allow you to reflect on that chapter’s contents. The book would especially be good for someone who is struggling or has struggled with infertility. I received this book for review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book falls under the reading category of Christian Living/Motherhood. There is gospel throughout the story that offers good context and insight without overtaking the book and making it only a study in theology. Many will appreciate the author’s balance between present day situations and historical Bible stories. The majority of religious reflections are about strong, biblical women who endured marital and child-bearing hardships. These lessons and Sumner’s narration prove that motherhood i This book falls under the reading category of Christian Living/Motherhood. There is gospel throughout the story that offers good context and insight without overtaking the book and making it only a study in theology. Many will appreciate the author’s balance between present day situations and historical Bible stories. The majority of religious reflections are about strong, biblical women who endured marital and child-bearing hardships. These lessons and Sumner’s narration prove that motherhood is a great test, but also an amazing reward. Jaime Sumner has written a book that—at first glance—appears to speak to a very specific group and border the line of being too niche for a general reading audience. However, her story is about more than parenting and gospel. It is a narrative about faith, hope, and the unpredictability of motherhood. It is a story for anyone who has ever questioned their life’s journey.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel G

    I was honored to be part of the launch team for "Unbound" and I loved hearing Jamie's story through her writing. "Unbound" is a transparent and sincere account of the author's journey to motherhood, through infertility and loss to becoming a special needs parent. I was mourning and rejoicing with Jamie through the entire book because I was so drawn into her life and personal story. She writes like she is talking to the reader as a friend - I loved that. In each chapter, Jamie shares part of her I was honored to be part of the launch team for "Unbound" and I loved hearing Jamie's story through her writing. "Unbound" is a transparent and sincere account of the author's journey to motherhood, through infertility and loss to becoming a special needs parent. I was mourning and rejoicing with Jamie through the entire book because I was so drawn into her life and personal story. She writes like she is talking to the reader as a friend - I loved that. In each chapter, Jamie shares part of her story as well as a story from the Bible. I appreciated her perspective on the individual characters from Scripture and it made me think about some of the stories in a new way. Jamie writes, "Life is a continual etching and erasing. We form expectations, and God forms reality." Every step of parenthood has challenged my expectations, but "Unbound" reminded me that God is present in each moment. Every part of my life is visible to Him and I can trust Him with any struggle that comes my way.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Unbound is a beautiful book. Jamie is a fantastic writer with each sentence carefully constructed by Jamie Summer, you can't help but love the message of freedom she giver hers readers. I loved the pictures she wrote in my mind as I read every single word. She writes about the heart-breaking stages of IFV and infertility. You just can't imagine how a book will make you cry so much as this one does. You have to read these chapters, I don't want to give a lot away here, but this was worth the read Unbound is a beautiful book. Jamie is a fantastic writer with each sentence carefully constructed by Jamie Summer, you can't help but love the message of freedom she giver hers readers. I loved the pictures she wrote in my mind as I read every single word. She writes about the heart-breaking stages of IFV and infertility. You just can't imagine how a book will make you cry so much as this one does. You have to read these chapters, I don't want to give a lot away here, but this was worth the read. I also loved how Jamie tells the story of a woman from the Bible in her own words. It is beautiful. She does a great job of apply the word, her faith and being vulnerable about infertility. This book was a great read, but I must warn you that you ned a box of tissues close by with all the tears that you'll shed reading it. I really enjoyed this memoir and will pass it on to a friend who can use it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Unbound follows Jamie Sumner's journey through infertility into motherhood without sugarcoating the bumps and lumps received along the way. I was initially drawn to this book because of the title. I have been struggling with many unrealistic expectations of motherhood, most placed on myself by myself. I was hoping for a story that would help me relax my hold on what motherhood "should" be. This book did not disappoint! I was moved to tears walking with Jamie through her journey. It helped put my Unbound follows Jamie Sumner's journey through infertility into motherhood without sugarcoating the bumps and lumps received along the way. I was initially drawn to this book because of the title. I have been struggling with many unrealistic expectations of motherhood, most placed on myself by myself. I was hoping for a story that would help me relax my hold on what motherhood "should" be. This book did not disappoint! I was moved to tears walking with Jamie through her journey. It helped put my experiences in perspective and reminded me that even though motherhood isn't what I dreamed of during the rosy days of pregnancy, it is so worth every minute. I received a free copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Calleen Petersen

    This book spoke to me. I love how each chapter she relates her experiences to a woman of the Bible, some well known and some not as well known. The book works because even though part of it is about infertility, even if you have never experienced infertility, you can relate to her walk with God and with life. I think that many people will gain much from this book. My favorite phrase is ”sitting in the silences” which is what she did while she wasn’t completely sure about trusting God and what was This book spoke to me. I love how each chapter she relates her experiences to a woman of the Bible, some well known and some not as well known. The book works because even though part of it is about infertility, even if you have never experienced infertility, you can relate to her walk with God and with life. I think that many people will gain much from this book. My favorite phrase is ”sitting in the silences” which is what she did while she wasn’t completely sure about trusting God and what was happening in her life. How often do we need to sit in the silences and wait for God to show us his plan?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reyna

    Motherhood is one of a kind thing for me. It was a miracle to become a mom, and everyday I think about that. Also it is one of the santification tools God uses in my life every day. I feel a lot that it is a test for me. And to be honest I fail. And when I fail I feel miserable and then guilty and it keeps happening. I wish to get to know more often other moms that are willing to lift you up in this journey and that are willing enough to be raw honest and telling you the hard stuff in love. I wa Motherhood is one of a kind thing for me. It was a miracle to become a mom, and everyday I think about that. Also it is one of the santification tools God uses in my life every day. I feel a lot that it is a test for me. And to be honest I fail. And when I fail I feel miserable and then guilty and it keeps happening. I wish to get to know more often other moms that are willing to lift you up in this journey and that are willing enough to be raw honest and telling you the hard stuff in love. I want to grow up free about other people's expectations and I just fant to be faithful to God. This book remind me that I can have a message even if I feel in a fishbowl.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wilhoite

    This was an extremely heartfelt book and at times was difficult to read. As a mother, my heart goes out to Jamie and Jody and there struggles. Reading this book made me even more grateful that I didn't have a fertility problem and that my son was born healthy and able to come home right away. I loved how Jamie compared women as mothers to women in the bible and how strong we really are, but not in our own, only through God's grace and mercy. I I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley. This was an extremely heartfelt book and at times was difficult to read. As a mother, my heart goes out to Jamie and Jody and there struggles. Reading this book made me even more grateful that I didn't have a fertility problem and that my son was born healthy and able to come home right away. I loved how Jamie compared women as mothers to women in the bible and how strong we really are, but not in our own, only through God's grace and mercy. I I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nina LC

    Beautiful read What a special book! I’m glad I got the chance to read it and not only learn more about the author, but also receive reminders of strong women of the Bible. It was my pleasure and I read it in a few evenings. I never got bored. I always wondered what will happen next and last but not least: wow, what a strong mother! Xo

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    This is a fabulous book for anyone who has faced heartbreak on the path to or through motherhood. Really, this book is for all moms since we all have to deal with shattered expectations at one point or another. The author takes you through her raw series of trials but then ties each one back to the bible so the reader can apply the lesson to their own life. I can't recommend this book enough! This is a fabulous book for anyone who has faced heartbreak on the path to or through motherhood. Really, this book is for all moms since we all have to deal with shattered expectations at one point or another. The author takes you through her raw series of trials but then ties each one back to the bible so the reader can apply the lesson to their own life. I can't recommend this book enough!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Holloway

    Even though, I'm not a mom or desire to be a mom this book gave me a deep understanding of loss and the passion to create a child and be a mom. Even though, I'm not a mom or desire to be a mom this book gave me a deep understanding of loss and the passion to create a child and be a mom.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Since adopting my daughter, I have been reading a lot more parenting books. This one in particular addresses the many ways in which you can feel inadequate as a mother and how we should turn to Jesus to overcome these feelings. It was just what my tired mama heart needed right now. It was encouraging and felt like you were sitting down for a chat with a friend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tamarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Holly Scudero

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Leuck

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kusel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amber Romaine

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donna Gibson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittany McGrath

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Koonce

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