Around these parts, being in your late twenties means less bridal showers and more baby showers. It means trading giggles about the honeymoon with talk about baby blues and postpartum pooing.
These days, it’s all about the kids.
As an avid reader and recent mom, I’m often asked what books I’d suggest to new mothers. The truth is I didn’t read a lot of parenting books. I started many but only finished a few, namely the ones that didn’t gloss over the hard stuff. The rest of the time I read coming of age memoirs and end of the world fantasy thrillers. You know, to keep my mind off the fact that I was now in charge of another human.
I did end up reading some great family themed books, though. Stories about the love and tribulation that comes along with parenthood.
Here is my list of great new-mom reads. Most revolve around parenting, a few do not. I assure you non-moms will enjoy them as well.
Full disclosure: When I first wrote this post I titled it the “New Mom Reading Guide.” I even made a fancy header.
But then after staring at it for a while, I realized being a “new mom” has nothing to do with storks and pastels. It’s more about sleep survival, hemorrhoids, and a very sad postpartum perineum. Might as well call it like it is.
Happy reading. Happy healing.
“Until it happened to us, I didn’t understand that having a baby would feel like falling in love on a bad acid trip. With an alarm clock–a pooping alarm clock. I wasn’t prepared to lie awake by the sleeping babe, my heart pounding audibly and so swollen with passion that I could barely breathe. I hadn’t realized that my mind would scan constantly for disaster, like a metal detector casting around for the big stuff and turning up endless bottle caps. What is that? Pneumonia? A brain aneurism? Woops, ok, no, just a little cold.” (On Amazon)
“Last night I decided that it is totally nuts to believe in Christ, that it is every bit as crazy as being a Scientologist or a Jehovah’s Witness. Then something truly amazing happened. A man from church showed up at our front door, smiling and waving to me and Sam, and I went to let him in. He is… named Gordon, fiftyish, married to our associate pastor, and after exchanging pleasantries he said, ‘Margaret and I wanted to do something for you and the baby. So what I want to ask is, what if a fairy appeared on your doorstep and said that he or she would do any favor for you at all, anything you wanted around the house that you felt too exhausted to do by yourself and too ashamed to ask anyone else to help you with?”
‘I can’t even say,’ I said. ‘It’s too horrible.’
“But he finally convinced me to tell him, and I said it would be to clean the bathroom, and he ended up spending an hour scrubbing the bathtub and toilet and sink. I sat on the couch while he worked, watching TV, feeling vaguely guilty and nursing Sam to sleep. But it made me feel sure of Christ again, of that kind of love. This, a man scrubbing a new mother’s bathtub, is what Jesus means to me. As Bill Rankin, my priest friend, once said, spare me the earnest Christians.” (On Amazon)
“Unlike Western parents, reminding my child of Lord Voldemort didn’t bother me.” (On Amazon)
“I was a wonderful parent before I had children.” (On Amazon)
“I know how syrupy this sounds, how dull, provincial, and possibly whitewashed, but what can I do? Happy childhoods happen.” (On Amazon)
“This is a story about a terrible thing which happens to me. I have to warn you that nobody is bad or good here, or rather everyone is a bit bad and a bit good and the bad and the good molecules get mixed up against each other and produce terrible chemical reactions.” (On Amazon)
“They did a lot of cleaning in their house, which I considered to be a sign of immoral parenting. The job of parents, as I saw it, was to watch television and step into a child’s life only when absolutely necessary, like in the event of a tornado or a potential kidnapping.” (On Amazon)
“We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa Clause myth and got nothing but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. ‘Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten,’ Dad said, ‘ you’ll still have your stars.” (On Amazon)
“Most people go through their whole lives,” John went on, “and never have one miracle happen to them. You’ve had dozens and dozens, and you still want more! It’s like God gives you a brownie, I mean a really good brownie, but you can’t be content with it. You want the whole pan of brownies. Nobody gets that.” (On Amazon)
“I do want to get married. It’s a nice idea. Though I think husbands are like tattoos–you should wait until you come across something you want on your body for the rest of your life instead of just wandering into a tattoo parlor on some idle Sunday and saying, ‘I feel like I should have one of these suckers by now. I’ll take a thorny rose and a “MOM” anchor, please. No, not that one–the big one.” (On Amazon)
If you ended up here because you are going to a baby shower and you thought you’d get her a book, here’s my advice: buy her the first two parenting memoirs, a giant tube of lanolin, and a box of dark chocolate. You’ll be golden.