Thursday, March 3, 2011
I thought I would talk a little bit about some of the books we have been reading during pregnancy, for those of you who may find it helpful. I tend to be a planner, a researcher, a bit of a worrier. But in this pregnancy I have seemed to take on a little more of Ben's laid back approach, and I think it is working well for us. There's a much larger handful of books that I picked up through the pregnancy, but these are the only ones that have stuck....
Ina May: I have both of Ina May Gaskin's childbirth books, Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I started with Spiritual Midwifery, which is mostly a collection of home and natural birth stories. It is supposed to be good to read a lot of positive birth stories, and I did enjoy doing so, but eventually lost a little interest. I didn't need that many birth stories. The second half, a "technical manual" was briefer than I hoped. And it might be a little far out trippy for anyone more mainstream than myself. I much more preferred her Guide to Childbirth, which balanced a nice dose of birth stories with practical insight and guidance on the childbirth process/experience from the author. I especially appreciated reading about her sphincter law, which explains that sphincters (excretory, cervical, and vaginal) function best when we have privacy, and are relaxed. As a girl who gets pee shy (seriously, if I am in a public restroom next to another woman and it is silent I CAN NOT PEE. It is stupid.) this makes so much sense. It really helped me accept the truth of the mind/body connection. It isn't just hippy talk, folks. If my mind knows there is someone next to me, my body will not perform. A lot of the stories in Spiritual illustrate women using visualization and verbal techniques "I am a flower, I am opening..." and before I understood the sphincter theory I thought this was a little bit of B.S. But now I am on board. Of course, just saying it isn't enough, you have to believe it in order for your body to catch up. But I can see how a repetitive mantra (verbal or visual) would eventually cause you to believe what you are hearing/seeing/saying.
Dr. Sears: Next I read the Sears' Birth Book. I kind of loved it. I think it is a little more unbiased than some of the other "natural" childbirth books. I think it is a really great primer for anyone looking to understand all of their birth options, and the benefits and drawbacks involved with each one. They outline the stages of labor and everything associated very thoroughly. And they brought up something I had not read anywhere else: why pain has a purpose in labor. This is something I already sort of intuitively believed, but I had not given much thought to logic of why. The Sears' explain that the pain of labor is a tool to tell you how to assist in delivering a baby. Something physiological is happening in your body, it causes pain, you need to do something about it, obv. For example a very painful contraction experienced on your back will encourage you to find a more comfortable position that eases the pain, like leaning or squatting. This new position will most likely also assists the baby into getting into position for delivery, instead of gravity working against you like on your back. It also ties into relaxation, if you are able to let go and relax tense muscles you will experience less pain, and (see above about sphincters) assist in the labor process. Maybe this is common knowledge to everyone else? But I had not heard/read such a succinct discussion on it before.
As for pregnancy books, the day we took the pee stick I made Ben go to the bookstore for What To Expect When You Are Expecting. I always thought it was the quintessential mandatory guide. It's... fine? After about the 5th month or so, though, it feels a little unnecessary. You may or may not be experiencing any or all of these symptoms that you might or might not have been experiencing last month.... After reading and loving the Sears' birth book, and a bit of the end of their Pregnancy Book I do wish I had picked up this one from the start. I like those Sears.
Ben is currently mid read in The Birth Partner Book. I have flipped through it and it looks so practical and informative, I admit I am tempted to read it too. And this month we will start getting familiar with The Sears' Baby Book, so that next month we might be (a little) prepared.
I am dying to read Pushed, but am waiting. Honestly I am kind of already afraid of hospitals, and I am not sure that it would help. ;)
And, I think I have said enough to last a month.
What books do/did you find indispensable?