5 books I read last year that I couldn’t tell you about until now
Three days into 2020 – how is your New Year going so far?
Have you made any resolutions or are you sticking to the ones you made?
I am incredibly excited, but also apprehensive and, being my first time doing this, I have lots of questions.
As a bookworm, my first port of call was, of course, the library, where I found a treasure trove of books to read. These books, combined with late-night internet searches of ‘Is is normal if…?” (to which the answer inevitably is, ‘ No, not at all normal…wait, you’re pregnant? Yeah, totally normal!’) have kept me informed and amused over the past few months.
While I still feel quite unprepared, which is hard for me as a planner and perfectionist, reading these has given me some ideas about what to expect! (basically, expect the unexpected and be prepared to be flexible!)
The Best Friend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicky Iovine
In this book, four-time delivery room veteran Vicki Iovine offers a practical and humorous guide to pregnancy, with comforting advice on morning sickness, maternity underwear, bladder control, sex, stretch marks, and pregnancy insanity.
This was the first book I picked up because it looked friendly and was written in an irreverent style which was quite useful to me as someone who was feeling a bit nervous, but wasn’t in a position where I could talk to anyone around me just in case something went wrong. I don’t know that it really taught me much, but it did at least leave me feeling that no matter what happens during pregnancy or childbirth, the most important thing was that both I and baby were safe and happy.
What to Expect when you’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
With 18.5 million copies in print, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is read by 93% of women who read a pregnancy book and was named one of the ‘Most Influential Books of the Last 25 Years’ by USA Today.
This cover-to-cover (including the cover!) new edition is filled with must-have information, advice, insight, and tips for a new generation of mums and dads. With What to Expect’s trademark warmth, empathy, and humour, it answers every conceivable question expectant parents could have, including dozens of new ones based on the ever-changing pregnancy and birthing practices and choices they face. Advice for dads is fully integrated throughout the book. All medical coverage is completely updated, including the latest on prenatal screening and the safety of medications during pregnancy, as well as a brand-new section on postpartum birth control. Current lifestyle trends are incorporated, too: juice bars, raw diets, e-cigarettes, push presents, baby bump posting, the lowdown on omega-3 fatty acids, grass-fed and organic, health food fads, and GMOs. Plus expanded coverage of IVF pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, breastfeeding while pregnant, water and home births, and cesarean trends (including VBACs and ‘gentle cesareans’).
This known as the ‘bible’ for expecting parents and is often the first book that people go for because it is familiar and well-respected. I read this week-by-week, during the first part of the pregnancy, then jumped ahead to read the rest because I was impatient to read more. I found the tone slightly infantile and it did cover a wide range of rare complications which could make you nervous, but I also liked the layout looking at what is happening to baby and you at each stage. There is also an app and a website which has most of the information in the book so it isn’t necessarily one you would buy. Still worth a read!
Your body, your birth: hypnobirthing skills for every birth by Hollie de Cruz
No matter how you birth your baby, feel calm and safe with hypnobirthing
“This woman is a great healer and birth expert. This book will be brilliant.” Russell Brand
Your Baby, Your Birth is a truly modern hypnobirthing book for ALL births.
In-demand hypnobirthing coach Hollie de Cruz provides you with the skills and tools to make any birth feel safe, calm, connected and empowering. Drawing on her experience working with new mums, including Fearne Cotton and Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie de Cruz helps you prepare for a positive (not ‘perfect’) birth experience and approach motherhood with confidence in yourself and your instincts.
Your Baby, Your Birth will teach you:
– That birth is safe – listen to your body, embrace the changes, prepare your mind and relax during pregnancy
– Exercises and breathing techniques for labour and birth for you and your birth partner, along with guided meditations to keep you calm and engaged
– How to trust your instincts, understand your body and baby, and make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and beyond
Hollie de Cruz, creator of the award-winning yesmum positive affirmation cards, is renowned for demystifying hypnobirthing and her down-to-earth, realistic approach is highly sought after.
Whatever kind of birth you are planning, let Hollie de Cruz provide you with a set of deep relaxation, mindfulness and meditation tools for an empowering experience.
I was initially extremely sceptical about hypnobirthing – the name doesn’t help!- as it seemed to be saying that any problems in childbirth could be overcome simply by changing your mindset, replacing the language you use to talk about childbirth and some calming music. I feel like this could minimize the problems many people encounter and lead to women not asking for pain relief or medical intervention when it could be needed. However, after a friend had a very positive experience with hypnobithing, despite her birth not going at all to plan, I decided to give this a go. One thing I have discovered since becoming pregnant is that nobody agrees on anything and everyone has an opinion about it – either your bump is too big or too small, pain relief during childbirth is to be expected or seen as you ‘failing’ etc. Nothing is without controversy, but I am firmly sticking to the belief that each individual has to find out what works for them and go with that.
I found this book a useful introduction to the theory behind hypnobirthing, as well as providing some ideas you can use – I have yet to see whether or not they will make any difference, but it’s worth a try, isn’t it?
Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My Adventures in Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher
Sunday Times Number One Bestseller Happy Mum Happy Baby is now a Number One podcast.
A positive and uplifting book about what it is to be a mother and all things mum and baby by Celebrity Mum of the Year and phenomenally popular vlogger, author, TV presenter and actress Giovanna Fletcher.
Being a mum is an incredible journey, a remarkable experience that changes how we look, how we feel, who we are. As mothers we are strong, protective, proud. We feel a love like no other.
But being a parent can be hard too. It challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally. There are the days where just managing to fit a shower in amidst the endless feeding, entertaining young children and surviving on a lack of sleep feels like an achievement. With so many people ready to offer ‘advice’ on the best way to parent, it can feel like you are getting it all wrong.
Since Giovanna and her husband Tom Fletcher have had their sons Buzz and Buddy, they have been sharing glimpses of their family life. With an infectiously positive outlook and happy take on all things mum-related, Giovanna has developed a following of fellow parents and mums-to-be.
This is not a book about how to have the perfect family experience – Gi would be the first to admit she is winging it just as much as the rest of us – instead it is an honest, upbeat and incredibly personal account of her own experience of having a family. In Happy Mum, Happy Baby Giovanna shares her own journey through parenthood and in doing so, she looks at what it is to be a mother today, encourages you to be confident in yourself as a parent and celebrates how putting a focus on being a happy and confident mum can really make for a happy baby.
I wouldn’t often pick up biography books because they’re not my favourite to read, but this one looked quite fun and interesting. Obviously, no celebrity is going to have the same experience of raising a child as someone with a much lower income, but the writing style was friendly and accessible, with some funny anecdotes. A light read, which acts as reassurance that we’re all just winging it, regardless of our background!
Baby Names Book: Over 8000 names and their meanings by Ella Joynes
Choosing a name for your baby has never been easier or more enjoyable with Baby Names 2018. Whether you are looking for a traditional name or something more adventurous, Baby Names 2018 will help solve your baby-naming dilemmas. Inside you’ll find over 8,000 of this year’s favourite names as well as:
Recent celebrity baby names and ones to avoid! What’s hot and what’s not right now Baby name trends for 2018 Top names for boys and girls Tips on naming your baby and advice on registering the birth and dealing with family expectations
Baby Names 2018 is simply the most up-to-date baby name book you can buy to help you with the all-important baby name decision!
This was invaluable for annoying my other half. Every now and then I would just start reading out a list of names, enjoying picking out the most unusual and outlandish to see what his reaction would be. I found it quite an interesting read, especially learning the meaning behind some names that I hadn’t known (for example, did you know that names like Mary and Marie all mean bitter? I like the names but not the meaning!). Eventually, we did start taking this a little more seriously and made a list of possible names for boys, girls and dogs (getting my priorities in order at all times, of course!). Periodically we have been going through the lists and crossing off names, which has left us with a shortlist. However, I believe that I won’t be able to choose the ‘right’ name until I actually meet our baby, so it will be a while yet until we decide!
So, there you have it – 5 books I read last year that I wasn’t able to share until now!
One of my aims for 2019 was to read more non-fiction, although I was envisaging more Science or History rather than Pregnancy and Childbirth! Still, the wide selection of books available in my library has reassured me that I can always turn to a book for advice, or just to feel reassured that I’m not alone. I am hoping to go to my library regularly once baby arrives to join in with Rhyme-time and borrow lots of books to read together!
Have you read any of these books?
Are there any others that you recommend I should read?
Do you often turn to books to learn something new or for reassurance?
Thanks for reading!