Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother

Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother

by Debra Rienstra
     
 

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In Great with Child, Debra Reinstra weaves the story of her own pregnancy, son's birth, and first year of mothering with the experiences of women everywhere. Through recounting the details of her own story-the sonograms, the labor pains, nursing in the middle of the night-Rienstra lays bare how motherhood can alter and deepen a woman's views on just about

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Overview

In Great with Child, Debra Reinstra weaves the story of her own pregnancy, son's birth, and first year of mothering with the experiences of women everywhere. Through recounting the details of her own story-the sonograms, the labor pains, nursing in the middle of the night-Rienstra lays bare how motherhood can alter and deepen a woman's views on just about everything else. And she reveals how-so much more than just an odd assortment of physical changes and fetal developments-bringing a child into this world reshapes the soul.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What happens between the moment a pregnancy is planned and the baby's first birthday? Rienstra, a poet who teaches at Calvin College, decided to write about these events in her own life, and, as she does so, her identities as a poet, scholar, Christian and white, middle-class millennial mom shape and inform her story. In the early chapters, for example, Rienstra writes beautifully about "womb hunger," incorporating images from the Bible and contemporary poetry into her reflections. And her membership in a brave new generation of mothers is evident in the way she takes for granted the store-bought pregnancy tests that work less than two weeks after conception. Rienstra admirably cites medical, sociological, historical, theological and literary texts, and in doing so provides valuable context for her experience. The book's greatest strength, however, is that she never strays far from her own narrative. Though she spent more than a year revising her manuscript, each chapter reflects her thoughts and feelings as the events she describes unfolded. As such, her memoir tells the truth in a way that few books about parenthood do. Rather than recounting her story long after it happened and/or interpreting it to support a particular parenting philosophy, she simply records how things felt as they occurred. A new or expectant mother is much more likely to find herself, and thereby solace, in these pages than in how-to books written by those for whom the sleeplessness and tumult of infant care is a distant memory. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
While Rienstra (English, Calvin Coll.) covers familiar terrain in her memoir of the months before and after the birth of her third child, she maintains a different voice by approaching pregnancy through a religious (mainly Protestant) lens. Often, she explores the social and historical baggage that has grown out of various biblical assertions about the female body and bearing children. Sometimes academic, sometimes poetic, her tone is uneven, leading to some confusion about her actual stance on particular issues, abortion especially. Readers will wonder whether they are being presented with subtle pro-life propaganda or heady theology; more importantly, it is not clear whether she is arguing that as a woman of faith in the 21st century, she feels pulled in many directions. For larger public libraries and those with a strong spiritual reading audience. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585421671
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/31/2002
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.14(d)

Meet the Author

Debra Rienstra is a professor of English at Calvin College.

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