I love having a book next to my nightstand and reading a little before bed every night. As a mama to be, the last few months my nightstand has been filled with books that will help me prepare for what’s to come. Even though I know I can never be fully prepared and I’ll have to learn to parent as I go, I have found these books helpful in getting me ready and feeling more confident as I enter this new phase in life.
- The Birth Partner– I think this was the first book I read. Not surprisingly, one of the first things I thought about as the reality of pregnancy set it was labor and childbirth. In doing research online, this book kept popping up as a good resource. I also wanted to find a book that could help my husband understand this whole process as well. This book is great at walking you through all the stages of birth, the different scenarios you could be presented with and what your partner can do to help you through all of it.
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding– Breastfeeding is definitely something I want to do for my child. The more I spoke with other moms, the more I realized that maybe breastfeeding wouldn’t come as naturally as I would expect it to. This was a wonderfully informative book on breastfeeding and what to expect in the days after birth and beyond. I haven’t taken any classes on breastfeeding, but I feel like I know enough before the baby comes having read this book.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth– When I first got pregnant, my initial instinct was that I didn’t want an epidural. It was more personal than anything else as I knew nothing about the pros or cons of unmedicated birth. I just didn’t like the idea of not feeling my legs or a giant needle going into my back. As I spoke to other moms, I kept hearing- “Just go for the epidural” “It is the worst pain you’ll ever feel!” and so on. I started to think, maybe I will just go for an epidural. But something kept nagging at me and the more I read the more I started to revisit the notion of an unmedicated delivery. This book absolutely helped me overcome the hesitations I still had in the back of my mind. I really felt like I could let go of any fear I had about the experience of childbirth. It is wonderfully written and I encourage any woman who is considering not getting an epidural to read this book.
- Hypnobirthing– Although I had made a decision that I wanted to try and have a baby without any drugs, I somehow thought I could just go in there and wing it. Thankfully I came to my senses and realized that was a really bad idea. I needed some sort of plan if I was going to get through childbirth. I researched various techniques for coping with pain during labor and found hypnobirthing. It teaches you deep relaxation and meditative techniques so that you can remove the fear that causes more pain during childbirth. It also comes with a CD for guided meditation. It covers different kinds of breathing that help you through contractions. It’s not for everyone but I found it’s something I could really grasp. I have practiced different types of yoga over the years and using breath to relax and focus really appealed to me. The book says you should also take classes to go along with it. It’s not something I was able to fit into my schedule or budget. But having practiced the techniques and listened to the meditations, I feel much more confident going into my birth without having taken any of the classes in person. I can’t speak to how well it works during childbirth, but maybe I’ll do a follow up post on that.
- Bringing Up Bebe– I had heard about this book for years and I was so excited when a friend gave me a copy. The author, Pamela Druckerman, compares the differences between raising a child in France to the United States. I found it incredibly fascinating and will definitely be implementing some of what she covers in the book.
- Daily Soul Sessions for the Pregnant Mama– I received this book toward the end of my pregnancy and I wish I would have received it earlier! I connected with Kate through Instagram. She and her sisters have published a beautiful compilation of inspirations and meditations for every day of your pregnancy. I have loved keeping it by my bedside and reaching over to get my daily does of inspiration. It also makes a lovely and thoughtful gift for the mama to be in your life.
Are there any other books you would add to the list?