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Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies
Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies
Steve Watters; Candice Watters
Moody Publishers, 2008
176 pp., 13.99

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Reviewed by Jenny Schroedel

Snuggling the Stork

Seeing children as a gift, not a carefully managed asset.

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Start Your Family is also a welcome read in a time of economic turbulence. The landscape is indeed bleak; people are losing their jobs and homes, the planet is wheezing, society is fragmented, and many of us live far from the support of our extended families. Add to this a certain cultural ambiguity—sometimes even hostility—surrounding children. Just this morning I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Stop Breeding."

Against this backdrop, the Watters book is a powerful reminder of the promise, the God-likeness of opening yourself to the act of procreation, come what may. I love how this book is arranged, the short breezy chapters with their inviting titles, like The Possible Miracle, Design, Blessing, Nest, Hope, Window, Spring.

As a mother of two, struggling to do it well, I found that Start Your Family helped me remember to keep a long view on parenting—to understand that short-term struggles are nothing compared to long-term possibilities. But perhaps the greatest gift of the Watters book is that it doesn't just offer a long view of parenting, but also a God view, suggesting that our fragile, fertile bodies are more precious than we realize, that children—far from being a drain on our resources or a carefully managed asset—are first and foremost a gift.

"In the midst of what some have called a 'post-family culture,' we still see significant reasons to be fruitful and multiply," the Watters write. "We believe that the place where the tension is strongest—where your desire for children clashes with financial realities, logistical nightmares, anxious hearts, and more—God can be trusted to do exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask or imagine."

Jenny Schroedel is the author most recently of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death (www.namingthechild.com), just published by Paraclete Press. She lives in Hawaii with her husband, John, an Orthodox priest, and their two daughters.

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