Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What To Really Expect When You're Expecting

The first time I was pregnant, I bought a ton of books so that I could be as educated as possible. However, I think the popular books scared me more than educated me. They covered all of the exotic, strange things that could go wrong while pregnant, making me feel that anything out of the ordinary was leading to a miscarriage, when in reality it was nothing to worry about.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for with pregnancy was the emotional toll it would have on me. I was thrilled to be pregnant - we had planned this, after all - but at the same time I felt scared, a little lonely, overwhelmed, and a little sad at the life I was leaving behind. Did the books tell me how to deal with this emotional overload? Nope, and it took me well into my second trimester to finally seek out help for the depression these emotions were causing.

I wish now that I had the book Body, Soul, and Baby back then. Parent Bloggers asked me to take a look at this book, and now that I've read it I think it might be one of the best pregnancy books out there. Dr. Tracy Gaudet approaches pregnancy from a whole person perspective, addressing not only the physical changes happening while pregnant, but also the emotional changes that shape you throughout this journey.

The book covers all aspects of pregnancy, from preconception (are you really ready for a baby?) all the way to postpartum. Dr. Gaudet introduces ten exercises to help you feel connected to your body, your emotions, and your baby - the goal of these exercises is for you to actively experience your pregnancy, not just go through the motions. Let's face it: it's far too easy to go to all your doctor's appts., take your prenatal vitamins, and not give much thought to how your body and life is changing until you're suddenly being sent home from the hospital, baby in arms, shell-shocked at the whirlwind of changes. Your body is saggy, the little person you're holding seems like a stranger, and you're unprepared for hormonal bombardment on your emotions. I know that after my first, I felt like I didn't know who I was anymore.

Using the ten tools, you explore the mind-body connection, paying close attention to your internal signs to determine what your body, soul, and baby needs. These tools include journaling your feelings, dialoguing with your physical and nonphysical self, and dreamagery (which is a type of guided imagery).

I received this book right after having Mira, my second child. Yet even this time around, I don't think I was fully engaged in this pregnancy. Reading the postpartum chapters of this book helped me to sort through my emotions of her birth and my conflicting postpartum feelings. I was impressed with how thoroughly the book covered the postpartum period - in most books it is usually an afterthought crammed into the last few pages. I also didn't have a vaginal delivery last time, so it was nice to read that much of what I'm going through physically is completely normal.

Body, Soul, and Baby is an excellent guide for anyone having a baby or thinking about having a baby. The whole person approach is a refreshing change, and it is the only book I know that aims to help you nurture all aspects of yourself in preparation for this life changing event.

My only suggestion is I would have liked to see her give some ways to use the tools in helping to prepare for a second child. Other than that, I was thrilled with this book, and plan to pass it along to an acquaintance who has suddenly found herself pregnant. I know she isn't really ready for what's coming. I think this book will help her prepare more than any other.


Jenna said...

Yeah, I'm just going to have to pick it up.

crunchycarpets said...

I will have to pick that up...mom and I were talking about this stuff...how women nowadays don't seem to be allowed to feel the emotions they feel...like now that you are a mommy you can't ask for YOUR mommy to come and comfort you...

just when you need support and to be and to deal with it all.