Squee! It's here! A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, by Sarah A. Reinhard. This is the book I wish had been in my hands on February 1, 2011, not August 30, 2012. For those of you expecting or who know someone expecting, you are so lucky that this resource is available to you!
Sarah and I met at the CNMC 2010 when she was expecting a baby in the fall. When she learned that I was expecting a baby a year later (as she just happened to be working feverishly to meet a deadline for this book) she humbly suggested that perhaps I could review a few chapters covering the last trimester. Since I would do anything to take my mind off those last uncomfortable six weeks, I eagerly agreed. So believe me, I know this book. I read it in loose pages spread across the bed like fall leaves. I love this book.
And I honestly believe that you are going to love it too. Read it as a guide. Read it to grow closer to Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Read it to find comfort, to feel understood, to know you are not alone, to meditate and pray, to smile knowingly, and occasionally to laugh aloud.
Now, I'm thrilled to celebrate the launch of this book with Sarah and all of you. If you know her, or even know of her, you're aware that Sarah is a huge fan of Mary (seriously, sometimes it seems like they're like best friends...) so she's invited us to spend the blog book tour praying the rosary together. While we pray our decade, let us meditate on this reflection (from Sarah's book!) on the second Joyful Mystery, the Visitation:
Mary was in these early days of pregnancy when she made the long journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Was her trip punctuated with potty stops? Did she find herself wishing for her own bed during the days she spent getting there?
However miserable Mary might have felt in her first trimester, she didn’t hesitate to serve. She knew Elizabeth, who was elderly, must need help. Beyond that, she provided an encouragement to her cousin that was probably worth far more than any of the cleaning or cooking she did during her three months in Judea.
Serving isn’t easy when you don’t feel well. It’s hard enough when you’re busy with your own life and juggling your own obligations, but insert physical hardships--even if it’s just not feeling 100 percent--and it becomes a huge hurdle. It takes extra effort to serve in any capacity, and that’s what Mary shows us.
She might have been throwing up every few hours, unable to keep anything down, without a taste for anything. She might have just longed for a nap. Elizabeth probably knew this, and more than likely encouraged Mary to rest. But I don’t think Mary made the arduous journey there and back only to let Elizabeth coddle her. I picture her reproaching Elizabeth for trying to do too much and taking over the household duties.
In Mary’s embrace of Elizabeth, I find an example of serving when I least want to, of expending extra effort for others, of giving in the most generous way. She gave, and in giving to Elizabeth she also gave to each of us. She shows us, quietly and without fanfare, what it is to joyously accept our vocation. Her joy overflowed in the Magnificat, despite discomfort and uncertainty.
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.) Let us pray:Our joy can overflow too, no matter what hurdles we face. Maybe, like Mary, what we need to do is give ourselves to another in service.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come,Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
(Say 10 times) Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.
|Squee! Sarah Reinhard & Shelly Kelly at the CNMC 2012.|
In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive a gratis copy of the book in exchange for participation on the book tour. No, I didn't go through my rough pages from last year to see what changes she made to the final publication. I considered offering my copy of the book as a giveaway with this post, but just yesterday morning I discovered one of my sweet Catholic Mom blogging friends is expecting baby number 3! Guess what she will be receiving in the mail this week. (Congratulations Erin!)