Books I found helpful, encouraging and/or empowering during pregnancy & labor

There are SO many books out there for moms to be and moms. It’s overwhelming. And there are a lot of opinions. And there’s a lot of judgement, but I feel like that is more geared towards post-baby books since there are so many parenting styles. I have been reading a lot of books regarding baby sleep lately and at the end of the day, I don’t like any of them. It’s hard when every baby is unique and enters different phases at different times. Yes, there are general growth and developmental milestones but something as simple as bed times and naps seem to vary widely child by child. I appreciate all the literature out there if not for just the sheer point that it shows that there isn’t one right method for every baby. I need that reminder sometimes. I have found with EC with Geneveve it helped me tune into her signals for potty and that opened the door to pay attention to her reactions for being tired, overstimulated etc etc. So for now I have no baby books to recommend except the Dr. Sears Baby Book. I like that one because it’s full of honest information without a big agenda. Well, he is AP biased but I see nothing wrong with a baby book being biased towards holding your child, paying attention to them and trying to meet their needs.

But I meant for this to be a post about pre-baby stuff and here I am rambling in my scattered post-partum mind.
Okay, we’ll keep it simple:

The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears. I read this a lot while pregnant. It was on the nightstand. I found it very reassuring and educational. And not fear-based. I felt that I needed to be reminded constantly that labor is Normal and Natural part of life. It Is life.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Yes, it’s more crunchy in the simple fact that this woman started a commune. She also played a big part in bringing the power of birthing choices back to the mother. The first half of the book is positive labor stories and the second half is a what to expect and how your body works in labor and I found the whole thing wonderfully empowering. After almost 30 years of being exposed to the media’s adrenaline, fear-induced portrayal of having a baby, it was hard to read positive birth stories and think they were real and not just reserved for the extreme hippies of the world. But there are also plenty of positive birth stories online, I enjoy Progressive Pioneer’s spotlight on birth stories she did last year. And documentaries like the Business of Being Born really drive home the message that your Body knows what to do and you can trust in it. I find it amazing that 98% of births are normal and natural and do not need interventions yet C-section rates in hospitals in the US is insane. This country has some of the worst statistics regarding labor and birth compared to other developed countries. (And the worse maternity leave. Oh, Germany, it’s Not fair that your new moms get one year paid leave) After 12 weeks a baby is Still so dependent on mommy; I hate that most moms have to separate from their babies so early. I can’t be away from mine more than an hour still. But that’s my choice.

Birthing from Within
Also full of encouraging information to remind you that birth is normal and instinctual. She does a lot of art projects which help you face fears and be able to separate your mind from your body. I feel like it’s really easy to just get caught up in the intellectual not the physical aspect of labor, which can make it really hard to let go and let your body do what it was designed to do. I have read a lot of stories where your mind is caught up in a fear cycle, which affects your body’s ability to release all those natural hormones and painkillers and for your cervix to dilate. It always amazes me what the power of the mind can do, both good and bad.

I read other books like the Bradley Method and took out a bunch from the library but these two books above really were all that I needed.
I wish I had read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding before having Geneveve as well.
I’m intrigued by Hypnobabies due to how many moms I’ve met that used it and swore by it. But I don’t know if I’m sold yet.

One Response to “Books I found helpful, encouraging and/or empowering during pregnancy & labor”

  1. Matt

    Hey, I miss you guys, how are you doing? I guess you have the family going now. Me, I am no longer in Seattle, I am doing another postdoc in Georgia. Give me a holler.

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