During the holidays, I had the chance to finish a number of pregnancy-related books on which I thought I would share some thoughts. For those of you who participate in the online Good Reads site, you will have noticed that I have not posted a review in months. Well, I thought that posting my reviews on pregnancy books might be a little suspicious prior to our reveal. Although, let's be honest...I am not the best at managing my life online, and am not sure if I am going to be good about posting reviews now, anyway!
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
I have only read half of this book as I am saving the second half for when I get closer to delivery. The book provides a female-centric perspective on childbirth, and focuses on empowering women. Many of the stories of birth take place at a "farm" in TN, run by exceptionally skilled and compassionate midwives. What I appreciate about the book so far is its lack of judgement. As my own pregnancy continues, I have realized that my belief that I would be "floating blissfully on baby powder clouds" (as my Aunt says) throughout the whole 40 weeks, culminating in a completely natural childbirth, is not necessarily the way things are going to be. Ina's book still allows room for those who do not have the opportunity to give birth in the most natural way. I even think that those who have no intention of a "natural childbirth" can still draw power from the stories. Each woman profiled has exceptionally different life circumstances, and the emotions are raw and at times even unnerving and overwhelming. If you are prone to crying, you may find yourself overcome by emotion at times. Again, I have not finished the book, but will provide a more complete assessment when I finish it in the coming weeks.
The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy
I think this book has become the replacement for What to Expect When You Are Expecting (which, by the way, I hear is not so great). Everyone I have talked to mentions this book. It is a pretty quick read, and full of humor. I cannot connect to everything that she writes about, but I found myself laughing out loud and reading selections to Eric. She does take some pretty liberal leanings towards things like dying your hair, getting manis and pedis, and focuses a lot on the "looking good" aspect of pregnancy. Now, I don't think I would be poisoning my fetus if I had dyed my hair, done my nails, or used traditional household cleaners, but I have tried to eliminate exposures to these types of things as much as possible. Perhaps I am trying to make up for the fact that my child will be addicted to bagels and lemonade and peanut butter M&Ms, given that it is pretty much all I eat, now. Additionally, the author makes no apologies for her strident opinions, but even though it is pretty apparent from the beginning that she is opinionated, I don't get the sense that she think she has authority over what is "right" or "wrong."
Much like Girlfriend's Guide, this book focuses on the humor associated with pregnancy more than the serious or terrible. Maybe I take that back...perhaps it is that she finds humor in the insane and terrible of pregnancy. I would say both Girlfriend's Guide and Belly Laughs chronicle pregnancy through the symptoms. Jenny's book is much shorter (I read on the flight from MA to GA), but much more graphic. I don't know much about Jenny, but I loved her honesty and self-effacing humor. The one thing I did keep thinking throughout was that her book was written before she got divorced and before she found out her son has autism. I guess it was just a strange feeling to be reading it, knowing that at that time, she had no idea how much her life was going to change. (I do hear from all of my celebrity sources--ahem, People Mag-- that she is extremely happy with Jim Carrey, now, and has taken an incredibly active role advancing the causes for understanding autism...in fact, I think she came to Atlanta at one point to speak with the CDC about vaccines. Now, I am not sure I believe in eliminating childhood vaccinations, but I applaud her for involving herself so fully in a cause). In summary, I really enjoyed this book, even if Jenny's histrionics were transparent. Again, sometimes, you just need a good laugh...and you all know I am a sucker for jokes about things like tooting. :)
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
This is a fantastic reference book. I don't feel like I need much else. It is comprehensive, easy to read, and doesn't inundate you with all sorts of scary things that can happen during pregnancy. Granted, I have also relied on a number of my old nursing books for information, but I honestly think that without them, this would pretty much cover most everything.
Exercising Through Your Pregnancy
I read this book prior to conceiving, and think that was a good thing. Before becoming pregnant, in my imagination with those baby powder clouds, I was racing from cloud to cloud, setting road race PRs and waving to the cars as I got thumbs up for being an active pregnant woman. Fast forward to January: I haven't run since October, let alone walked for fitness more than 5 times. I think if I read this book now, I would be so hard on myself, sad, and it certainly wouldn't contribute to my ability to believe that I am doing what's best for this baby. I do think that it is a great resource for those who are willing and able to exercise in pregnancy. We all know that the pendulum consistently swings when it comes to advice for pregnant women, and in the not so distant past, I think people believed exercise was dangerous. Well, this book not only provides good background on how to exercise safely, but for those of us who like evidence-based research, provides lots of sound and legitimate research on exercise and pregnancy. I do think that this might be a little "thick" for anyone expecting a quick and dirty guide to exercise.
If anyone has any other recs for books I should read, please comment away. I do have The Kite Runner and Everything is Illuminated sitting on my bedside table, waiting to be dug into. I also have my fair share of "pregnancy pamphlets" that you get dumped with at your appointments. I wish I could say that they are helpful, but if they are not promotional materials, they are rather basic, and haven't really informed me of things I don't know.
On to the CRUISE portion of this post. I am not sure what prompted it, but I was recently reflecting on Tom Cruise's previous decision to purchase a sonogram machine while Katie was pregnant with Suri. First, let me say that my interest in Tom apexed as he sped away on his bike with Kelly McGillis in Top Gun (there was that brief moment of attraction during Jerry McGuire). He currently gives me the creeps...and he took Joey Potter (aka Katie Holmes) and abducted her from Dawson's Creek and turned her into a robot much like Victoria Beckham. (Although, I do love her new haircut). BUT, for the first time, I see the sense, through my pregnancy haze, of why he bought a sonogram machine. By the way, I Googled, and it appears that a good sonogram machine can go anywhere from the order or $20-40K. Yikes! I think I am almost past the not believing I am actually with child, and now get waves of concern that he is not still alive. Everyone keeps warning me that I should begin to feel him move in the next week or so (although, I heard it is normal not to feel him until 20 weeks), and am just waiting for that first flutter. If it is anything like peristalsis, I am going to have a hard time distinguishing between the two...enter, sonogram! If only I could just do a morning check up on Linus, and see that he was alive and kicking. Okay, now, I know that this could be on the order of obsessive, but I don't have $20K to spend, and I certainly don't have any connections to Tom Cruise to borrow his machine. So, my fleeting connection with Tom Cruise has been exposed...but don't expect me to be jumping on any couches any time soon.
-Hmmm...I am getting stumped. It is not that I have no gratitude, it is that whole "you can't repeat thing." Here's an oldie, but goodie. I am grateful for the best, longest lasting friends. Harking back to break, I had the most wonderful time at Bec and Adam's engagement party. M and R are two of my oldest and best friends. I love them to pieces and especially love the fact that no matter how long time passes between visits, we instantaneously reconnect. Love you girls!!!