Walking With Mary From Conception to Baptism

By Sarah Reinhard

Ave Maria Press, 2012

237 pages, $14.95

To order: avemariapress.com or (800) 282-1865, ext. 1


In a culture that often does not recognize motherhood as a vocation, Sarah Reinhard’s A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy comes as a much-needed affirmation of this most important calling. It offers expectant moms ready-made prayers, meditations and simple activities aimed at helping them live their faith.

Reinhard guides her readers through pregnancy with one chapter a week. Each chapter consists of five easy-to-read sections, beginning with a short description of baby’s or mom’s physical development, followed by a meditation on a mystery of the Rosary. A section entitled "One Small Step" offers a faith-related task, and "Faith Focus" explains an element of our Catholic faith. Each chapter ends with a heartfelt prayer. Tired moms will especially appreciate this already prepared invocation.

Moms will relate well to the reflections and faith-strengthening activities. For instance, in meditating on the Annunciation, she explains how Mary said "Yes" to God without hesitation, despite the challenges. She notes that just as Mary did not seek to control her situation, there will be many aspects of pregnancy and motherhood that will be beyond our control.

Readers will appreciate her honesty as she shares her own spiritual struggles. Her suggestion — "Say ‘Yes’ to God this week by attending Mass with your full attention — or at least as much of it as your state in life will allow" — can be welcomed by many moms as a merciful and useful reminder. She suggests putting a crucifix on your desk so that when you are organizing your papers you find a reminder to stop and pray. Other suggestions include saying only positive things about your spouse and praying the Creed as you write it down in order to really focus on the words.

A plus for Catholic mothers is that this book, unlike so many secular pregnancy guides on the market, does not end with birth, but also guides moms through baptism, providing an overview of the sacrament, offering ideas for its preparation and ways to pass on the faith.

Readers will be grateful for Reinhard’s warning in the introduction that her book will address some difficult topics, including miscarriage, depression and carrying to term a baby who might not live. For those instances, however, Reinhard calls upon writers who have experienced such situations to offer words of support and advice.

Throughout the book, Reinhard shares her feelings about marriage, pregnancy and children; and while readers will likely appreciate her honesty in this area, her feelings are admittedly somewhat negative at times. For instance, she states, "I wasn’t so keen to get married," and "I’m not a baby person." But she does recognize that some, especially those struggling with infertility, will find it difficult to understand her sentiments.

Overall, this is a great guide for mothers, with wonderful insights from the Blessed Mother and a real-life mom.

Mary Walsh writes from

Hamden, Connecticut.