RECOMMENDED READING FOR MAMAS-TO-BE

Happy March, all y'alls. Hope your March has been kinder to you than ours has been to us. We've had a tough couple of weeks at the Woolley household. Poor Sebastian has had cold, after cold, after cold, and has been sick on and off now for over three weeks! After managing to go a full year without catching a cold, I realize it was bound to happen eventually. Having a little babe that's sick is just the worst; as a parent you just feel so helpless with the limited things you can do to make them feel better. :( Add on to that switching from an in-home nanny to daycare, and we have had quite a bit of transition on our hands. 

And thinking about transitions, March 15 marks the anniversary one year ago when we brought Sebastian home for the first time. After spending five weeks in NICU, we finally became a family of three at home. Right now, we have quite a few friends who are pregnant and are about to make their own transition from being a family of two, to having their first child. I've spoken with a few of them about the books they're reading during their pregnancy, and it got me thinking back to the books I read during my own. Reading sounds like such a far-fetched idea right now. Between Sebastian, work, and everything else we have going on, I can't even fathom having more than 15 minutes to sit down and enjoy a good book. And that's fine; I'm not in that season right now.

But I have been thinking back to when I was pregnant and had ALL the time for ALL the reading. And believe me, I did A LOT of reading. I was on bedrest for close to 5 out of the 7 months I was pregnant, which allowed for A LOT of free time to sit in bed and read. And let me tell you, I read some great books. The books I wanted to share today aren't necessarily the best novels I read when I was on bedrest, but are more along the lines of what I would characterize as 'must-reads' during pregnancy. Of course everyone's different, but I felt like these three were the most important and impactful books I read during my time: 

1. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING
by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

I know, I know... the pregnancy bible seems like an obvious choice. And it is! But I think it's also the most informational and comprehensive book about pregnancy out there (likely why it's in it's 4th edition), and is a good one to just have around the house. It's not a book you necessarily have to read from cover to cover either; you can drop in and out of it whenever you have a few spare minutes. It's also broken into easily digestible sections that you can read as you move through the pregnancy. AND, it has a really thorough index in case you had a specific question or concern in-between doctors visits. 

 


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2. INA MAY'S GUIDE TO CHILDBIRTH
by Ina May Gaskin

I didn't expect this one to have such a profound impact on me, but it did. Ina May is an experienced midwife who advocates for natural, unmedicated childbirth. Regardless of what you currently have in mind for your birth plan, I recommend this one for a read. The entire first-half of the book contains positive, uplifting birth stories from actual women Ina May helped or was present for their birth story.

At the start of my pregnancy, so many women I met felt the need to tell me their own birth stories. More often than not, their birth story didn't go as planned, was a difficult, or even scary experience, yet eventually ended with their babe making it out safely. It definitely was overwhelming to hear so many traumatic birth stories, especially when I knew I was going to have to go through it eventually myself! So this book was great - being able to read about so many women who managed to have safe, happy, and most importantly - healthy birth stories (all with minimal medical intervention!) was inspirational and helped me to overcome my birthing fears. Ironically, I ended up having one of the most complicated birth stories myself, but I still think this book was incredibly helpful to get my mind in the right place. The second half of the book goes through what you body physically experiences during the different parts of labor, and since I was technically having pre-term labor for several months on end prior to the actual delivery, this book helped me recognize the different stages I experienced. 


3. BRINGING UP BÉBÉ: ONE AMERICAN MOTHER DISCOVERS THE WISDOM OF FRENCH PARENTING
by Pamela Druckerman  

This book was recommended to me by a dear friend and was one I worked through while I was on bedrest during my last few weeks in the hospital before Sebastian was born. I felt this book was written in more of a conversational style, so while it was informational and at times instructional on parenting, I caught myself getting lost in Pamela's own story, and how she became aware of the differences between her own American-style of parenting and her friends and co-worker's French-style of parenting. 

Again, there are too many good things in this book to divulge via blog (seriously, even if you're not pregnant it's worth a read), but I will say that even as Sebastian is quickly becoming more toddler and less baby, I still find myself consulting this book on occasion. Most impactful tidbits during his first few months: Pamela's recommendations on sleep (specifically "the pause" before going in to get your child during the night), and first foods (we did zucchini and never fed Sebastian rice cereal. Not sure if it's related, but when he's feeling 100%, we have a really good eater on our hands).

I have recently found myself going back and checking in on other parts of the book as Sebastian is getting older. I totally forgot that she included a sample menu from the creche, as well as easy recipes you can start cooking and baking with your kids as soon as they're ready and receptive. Needless to say, of the three, this one is my go-to and something I am STILL finding myself referencing even now!

 

So those are my three 'must-reads' I recommend while pregnant. I remember stumbling upon a couple of different reading lists on blogs (why I actually purchased Ina May's book in the first place), and hope that this list inspires a few moms-to-be out there! What other books do you recommend? Currently not preggo myself, but like to start the conversation for other Mamas out there! Have a wonderful (and hopefully healthy) March!

xoxo,