books Fertile Ground: A Pilgrimage through Pregnancy Author Laura S Jansson –

Pregnancy is not just a trek from one medical appointment to another but a journey of the heart Here at last is a guidebook through its sacred terrain For each week, Orthodox doula Laura Jansson provides a new reflection on a theme specific to the ground covered at that stage From one milestone to the next, she helps us unearth the spiritual treasures buried within the physical experiences of childbearing These are gifts of love from a merciful God who reaches out to us, making a perilous expedition into a path of salvation.

4 thoughts on “ Fertile Ground: A Pilgrimage through Pregnancy

  1. MISS G. MISS G. says:

    Fertile Ground A pilgrimage through pregnancy.ReviewLaura Jansson s first book is a rare treat for those who are looking for something than appropriate lists of food, exercise, clothing and how to get through pregnancy and birth with as little suffering as possible I am not pregnant but I have had six babies, and I found this useful even for looking back over my experiences It would have been a great help to have had this book through pregnancy Fertile Ground won t help you with makeup tips or how to look sexy in a pregnancy bikini It won t show you how to loose weight and get back to work once the baby is born It is refreshingly disinterested in those aspects and instead concentrates on what meanings are to be found in the mysteries of childbearing and how to embrace the pain and the joy in equal measure and with a deeper love and understanding It explores why suffering might be a necessary part of pregnancy and how the birth of a child is the completion of a divine plan Scripture is elegantly woven into the text throughout so that each chapter reads like a meditation Being creative means to take the raw materials God gives and shapes them so they are transformed into something new, something in which a glory that was hidden before is now revealed Kallistos It is a beautiful, sometimes startlingly lovely, spiritual manual for women of all circumstances on their journey, or pilgrimage through pregnancy It is a welcome antidote to the dreary, modern notion that pregnancy is an unfair burden, a necessary domestic chore or interruption into an otherwise fulfilling life Instead, this book presents pregnancy as an adventure or journey towards a spiritual awakening And it shows how that journey and its outcome are important not only to the mother but also the husband, the children and the wider community, particularly in the case of this book, the Eastern orthodox community, this, incidentally, being the very first of its kind For me Jansson really highlighted that true female empowerment is in reinstating the position of mother as being at the centre of human life and the key to our understanding our faith in general I very much enjoyed learning about the culture and rituals belonging to this branch of Christianity and it gave me inspiration to explore my own faith deeply.Though strongly spiritual, it is equally practical in its outlook and littered with numerous points of scientific interest But it also flows with the energy and pace of a good novel where you are eager to know what happens next.Fertile Ground will likely be hugely enjoyed by a whole range of women, particularly those who already sense that motherhood is than just ticking the bucket list It will certainly appeal to women of any Christian denomination, but I have a feeling it will also speak to those with no religion but who recognise the divine in the natural order of things.In all, I found it a deeply comforting read and perfect bedside book of wisdom to dip into before, during and after pregnancy.Highly recommendedElizabeth Bell, Margate, Kent.

  2. Elizabeth Illingworth Elizabeth Illingworth says:

    I am overjoyed that Fertile Ground A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy has arrived just in time for my own first pregnancy The Orthodox Christian world needs this book Fertile Ground A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy fills a conspicuous gap in the Orthodox Christian literary scene, offering an expertly interwoven blend of theology, personal experience, spiritual reflection and advice and practical information to spiritually guide women through their pregnancies Laura Jansson weaves together the complex components of our lives into a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage which women can choose to make the cornerstone of their pregnancy Far from abstract theology, this is a guide rooted in real world experience and modern world dilemmas, from choices facing women concerning pain relief, the need for support networks and the pressure of the modern world s gender ideals Such a comprehensive guide to a woman s pilgrimage through pregnancy makes for a deeply comforting read.Laura Jansson s exploration of the realities of pregnancy extend to a powerful, highly sensitive and beautiful chapter on miscarriage For mothers experiencing or fearing miscarriage seeking comfort and reassurance about what their lives will be or would be like after such an event, they will find it in this chapter Fertile Ground is a book which leaves no aspect of the pilgrimage unexplored, prayers and discussion points bookending the week by week chapters.This is not a book you will find yourself reading once, but rather one to return to through every pregnancy The thematic chapters taking the reader through each week of pregnancy make it perfect for contemplation alone or reading together with one s husband Each chapter stands alone but as the reader is taken through pregnancy week by week, it becomes clear that there is a broader theological picture being constructed, building on the cited scriptures, spiritual insights and practical realities highlighted in previous chapters At week 30 the reader feels prepared than when reading the chapter relating to week 6, just as any pilgrimage is to contain spiritual progression throughout the journey Just as a pilgrimage progresses towards a site of spiritual importance but also towards a mental state of spiritual importance, the arrival at one s destination, the birth of a baby, is not the end of the journey Laura Jansson shows pregnancy to be a training ground for parenthood How effective and transformative this training period can potentially be, depends on the woman herself Laura is clear that pregnancy can affect in us a deep inward change, preparing us to serve God through the service we give to others, if we let it Pregnancy, in all its joy and pain, is shown to be a gift, which like so much God gives to us, asks us to embrace it with faith in order to allow it to be truly transformative Fertile Ground A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy integrates real world realities and fears with the beauty of the Orthodox faith, within the framework of the natural rhythm of pregnancy which organises its chapters Reading it, one feels the friendship and support of both a doula and a fellow Orthodox mother seep from the pages This will be a book which I am sure will be seized upon by many women, to guide them through their own pregnancies and prepare them for the vocation of motherhood for which God has chosen for them.

  3. Josh Bradley Josh Bradley says:

    When I first heard last November that there was going to be an Orthodox book about pregnancy and childbirth, I was instantly intrigued and anxiously awaiting its arrival I am the mother of 6 daughters and have been studying birth work Not only have I birthed my own children, but I look forward to my own Doula work in the future I enjoy learning about birth and pregnancy, and this book was a wonderful addition to my birthing library.Right away, one of the things I appreciated was how all birthing parenting methods were acknowledged and explained This book does not offer a one way option for birthing, instead it presents a mother s options and beautifully explains the symbolism through the Christian faith Each step of the pregnancy birth is highlighted in easy to read, week by week chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of the women s current experiences I genuinely enjoyed how Laura painted such a spiritual perspective of pregnancy and childbirth It is truly amazing the growth and transformation a woman experiences spiritually in the birthing years Laura perfectly describes the ascetic struggle that women must embrace during this incredible season of life Even though I am not currently expecting, I was able to feel encouragement for my current stage of motherhood and strength to embrace another day.It is very clear that not only does the author have a full knowledge of the birthing process through hands on experience, but she also has a wonderful knowledge of birthing according to Biblical examples, with wisdom from the Church Fathers, backed by scientific evidence I enjoyed reading her experiences, both personal and through her work as a doula Her use of scripture and quotes from the Fathers were encouraging and informative She also gives extremely practical knowledge of how to endure pregnancy and effective tools to have the childbirth experience that you desire This book is an important tool for any woman s pregnant journey I look forward to giving this book as a gift to the pregnant mothers at my church, as well as my own daughters some day I received an advanced copy of this book in return for my honest review.

  4. R&M Irvine R&M Irvine says:

    Motherhood opened my eyes to many new worlds, perhaps the most significant was that of a theology of motherhood The vibrant experiences of growing, birthing, and nurturing a child are rich with symbolism, poetry, and meaning I was captivated with how my new role of Mama informed my life in the Church, and sought to dive deeper, but came up wanting As a new mother, I had been hoping to find a book like this one that encapsulates the deep truths of this journey and here it is Fertile Ground weaves together Scripture, wisdom of the Church, hymnography, various historical texts, and personal reflection into a fascinating tapestry I am delighted Laura Jansson has taken the time to write this book, and so beautifully It will be such a wonderful help to Mamas, old and new I received an advance copy of the book in return for this honest review.