Going through pregnancy is one of the most intense periods in a woman's life - especially when it's the first time for you. Pregnant women know this - suddenly everyone chimes in with their (unwanted) advice on pretty much everything. Oh, and the books - walk into the pregnancy section in a bookstore and you wonder how there can be left enough paper for any other books - it's OVERWHELMING!
Now, books sort in various categories from the generic pregnancy tomes that include everything about every condition, stage, possibility, malady etc. etc. to the more alternative approaches, including personal opinions, memoirs and alternative healing and birthing strategies, etc. - oh, and don't even get me started on the books for the Afterward - nursing, co-sleeping, raising, the first year with baby...
I have leafed my way through pretty much every category, but for the past weeks, I have decided to put them all away and stop reading them because I have noticed that they actually just accentuate my stress levels instead of making me feel informed and rested. Upon chatting with a few other pregnant women, I have also realised that I don't seem to be the only one feeling like that. Knowing too much can also be harmful because you may end up faffing about every 1% disaster that may happen to you.
In my generic pregnancy book, there are about 30 pages where all the maladies, problems, diseases and syndromes are listed - truly nothing you want to read when you're pregnant (or ever, for that matter). Imagine someone always listed you all the things that could happen if you now drove away in your car - you'd stay at home for eternity. With so many things listed that could go wrong, you marvel how any children can actually be alive, happy and healthy. The truth is, most of these ailments happen to less than 1% of women, so I feel reading about them is not really necessary. I mean you also don't read about all the possibilities that could happen to you, if even very unlikely, when you get a flu shot or something like that.
So that book only nursed my panic of losing the baby and gave me fodder to obsess about - so out it went. However, the alternative books are not much better. If I read about one more story of a women who simply "breathed out her baby because she was so relaxed", I am going to hurl. I know I will feel like a failure if labour comes around and I will not stay as Zen as these books portray it if I buy into these stories too much. Same is with the obsession of home births in many of them - you're not a failure if you decide against traumatising your neighbours for eternity and actually have your baby in an environment that's equipped for it.
Same goes for breastfeeding. Before reading into the subject, I would have never thought there was a chance I couldn't breastfeed - I mean, it's kind of a natural thing, right? That's like being scared of not being able to push your baby out - your body usually knows what to do.
Anyway, the books kept droning on about what to do if it doesn't work, how to change to bottle-feeding - and I just slammed them shut and decided my obgyn and midwife will tell me what to do and that has to suffice. No more books on the matter.
There is actually really only one book I thoroughly enjoyed reading, which was neither dogmatic nor leaning towards the negative things that could happen and that was Hollie de Cruz's Hypnobirthing book (she's the founder of London Hypnobirthing). Compared to Marie Mongan's hypnobirthing book (who was the first to term Hypnobirthing)), it is far less dogmatic, concise, positive and informative, too. Her breathing and visualisation techniques have helped me relax tremendously and I still enjoy leafing through her book - but the others have been banned from my bookshelf, for now - maybe I'll get back to them just before the baby is due...
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