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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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Baby Blessings

Baby Blessings: Inspiring Poems and Prayers for Every Stage of Parenthood

by June Cotner



Baby Blessings: The Interview



1. What was the motivation to create your latest anthology, Baby Blessings?

As part of my desire to create books that honor and celebrate all of life’s passages, I wanted to compile a book of poems and prayers that would celebrate the joy of being a new parent. Initially, I conceived Baby Blessings as a book for mothers, but after receiving excellent submissions from fathers, I thought it was important to include the perspective of both parents. However, the book will probably speak more strongly to women. Baby Blessings offers words of comfort, encouragement, and inspiration during the rewarding, exhilarating, and sometimes scary time of being a new mother.

2. How do you think Baby Blessings addresses the "woman of today"?

After reading Baby Blessings, a friend gave me her perspective: "In these days of many women juggling career with motherhood, sometimes a new mom may get discouraged trying to balance everything. Baby Blessings will remind her of all the blessings babies bring to our lives."

3. It seems like "Baby Blessings" also has a very practical focus. Besides offering chapters on Pregnancy, Birth, and Babyhood, I see you also have chapters devoted to Christenings and Baby Naming Ceremonies.

Yes, since parenthood is a whirlwind of new responsibilities, parents don’t have the luxury of time to seek out "just the right prayer" for a christening or baby naming ceremony. In Baby Blessings, parents will find just what they need for their ceremonies whether they are religious or informal.

4. Your children are in their 20s, did compiling this book bring back a lot of fond memories?

Absolutely! When I was creating Baby Blessings, many of the poems had a way of transporting me back to when I was a mom with a cherished, beautiful baby. It felt wonderful reviving a lot of those old memories. My next stage of life will hopefully be enjoying babies through the eyes of a grandmother.

5. Do you have any favorite passages in Baby Blessings?

One is a humorous piece by Leslie George that reminded me of the contrast between my former life in the business world and my new life as a mother: "Insecure in my new role, I was at odds with—and battered by—an ideal of the breezy, capable mother I assumed everyone else was. I could handle myself at important meetings, meet tough deadlines, argue fluently in French. Why couldn’t I keep Cheerios off the floor?"

Another favorite is a piece by Gandhi that has been an excellent reminder for me: "Your life is your message to your children."

6. Tell me about some of the writers who have contributed to Baby Blessings.

Baby Blessings includes pieces by Dr. Spock, Rachel Carson, Kahlil Gibran, William Blake, Erica Jong and selections from contemporary, award-winning poets such as Ellen Bass and Barbara Crooker.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

In all my books, I seek selections that help us honor the sacred in everyday life and offer subtle insight to help improve our relationships with others. I believe Baby Blessings will help parents appreciate the enormous impact they will have on their children’s lives.

8. Are you accepting submissions for future projects? What do you have in the works?

Yes, information is available on my web site,

Short excerpts from BABY BLESSINGS:

bulletCarl Sandburg: "A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby." p. 8
bulletA woman from my yoga class mentioned how much the piece written from the perspective of an adoptive father moved her. Norman Styers: "Our delivery room was in chambers. A judge signed his name and our name was yours, . . . And we love you for the same reason any parent loves a child—because God gave you to us, us to you." p. 27
bulletPlato: "You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken. . . ." p. 38
bulletDuring times of a parent’s uncertainty, Benjamin Spock has an excellent reminder: "What good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is best after all." p. 52







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