Friday, October 19, 2012

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy Blog Tour

To celebrate the launch of her new book, A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, Sarah Reinhard invites all of us to spend her blog book tour praying the rosary together. Today, she shares this reflection on the Carrying of the Cross:

It’s heavy, it’s annoying, and it’s unwanted. Whether it’s a sick child, a fussy baby, or a load of pukey laundry, it’s a cross. It might be a chronic pain or illness, the suffering of a loved one, or a situation you have to endure. Whatever your cross is—the constant cross and the current cross—it’s not easy to carry.

As Jesus stumbled with his cross, there was a chorus of scorn coming from the sidelines, mingled with the howls of mourning women. Sweat was running down his body, sting- ing the freshly opened cuts.

With each step he took, he was closer to the glory that would come through the cross. No one else saw it—though Mary must have seen it—as God’s will. She said yes as she stood there, mute in the face of the horror. She accepted God’s will, even as she wondered why and how.

We each carry our own cross, but we are not alone. Your cross might be inside you, but you are not alone. Whether or not you have a network of family and friends, you have a heavenly Father and a host of saints who are praying for you.

As we pray this decade of the rosary, let's hold all those brave women who have said yes to difficult and challenging motherhood in our intentions in a special way. Don't forget, too, that we are praying for an increase in all respect life intentions as part of our rosary together this month. (If you’re not familiar with how to pray the rosary, you can find great resources at Rosary Army.)
Our Father . . . 
10 - Hail Mary . . .
Glory Be . . . 
O My Jesus . . . 

You can find a complete listing of the tour stops over at Snoring Scholar. Be sure to enter to win a Nook (and any number of other goodies) each day of the tour over at Ave Maria Press.

By Sarah Reinhard
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2012

“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!

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