A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah A. Reinhard arrived on our doorstep somewhere in the second half of my pregnancy. I will admit that I was a little skeptical that there would be much new in the book for me given that I was currently smack dab in the middle of my eleventh pregnancy. I was surprised to find that there were things for even a seasoned Mom to glean from this book.
First, this book is not full of the nitty gritty physical and medical aspects of what is going on when you are pregnant. If that is the kind of book you are looking for, this one is not for you. Second, this is not a book that you will sit down and read in large chunks. This is a book meant to be taken in slowly in small pieces over time. Unless it arrives in your home when you are already most of the way through your pregnancy. Then you just might find yourself reading the entire thing at once.
What this book is a spiritual guide to the path you travel when expecting a new baby. Each chapter covers a week of your pregnancy. Your experiences are covered from a faith based or emotional perspective. Each chapter ends with a short prayer that is relavent to that phase of your pregnancy.
I'll admit that a few weeks after our little Isabel died, I saw this book laying on my bedroom floor and found myself reaching for it. Yes, that seems a little strange to some folks I suppose. But I had remembered seeing something in the book on stillbirth so I found myself sitting on the floor paging through the book looking for something that might help me sort out the mess in my mind. Although the topic was covered very briefly, it did help me to realize that the path we are currently walking is not one we are traveling alone. I suppose my one complaint was that the topic was touched on so briefly that I felt a need to read more. I know folks do not like to dwell on the possibility of losing a baby rather than bringing one home but when it happens, you need something to lean on without leaving the house.
One particular section of the book that spoke to me the first time I read it was the reminder to pray for our husbands. Alan often reminds me that it's incredibly hard for him to connect to the baby during pregnancy or to watch the times I'm in pain for some reason or another. There is something about a pregnancy that can leave a husband feeling incredibly helpless. Our last pregnancy was full of so many minor bumps in the road that I know Alan was feeling particularly helpless this time around. The reminder to focus on praying for him and the burdens he carries was particularly needed.
If we are blessed with another pregnancy, I hope to be able to say that I was able to spend time each week reading this book and praying my way through each week. But until that time, I hope to recommend this book to other expectant mothers, both first time moms and those of the more seasoned variety. We can all use the reminder provided that each chance to carry a new life is the greatest gift and miracle that will ever touch your life.