A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism is the book I wish I had owned and read when I was going through my own pregnancies. Sarah Reinhard, a self-described “non-baby” person – even though she has three lovely children of her own, takes an honest and faith-filled look at pregnancy.
Part One offers a weekly journey through one’s pregnancy with information on what stage the child is at during this week, a faith-filled task for each week, a reflection on one of the mysteries of the rosary (one goes through the 20 mysteries twice during the full pregnancy), and a explanation about a particular aspect of the Catholic faith. Part Two focuses on labor and birth, while Part Three centers on preparing for and celebrating your child’s baptism.
I greatly appreciated Reinhard’s refreshing honesty about mixed feelings during pregnancy. So many pregnancy books seem to only emphasize the blessing and not acknowledge the inherent difficulties many women face during this time. As she puts it so well, “know that you’ll be blessed, even if the road to it feels like a pile of rocks to climb.”
I also thought that special topics dealing with difficult situations, written by other moms, were incredibly helpful. Topics such as Eating Disorders during Pregnancy, Tips for Handling Depression, Coping with Miscarriage, Giving Birth to a Child with Special Needs, Carrying a Baby to Term who Might Not Live, and When Labor Doesn’t Go as Expected are tough subjects to talk about, but they are topics that sorely need to be addressed. These women bravely share their stories in the hopes of helping others facing the same challenges.
This is also a very practical book, offering concrete ways of coping both during pregnancy and after birth. As is often said, a baby changes everything. Life will never be the same and those first few months can be especially taxing. Reinhard emphasizes the need to ask for help, and the difficulties inherent in that for many of us. She also makes valuable suggestions about how to incorporate prayer into your incredibly busy life.
If you are Catholic and pregnant, or know someone who is, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy is definitely a book you want to buy!