Becoming a parent is one of the most laborious and daunting experiences of your life, and it doesn’t help when people are touching your stomach and saying things like, “Oh, that’s not good for the baby.” It can be hard to know where to turn for the best advice, and there are so many questions that need to be answered. With the right guidance, you can focus your energy on the joy of motherhood! Here are 10 books that are sure to help first time moms get over their jitters.
1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
This is the quintessential pregnancy book, but it is a classic for a reason. This eighties gem gives you a thorough overview of pregnancy and beyond. It takes you through the different physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, as well as information for doctor’s visits, nutritional tips and guidelines, and sections addressing common worries of expectant moms.
2. The Mindful Mom-to-Be: A Modern Doula's Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth by Lori Bregman and Stefani Newman
Written by a pregnancy coach and doula, The Mindful Mom-to-Be gives expert pregnancy advice with special attention to spiritual well-being. Bregman gives concrete professional guidelines, but also provides some exercises and guidelines for good mental health. She helps you refine and learn to trust your inner maternal intuition, so that you don’t go crazy doubting every parental decision you make.
This book is great for soon-to-be mothers who are lesbians. Pepper has a masters in counseling and in journalism, and her easy-to-read format makes complex topics like navigating the constantly changing legal status of lesbian parents simpler. Pepper’s guide delves into lesbian-specific issues like sperm banks, donors, and making sense of family roles without the traditional nuclear model.
4. My Brown Baby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children by Denene Miller
Miller already had an impressive reputation as a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the popular website MyBrownBaby.com. In My Brown Baby, Miller compiles over 2,000 of the posts from her website to create an informative and witty guide to raising a child with considerations of race and racism. Though it’s mainly meant for African-American first time moms, it’s an enriching read for anyone.
5. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Myra J. Wick
This guide is essential for all parents! It provides moms-to-be with the most authoritative information on pregnancy from the Mayo Clinic, the #1 hospital in the United States. This book is a cure-all for any medical concerns or questions you may have about the physical changes that happen to the body during pregnancy, as well as the fetus. The book also features a pregnancy calendar, information on safe and unsafe medicines, and lists of common pregnancy symptoms and experiences.
6. Waiting for Bebe: A Pregnancy Guide for Latinas by Lourdes Alcañiz
Waiting for Bebe is the ideal reading companion for Latinx mothers. In addition to the general information about pregnancy that applies to all first time moms regardless of ethnicity, Alcañiz provides specific guidelines for Latinx mothers from navigating bias and racism in the medical world, to tips for herbal remedies and nutrition. Alcañiz is a Florida-based health journalist and a correspondent for Radio Bilingue.
7. Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All! By Harlyn Aizley
Unlike other pregnancy books, Confessions of the Other Mother is written less so as a practical guide and more so as a collection of parenting stories. Some are cautionary tales while others are just funny, but they all embrace the idea that there are many different types of family units. Aizley’s inspiration for the novel came when she and her partner struggled to navigate the dynamics of a non-heterosexual parenting unit.
This workbook is great because it engages you and gets you excited about your child! Some reading materials about pregnancy and motherhood can be so intimidating that you want to call your own mom crying and say, “How did you do this?” Grossen gives you prompts and spaces to record memories to help you remember that this is about raising a child you love. She provides some practical space to record doctor’s appointments and trimester checklists, as well as prompts you to think about nursery room plans, baby names, and record first-time moments. When your little one turns 18, you can look back at all the writing activities for some bittersweet nostalgia.
9. The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Black Pregnancy by Kimberly Seals-Allers
The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Black Pregnancy combines important practical medical information with funny stories and witty advice from mothers. Seals-Allers addresses black-specific medical issues like low birth weight, high blood pressure, and sickle cell disease; but she also takes the time to give some candid advice on skin care, hair care, and being a single parent. It’s a refreshing, useful read for whatever questions you’re hoping to get answered.
10. Becoming the Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser
Davis and Keyser offer an empathetic understanding of the difficulties of being a parent. With set guidelines and some helpful suggestions, Davis and Keyser have created a book that’s meant to get you to trust your maternal intuition and lean into parenting with joy and love at the forefront of your mind. This book is also great because, unlike many parenting books that stop a few months after the baby is born, it extends through infancy. First time moms can feel confident raising their child with Davis and Keyser’s advice.