Sunday, February 14, 2010

Books for the Post-Modern Mama

Having been sick for nearly a week now, I am eternally grateful for the following guest blog. In lieu of my own book review this month (yes, I'm cheating), I present the eclectic views of my strong-willed, Geminian, English-teaching, no-crap-taking wife, Carrie. Enjoy. I always do.


I have so many opinions about what I've been reading, I might as well share them with anonymous strangers and make myself feel important.

On Pregnancy:

What to Expect When You're Expecting should be called Why You'll be Hiding in a Corner for Nine Months. If you want to have an anxious, nervous baby, read this book. A short overview of what each month is usually like is followed by a series of questions you may have--if you're a paranoid freak. Sure, some of those questions had come to mind, but the majority have never occurred to me--until I read them in this book. I did not bother finishing this terrifying volume. My questions could all be answered in much less alarming ways.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy could also be titled The Girlfriend's Guide to Epidurals. The author seems to be almost vehemently opposed to natural childbirth. She writes something to effect that anyone who chooses to have a natural home birth is an idiot--why would you do that when there are such lavish facilities and fancy drugs available nowadays? Oh, I don't know--because childbirth is a life-changing experience that you might want to enjoy in the privacy and comfort of your own home? I took offense and didn't finish this book, either.

Spiritual Midwifery: I hope you like saggy boobs and hairy vaginas. I embrace the sacred feminine, but from a somewhat sterile distance. Yes, I watched Amari emerge from my own lady parts, but I try to avoid the view from the stands when it comes to other ladies' down-theres. On the plus side, if a bunch of hippies can do it in vans and yurts, you can do it at home or in a hospital or wherever. 

The Pregnancy Book from the Sears' Library is juuuust right. They're not too hippy-dippy, nor too clinical. They champion the natural way but are understanding that it's not everybody's bag and there's no guilt attached to any decisions you may be thinking about. Informative, thorough, exhaustive even. This was the only book I read cover-to-cover, leading me to

Parenting Books:

The Sears Library's The Baby Book is awesome. Be warned, however, that they embrace (ha ha) the attachment method--wearing your baby--and this might lead to feelings of guilt should you ever (gasp) leave your baby in a bouncy seat or something while you fold clothes or eat. On the other hand, where other books are cautious if not outright opposed to sharing a bed, the Sears family is all about it. Since it's such an easy way to go for the first month, it's nice to get support in that decision. They have eight kids and bed-shared one for over a year. Did they ever get to have sex again? I don't know. They probably had their fill. I can't imagine what happens to a lady's cha-cha after that many births. Yikes!

What to Expect the First Year far surpasses the same authors' pregnancy book in usefulness and format. Why would pregnancy be so much more terrifying than the first year of parenting? Probably because you can't see what's going on in there. Here the focus is on useful advice and answers to sensible questions, with few cautions about the myriad of diseases your baby may be contracting that could lead to death or disfigurement. Good! I don't want to know! Plus, it's easy to skip the scary stuff. Let's face it--if you want to know, you'll find out! The caveat with this book is that it is much more traditionally-oriented (not so into the sleep-sharing), so you may feel anxious about keeping your baby in bed with you if this is your primary resource. Of this and the above, I recommend the above. This book is helpful, however, to read month-by-month just so you can look forward to, say, the first laugh.

As for magazines, skip it. I enjoyed "Fit Pregnancy" because it organized lots of helpful info into little bites and supported working out (how modern), but the "Parenting" and "Parents" magazines our friends have been passing on to us SUCK! I find maybe one actually useful article in each issue and the rest is just advertising and thinly-veiled advertising. Plus, the craft and food ideas they publish--hello? Do they not know that some people work AND parent? Let's see... do I want to spend the twenty minutes I have while Amari's content in her crib decorating cupcakes or doing laundry? Well, I can buy cupcakes with my PAYCHECK, but the laundry fairy stopped coming to our house a long time ago.

So there you go--all you need to know for your reference library. Of course, you don't need to buy any books--you can find out anything you need to know from friends or the internet (the only friend some people have). However, in the post-apocalyptic future in which we don't have phone or internet and are forced to fend for ourselves in an increasingly cruel and dangerous society, you might like to have a couple paperbacks to reference, if not to barter for food and drinking water.

Happy reading!


  1. For magazines, Mothering Magazine is really great. They mostly focus on attachment style parenting and have some really great articles.

  2. You've got some serious competition Isaac. Your wife is funny and great.