There’s something quite humbling about sitting down, with a reheated (for the umpteenth time) cup of tea, reflecting on the rollercoaster ride that is motherhood. As I trudged through the exhilarating yet admittedly overwhelming journey of my three pregnancies, I found myself drawn towards the comforting embrace of books. Each pregnancy, unique in its challenges, threw a myriad of questions, fears, and uncertainties at me. And I’m not just talking about my first pregnancy – oh, no! Even as a somewhat seasoned parent, my second and third pregnancies served up their own distinct flavours of confusion and curiosity.
Despite the occasional feeling of déjà vu, I found that each pregnancy presented new situations, stoked different emotions, and provoked a fresh set of questions. Even after two successful experiences, my third pregnancy didn’t exactly find me sailing with breezy confidence. Yes, some things were familiar, like the feeling of the first fluttery kicks or the inexplicable cravings for doughnuts at odd hours. But many aspects felt like I was venturing into uncharted territories, exploring, once again, the vast landscape of pregnancy and motherhood.
During these times, nestled amidst these waves of exhilaration and anxiety, I found solace in books. Pregnancy and parenting books, each one a beacon of knowledge, became my trusted companions and my midnight buddies. So, with the warm memories of my personal journey, I want to share with you my (and the general population’s) favourite books for expecting mums. These books, with their invaluable insights, practical advice, and compassionate guidance, are touchstones during the unique journey of pregnancy.
1. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff
An enduring favourite among expecting mums, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” offers month-by-month snapshots of your baby’s development. Whether it’s your first baby or your third, it presents a reassuring perspective with practical advice and real-life experiences. It ventures beyond biological changes, tackling emotional shifts, lifestyle transitions, and the evolution of relationships that occur from pregnancy to motherhood.
2. “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin
Renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin presents an enriching guide to childbirth in this book. With a harmonious blend of medical facts, personal birth stories, and practical advice, it helps expecting mums approach childbirth with confidence and positivity. This book empowers you to trust your instincts and equips you with tools to make informed decisions about your birthing experience.
3. “Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool” by Emily Oster
A refreshing departure from conventional parenting books, economist Emily Oster’s “Cribsheet” offers data-driven insights that allow you to make informed decisions without being bogged down by parental guilt. The book reassures mums grappling with the endless “Am I doing this right?” questions and dispels parenting myths by addressing key concerns based on data and evidence.
4. “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know” by Emily Oster
Another masterpiece from Emily Oster, “Expecting Better”, challenges conventional pregnancy wisdom with a data-driven approach. It thoroughly analyses medical research, debunking long-standing myths and offering reassurances. It encourages you to question the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ often imposed during pregnancy and to make decisions that are right for you.
5. “The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality” by Kimberly Ann Johnson
This book is a comprehensive guide that addresses the physical, emotional, and relational shifts that occur in the months following childbirth. It recognises postpartum recovery as a critical period and provides holistic advice that extends beyond physical healing. “The Fourth Trimester” validates the whirlwind of emotions new mothers experience, helping you navigate this transformative period.
6. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
A go-to guide for many new mothers, this book from La Leche League International covers all aspects of breastfeeding. It offers practical advice, solutions to common challenges, and inspiring stories that help build confidence in your ability to nurse your baby. This book stands as a supportive companion during the early stages of motherhood.
7. “Bump to Birthday: Pregnancy & First Year Journal” by Helen Stephens
This beautifully designed journal invites you to record the precious moments from your pregnancy and your baby’s first year. It serves as a keepsake, a space to collect thoughts, memories, and milestones that might blur with time. It’s a charming way to cherish your journey from bump to baby’s first birthday.
8. “Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better” by Siobhan Miller
Siobhan Miller’s “Hypnobirthing” provides practical strategies to make childbirth a positive and empowering experience. The book offers breathing exercises, visualisations, and affirmations that can help manage fear and pain during childbirth. A valuable tool for mums-to-be who wish to approach childbirth with a sense of calm and control.
With these books, remember that your journey through pregnancy and motherhood is as unique as you are. As you flip through their pages, absorbing their wisdom, remember to trust your journey, trust your instinct, and most importantly, trust yourself. These books are more than repositories of information. They are friends offering comfort, experts providing advice, and mentors guiding you along the way.