Thursday, 29 October 2020

4 Books I Loved During Pregnancy

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I love a good non fiction read on a normal day, so when I found out I was pregnant, I already had in mind and bookmarked on my Amazon wishlist, a variety of pregnancy and motherhood books I wanted to read throughout my pregnancy. Today I thought I'd share four pregnancy reads which I absolutely loved and that majorly shaped my pregnancy journey. 

1. The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks by Milli Hill
Reading this book was a revelation to my pregnancy journey at 30 weeks, and I can only honestly say that I wish I'd read this book earlier in my pregnancy. This book provides in so much detail, the emphasis on what rights the mother has to a positive birth of her choice and the resources and advice Milli provides is just amazing. There were so many brilliant resources and sections of the book... the chapter I found most useful was Chapter 2 'What is giving birth really like?' - the step by step stages of labour guide. I've found a common theme when speaking to friends who are pregnant for the first time in that so many mums to be have the question 'But how will I know I'm in labour?' and often the response to many first time mums is something along the lines of 'Oh you'll know' or a definitive action happening such as 'your waters will break' which isn't always the case - pre-reading this book, I definitely worried that I wouldn't know what to expect and how would I know for sure that labour was labour. Reading the step by step stages described definitely made me re-think what labour is like and the fact that shows such as 'One Born Every Minute' show you the best bits highlights and not the entirety of a labour for a reason (the whole experience is not all TV worthy!). There are contributions throughout from health professionals and birth experiences from mothers all relating to particular topics and chapters of the book which I found broke up the chapters nicely... it definitely drummed the message in that every birth is different. There's a section of how to have a positive home, hospital, midwife centre and caesarean birth... before reading this book, I'd quite honestly been petrified of the thought of having a caesarean (I've never had a surgery which I'm sure hasn't helped this fact) and even reading the positive caesarean section helped me come round to chance of potentially needing one. Other favourite chapters included the 'What if?' sections, as most of the questions that come out of my mouth usually include those two words and the 'Birth of a Mother' section. I felt 100x more confident after reading The Positive Birth Book and for me personally this book gave me so much insight and clarification over how I wanted my birth and early days of motherhood to be. As someone who can be very easily susceptible to anxiety and panic attack traits appearing with very little notice and combined with that also having adjustment disorder, I'd been mindful throughout my entire pregnancy that whilst generally I felt my mental health was in good shape, due to the ever changing hormones and natural changes that come with pregnancy and giving birth that could change at any time. Reading the 'Birth of a Mother' section, I realised I needed to give myself time to adapt to being a new Mum, a discussion me and Brad after I'd read this book was what those early days would look like, making a conscious choice that we'd be limiting visitors and ensuring we gave ourselves time to adapt and feel as confident as we could with parenthood (for me personally breastfeeding) without feeling like we had to do it all. The other choice I knew for sure I wanted as a result of reading this book was to plan and have a home birth because I believed it was right for me and my circumstances. The book cover says it all really where the tag line is 'A new approach to pregnancy, birth and the early weeks' - this book needs its own mainstream media TV show because honestly, I feel this book every Mum to be should read. Further resources: Milli Hill's Instagram // Positive Birth Movement website.

2. Your Baby, Your Birth: Hypnobirthing Skills For Every Birth by Hollie De Cruz
I've followed Hollie De Cruz for quite a while as I came across her social media and hypnobirthing as a result of reading books by Izzy Judd, Fearne Cotton and Giovanna Fletcher, so Your Baby Your Birth was on my to read list long before I got pregnant. I found the book a really easy to read, no pressure guide to getting started with hypnobirthing - my first thoughts were really skeptical and I really wasn't sure if hypnobirthing would be for me, but as I read the book more, I realised that hypnobirthing gives you the flexibility to take and leave aspects and to find what works for you. I started reading the book at the beginning of my second trimester, and finished reading the book mid March when the Coronavirus pandemic was breaking out and we went into lockdown. Brad read the book too and mid pandemic, we started thinking about adapting our birth plan to a home birth if we could as a result of reading this book... something I honestly never thought I'd consider. As soon as Brad started reading the book, we downloaded the MP3s and started implementing them into our daily lives too, and Brad really took on board the activities the birthing partner could do and started practicing some of those which was good. Further resources: Hollie De Cruz Instagram (@theyesmummum)  // The Yes Mum Birth Project Instagram // London Hypnobirthing

3. The Modern Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy by Marie Louise*

I ended up cosying down one weekend and reading this book in under 24 hours - this was the last book I read on pregnancy and I wasn't sure how much would be similar to other books and articles I'd read, but honestly I learnt so much from this book. I think Marie Louise does such a good job of showing Mum's to be what modern midwifery looks like. There's a really clear message given throughout chapters in the book explaining the role of midwives, especially in relation to the NHS guidelines and NICE guidelines which I honestly wish I'd read earlier in my pregnancy; I had a few occasions in pregnancy where I felt pushed into certain decisions from the NHS which then resulted in increased anxiety as to what the rest of my pregnancy and birth journey would look like... if I had the knowledge I've since learnt from this book early on I would've felt more confident and potentially saved myself some anxiety along the way. Further resources: Marie Louise Instagram //Modern Midwife website

There were sections which I'd found hadn't been covered in other books including disabled parenting and what a birth pause is. There is also a focus on modern parenting and parenting in the digital age which I felt was so useful to read about - Marie Louise gives great recommendations on accounts and ways to positively use social media throughout your pregnancy. The book covers a wide range of topics from stages of pregnancy, giving birth and the section I loved most was the third section that was dedicated to 'Becoming Mum' - reading this section gave me real clarity over what I did and did not want to allow into my first few weeks of motherhood. It gave me the confidence to decide how to 'build my village' of support in the lead up to and first few weeks of birth. I made decisions about taking a break from social media once the baby was born and how to manage communicating with family and visitors when the baby was here and it felt so much better actively making that choice after reading this book. 

4. Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher
I've read this book three times - I bought this book years ago when it first came out as I've always been a fan of Giovanna Fletcher (I mean have you seen hers and Tom's wedding video speech?! Pure loveliness!), I read the book again when I was going through infertility issues and then I read it a third time as a refresher whilst being pregnant. Reading her book feels like talking to a friend and it's nice to read an honest account of pregnancy and motherhood. If you love reading birth stories & motherhood blogs or listening to friends birth stories, Giovanna's book is a must read. Her podcast is another one of my favourites too -  I binged all of the episodes in my third trimester! Further resources: Giovanna Fletcher Instagram // Happy Mum Happy Baby Instagram // Happy Mum Happy Baby Podcast

I'd love to know if you have any book recommendations for pregnancy, motherhood and beyond ... feel free to let me know on socials & to see the other books I've been reading this year, you can keep up with my Goodreads here.
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