Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My 10 Favorite Pregnancy & Birth Books



For the last year I've been teaching Prenatal yoga here in in Portland. I see beautiful, glowing women come in to the studio every Sunday afternoon and I love spending an hour leading them through a gentle, supportive class. So even though I'm not pregnant, my mind returns to my experiences and also sits with the experiences that my students' are having on a daily basis as I prepare sequences for classes and just think about what my mamas might need. For some, it's their very first time. For others, they've been through it before, although every pregnancy and birth stands alone. I'm putting together some resources for them and thought I'd share what I come up with here, too.

Reading about pregnancy and birth is so fascinating, but sometimes its hard to know where to start. The books I've listed below hopefully cater to a variety of personalities, so you'll find something you like, or a tone or perspective that suits you. Pregnancy and birth is a very sensitive time in a woman's life and it doesn't help to hear condescending or doom-and-gloom voices coming off of the page...but everyone's tastes are different. Explore this list, maybe stop in at the library before committing to a purchase, and see what you like. It was hard to narrow this list down to ten. Two of them are journals, so technically it's eight...but ten is a nice round number and I wish I'd have thought to find a very pretty journal to write in! This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have a book you'd put on this list, let me know in the comments!

(All links will take you to the book's Amazon page, and are affiliate links.)

Pregnancy & Childbirth

The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Holland

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Deepak Chopra, David Simons, and Vicki Abrams.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy & Birth by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Patty Simkin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon

Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Nancy Bardacke

Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood by Erica Chidi Cohen

Journals

Expecting You: A Keepsake Journal Pregnancy by Amelia Riedler

Bump For Joy: Guided Pregnancy Journal by Studio Oh! 



Watch for my favorite postpartum book list coming soon! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Simple Autumn Family Rhythm Ideas




So far, we've been delightfully in tune with Autumn this year. I love this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is usually balmy, sunny days with a few chunks of gloomy rain here and there, but the sun comes out again before the moods start to drop too dramatically.

Having seasonal family traditions or rhythms has always been of interest to me but deciding on them and following through has not been a strength of mine. So whenever we intentionally try or complete a seasonal activity it feels like a huge win! I also know that our rhythms will change as we move through different ages and stages. That's also why I like the word "rhythm" over "tradition," because it gives a lot of space for change and ease.

For now, with three small kids, these are my favorite five fall rhythms that don't take a million supplies and the whole family can participate in together. They are SO SIMPLE  yet leave us with warm fuzzy memories of time together.

1) Leaf Walk + Beeswax Leaf Dipping Garland

My neighbor invited us to do this with her and now it's a little tradition. It's very simple and easy for the kids to help. Simply collect medium-sized and varied shapes of beautiful leaves. Buy beeswax at the store or Amazon and melt it in an old or thrifted saucepan that you're happy to "donate" to the yearly beeswax-melting activity. Once the wax completely melts, dip the leaves in and let them dry on waxed paper. String baker's twine or ribbon through the leaves and you have a lovely festive garland! Invite friends or family to join and have snacks and hot cocoa afterwards.



2) Family Pumpkin Patch Day

This one is trickier than it sounds up here in the Portland metro area. Pumpkin patches are big business and incredibly popular with us outdoor-romantics, and there are several scattered around the area that are huge operations. Visits to those places tend to lend an air of frantic anxiousness to me and then subsequently to the kids, so this year we were on the hunt for a smaller place with less "attractions" and just pumpkins, and maybe a wagon ride. We luckily found a place outside of town that was not crowded at all, and had the most gorgeous Clydesdale horses pulling a wagon, plus pony rides and a slide/playground area. We kept looking around wondering when the throngs of people were going to pile into the parking lot but they never did. Best pumpkin patch year EVER.



3) Attend a Fall festival or carnival

We have two Fall Festivals we attend - one at our church community and one at the girls' school. They get to do the fun carnival activities like fishing, cornhole, photo booth, and facepainting, all with people they know. Both our church and school are very small and so the community feel is strong and feels safe and not overwhelming. This is definitely a tradition the girls are loving.



4) Check out Autumn-themed books at the library

I love incorporating seasonal books into our reading! Try these we've enjoyed:






5) Begin lighting a candle at dinner.

This is my favorite, and it normally carries into winter, too. As darkness begins to fall earlier, it's so cozy to light a candle at dinnertime. The older kids can take turns lighting each evening. We are sensitive to scents and I don't like the smell of burning paraffin so we use pure beeswax tealights. Because our table is small and I'm not quite confident in a tall taper candle not getting knocked over, we burn a tealight in a himalayan salt tealight holder. It has a lovely orange glow and paired with the subtle scent of the natural beeswax, it feels very Fall!

6) Family Leaf Walks

When the weather is good we spend as much time outside as possible, because when the rain comes, we're indoors for what feels like months. A before-dinner walk, extra time at the school playground, or weekend outdoor adventures get us fresh air and we also get to watch the trees change, leaves fall, and the air grow more crisp! The girls gather leaves, pinecones, and other nature items. Plus the lingering smell of wood fireplaces begins in the evenings and it feels so cozy.

That's it! So simple, right?

What are your favorite autumn rhythms/traditions? 
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