When I think of my first pregnancy, I think of a colorful emotional mishmash of excitement, terror, and an all-consuming desire to absorb information. (Also: Nutter Butters.) When it came to pregnancy-focused books, websites, etc., I could not get enough.
By the time I was expecting my second child, I didn't read a single pregnancy book. For one thing, I didn't have time, what with the first child having grown into a horrifically energetic toddler, but I suppose the main reason is that I knew what was coming. Hemorrhoids? Oh, hi, right on schedule.
I still remember how utterly obsessed I was the first time around, though. For those of you who might be in a similar ALL PREGNANCY ALL THE TIME frame of mind, I thought I'd share my top 3 picks for pregnancy-related reading:
I once had a friend who claimed one of her favorite parts of pregnancy was re-reading Waiting for Birdy, that's how great this book is. Of course, you don't have to be expecting to enjoy this wonderful book, but it's sort of like eating ice cream when you're pregnant: one experience heightens the other. Birdy focuses on the year that author Catherine Newman’s second child was born, and her magical ability to elevate everyday thoughts and feelings will have you nodding along and wishing she lived next door to you so you could enjoy her deeply hilarious and satisfying conversations FOREVER.
(Along similar lines, The Zygote Chronicles is another amazing pregnancy memoir, and Operating Instructions is an absolute must-read for any new mom.)
I'm not even sure how to describe how empowering, exciting, and somehow soothing I found this book to be. I read it during my first pregnancy, even though I had zero plans of birthing at home or using a midwife at all. This memoir from a nurse-turned-midwife chronicles several individual birth experiences in great detail, demystifying all sorts of things I'd been unclear/worried about, and on the whole I found it to be incredibly encouraging. I will warn you that it is not completely without tragedy, but the great majority of the stories unfold in a way that helped give me a renewed sense of self-confidence about the approaching birth of my son. I'd vote for ditching every pregnancy manual on the market in favor of this honest and captivating read.
Speaking of pregnancy manuals, this one's a little more entertaining than the dry and occasionally downright terrifying tomes out there (I'm looking at you, What to Expect When You're Expecting a Shitload of Weird-Ass Complications). I'm not sure this sort of collection is even necessary these days when there are so many blogs that provide the same sort of jokey, informal rundown of what it's like to be knocked up, but for $7 or so, I can think of worse ways to spend your money. It's chatty and more opinionated than strictly informational, but if you could use a break from the stern medical advice while still reading up on the subject that's slowly taking over your brain (and belly), The Girlfriends' Guide is pretty fun.
What pregnancy books did you devour when you were pregnant? Anything you'd recommend to a first-time mom-to-be?
Images via Flickr/sundaykofax, Amazon