Zoe's Top 5 Books (and other resources) for Pregnancy & Childbirth

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This is me, 9 months pregnant, in August 2011.

I thought I knew everything about pregnancy. I was a pro at that point. Everything had gone perfectly according to plan. I was in great health, and even at nearly 10 months pregnant (when my son finally made his appearance), I was quite comfortable, sleeping pretty soundly and able to shave my legs and tie my shoes without much effort--a fact which I largely attribute to regular yoga practice.

Pregnancy was such a breeze that I was totally okay with waiting as long as my body needed for childbirth. As my "due date" came and went, friends, family members and my doctor all expressed their readiness for pregnancy to be over, but I felt content with staying pregnant as long as I could.

Most people wondered at my cavalier attitude toward the long pregnancy, but they probably would have wondered less if they realized how totally unprepared I was to be a mother.

I had all the stuff--baby swing, baby carrier, a year's supply of cloth diapering goods (and backup 'sposies in case we changed our minds), crib, changing table, nursing pillow, etc (ours was the first grandchild on both sides, and we had a very excited and generous family).

But as the end of pregnancy neared I began to realize that becoming a parent would be much less about being materially and intellectually prepared and much more about being emotionally and psychologically prepared to give up control, to be open to what the experience of childbirth and motherhood could teach me, and to build a relationship with my baby.

I was not ready.

I was terrified.

And the first several weeks of my baby's life were a blur of confusion, isolation, anxiety and sadness, as I tried to understand why nothing was working the way it was supposed to.

I wish I had found these resources before my first child was born. I would have felt more prepared for childbirth and motherhood, and less fearful of what I didn't know. I think the realistic expectations they form, and the emotional support they provide, would have made the first few months of my baby's life easier, less stressful, and more joyful.

These are resources that I have used to develop Prenatal Yoga classes at Bliss Yoga, and they have also been part of my path to a mindful, more peaceful motherhood. I am so glad to share them with you, and I'm sure you will find them useful as well.