If you know a Mum to be or new Mum, first time or otherwise (and if not now you’ll bound to sometime in the future), this is worth paying attention to.
The books were factual, accurate, and up to date on the latest science and recommendations. Which was great, except having a baby is not a scientific experiment, it’s a mind boggling hormonal fuelled whirlwind of emotions, fears, guilt and difficult decisions.
Throw in pains, exhaustion, insomnia, sickness and heartburn and deciding whether to have an apple or a pear with your breakfast is enough to make you burst into tears, let alone creating a birth plan.
On a practical level it wasn’t hard for me – I knew I wanted a hospital birth, as minimal interventions as possible but I’d do whatever needed for the baby’s safety, I would do my best to breastfeed.
On an emotional level I was also good, excited more than anxious, and I was very lucky not to have complications. On a whole I think I coped with becoming a Mum for the first time pretty well, but I was very lucky to have such a smooth ride, and even then, had no previous experience of all the emotions and decision making involved with having a baby.
The books I read didn’t tell me I’d feel guilty about everything, worrying I might ‘damage’ my baby in some way, from pain relief in birth through to weaning choices and beyond. They didn’t tell me that other Mums had different (but equally valid) opinions and choices, and that would make me feel insecure about my own choices.
As an example, when we did baby led weaning, so many people told us it was a choking hazard, and even though I knew this to be completely untrue, I felt judged.
I felt judged when breastfeeding in public, and especially so once they were older than 6 months (I fed both my girls for 3 yrs in the end). I felt having an epidural must make me ‘weak’.
I felt like maybe I was being neurotic when I gave up all caffeine in pregnancy #1, but worried that my 1 cup a day maybe wasn’t so good for baby in pregnancy #2.
I wish I’d had ‘Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan’ by Rebecca Schiller back then, I book I was given upon release this month to read and review.
I was actually quoted in the book – Rebecca wanted to know how Mums with eating disorders (I was anorexic years ago) felt about their changing bodies. I was recovered by the time I got pregnant (there’s no way my sick body would have allowed a period let alone a pregnancy) but still, being responsible for growing a human gave me permission to eat, and permission to put on weight, something I’d never been able to do for myself. I loved my bump and changing body.
Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan is the book every first time Mum needs, because while yes it covers all the practical stuff, Rebecca, a doula and mother herself, also tells you all the myriad of ways you might feel about each decision. About how there’s no right or wrong, only what’s right for you. The facts are laid bare, for example statistics on risks and outcomes of each choice, but ultimately, it’s your right to choose, and nobody else’s right to dispute your choices.
The book is scattered with hundreds of personal quotes and stories from real Mums from all walks for life from married to single to gay, old and young, well and sick, with different cultural and religious backgrounds which can also influence decisions.
Each Mum has their own story and there is an equal and opposite story often following right after, illustrating the sheer volume of possible outcomes for the pregnancy, birth, and life as a Mum you might experience.
Just as we are all different as women, our pregnancies, labours and child rearing choices will also be different.
But one thing is for sure is, having a baby is a massive thing to do. It’s the most amazing experience you’ll ever go through, but also the most challenging.
It’s all of exciting, scary, magical, traumatic, tiring, exhilarating, and you’ll feel elated and depressed, delirious and exhausted, all at the same time.
The ‘science’ can’t prepare you for that, but this book does.
As the eldest sibling I’m already planning ahead and as soon as those ‘we’re having a baby’ news starts rolling in, each person is getting a copy.
If you know a new Mum or Mum to be, first time or otherwise, this book is easy to read, and is the most comforting and reassuring companion to get women through this incredible experience that is becoming a Mummy.
It’s on Amazon as both a paperback and kindle, just click here or on the image below.
Find out more about Rebecca Schiller’s work at https://www.rebeccaschiller.co.uk/