I have always been a voracious reader. There is consistently a stack of books on my bedside table, and a long queue loaded on my Kindle. Recommending books for me can be a daunting task. Unless it is a rare find or very obscure chances are I have read it.
Since becoming pregnant (and even before) my reading tastes have shifted a bit from novels to books about pregnancy and childbirth. What I have discovered is there are a lot of books out there ( I won't name names) designed to scare you with all of the horrible things that could happen to you when you are expecting (hint hint). During these vulnerable and sometimes confusing months the last thing I need is someone telling me how awful pregnancy can be. I certainly do not need to be scared about childbirth either.
After much digging I have found three wonderful books that have been a huge help to me. They are all contemporary, easy to read and encouraging. If you are expecting or know someone who is I highly suggest checking them out.
I should note there is one book missing from this list of favorites that almost made the cut. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by legendary midwife Ina May Gaskin is also a wonderful read for anyone interested in natural childbirth. I read it years ago at a friend's suggestion and while I enjoyed it, it is not quite as relevant to my life as the three below. Somehow it is hard for a busy Manhattanite to relate to birth stories from The Farm in rural Tennessee. Nevertheless I admire Ina May and all the work she does.
The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon
Call me crazy but childbirth does not scare me. I am confident I am doing enough preparation from keeping in shape, to working with my wonderful doula to be ready when the big day comes. Sure it will hurt. Sure it will be hard. But I know my body was made to grow and deliver my baby and that if I take care of it, it will take care of me.
Naturally, part of my preparation for the big day has been doing some reading on the subject. There are a lot of childbirth books out there. A lot. Many of the ones I have read or skimmed through are downright scary and overwhelming! Luckily, childbirth educator Erica Lyon has written a very contemporary and comprehensive guide. This book helps you learn what to really expect, and takes a lot of fear, anxiety and mystery out of childbirth. From choosing your doctor or midwife, to labor and delivery, to many pain coping techniques no aspect of the birth process is left un-discussed. I particularly loved the birth stories that are included- all of them are from recent years and many are from women I easily related to. Doug also has his own copy and I am pleased to report he has highlighted all of the pages on massage techniques to use during labor!
Mama Glow: A Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy by Latham Thomas
Latham Thomas is one of the coolest, most stylish women I know. She's a birth and wellness coach, a pre-natal yoga instructor and does it all in fabulous heels and hats! You meet her and automatically wish she were your best friend.
Latham's book, Mama Glow is like the best kind of girlfriend, offering advice that will help you look and feel amazing all nine (let’s be honest- ten!) months. Starting from before you even get knocked up all the way though post-partum Latham cover all phases of pregnancy. Packed with great bump friendly recipes, yoga poses for all the trimesters, and general "glow" tips this book will help you feel and look your best during this sometimes hard to navigate time. My copy of Mama Glow is already well worn!
Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly
I miss getting letters. Not emails, not texts, but real letters written on stationary, in an envelope, with a stamp. It's no secret to anyone that knows me that I am a stickler when it comes to beautiful paper. I still believe whole-heartedly in the hand written thank you note, printed invitation, and beautiful personalized holiday card. My little girl already has her own stationary in the works as I hope to carry on my love of old fashioned letter writing!
I wish I had a friend like Beth Ann Fennelly to write to me during my pregnancy. How wonderful it must have been for her friend to receive this gorgeous series of letters that go way beyond the nuts and bolts of pregnancy and parenting. Ranging from slightly sentimental (but never maudlin), to serious, to hilarious Beth Ann address all topics from decisions about pain-medication for childbirth to the transition into Mommyhood. Lucky for me this collection of once private letters was published! Anytime I am feeling slightly blue or unsure about the journey ahead I pick up this book and read a letter or two to re-motivate and excite me about becoming someone's mom.