What Pregnant Mamas Really Need to Do . . . .
Dear fellow pregnant mamas,
You do not need to hear everyone’s horrifying birth stories. You do not need strangers rubbing (or as happened to one girlfriend POKING) your belly. You don’t need lectures from bloggers or well-intentioned friends about the “MUST dos” of pregnancy. What you really need to do is take the opportunity to self-educate.
There’s so much out there on pregnancy, and every piece of advice is countered by another piece in direct opposition, that here’s my short list of what I loved to read to educate myself on birth, baby care, and raising children decisions. I’m re-reading these, and the Bradley Method book, as I’m expecting baby girl in April. If you have time and interest, I have a long recommended reading list, here.
1) The Big Book of Birth.
This is by Erica Lyon, and it outlines all the medical interventions available to a laboring mother. She gives pros and cons, and is very fair and even-handed about them. She is a midwife who promotes fear-free and natural birth, but in a helpful, non-judgmental-epidurals-aren’t-the-devil sort of way. Buy it today.
2) The Baby Book.
By Dr. William Sears. He and his wife have 8 children, one or two of whom are adopted. This tome covers developmental stages, birth options, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and just the good old common sense basics of the transition from pregnant mama to parent of baby to parent of toddler. Each step has unique challenges and joys!
3) The Successful Child.
Another gem by Dr. Sears. The Sears have written tons of books. We’ve read lots of those tons. But this one encapsulates the essence of healthy child rearing. He addresses how to build a strong sense of self in a child from infancy on up, love and behavioral shaping, spirituality, consistency, and ensuring you equip your child with the best tools to be the best version of himself that he can be. It’s a fabulous book and broken into easy, comprehensible sections and chapters for those of us who don’t have a ton of time to devout to reading at this point in life.
There are hundreds of hundreds of books on being pregnant and “what to expect.” Experts go on and on about the best of this and the better of those, but if you’re short on time, these three will cover the basics of being pregnant, having a baby, and raising a child.
Something else that you really need to read is your own life history! What did you and your partner like about the ways you were raised? What didn’t you like? No parents are perfect, and once you’re a parent you suddenly are much more forgiving of your own folks. But comparing healthy parenting styles that you are inextricably modeled after is a very helpful part of the prenatal process!