I am an extremely organized person. I like making lists, cleaning out drawers, sorting items and finding a place for everything. I keep detailed calendars. Clutter stresses me out. But for the first four months of my pregnancy, I didn’t want to do anything to prepare for our baby except read.
Books, blogs, research studies—I couldn’t get enough. Reading calmed me. It’s true that too much reading can cause information overload or, my favorite expression and one that I’m quite familiar with, “analysis paralysis.” Sometimes you have to just put down the book and make a decision.
I know that. But at the same time, I can’t imagine not soaking up everything there is to know about one of the biggest challenges I’ll ever take on.
A friend once proudly told me that she and her husband didn’t read any books during her pregnancy. My initial (internal) reaction was, “Well, seems like you were pretty unprepared.” Today, her children are happy, well-adjusted, sleep-through-the-nighters and no worse for wear. Still, I can’t help but think that she may have made life a little bit harder for herself.
Admittedly, the “how-to” books (or instruction manuals, as my husband calls them) can be intimidating, although that hasn’t stopped me from reading them. But I’ve also enjoyed as much, if not more, the books that don’t give step-by-step instructions as much as the author’s unique perspective on this amazing process. Here are a few non-manuals that I loved:
From Conception To Birth: A Life Unfolds, by Alexander Tsiaras: For those who wish for weekly ultrasounds like I do, this beautiful book gives you a peek at what baby looks like, from conception to birth. Using medical technology and imaging, the author provides beautiful, life-like images alongside poetic descriptions about the miracle taking place.
Bringing Up Bébé, by Pamela Druckerman: This book received as much criticism as it did praise, but I found it eye-opening, not offensive. No, I didn’t agree with every method of French parenting, but I did find it a nice alternative to other books for two reasons. 1. The French style is so different from American parenting, that it’s nice to think I could incorporate parts of what “works” in France with what “works” in America (especially the sleep method—I look forward to initiating “La Pause.”) And 2. It is written as a narrative, or memoir, with research and advice wrapped in, which is a welcome break from the how-to guides.
Belly Laughs, by Jenny McCarthy: I had been avoiding this book for the sole reason that it’s written by Jenny McCarthy. I’m sure she’s a great mom, but to me she’ll always be the host of MTV’s Singled Out. So when yet another friend told me to read it, I finally caved. Turns out, it’s an honest, hilarious, at times touching, view of pregnancy. I wouldn’t recommend reading it for actual advice or insight into important birth and parenting decisions, but rather as a light-hearted, “chat with your girlfriend,” break from the heavier stuff.
I’m always looking for recommendations! Which pregnancy books did you enjoy?