Years ago, a few days shy of my son’s due date, I found a strand of fine, reddish hair in my panties. For a moment I had a wild thought. Is it my baby’s? I should have called my doctor but I didn’t. I asked so many questions during my pregnancy only to be met with a “you’ve GOT to be the biggest moron I’ve EVER come into contact with” look from my doctor. After scouring my pregnancy volumes, I failed to find an answer.
Later the mystery was solved when a different doctor, who was supposed to break my water, informed me there already was a small tear. My suspicion had been correct.
Like most moms-to-be, I had read a lot of literature on pregnancy. I found that most books focus heavily on the bodily changes and not much else. I wondered if these writers viewed a pregnant woman as a real, live person or as a walking, baby-growing container. Body, Soul and Baby, written by Tracy W Gaudet and Paula Spencer, is quite different.
First off, Tracy and Paula? If you are reading this, I want to kiss you for creating Body, Soul and Baby. It is refreshing to read a book that addresses not only the physical changes but the journey our souls undertake through this transition into motherhood. And I really like that the kind doctor (who’s also a mom) shows readers how to tune into our bodies and how to nurture the changing needs of our spirits without sounding like some flakey, nutjob who's been slipping happy herbs into her granola.
Dr. Gaudet is an advocate of introspection, introducing readers to an exercise she calls “reflective inventory” in the second chapter. Soon after, she also presents tools like “body monitoring” and “feedback loop” to gain awareness in regards to your body, soul and baby.
Body, Soul and Baby starts at preconception and works forward. In the trimester chapters she not only discusses the basics like what to expect medically during these phases but also common fears/facts for this time. Throughout these chapters, she also delves into issues like how to choose the right doctor, how to make the best decision regarding careers/family, when/how to choose the pediatrician. One of my favorite sections was the “The Psychology of the Mind-Body Connection” (If I’m lucky enough to get pregnant again, I’ll probably memorize this part.)
The postpartum section was particularly valuable. The gentle doctor is correct – “Between the demands of a newborn and a system that does not offer the new mother the time and space she needs to feel whole again, the read from mom-to-be to mom can be bumpy.” (Page 440)
The more I read, the more I found myself wishing this book would have been written years ago. For women who are newly pregnant or are planning to become pregnant in the next year or two? Save yourself some time. The thickness of this tome might be intimidating, but don’t worry. The book is so dense with knowledge and sage advice, you won’t need to read any others. Plus? Unlike those other books? You’ll know to focus on your baby, body and spirit as well as HOW to do so.
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