It's Friday! A couple of random thoughts before I talk about the thing that the title refers to...
+I am a pumpkin spice latte scrooge. Seriously? Why the hype? Doesn't everyone realize it's just a marketing campaign to help Starbucks rake in more money? If I'm going to ingest the calories, I'd rather just have straight up pumpkin pie. I also have a theory that the PSL craze is just perpetuated (like many crazes) by bloggers. So here I am as the anti-PSL blogger... Just say no.
+Guardians of the Galaxy would not have been my first date night movie choice, but Dave and I saw it last night and it was totally hilarious and I loved it. Surprise, surprise.
+All of the sudden, Baby Stals seems to have seriously POPPED, and I had to go buy more maternity clothes today. Also, I think everyone (even men) should own maternity jeans, because they're like regular jeans except with a STRETCHY YOGA WAISTBAND. They're the best thing since sliced bread, and I'm really not exaggerating.
Moving right along...
One thing I've found super helpful on other blogs is items that various women have loved during pregnancy — first, second, and third trimester. And let's not forget the infamous "fourth trimester," aka when you still look pregnant for a few months after giving birth. I've found that to be a helpful reality check, especially when buying maternity clothes. What will fit and make me feel decent while still being a different shape than normal for six or so months after Baby Princess makes her way into the world?
Anyhow, I am a reader, and while I haven't exactly read everything I can get my hands on about pregnancy, there were a few that I found interesting or very helpful in the past few months. Because this IS my first rodeo, and aside from real-world advice from other moms in my life, it's been fun to read up on this season too.
Side note: I've found What to Expect When You're Expecting (at least what I've learned from their app) to be almost totally ridiculous and unhelpful. The development videos that they post every week are gag-worthy cheese fests. After week 11 or so, I stopped watching, because Heidi Murkoff's blathering was so annoying to me. Also, they say crazy things like "don't eat any soft cheese ever," and "you should be avoiding all caffeine until baby is born" and "exercise beyond slow-paced walking will probably hurt your baby" even though 1) exercise is GREAT for you and baby, 2) pretty much all cheese in the USA is ultra-pasturized and 3) no one says you shouldn't drink ANY coffee during pregnancy. Just not more than 3 cups a day, which I don't. Lord knows I would not have stayed awake for the last 6 months without a little joe every morning.
Also, any app that offers hairstyle suggestions for pregnancy is crazy. My hair is my hair... There is not a baby growing inside my hairs, so I think I'll just style it as usual, thanks.
I digress. Here are the books I HAVE been reading (and liking, for the most part)... In order of "loved it" to "meh."
Brain Rules for Baby
This may have been my favorite of all the books I've read during pregnancy. Much like Origins (see the last book on this list, because it was my least favorite), it talks about brain development during pregnancy, but also throughout childhood (until age 5 or so). Unlike Origins, there's a healthy dose of common sense and "you're doing just fine" sprinkled throughout, so that no one feels condemned while reading it. At the end of the book, Medina says, "The things I've written here are good recommendations, but no one can do all of these things all of the time. Aim for a few here and there and your kids will do great."
I took tons of notes on this book, and read a lot of it aloud to Dave. I love how he discusses emotional development, both in the womb and in infancy. It's SO important to talk to your baby, and as your child grows, to help them name their emotions. I was struck by that, and hope that we remember to do it as baby girl grows up.
Another big takeaway from this book:
Write this across your heart before your child comes into the world: Parenting is not a race. Kids are not proxies for adult success. Competition can be inspiring, but brands of it can wire your child's brain in a toxic way. Comparing your kids to your friends' kids will not get them, or you, where you want to go.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Ina May Gaskin
This is a book for hippies. Total hippies. Of which I am a proud, though closet, member. You wouldn't know it, but I am kind of a hippie at heart.
Ina May is the goddess of all midwives. I have a midwife friend who has a bumper sticker on her car that says, "What would Ina May do?" I found myself rolling my eyes through lots of the birth stories contained in this book, but it is also very inspiring, and a healthy antidote to a culture that says that birth is painful, unnatural, and must be medicated to be survived. Something about that just doesn't seem right to me... Women have been giving birth for thousands of years, and sure, there are some risks, but it wasn't all that long ago that EVERYONE was giving birth at home, without the assistance of doctors and nurses. So I think it's awesome that we have option of very modern medical care in case something should go wrong, but if it doesn't, I'm anticipating doing it au natural (with the support of my midwives and the option of hospital transfer if needed — so calm down, everyone. This was not going to be me and Dave flying solo in the bathtub). Maybe I'll laugh at myself reading this a few months from now, but...
Anyway, the birth stories in this book are kind of crazy sometimes, but also beautiful and hopeful. There's a wide range of experiences, from women who didn't experience any pain at all, to women who were in agony, but overcame it with a great birth team. There are women who felt super connected to their babies the whole time, and women who didn't feel anything overwhelming for their child until he or she was a few days old. This is comforting to me. Everyone has a different experience, and no one experience is more or less valid than another. It also helps me feel more prepared for labor and birth as I read other women's birth stories (those are probably my FAVORITE kind of blogs to read).
How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm
I've written about this one before in another blog, but I really enjoyed all of the international parenting perspectives in this book. Argentines don't have strict bedtimes for their kids, French kids eat whatever their parents eat, and the Chinese potty train their kids crazy early. It was a quick and easy read (that I actually finished months before getting pregnant), and offers some helpful suggestions that we may or may not incorporate into our parenting. For example, I hope to goodness that our kids eat everything, and gosh darn it, they are not going to stay up until midnight every night. That just sounds like disaster.
Dave's coworker was SO sweet and gave me this book (and the following one) when Dave told his office I was pregnant. It's a little crass at times, but completely hilarious. In the chapter where she talks about pregnancy hormones, she tells a story about watching a ball of lint roll across her living room floor and bursting into tears. I was in tears reading it to Dave — so funny. Mostly, I just appreciate that she doesn't candy-coat the gross parts of pregnancy, and is able to find humor in them. I didn't relate to everything she wrote, but for lots of it (like wanting to kill someone if you can't get food when you're hungry), it was nice to know that someone else knows how I feel.
The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy
Just starting this one! So far, I like it, but it IS a bit extreme. It's similar to Belly Laughs, but with lots more detail. It's pretty real... hemorrhoids and stuff like that. Ew. I must say, I have been incredibly blessed to NOT suffer from many common symptoms of pregnancy on this first go-round, and I don't take it for granted at all. I still have 13 weeks for lots of ailments to kick in, but the first two-thirds have been pretty smooth sailing, so reading about other people's horror stories does nothing but freak me out. They may still be before me, or I may succumb in subsequent pregnancies. For now, I'm very thankful for the experience that I've had, and will keep reading ahead in case there are other things about the next few months (and especially birth itself) that I should know about.
I have to say, though, Ina May is making me feel much better about having a baby than Vicki.
Meh. Not a huge fan of this one. I read about this book on a blog and was interested in the idea, but throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking, "this book is meant to thoroughly freak out every pregnant woman in America." This lady wouldn't even take Tylenol for headaches during her pregnancy, fearing her baby would come out with two heads or flunk kindergarten. Um... let's calm down. I felt while reading it that I should be on alert for thousands of unknown toxins and threats in my environment during these 9 months, in order to keep this baby perfectly safe and developing normally. That just conflicts with my basic belief that pregnancy is a pretty incredible time in life, and that women's bodies were made to be pregnant and give birth, and I shouldn't be fearful of everything.
One thing I did find interesting in this book was how certain diet and lifestyle aspects can impact baby's health later on in life. The author tells a story about mothers in Holland during the German siege, when the Netherlands had huge food shortages. Women who were pregnant during this time weren't getting all the nutrients they should have been, and as a result, their babies learned in the womb that the world they were coming into was a stressful place. Their bodies hoarded nutrients, and so when they were born and the siege was over and they were relatively well-nourished in childhood, their bodies didn't handle the "excess" food so well. This particular group of people now have higher rates of heart disease and diabetes in their 60s and 70s than children whose mothers weren't pregnant in Holland during the siege. Fascinating.
My takeaway? Bring on the bacon. This world has got lots of good food for you to enjoy, kiddo.
Other things I've loved in pregnancy so far:
+Foot Rubz... LIFE SAVER for sore feet (for anyone, not just pregnant ladies)
+Long walks with Dave and Butter
+Daily cup of coffee (as mentioned before)
+GAP maternity jeans
+Nail polish... because when nothing else fits, at least you still got nail polish
+Pinterest... I love Pinterest all the time, but it's been helpful when baby planning.
+Amazon Baby Registry... so that no one has to endure the horrors of Babys R Us. No thank you.
+Buy Nothing Facebook group... These exist in communities all over the US and the world, so look it up and see if you can find one near you. We've received tons of free baby stuff from people in our neighborhood through this group (Boppy, IKEA crib, etc), and it will be a money-saver for future kid-rearing, I'm sure! Super huge blessing.
Anyone have further reading/pregnancy suggestions? I've got a little less than 3 months to go, and would love to hear what you loved/are loving in your own pregnancy!