Dear Mrs. Crafty,
Congratulations on your impending bundle of joy! Becoming a parent is a weird and wild ride, and I'm thrilled that you're joining this bizarre sorority called motherhood.
I have lots of random bits of advice culled from my first 15 months of parenting, but I thought maybe we could start with a few interesting reads for pregnancy, labor and delivery.
There are a lot of books about pregnancy and parenting, but I find myself less interested in devoting hours to parenting guides and more interested in watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Sure, I could recommend you sit down with a "What to Expect," a "Baby's First Year," a retro Dr. Spock or a modern Dr. Karp. But I've found I'm happiest--and most confident--when I trust my own mom-instincts rather than falling into a wormhole of questioning whether I'm doing something wrong (or badly) in the world of parenting. You will always be able to find some source that raises doubts about what you're doing.
In general, I strongly advise against Googling for parenting advice, medical symptoms, and other anxiety-inducing topics. And for the love of all good things, do not read the comments on parenting forums. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Mrs. Crafty.)
However, the Internet does hold some helpful, necessary reads. I've made some efforts to collect the best reading to share with friends. Today I present "What To Read When You're Expecting."
A pregnancy survival guide from lifestyle blog Cup of Jo
What to buy:
Two options for registries (and I urge you to ask a friend or two for real-life, real-time feedback): Design for Mankind's multiple posts about her curated, well-designed baby necessities or Cup of Jo's city-living registry
Related: What to pack in a diaper bag. This may seem obvious, but a water bottle and snacks are ALWAYS good to have on hand for mama.
Labor and delivery:
Let's start with Jamie and Jeff's birth plan.
"If Jamie starts to sob uncontrollably during labor, please turn offThe Notebook. In the event the crying continues, please administer the following drugs to Jeff (per Mr. Cooper): Darvocet, Diamorphine, Vicodin, Medical Marijuana."
Then let's move on to this giant collection of pregnancy, labor and delivery, adoption and other stories about "growing a family" via Design Mom.
Everyone knows Cheryl Strayed (writer of Wild), right? She wrote this wonderful essay on labor and delivery that is a fantastic read:
"As I gazed out the window, I prayed to be out of this misery, to muster up the courage to do whatever I had to do, for the baby to be born soon. I felt entirely at the mercy of the birth, as if I’d lost any sense of who I was outside of this. As if there was no me outside of this."
If you are saying to yourself, "I really need more to read, and I'd like it in the tone of a hilarious, snarky, witty girlfriend," then that friend is Tracy Moore, and you should read everything she writes on Jezebel's Motherload collection. I recommend starting with "Guide to Your Most Shame-Filled Motherhood."
And finally, if you enjoy decorating, adorable toys and kids rooms, you may find some good inspiration on Design Mom's Living with Kids series, Apartment Therapy's family section or my Pinterest board Kid 'n' Play.
Happy reading! Sending you wishes for an easy pregnancy and a healthy baby in the next few months.
Images from the Library of Congress here, here and here
PS - If you enjoyed these resources, I'll be sharing vols. 2 and 3 (with more reads for later stages of parenthood, more laughs and a bit of deeper philosophy) in the next couple weeks.