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Pregnancy and Parenting Books: What Are Your Go-To Titles?

I tend to arm myself with knowledge in the midst of change, or in contemplating it. I’m a library book junkie, and my book-borrowing record reflects the subtext of my life. For example, during one period during which work was particularly stressful, over a year ago now, I came home with a stack of books on, or by, female entrepreneurs. Work calmed down, the economy crashed, and I did not start an organic onesie design and distribution business-- and run it out of my kitchen-- after all. But hey, if I ever want to do that, I now know a thing or two about what it’ll entail (in short, a lot of tireless work, dedication, and comfort with financial ambiguity… that won’t be happening any time soon!). Books on weddings similarly marked the time preceding my own, last summer. And, likewise, I have received as gifts and borrowed a huge variety of pregnancy-related books in the months since then.


One friend lent me Belly Laughs  by Jenny McCarthy (yep, that Jenny McCarthy) just after I found out I was pregnant. It’s an easy, fast read, and it did make me laugh. It also clued me in to some of what I could expect, physically, emotionally, and so forth, in pregnancy, without being dry, or in the slightest bit medical.


There’s a time and a place for the dry, medical, cold-hard facts, though, and I found Great Expectations to be perfect for that. It gives a blow-by-blow for every one of pregnancy’s forty weeks, and also includes sections on financial planning, unusual symptoms, health conditions that can come up, and so forth. I like the week-by-week, but the rest is overwhelming, especially the parts about unusual health conditions, some of which are scary. I figure that it’s better in most cases to find out about those things in the midst of affliction, and not from the sidelines.


The other book that I’ve enjoyed a lot is Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful.  It’s exactly what it sounds like: totally touchy-feely. Given the amount of technical information that we digest while pregnant, and the number of practical concerns we juggle, though, I found the attention paid in its pages to the deeper life changes at work during pregnancy a welcome change. It’s useful, too, in its own way. It includes exercises and meditations to try, and also thoughts on pain and the process of childbirth that I hadn’t considered before.


I’ve shifted now to books on parenting. Dr. Spock’s is awesome. That is what I call a user’s manual! The Yale Child Study Center Guide To Understanding Your Child is a definite pass. I know parenting’s full of challenges, but it can’t be that complicated (trust me, this one’s over the top). I’m also looking at a book called Organic Baby; it’s mostly just eye candy... but who doesn’t like eye candy?


What are your favorite pregnancy and parenting books? What’s indispensable to you? What can you do without? Can’t wait to hear your suggestions and get myself all stocked up!