P for Pregnancy Books

pregnancy books best 2016

I would like to start 2016 with a different kind of post. Different because I have never blogged about pregnancy related stuff before. But because this year will start a new chapter in my life, a chapter of being a mum, the sooner I make this step the better. So here it is :)

The moment I found out I’m pregnant I panicked! “I know nothing about babies” I thought! We live away from our families so there is no good-auntie advice on hand. I do have girlfriends who are already mums but I can’t imagine asking them all the time “I have a low belly pain, should I be worried?” or “Can I eat mushrooms?”. I am not a big fun of asking Google either especially that it freaks me out every time I search for anything that is pregnancy related. This one thing I learnt already: DO NOT READ STUFF ONLINE! It only terrifies you and stresses you out, completely unnecessarily! Every pregnancy is different just as every woman is different.

Ok, so with no family close enough to bombard me with good expert advice and a negative attitude towards Google, I turned to books!
I did my research before making any purchases and here is my list of six pregnancy books I’m currently reading;

best pregnancy books

1. The Healthy Pregnancy Book by William Sears and his wife Martha. Definitely my number one to go-to-book if I have any questions about why am I feeling the way I am feeling. The book explains what is occurring in the womb step by step, how the baby is growing, as well as how mum-to-be is changing, both physically and emotionally. It also answers questions about bonding with the preborn baby, how to protect the womb environment, advice on working while pregnant, exercising and keeping fit during the pregnancy plus helpful tips on everything from traveling while pregnant to overcoming morning sickness. The list is endless!

2. The Rough Guide To Pregnancy And Birth by Kaz Cooke. One of the first books I bought and also the first one I put away on a shelf. The book was set out to offer “the soundest, sanest, wittiest advice you’ll ever get” about life as an expectant mum. Instead I find it bossy and biased. The jokes are predictable, unoriginal and annoying, I was hoping for some funny light-hearted relief from all the serious pregnancy books, but I haven’t found it here. Also, its constant belittling of men is frankly offensive and the author seems to regard the father as a redundant, bewildered sperm donor. While that’s funny at times I think it’s sad that modern books like this are still peddling that tired old idea that men are useless. Where possible, Kuba and I treat this pregnancy as a team effort. Finally the book is almost completely lacking any genuinely useful information regarding your body, what is happening from a scientific point of view, preparation for birth etc. Would definitely not recommend!

3. Pour Une Naissance A Visage Humain by Claude Didierjean-Jouveau. I ordered this book from Poland and sadly I can’t find its English version. But if you are a French speaker, do get it! Although I do not agree with the author in every aspect, like disadvantages of ultrasound scanning or the invasive prenatal diagnostic procedures, I appreciate how beautifully she writes about the labor or birth doulas ( women who are trained to provide practical and emotional support to women and their families during labor). Apparently women who give birth accompanied by doulas, are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression.

4. Birth Without Violence by Frederick Leboyer. My favourite book! I’m actually reading it second time! I highly recommend it to all expectant parents as well as those medical and mental health practitioners interested in a simple way to bring more peaceful and less traumatised children into the world. This is such a calm and loving book to read. This French man brought to the world a masterpiece, most touching way to honour the sacredness of childbirth. A must for every mum-to-me!

5. What To Eat When You Are Pregnant by Dr. Nicole Avena. I struggled a little bit to know what to eat when I found out I am pregnant. And since I am a big foodie, it was a kind of a book I looked for first. Straight-forwardly, the author explains the science behind the food pregnant women need and when, week by week, they need it. Avena says that you don’t need any extra calories during the first trimester. In the 2nd and 3rd you only need to add a few hundred each day, and that doesn’t mean ice cream (damn it! ;-) ). When cravings do strike, she recommends trying to identify what exactly you’re after. If it’s crunch, then reach for carrots or almonds. And while controlling cravings can be a challenge, Avena says it’s worth it in the long run to avoid excess weight gain. “Until pretty recently the idea was the damage was being done to mom,” she says and points to recent research on what can happen to the baby when mum puts on too many extra kilograms. “All this extra weight may be affecting baby’s brain development and how they’re going to behave later in life”.

6. Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant by Dr Lewis Kirkham. When we discovered we were expecting, Kuba and I both thought of our much loved Rosti and how we could help her cope with the changes. This book is clear, humorous and written by a vet with further training in Behaviour Medicine. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone with a dog who is pregnant, have a read and make the adjustments before baby arrives, because the consequences of not preparing your dog can range from sad to catastrophic!

What about you? Which pregnancy books have you liked? What did I miss? I would absolutely love to hear…

xxx, Marta

 

Hello Bump!

pic_1

I’m very curious about how you all feel about something……what are your thoughts on announcing a pregnancy?

Did you tell anyone early on?  Just a few?  Or did you share the exciting news with every breathing human being that crossed your path? 

I’ve had some time to think about announcing my pregnancy.  And I tell ya, now I just want to tell everyone.  Yes, at 3 months the risk for miscarriage is still there, around 3%.  But you know what, I don’t really fear a miscarriage. (No, I do fear it!). But I think the joy of announcing outweighs the fear of possible loss. The loss would be devastating whether I announced it or not, so why not enjoy that moment?
And if God forbid the worst happens, I’m going to need all the well-wishes I can get. I don’t mind those dear to me knowing my joys and struggles. I really feel like those who love us will rejoice with us and grieve with us. I find that incredibly strengthening and humbling. People simply have this amazing ability to lift you up and help you heal after those losses and being alone would never be an option for me.

So here,  with overwhelming excitement I shout from the rooftops: Yay! I’m pregnant!!! Nothing wrong with extra support and prayers!
And this baby? I love him or her so much already! Three months of love is growing at an exponential pace and I’m absolutely honoured to tell you all about it!

Going forward, expect a lot of pregnancy related posts in 2016; what to eat, what to wear, how to tell your dog she’ll be a Big Sis :)

xxx, Marta

Inspiring world of podcasts

mytop3podcasts

A while back, I started listening to podcasts as part of my daily routine. I honestly don’t know how I would get through a day without them. I like listening to them when I’m walking Rosti, doing the dishes, folding the laundry, driving (it turns a boring drive into an adventure ;-) ) and getting ready to work. I’m not sure it would be exaggerating to say podcasts are what get me out of bed in the morning ;-)

The great thing about podcasts is unlike an audiobook, they’re relatively low commitment. Usually between 30 minutes and an hour and released somewhere between every few days and every few weeks, they’re like the bite sized snacks of audio-consumption. And I can confidently say that if you have an interest, there’s a podcast out there that caters to that interest.

So whether you’re already a podcast listener or thinking of trying your first one, here are the podcasts I adore;

After the Jump with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge

Every Wednesday, Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge takes her love art and design from the web to radio. Through a series of interviews with designers, store owners and up-and-coming members of the creative community, Grace delves deeper into the world of independent artists. From exploring the day-to-day lives of contemporary makers to discussing the challenges they face, After the Jump takes the conversation off the screen and into real life.

Link to iTunes ->>> After the Jump

Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwyn

here's the thing

From WNYC Studios, Alec Baldwin takes us into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers. Alec sidesteps the predictable by going inside the dressing rooms, apartments and offices of people we want to understand better: Ira Glass, Lena Dunham, David Brooks, Roz Chast, Chris Rock and others. Hear what happens when an inveterate guest becomes a host ;-)

Link to iTunes ->>> Here’s The Thing

Invisibilia

Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.

Link to iTunes ->>> Invisibilia

Do you listen to podcasts? What are some of your favourites?

xxx, Marta

Choosing a planner for 2016. Yes, 2016!

2016+planner+which_one

They say that “the battle for happiness begins on the pages of our calendars”.

Today I discovered the whole new world of planners! You’d think a 31 year old would know something about planners/calendars/organisers. Well, I didn’t, eeek! And all I needed was just a good planner…

planyour2016

As usual I started my “research” from Pinterest. Results were mind-boggling, nothing new yet though, that’s just Pinterest. What I was surprised to see, was how many posts showed up titled “Find the right planner for you”. Well, I didn’t see that coming! I thought a planner is a planner. The only difference was supposed to be the cover. Well apparently, it’s not just the cover that makes planners “unique”, it’s the range as well.
My mum was a teacher so I knew that something so-called “teacher planners” existed (range from September till June) but I had no idea that you could buy 17-month planners (range from August till December the following year). Wow! It had blown my mind away! But I kind of love the idea of starting new year already!

So, once I decided to go for a 17-month planner, my choice was limited to 2 brands; Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner and Kate Spade’s Gold Dot Agenda

Let me tell you a little bit about each of them. Hopefully it will save you some time when you decide to buy your very own 2016 agenda. 

Emily Ley – Simplified Planner

I think there were many things I liked about this planner but mostly the colours & patterns which make it look very happy :-) On Emily Ley’s official site, it says; “Each page features four simple, purposeful spaces: Schedule, To Do, Notes and Dinner – everything busy, intentional women need – and nothing more.”
Here’s the video of how the brand was born, pretty cute!


Finally some features;

  • Size: 6.75 x 9 inches (8 x 9″ including binding)
  • 90gsm paper 
  • Space for schedule or notes, to-do, dinner
  • Tips throughout
  • Inspirational quotes throughout
  • Protective gold corners
  • Pocket inside the front cover
  • Navy + gold keepsake box

Next planner is the Gold Dot Agenda by Kate Spade.

They say “In classic polka dots, this 17-month agenda is a to-do lister’s dream come true. Complete with monthly and weekly spreads, note pages and laminated dividers, keeping tabs has never looked so good!”. 

And here’s a video showing what’s inside of Kate Spade’s planner;

Finally some deets;

  • Size: 9″h x 7″w
  • 17-month: august 2015 – december 2016
  • gold foil accents, laminated tabs
  • concealed spiral on the exterior, interior golden metallic spiral binding
  • lay flat design
  • interior pocket

They both seem great, don’t they?!

Ok, so initially I wanted to buy Emily Ley’s pineapple planner. But when I reached checkout the total price was nearly $100! (incl. shipping etc). Eeeek! I tried to find a retailer in Europe, ideally in Ireland or the UK, but there are none :-( So I then decided to buy Kate Spade’s planner but they do not ship to Ireland! Wow, really?! I didn’t give up though and luckily found a reseller in the UK; Mrs Brimbles .

Long story short, my new Gold Dot agenda is on its way, yay! 

which planner for 2016

 

Have you started thinking of 2016? Do you use planners? Are there any good, Irish ones?
Let me know in comments! 

xxx, Marta

Gone detoxifying

loaf_story_diet_2

Long story short: I was put on a diet for 2 weeks! Eeeek! And not just any diet. One of the crazy ones; fruit-and-veg-only diet. I was told that I need to recharge and rejuvenate my system. Apparently my body needs to come out of what might be called “civilisation disease”. There’s no vacuum or mop needed for this little ritual. It means eating fruits and veggies only which push everything thing else out of your system. You get the picture! Today has been day #7.

Here is the diet: for 14 days, I eat 500-600 kcals, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no fat, no protein, no alcohol, no meat, no fish, no coffee – shall I continue? Instead, I can eat only grapefruits, apples, kiwis, lemons, watermelons and all veggies, except potatoes, beans and chickpea.

Today has been day 7 and I feel I have already emerged from the experience with a new healthier feel and a few lessons which I’ve decided to share with you;

#1 Starving yourself really sucks for two days … and then you get used to it. I should clarify: this diet doesn’t really require you to starve yourself, you can technically eat as much as you want. But what you’re eating isn’t that filling, what you want you can’t have hence all you think about for first two days is how stupid it is that you can’t even have chia pudding, which always seemed like the healthiest thing you could eat. And then, on day #3, something changed. Perhaps I was already so sick of apples and carrots that I’d lost interest in the concept of food entirely. But more likely, it was simply that weird evolutionary principle that humans can get used to anything. And it’s why, after only 48 hours, I was already starting to accept eating like a rabbit. And I stopped being hungry. You get used to it!

#2 Going completely without coffee requires a massive revamping of your daily habits. I love a good cup of coffee. Going totally “sober”, for health requires very strong will! 

#3 I could never be a vegetarian. I could never be a vegetarian simply because meat is just too tasty, even when you take away all the butter, sauces and stuff it’s usually drenched in. Tastiness however is relative. For the first few days, I hated everything I ate, because I still remembered what a steak tasted like. But by day #4, I’d forgotten whatever happiness I once knew. 

#4 I’ve come to appreciate apples (with cinnamon!). Just as I would save the chicken on my plate to reward myself for eating the broccoli (as a child of course), I began to save my precious apples with cinnamon for dessert.

#5 Herbs save your butt. This diet has taken me on a culinary history trip to a time when most food was bland and terrible, and herbs were the grand cover-up. You wouldn’t think it, but a butternut squash soup (no stock!), seasoned with a handful of fresh dill isn’t half bad. 

loaf_story_diet

#6 It’s important to pick a diet that fits your style. To stick with any diet, that diet has to match a person’s personality. I don’t think I could permanently cut down on chocolate or Bunsen Burgers, but to give all of them up entirely for two weeks is now like a dare. 

Recapping full details of these past 7 days in one blog post is not going to happen, however you should be able to get the gist that it’s an adventure, with waves of confronting thoughts to leave you empowered to make new choices. My one and only goal has been to make an effort to clear my body of toxins. Yes, it has been painful at times but boy has it been frickin eye-opening, enlightening and a true experience that has taught me so much about myself. I feel like I’ve figured out why Plato and Socrates and Gandhi did it – the clarity of thought, the peacefulness.
As far as whether I’d do it again, well… we’ll see.