Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: southeastern Massachusetts
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So I've been using the Kindara app for a year and a half now to chart my cycles, and the community feature just opened up on regular computers instead of just phones. So when I was browsing my old charts, I found quite a few book recommendations I had written that I thought might be helpful to share here. Here they are:
"Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small was full of fascinating facts about babies and how women in other countries raise them...the book challenges traditional American parenting in several regards (for example, 90% of babies around the world sleep with their parents...only British and American babies are put into beds in their own rooms, traditionally). Because I want to do attachment parenting, I really loved this book including the science behind why co-sleeping is beneficial and I also was very interested in the evolutionary perspective of the book (and here's another helpful tip: babies who are held the most in the first month of life cry a lot less for the next few months).
In terms of books about birth, I really loved "The Big Book of Birth" by Erica Lyon (and I really hated "The Pregnancy Bible" with its pervasive pinkness and its constant use of "your healthcare provider will want to..."...what about my own choices? I read it as an alternative to "What to Expect" but hated it just as much and didn't learn much because only the most surface explanations were given...not a helpful or empowering book. Especially when there is a lot of space dedicated to avoiding risks that are extremely small...I feel like this sort of book encourages women to trust the "experts" instead of their own intuition and that is not putting them in a good place as a parent, especially given my history with bad doctors). Lyon's book was very empowering with its constant "you can do this" attitude and it did a great job explaining your choices in a balanced manner. She includes lots of birth stories both good and bad, and there's a lot of very specific information about the stages of birth and how to get through them in a natural birth, but she is also supportive of epidurals. My friend who just had a natural birth said it was the most helpful book she read.
And I liked Mark Sloan's "Birth Day" for a history of childbirth. He is a doctor and is full of interesting personal experiences as well as historical ones. One of my favorite bits from his book is that the whole reason that women now lay on their backs to give birth is not at all because it's the best position (it's actually one of the worst), but because Louis XIV wanted to watch his mistress give birth, and that's the position that gave him the best view...so visiting court doctors from England thought it was cool and brought the practice back home, where it spread (unfortunately). There's also an interesting section on the history of anaesthesia, which was popularized by Queen Victoria. Women used to be routinely ethered and knocked out for their births, which shocked me (and then I asked my grandmothers about it, and they were both ethered and don't remember their births either!). So there really is a good reason to be skeptical of fads in medicine!
"Parenting for Primates," written by Harriet Smith, a primatologist, was another really great book. It was fascinating to see how other primates approach child-rearing and the wide range of parenting strategies. She makes lots of tie-ins to human society as well, so it is certainly applicable to human parenting, but I also enjoyed the different approach.
Another fascinating one (which I know I will re-read) is "What's Going on in There?" by Lise Eliot about brain development. It gets pretty technical so it was a slow read for me, but she does break it down and I learned so incredibly much about human development and myself! One of my favorite bits from that one was that we have a whole organ, the vomeronasal organ that is present in most other vertebrates for sending pheromones, that develops early in gestation but is dismantled around 6 months and ultimately replaced with other parts of our frontal lobes that allow for critical thinking. But for a few months, the organ is operational and the fetus can probably sense pheromones from the mother. Such cool stuff!
Last edited by BarefootBrooke; 03-13-2015 at 03:08 PM.