Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy (Review by a Never-Been-Pregnant Mom)

I am beyond delighted to be the seventh stop (and first Luminous Mystery) on Sarah Reinhard's Rosary 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 Baptism in the Jordan:
Jesus didn’t need to be baptized any more than he needed to be presented at the Temple when he was a baby, and yet he did. It was an act of humility, though I didn’t fully appreciate it until I broke my arm on my thirtieth birthday.
There I was, with a two-year-old and a great deal of pain, with work still to do and no idea how I was going to get it done. At one point, I swallowed the hard lump in my throat that must have been my pride and sent an email to a few close friends asking for help. I wasn’t even sure how I needed help, but they were only waiting for the okay to come over: within hours, I had a hot meal for my family, the leaning tower of dishes was being addressed, and a cheerful friend was insisting I lay down while she let her girls play with mine.
There’s a lesson for moms of all stripes in this mystery. There’s a great generosity in offering help, but it requires humility to accept help. There’s a beauty in sharing our gifts with others, in offering and giving. There’s an equal beauty, too, in letting others serve and in smiling and saying, “Thank you.”
There’s no need for long explanations, for defenses, for excuses. Look to Jesus in this mystery, and see the joy of the Father’s approval. Look to John, and see the glory of the recognition of the Savior. 
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 . . .
If you're a regular reader here, you know that we were blessed with an addition to our family in late August. 

Um, wait a minute, Vik, I thought you adopted?  What are you doing reviewing a book about pregnancy?

Despite the fact that I did not become a mom through my own pregnancy and physical labor, Sarah graciously asked me to be a part of her blog tour (even though I suggested I might not be the "right" voice to contribute).

Sarah's inclusion of an adoptive mom on her Rosary Blog Tour exemplifies what is wonderful about her new book: it is balm for a Catholic mother's soul, regardless of where she finds herself on the winding road of motherhood.

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy is a treasure trove of both practical and spiritual tips.  I initially grabbed my autumn rosary (yes, I have seasonal rosaries . . . ) and Mouse and dove into the latter sections of the book dealing with birth (and post-birth).  There, I found Sarah's voice encouraging me, as she does in today's reflection, to accept the earthly help of my friends, and also reminding me to turn to God even (especially!) when the days are long and the nights longer - and suggesting real ways to do so meaningfully despite the fast-moving world around me.

As with her previous writing, Sarah encourages her readers to reach higher while remaining completely grounded, honest and real - there are no guilt-provoking expectations here. 

As the days passed and the newborn fog lifted, I found myself sneaking peeks at Sarah's earlier chapters on conception and pregnancy - a world I have never experienced and no longer expect to find myself in, personally.  I was stunned and touched to the core to realize that many of the emotions and spiritual trials I experienced during the adoption process are mirrored by women going through the physical process of becoming a mother - the uncertainty, the expectation.  I wish I would have had this encouragement during some of the darker days before Moose came home with us, and I can see myself turning to Sarah's words to draw me closer to Mary and her Son should we ever decide that Family M needs a third baby.

Without, I think, intending to, Sarah captured something I've said all along about becoming a mom: regardless of how you do it, it is a labor of love.  Sarah's new book is an incomparable resource for Catholic moms, no matter how you labor. 

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.


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