Read All The Books, Learn All The Things
I have been known to become a bit obsessive when I put my mind to things. I like to know all the things. I conduct meticulous research, combing the Internet, devouring books, asking strangers wildly inappropriate questions on my quest to find the answers. And being pregnant has been my biggest project to date. I want to know everything there is to know. I’m constantly reading, searching, pinning, talking about what to expect.
It is my blessing and it is my curse. As great as it is to be informed, it can all be a bit consuming and overwhelming. I know this. So I’ve tried to stick to books and information that are less about “do this or your kid will die” and more about “here are some new ways of doing things you might not have considered”.
Below is a list of all the books I’ve read so far in my pregnancy, from the first ones I picked up to my most recent finds, along with a few I have waiting for me on my nightstand. I get that there are a million ways to do this mom thing and, from what I’m gathering, no one is better than the other. But I think it’s important to be informed and craft a lifestyle that best fits yours and your family’s needs.
10 Must Read Baby Books For New Moms
This is one of the first books I picked up from the public library when I found out I was pregnant. I got it along with a stack of every other pregnancy book the library had to offer. Eat this not that, pregnancy edition. What to expect when you’re expecting, volumes 1-100. The official book of all the ways you can fuck up your kid, and so on. I didn’t flip through those for long, but this one I devoured. Alicia can be a bit extreme for some, even me at times. But her philosophy is right in line with mine. I may not be giving birth in the woods and feeding my kid a raw vegan diet and boiling homemade teas from my garden. As much as I’d love for that to be my life, it just isn’t.
I didn’t read this book with the intention to follow every instruction exactly, and it wasn’t written that way. But her advice is backed with lots of research and evidence, which I appreciated. And I plan on buying the book to own so I can reference it once baby arrives.
Jessica has gotten some flack regarding her Honest company being maybe not so honest. But all in all, I was impressed with her book and the description of her lifestyle choices. Granted, this book can be seen as one giant advertisement for her company. But hell why shouldn’t it be. I didn’t go running to the store buying out all the soaps and adorably printed diapers. But I did take lots of notes on how to raise kids who are honest and loving and kind. I also learned easy ways to run a clean home and feed whole foods to picky eaters.
Another lady who has been getting some flack for a while, Jenny McCarthy. Maybe the books that followed this one were a bit more charged. But this one is really just a good laugh. It isn’t meant to be a guidebook or super informative. Its just one mother’s honest recollection of pregnancy, and it was really funny. A quick read.
The holy grail of birthing books. I saw it recommended left and right as I began researching my natural birth options. Ina May is like the dali llama of natural birth. And this book is a compliation of stories from women who gave birth at the hands of her and her staff of amazing midwifes. Its been really comforting to read so many different birth stories because it reminds me that there are SO many different ways to give birth. Each one is different. And that reminder helps me stay out of a my head. I can’t control how its going to go. But I can do what I can to prepare for it to go as close to ideal as possible. My own ideal. And this book offers that encouragement and guidance. I’m still reading through this one. I keep it by my bed and read a few different birth stories every night.
Favorite one on the list, so far. I could not put this one down. It’s bleeding with highlighter marks and stuffed with sticky notes. The author is an American woman who moved to Paris and ended up raising her children there. The book shares what she’s learned regarding French parenting and all the ways we can adopt their styles. It was really eye-opening to read because I think we forget that there are other ways of doing things.
“When I ask French parents what they most want for their children, they say things like “to feel comfortable in their own skin” and “to find their path in the world.” They want their kids to develop their own tastes and opinions. In fact, French parents worry if their kids are too docile. They want them to have character.
But they believe that children can achieve these goals only if they respect boundaries and have self-control. So alongside character, there has to be cadre.”
― Pamela Druckerman,
I was so intersted in how other cultures raise their kids after reading about French parenting styles, that I started to seek out more books about the topic. This one really stuck out. Each chapter is about a different culture and how they do things differently and why their way might be worth trying. African villages who don’t use strollers. How Buenos Aires children go to bed late. How the Chinese potty train early. So much food for thought!
I was given this book to go along with the Hypnobirthing class I am taking with my husband. Not for nothing, but my husband is the most skeptical man on earth and upon leaving our first hypnobirthing class he said…and I quote, “I am totally convinced”. Not only did he understand the benefit of learning and practicing this method for a healthy and natural birth, but he also commented that he could use these techniques in his everyday life to stay calm and relaxed. I still have four more classes to take, so I’ll keep you updated. But the book has been really informative so far.
I am always looking for new books to add to my reading list. Which ones have you read that you recommend? Let me know in the comments.