Preparing for childbirth is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've wanted to have a baby when I got married but I've also never felt more scared and unsure of all my decisions. Most of my closest friends are single, career-oriented individuals who aren't planning to settle down any time soon. I only have one older sister who has a kid (they live half a world away) and one cousin who recently gave birth but she also lives in a different country. My mother is gone and I didn't really know who I coud turn to. However, I was getting plenty of tips from people Im not very close to and other parents I've met are super eager to dish out tips and horror stories of their babies.
Luckily my sister-in-law gave me a book that saved my life. Let me share with you some of the books and blogs I read during my pregnancy that have helped me in ways I cannot describe.
What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. I know the 4th edition is already out but this is the one that I got and I didn't mind that it wasn't the latest. There's a reason why this is called the 'pregnancy bible', it is chock-full of tips and detailed descriptions of what a woman experiences throughout her pregnancy. Its chapters are divided into the nine months of pregnancy and touches upon preparing for a baby as well as postpartum. You get exercise tips, a guide on what your diet should be and even comes with illustrations on mommy's or baby's positions in certain situations. I must warn you that it also covers every possible thing that could go wrong. So it is kind of scary to read too. I wanted to make sure that I covered all bases so even those chapters that were not applicable to me, I stubbornly read them. I strongly advise you not to do this! I have spent way too many sleepless nights with visions in my head of the bleakest scenarios and in hindsight, I didn't need to know about them in the first place and could have spared myself the eyebags.
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. This is completely different from "What To Expect When You're Expecting". It's a fun, light book that tells you what you can expect after you deliver your baby. It is also full of tips and techniques on how you can calm your fussy baby down in minutes. What I like about this book is that it is super easy to read, its fun, its playful and there are plenty of short stories from moms recounting their experiences with their newborns. There are a lot of portions in the book that seem repetitive though and Dr. Karp really likes to stretch his explanations. There are times when I just wanted him to get straight to the point and not go round and round with his statements.
There are several blogs that I also follow and enjoy reading. These sites are also extremely helpful to new moms.
~ This is the site to log on to if you're planning to breastfeed your baby. It addresses nursing concerns from mothers who send in their questions or breastfeeding stories. It's linked with hundreds of other mommy sites that you can also check out. It contains articles and interviews from doctors and others in the scientific field to make the results as factual as possible. It allows you to comment on posts and the articles here are, most of the time, current.
La Leche League International
~ Another website for moms who are planning to breastfeed. They have got a wonderful network of experts and fellow mothers who are willing to help nursing moms all over the world. The site also provides links to many other websites that have published articles on breastfeeding and they provide all kinds of support to all new moms who have difficulty breastfeeding. I love to check this site because it is so organized, the categories are easy to spot, feedback is very welcome and even their forums will not confuse you!
There are so many others but these websites are the ones I religiously follow. Most other websites carry the same point and just present it in other ways. Oh I haven't even covered the websites that I like to visit for baby stuff! There are so many! I'll do that some other time. If you are a mommy-to-be, congratulations! It isn't too late to arm yourself with knowledge on your pregnancy and for when your baby arrives. It is always better to be informed and ready. Motherhood is not the same for everybody, nevertheless, it won't hurt to read these books and websites, follow their advice and be as prepared as you can be.