I read a lot of books during my first pregnancy and shortly after giving birth to my son – but I found it was the handful of memoir-style books that appealed to me the most – real stories in all their imperfection helped me cope and deal and plan much moreso than the technical tombs like What To Expect…, etc. When I got pregnant a second time last fall, I began searching out similar books but based on a second or third pregnancy, etc. I already know what babies are like and how to go about raising them, for the most part – what I was looking for was a book about learning how to “stretch your love” so to speak – the feelings of this pregnancy are different than they were with a first pregnancy. You know the basics and understand why your body is changing, but the idea of a new baby coming into the world and competing for love and affection with your current brood can be daunting. Am I making the right decision? Will I be a good mother of more than one? Am I completely crazy?? (That last one usually gets asked when I find myself in the middle of not dealing terribly well with something my 2 year old is doing.)
There isn’t much out there – at least not much that I’ve found – so I lucked out that the one that I found – Waiting For Birdy by Catherine Newman – was perfect and exactly what I was looking for. Not only is she pregnant with her second child and raising a just turned three year old boy (dealing with potty training and typical toddler turned preschool mayhem) she is hesitant. Constantly – “Am I doing the right thing?” comes up a lot. Which for me is a godsend, because an entire book of, “I’m so happy and together,” probably would have driven me insane. Now I feel slightly better prepared – armed – she was just as scared silly and just as normal and she made it through okay – she loved her new baby and eventually her son came around and decided to like the new baby okay, too.
This book was filled with relate-able humor and I found myself laughing a lot. It was real – I found myself worrying a lot, too, but everything worked itself out in her life which makes me feel like maybe everything will work itself out in mine. Life is full of the occasionally seemingly insurmountable odds, but it’s full of laughter and kindness, too, depending on where you look. You’ll find all of that here. And Newman is a terrific writer – this book was originally a weekly column at babycenter.com called “Bringing Up Ben and Birdy” – learning this made me laugh hard, because I read babycenter.com all the time – heck I map my pregnancy by it, thoroughly week by week, as my regular readers well know. So this is also kind of pretty cool proof that this blogging thing can be more than just a hobby, can be real and fulfilling and for some of the lucky, can lead to bigger things.
In short, I loved this sweet, funny memoir on second time pregnancy and recommend it to any mother, new or old.