We just received the lovely picture book Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman and it’s quickly become a favorite with Bella. I love it too, though I’m having a hard time getting through it without bawling. Partly the pregnancy hormones, I’m sure, but also because it is such a beautifully told, gorgeously illustrated story. The story itself is beyond Bella right now, but she loves the pictures of the baby and it will be a book that she can grow into. It’s not just a kid’s book, either. As with the best picture books, it’s got something for adults too: a profound meditation on life in the womb and God’s loving care which accompanies us from the moment of our conception and throughout life in this world.
When I was pregnant for the first time, expecting my sweet Isabella, I tried to imagine what life in the womb must be like. I wrote in my journal:
Sometimes I fancy that she hears the angels sing and that she sings with them. The music of the spheres, the perpetual hosannas that all creation sings if only we could hear them. I fancy she sees the stars dance and moves with them. Her leaps and kicks are her joyful celebrations of life and motion. When she sleeps she is rocked by a celestial lullaby.
Regina Doman’s book captures something of the same idea as the baby converses with a guardian angel. Regina recounts that the inspiration for the book, written when she was expecting her first child, was a conversation with her youngest sister who when asked was able to recall impressions of life in the womb: “It was warm and dark and there was an angel there.”
I’ve heard another story of a child who asked her baby sibling “Tell me, what is heaven like. I’m starting to forget.” It seems entirely probable to me that infants in the womb, not being as encumbered by their five senses, have a more immediate sensation of the presence of God. Certainly John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb at the nearness of the fetal Christ child. In any case, this book is a lovely way to introduce young children to the baby in mommy’s tummy, to their guardian angel who is always with them, and the the miracle of unborn life.