I have to start this post by saying that in a lot of ways I feel quite unqualified to write a book review. Yet, I am a Catholic mom who has been pregnant, and, well, I don't know what the future holds for our family... I'll just say that we try to be open God's gifts in our lives, and that includes the gift of children. And in that way, I think it makes me perfectly qualified to review this book. There may again come a time when I need it!
So, on with the review!
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and let me explain why. I do read Sarah's blog from time to time, and enjoy her style of writing there, but that in itself is not a guarantee that I would enjoy this book. I own several books that are written specifically for Catholic moms. Books on organizing, building a Catholic culture in your home, books on praying as a mom... the list goes on. But not all of them speak to me and honestly, there have been more than a few that I've put down and then just never picked up again. I'd like to describe Sarah's writing voice as down-to-earth, but I'm not sure that does it justice. I suppose this is where my weakness as a book reviewer comes in! I found her writing to be very relatable. There is a tendency among Catholic women to make a bit of an idol of pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing. Sarah writes about the real joys and the real struggles of pregnancy. She very wisely reminds us that if we are suffering we should unite that suffering with that of Jesus on the cross. She also gently encourages us to look for the grace that is always available to us during pregnancy, if we are open to it. Truly, it is a beautifully written book and speaks to the hearts of Catholic women.
The book is divided into three parts, Weekly Journey through Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery, and Baptism. The chapters in the first part of the book are written to roughly coincide with the weeks of your pregnancy. Each week Sarah talks about the major changes that you might be experiencing at that time. She then relates these changes to a spiritual experience in a section subtitled, Walking with Mary (not all, but most of these are reflections on the mysteries of the rosary).* Following that are two sections called One Small Step and Faith Focus. The purpose of these is to incorporate our faith into the pregnancy experience in a real and concrete way. Finally, each chapter closes with a prayer. The chapters are relatively short and the book is more of a devotional than something you would pick up and read all the way through. In that way, it truly is a companion that you can read and pick up when needed as you journey through your pregnancy.
*Edited to add: As Sarah as points out in the comments, every Walking with Mary is a reflection on one of the mysteries of the rosary. There were one or two sections where this was not completely obvious to me, but having re-read them, I can see the connections more clearly now. I'm thankful to Sarah for bringing a fresh perspective to the mysteries of the rosary by connecting them to the stages of pregnancy.
I wanted to be sure to post this today because this is the last week of Sarah's blog tour.
Also, you can enter to win a Nook each day until October 28th at Ave Maria Press. So even though the tour has been going on for some time now, you still have plenty of chances to enter!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own, and no other compensation was received.