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.

loyly by anneparker


Originally uploaded by anneparker

Planting Trees

This past winter we signed up with Friends of Trees, a wonderful non-profit organization. They offer trees at a great price (subsidized if you plant them on sidewalk strips) and have a big planting party where you actually plant your trees alongside your neighbors and the FOT coordinators, who know what they are doing. We were able to meet some new neighbors, which is wonderful since we haven’t met too many people in our neighborhood. They all live pretty close to us so it’s fun to check on their trees when we are walking in the neighborhood. We decided upon two tri-color beeches for the front strip and along the side of the house we planted a strawberry marina tree (beautiful bark) and a Japanese snowbell (both wildlife/bird attractants). I look forward to watching these trees grow and provide a little shade. The next step when I have the energy (and when it stops raining) is to kill the grass on the strips around the trees and plant ground covers. I want to have a mat of vinca under the beech and the side strip is still in progress. Hooray for less mowing!

Summer Lapse due to Hiking Adventures


I haven’t blogged much because we’re busy having fun. Not sorry! This spring and summer our free time has been spent taking the dog hiking and we’ve been able to explore a lot of new areas, mostly around Mount Hood. The picture is from a hike by Ramona Falls, where we had a heat wave of 85 degree days in the city and we decided to head to the hills. Somehow on the trail there was a few feet of snow remaining, making for cold toes but still a beautiful hike. Luckily the river crossing was safe and Ubu is much more confident crossing bridges, logs and rivers. She’s still not into swimming but we’re working on that. She’s been great about carrying her own water, food and poo, which is awesome because I don’t want to carry more than I have to.

We finally fanagled our schedules to do an overnight with the dog (Ubu’s first camping trip!) to Opal Creek Wilderness where it’s all water and waterfall and old growth forest. This place is so beautiful I wish it wasn’t so popular. The water was too cold to jump in but it was nice to look at. It was crystal clear you could see all the way to the bottom. The hike was pleasant and sleeping in the tent with Ubu was better than expected. I was worried she’d be all licky and antsy but she just curled up in a ball and went to sleep. She was a little cold (no body fat!) so we had to nestle her in the sleeping bags. My next knitting project will be a wool sweater for her so she doesn’t shiver at night. Hopefully as wedding season approaches we’ll still be able to make more time for hiking.


West side of fence

Our garden this year has been interesting. We had a cold and rainy spring, so I didn’t rush to put anything in the ground except the peas and favas. I’m trying to grow a lot of different plants this year but I’m learning a little too late where the best spots are for everything. I purchased a blueberry bush and i think it’s in a good spot with plenty of sun. My biggest success so far are my fava beans. I can’t wait to eat them! My peas are sluggish and my chiogga beets aren’t really making an above ground appearance.

Yummy Favas!

My bok choy sprouted but something ate all the leaves off the plants. The kale is coming up but it has a bunch of holes in the leaves as well. My friend Rachael gifted us with a motherload of leeks and they transplanted well. I have salad greens growing in the bathtub and they look great. I moved my rhubarb plant yesterday, I think it wasn’t getting much sun in the corner of the fenceline. My amaranth is being wimpy and my ground cherries are disappointing me. I think I’m neglecting the garden this year and it’s showing. I vow to be a better gardener. Beans, cukes and squash are going in the ground this week!