That a baby's arrival not be considered a "medical" event is certainly a liberating perspective. How much more freeing, thought, to grasp the spiritual truth of that child's appearing. "Pregnancy and childbirth: spiritual preparation" shows how one couple's prayers paved the way for their daughter's arrival. Another piece, "Fearless mothering," tells how a new mother overcame an excessive concern for her daughter's well-being.

Of course, not all mothers come to the role in the typical way. Blended families and those formed through adoption and stepparenting face some uncommon challenges. In "Belle-mère or beautiful mother," a stepmother shares some of the lessons she learned when she married into a "ready-made family" of five.

August 25, 1997

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