Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reading List: Pregnancy and Birth

I spent more money than I care to admit on parenting how-to books as a new mom. I wanted to be sure I was doing everything "right," and, in spite of my own mother's advice ("Throw those books away and listen to your baby!") spent many a late night devouring everything I could.

I don't like parenting how-to and advice books much these days. First because every child truly is different (and I have three now, and can actually say that with some degree of certainty!) and so what works for one will not work for another. Second, because the only "expert" on my child is me. And third, and probably most important, most of those how-to books set us up to fail. Many of these well meaning advisors tell you that if you do A, you will achieve B, and when that doesn't happen, we blame ourselves, or worse, sometimes our children.

I do, however, love to read books about pregnancy, birth, parenting, and mothering, especially those written by parents and mothers who also happen to be authors. I'd like to share some titles that I've loved especially, so this is the first post in a series of three titled, Reading List: Pregnancy and Birth. I hope you will enjoy some of these books as much as I have and I'd love to hear from you if you have any titles to add.

1. A Child is Born. Just an extraordinary collection of pictures. There's a lot of information in there, too, if you're a bit of a pregnancy junkie. If you've experienced a pregnancy loss, some of the images in the book may be difficult to look at--so please keep that in mind.

2. Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth. Whether you like Jenny McCarthy or not, whether you agree with her stance on vaccines and autism or not, this book is hysterical. I laughed out loud constantly and it was a great distraction when pregnancy seemed to last forever.

3. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. A fantastic choice if you're considering natural birth or want to learn more about it. (I cringe a bit at the word "Guide," as I don't think anyone can really guide you to give birth, but it's still chock full of important and useful information.)

4. Your Best Birth. Written by Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake, this is a great read if you're interested in knowing your choices about prenatal care and birth in the US (and who isn't?!). It sheds light on many aspects of maternity care and childirth in the US.

5. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care. The title sounds a little scary, but this is a good book if you're planning to give birth in a hospital and want it to be drug free and natural. Some of the wording can sound a bit alarmist, so take it with a grain of salt and remember that YOU are your best advocate, and education is key.

6. Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy. A must, must, MUST read if you are questioning vaccinations. I can't say enough how much this book changed my outlook and opened my eyes to so many different aspects of the vaccination debate. I will never look at government, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical establishment the same again.

7. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations. I wish the author would publish an updated version of this book. It's got great information but some of it is slightly outdated. That said, I learned a great deal about how vaccines are made, the ingredients, possible adverse effects, and manufacturing issues.

8. The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library). By far the best and most comprehensive guide to vaccinations today. Dr. Sears is intelligent, objective, and remains respectful of parents' choices. There are also a few alternate vaccination schedules, one of which our family follows, which are invaluable.

All of these titles are available on Happy reading!


Kayce Pearson said... [Reply to comment]

Another great book on Vaccines is Vaccination is Not an Immunization. It talks about all the actual diseases and then the vaccine risks and benefits compared to the disease. Short but amazing.

Shawna said... [Reply to comment]

I would also add Pam England's "Birthing From Within" and Gumurkh's "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation," the last one sounds extremely out there, but it is really uplifting!

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