Review: A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah Reinhard

Review: A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah Reinhard October 9, 2012

So many of the crosses I have are made heavier by my approach to them. Instead of just walking along and dealing with them, I spend energy complaining, dreading, and trying to avoid them. Rather than offer them to God or–better yet–rather than asking him to help me, I try to do it just like my toddler insists, “By myself!”

When Jesus carried his cross, it wasn’t easy. But it did end. Our crosses aren’t forever. If there’s an aspect of your pregnancy that is a cross for you, turn to this mystery in a special way. Ask Mary to help you turn your focus toward the One who stands ready to help you carry it.

Full disclosure: Sarah is a friend of mine.

Second full disclosure: That didn’t make me want to read this book.

Final full disclosure: When forced by the bonds of friendship to grudgingly read it, I loved it. Now, that’s a good book!

This is not a “what to expect when you’re expecting” book, although some of those elements are contained within. This book feeds the inner mother-to-be as well as reassuring her about the outward changes she encounters. Covering the pregnancy week by week, Sarah Reinhard discusses physical changes for mother and baby, but then goes on to reflect on a mystery of the rosary as seen through the lens of that stage of pregnancy. She then encourages the reader with a small faith-related task to focus on for the week and then highlights an element of the Catholic faith.

One Small Step

As Catholics, we begin and end every prayer with the Sign of the Cross. It’s part of our faith tradition. this week, focus on the Sign of the Cross as a prayer in its own right. Trace a cross on your husband’s forehead before he leaves for work (if that’s too weird, simply do it in your mind), and tell him you are praying for him. For many husbands, seeing the discomfort of their wives at the end of pregnancy (and during labor and delivery) is a version of standing at the foot of the Cross. Ask Mary to remain close to you and your husband as you journey closer to meeting this baby.

Labor and Delivery, and Baptism both have their own sections with similar combinations of practical and spiritual guidance. A few sections contain features written by women with a unique experience of motherhood, such as The Unexpected Child or The Joy of Mothering Many. All of the book is imbued with Reinhard’s practical experience and inspirational reminders.

Reinhard is reassuring, down to earth, and sympathetic without ever being sappy or unrealistic. This is a book that I’m going to be giving to many of my friends who are young mothers. Certainly I will be handing a copy to each of my daughters when they are at this point in their lives. Highly recommended.

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