When I was pregnant the first time, I couldn't read enough about pregnancy and childbirth. I had stacks and stacks of books, everything from the ubiquitous What to Expect when You're Expecting to Spiritual Midwifery (parts of which were hilariously dated--I remember a caption under a photo of a newborn that read "What a little stoner, so fresh and new"--but I loved the book; it was filled with good, reassuring inspiring information. And I was tickled by how the midwives in the book called labia "flaps.") I lent the books to a pregnant friend years ago; that friend moved away and sadly I never saw her or the books again. I may try to replace a couple of my favorites (I especially miss A Child is Born, a book I grew up with; it's so cool to be able to see the different stages of fetal development. I think I'm at the stage where the baby looks a bit like a tiny frog.)
So far, I've only picked up two belly-related books--one on vegetarian pregnancy, and one about pregnancy and beyond called My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us, by Jessica Mills. My daughter saw me reading the latter, and had a good laugh. "I don't think you're exactly the right demographic for that book, Mom," she said. She definitely doesn't see me as a hip mama.
I felt myself get a little defensive. "The author's a touring musician and activist," I said. "I'm a (sometimes) touring writer and activist. I wanted to see how she balances everything."
"But you've done this all before," she said. "You know how it works."
I'm not sure I do. When Arin and Hannah were born, I had begun to publish in journals, but hadn't established myself as a writer yet. I didn't have to worry about book tours/teaching/etc. I had the luxury of being at home with them full time, writing when I could, not having to worry about any external obligations. This time around, I'll have two books coming out within months of the birth, I'll be teaching online within weeks of the birth, I'll be juggling the needs of a newborn and a teenager, etc. I'm not sure a book has been written about all of that yet. But it does help me to read how other women navigate their own lives as mothers and artists, and I am always grateful to learn from women who can help me understand what's going on in my body and what I can do to nurture the life growing within me (in this regard, it also helps so much to have a midwife in the family who I can call whenever I have an urgent question. And of course, now there is the internet, which didn't exist when I was pregnant before--but that's a whole other post.)
I'd love to hear about your favorite pregnancy books--there are so many new ones out there now. Which have you found most inspiring/informative/relevant?