Full Disclosure: I received my review copy in ebook form from NetGalley, and it’s now expired, so I in no way benefitted from this review. I requested this book not because I’m pregnant (I’m not) but because I contributed a story to it, and being the bearer of great ego, I wanted to see how it turned out.
Sarah A. Reinhard’s book “A Catholic Mother’s Companion To Pregnancy” is exactly what the title says. This book takes a look at every stage of pregnancy (including labor and the postpartum period) and applies spiritual insights to pregnancy and also uses pregnancy to give light to spiritual questions.
The first half of the book consists of one reading per week of pregnancy, with each week having a quick description of what’s taking place at this point in gestation and how you may feel. Because there are 20 mysteries of the rosary and 40 weeks of pregnancy, Reinhard uses the rosary for one meditation per week of pregnancy, cycling through the rosary twice. Following that is a suggestion for a practical application for the week. From time to time, Reinhard shares an article about a difficult topic, such as miscarriage, depression, or when your baby is diagnosed with a fatal birth defect (my article.)
The second half of the book deals with the spiritual and physical issues of labor and the postpartum period, and this section is not divided into weekly meditations.
This book would be a great gift for women who are a) Catholic and b) disciplined. I would be the one who started this book with the best of intentions and forgot to read it for five weeks and then felt like a lousy mother afterward, if I couldn’t even manage to be pregnant right. But for the millions of women who do manage to read “Week By Week” pregnancy books on a regular basis, this would work just fine. The weekly segments are only a few pages each, so take little time to read, but are deep enough that you can keep thinking about them afterward. Although the format is unassuming, there’s plenty of food for thought.
The book does deal with Catholic practices such as the rosary, litanies, and the sacraments, so it might be a bit inaccessible to women outside the Catholic tradition, but I don’t think anyone would find them intimidating. The descriptions are at a level that anyone would be able to understand, so a Catholic woman who wants to get in greater touch with her faith would find a really good overview of just about everything here.
I’d recommend this book either for pregnant Catholic women or as a gift for a Catholic mom, and not necessarily a first-time mom, either.
Thank you, Sarah, for letting me preview this book, and thank you also for including Emily’s story.