When I found out I was pregnant, my search for interesting and informative pregnancy books began. It was overwhelming! There were hundreds of books to pick and choose from and my fears of being a good mom began: Am I picking the right books to prepare me for this? Am I missing out on a must-have read that all other mommies are tuned into?
Then my husband reminded me, mothers have been having happy, healthy children for thousands and thousands of years, before books were even invented. So when the pressure faded, I just used my motherly instinct and read the books I naturally gravitated toward.
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Of all the titles I considered and read, these are my top five favorites—great books to read before and during pregnancy:
The Happiest Baby On The Block • Harvey Karp M.D.
I bought this book after my friend Tia, who has a two year old, strongly recommended it. She told me it was a lifesaver when her baby was a newborn and wouldn’t stop crying. The book helps parents learn how to re-create the womb-like environment baby was in for nine months, sooth him and curb hours of crying. Its major principles include soothing your baby using the five “S’s”: Swaddling, Side/Stomach, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking.
Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy And Childbirth • Jenny McCarthy
We all need humor during the nine months of topsy-turvy hormone-induced highs and lows that pregnancy brings. Former Playboy cover girl and actress Jenny McCarthy candidly shares her journey through pregnancy, poking fun at things like constipation and barfing (yes she actually has a chapter named Barf-O-Rama.). Her chapters have fun humorous names like Granny Panties, Psycho Chick, and Is that an Apple on Your Rectum, or Are You Just Happy to See Me? (hemorrhoids). This book made me realize that when you enter the sisterhood of pregnancy, glamour and elegance go out the window. Whether or not you’re a gorgeous former playmate or an average woman, none of us escape the wrath of pregnancy.
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected • Kelle Hampton
This book was very inspirational. It is a memoir from blogger Kelle Hampton, who went through pregnancy and unexpectedly delivered a baby girl with Down syndrome. She writes about her painful journey of facing her newborn daughter’s diagnosis but ultimately finding the beauty in the cards that life dealt her. Bloom helped me realize that my new bundle of joy may or may not come with unexpected complications, but I can always find the strength and courage to find the beauty in whatever life will bring.
Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads • Gary Greenberg
This is a great book for new dads. It is written by a man, for men, so the writing speaks to them in their language of: What’s broken and how can I fix it? My husband’s best friend gave him this book as a gift and he keeps it on our coffee table. Not only does it break down what impending fatherhood will entail, but it also gives them advice and tips on how to treat their partners should they develop Postpartum Depression. It also includes tips on feeding and bathing the baby, making them feel part of this special bonding experience.
What To Expect When You’re Expecting • Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
This is considered the pregnancy bible that most recently inspired a Hollywood movie with the same name starring Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz. It breaks down exactly what women should expect every single month during their pregnancy. It also provides answers to many questions such as: Could using my smartphone be harmful for my unborn baby? and Can I use sugar substitutes? The book answers practically any question a soon-to-be mom may have, and then some.
Whether you’re trying to conceive, or you recently found out you’re pregnant, the journey to mami-hood is a long one. I found reading books like these not only made the weeks go by quicker, but it made me feel more prepared and at ease for that impending bundle of joy.