Anyone who knows me knows I like to read… a lot. I also love collecting books, and I pride myself on my personal little library. Recently when J and I were rearranging the house to make room for the new baby, he suggested that we pack up an entire shelf of books to put into storage. I must have given him the evil look of death because I thought his suggestion was ludicrous. “How often do you read these?” his had made a sweeping gesture over my shelf of art reference books and valuable first editions. It may seem like I don’t use or need them, but I realized I just like having them there. Call me selfish, but the books stayed. And I try and schedule my amazon.com deliveries for when J is at work 🙂
Which gets me to the books I’ve read during these nine months of being pregnant. There are some great books out there, and I’ve discovered that popularity doesn’t necessarily make a book “the best” on the subject. I did read the ubiquitous What to Expect When You’re Expecting and What to Expect The First Year, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Maze. Both books were very informative but I realized that reading about all the things that could possible go wrong during pregnancy is kind of a downer. Warnings about what food to avoid, the possibilities of miscarriage, and other horrible things made me question every little thing about my body. Not good. I think it’s great to be informed, but I had to take a step back from sections of these books and just draw out the information that I thought was beneficial to me.
I thought that The Mother of all Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas was written in a cleaner, simpler format, and I enjoyed this book more as a reference. As I reached each monthly milestone in my pregnancy, I liked looking up the corresponding month in this book.
Perhaps the best and most informative books I’ve read are by William Sears, M.D. and his wife Martha Sears, R.N. The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth really helped me know what to expect for this upcoming labor and delivery. They are so great about explaining everything including natural pain management, that all my fears about birth have dissolved. Sounds crazy, but reading this book actually made me excited to experience it! Thank you Dr. Sears!! They have written a whole series of books; and I also read the HUGE tome The Baby Book, and The Attachment Parenting Book. I highly recommend any book written by the Sears’, as it is obvious they love babies and children, they have a passion for educating and have many children of their own.
Reading about pregnancy and motherhood can be fun/funny too! I have to say that Jenny McCarthy’s book Belly Laughs, the Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth, was a fast, funny read and I enjoyed her hilarious insights into things we experience in pregnancy that no one talks about! I also really enjoyed Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Many things about the French philosophy of parenting seem to work well, particularly the cadre, or framework. Here in America we are constantly telling our kids “no!” or “don’t do ____” The French believe in very clearly establishing the cadre as a strong boundary for the child, but within that framework they let the child be very free and independent. I think it’s a great philosophy and requires more consideration on the child’s part. Another cultural book I read was How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm and Other Adventures in Parenting by Mei-Ling Hopgood. Like traveling, sometimes you realize that other countries may do things better (or worse) that your own. I thought it was really interesting reading about parenting practices in other places; like how they potty train in China (without underwear and just letting their child go wherever!!?!) How the Argentinians love babies and let children stay up all night, or how in many cultures there are no such thing as strollers.
To round out my parenting library I read The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. I found his explaination of “the fourth trimester” the most informative part of the book, and it made a lot of sense. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley takes a relaxed, easygoing approach to getting your child to sleep and it reassures you to keep an open mind and not force anything (probably a good general rule in life!) Smart-Wiring Your Baby’s Brain, What you Can Do to Stimulate Your Child During the Critical First Three Years by Winifred Conkling had some really interesting insights on activities to engage your child. It also talks a lot about development and the way the child’s brain works.
So while all this information has seeped into my brain, now all I can do is wait for Baby B to arrive!! We’re talking like 8 days away! Can’t wait.