I am someone who likes to have a lot of information about anything they are doing. If I am going on a trip I buy one or two guide books, read about destinations online, try to find blogs where locals talk about the best things to do, and when I am their I regularly consult apps like Yelp. So in embarking on the journey that is pregnancy I was no different. Here is a list of some of the things I have/do read.
1.What To Expect When You're Expecting
The day that I found out I was pregnant I went out and bought a copy of What To Expect When You're Expecting. It was the book I knew about. I didn't know about any other books, blogs, or message boards. I bought it full price from a book store. This was serious business.
What To Expect When Your Expecting has been around since 1984 and you can see the covers evolve from pregnant ladies wearing pink muumuus in rocking chairs, to pregnant ladies on the go, in deep v-necks and kicky little boots. On the french cover the v-neck is pink ou rose, for some inexplicable reason. Now, I should say, my midwives told me they don't like this book. They find it alarmist but I quite like it. I like knowing about things that could go wrong and I like how comprehensive it is. I also like that millions of women for the past 3 decades have read this book. It's like I am sharing an experience with mothers who have come before: a book club that transcends the boundaries of time. Also, it makes no judgements about choices around birthing, it just lays out a lot of options. That being said it could be alarmist for some people. It goes over everything that might happen, the good, the bad, the bloody, the stinky, it even explains how you might birth a baby if you had to do it entirely solo. At first I read it religiously but now I keep it in the bathroom and only read it when I enter a new month of pregnancy or am having a very long poop.
2. The Girlfriend's Guide To Pregnancy
This book was highly recommended by the internet so I bought a second hand copy. It's like a book by your sassy girlfriend (not girlfriend like lover, but girlfriend like gal pal) where she dishes the honest truth about pregnancy.
If Vicki Iovine was my gal pal we would need to sit down and really deconstruct her heterosexism, judgement around home birth/midwives, and judgement around women and body size: "Any woman that starves herself or eats only trash foods should be permanently ostracized from the community of Girlfriends, if not from the universe." She said that. But Vicki what about poverty and food politics? What about mental illness? What about the fact you are not the supreme judge of who should be ostracized from the universe. THE UNIVERSE! If you're a modern, socially aware, progressive type you will find this book old fashioned. If you are a radical activist and/or queer and/or real real granola you will hate this book. You will find it infuriating and you may throw it against a wall. I will say it seems like her advice on maternity clothing might be solid? I have yet to follow it, but am planning to and will get back to you.
3. the bump
It's not a book it's a website/app and I go there all the time. It is a site to follow week by week what is happening with your pregnancy. It tells you what size your baby is on a fruit scale. The fruit scale is a good reference but also flawed in the fact the same fruit can be different sizes. For example a few weeks back my baby was the size of a peach, and the following week it was the size of a lemon. For my money lemons are smaller than peaches, which would mean my baby was shrinking. Maybe it's just because I live on the West Coast and peaches are grown not so far away? I never though of Okanongon peaches as being monstrously huge, but they are way bigger than lemons. That being said I actually like the articles and updates provided on the bump.
What I don't like are the message boards. Well I do like/use them but they get really intense. Women get banned all the time for insulting other women, or posting inappropriate stuff. Women are always making pleas to be nicer to one another. They have very intense opinions about baby shower etiquette. God help the woman who posts and ultrasound picture and wants people to help her figure out the sex of the baby. You will also be attacked if you re-post about something that has recently been posted about. The term "special snowflake" gets thrown around a lot. I am worried I will somehow be banned from the board for writing this. Also, there aren't a lot of queer parents on there. There is a LGBTQ message board but there was some sort of coo in the past and everyone left it. I don't know why. I arrived too late on the scene, but from what I gather the gays left en masse and only a few of us remain.
4. The Longest Shortest Time
I just found this but it is amazing. It's a podcast, not a book, but it's all about parenting. My background is in radio. I was a radio host for 5 years and plan to return to it post-baby. It's my favourite medium. My dream job would be working for This American Life and I stumbled across The Longest Shortest Time while listening to TAL.
It's all about parenting and is really honest and hilarious. I just recently listened to an episode about raising children with mixed-racial identities which is great and super relevant as we're having a baby with mixed racial background. I haven't mentioned that yet, SURPRISE! We'll get into it later in the blog, but it's something I think about a lot. Also, listened to a series of episodes about sex after babies. One of them got into raising boys within rape culture and our responsibilities around that. It's great and I think interesting enough non-parents would dig it too. It's also an app, facebook group, and website. Also it really pays tribute to different kinds of families and ways of getting pregnant. AMAZING! There are great links to other resources through their website: http://longestshortesttime.com/.
5. Getting Pregnant With Michelle Tea
This is a blog/series of articles that I found through The Longest Shortest Time. It's a long blog and I am working my way through it backwards. She is a queer writer, which maybe everyone knows except me? Her and her partner started trying when Michelle was 40, and started just like Ana and I, but then needed fertility treatments and a lot of them from the looks of it. The series follows several years, various attempts, a miscarriage and eventually the birth of their baby. It's great. If I had found this blog when I was first looking for resources I might never have started mine. You can find it here: http://www.xojane.com/family/getting-pregnant-michelle-tea.
That's kind of it. Those are the things I am reading, but I read them a lot because I am the first of my friends to get pregnant and my mom is basically the only real life person I talk to who has been pregnant. It actually has made me feel slightly lonely. I should mention facebook has some amazing groups I have joined and they are great too. I would love to hear about more so please post anything you have found that is interesting/funny/scandalous in the comments.