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A pregnancy handbook for Catholic moms
October 2nd, 2012
By Valerie Schmalz

Sarah Reinhard signs off her emails with a quote from St. Francis de Sales that summarizes her one day at a time approach: “Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

It is that approach that permeates her book, “A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism” (Ave Maria Press, 2012). The book is the first of the new Catholic Mom imprint, published by Ave Maria Press, and inspired by the success of the Catholic parenting website, said founder Lisa Hendey.

“Pregnancy doesn’t happen all at once, but eases itself into our being,” Reinhard begins her Catholic Mother’s Companion. “Pregnancy happens week by week, so we’ll be journeying together toward that baby, the one we’re praying you’ll hold in your arms. As with any adventure, things don’t always turn out the way you expect or plan.”

In an email exchange, Reinhard said her book was the idea of an editor. But with three small children, ages 18 months to 7, Reinhard said she could see the need for a Catholic companion to pregnancy.

“My goal wasn’t to provide a Catholic version of ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ (a step-by-step guide to pregnancy by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel first published in 1984) but rather to provide another voice to guide Catholic women through pregnancy and to offer a unique perspective,” she said.

The book offers spiritual reflections for each week of pregnancy, infused with a few gentle but gritty comments on the reality of how a pregnant mom feels, and particularly focuses on a spiritual walk with Mary, the mother of Jesus. “Turn to Mary. Whether you love pregnancy or hate pregnancy, whether you’re thrilled to be pregnant or dreading the path ahead of you, she is the best companion for your journey from conception to baptism,” said Reinhard.

“I didn’t write this book because I care a crazy amount about pregnancy, because I long to get pregnant again, or because I want to counsel women at one end or another of that spectrum,” Reinhard said.

“I wrote it, in the end, because I’ve been the young mom, and still am in so many ways,” she said.

The responsibility of being entrusted with an eternal soul is at the heart of the journey through pregnancy and parenthood, she said.

“The fact that an eternal soul has been entrusted to my care, which is also the best thing, is also the worst,” said the author. “I can get myself so worked up about it and forget that it’s really not my problem at all: it’s God’s problem. He will help me. He has good reasons for pairing me up with this particular child at this particular moment in time.”

Reinhard has been blogging at since 2006, and contributes at


From October 5, 2012 issue of Catholic San Francisco.



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