17 Oct 5 Books to read during your pregnancy (for the Spiritual Woman)
Quick note; for all you pregnant mama’s reading this; I’m now offering 1-2-1 private support for pregnant women and new mothers. If you’d love to learn more about working together or booking in some sessions, please email [email protected] or contact me on Instagram @aliceallum.
1) Natural Guide to childbirth with Ina May (The Author of Spiritual Midwifery.)
This book is my ‘giving birth bible’. A dear friend gifted me my copy and said I must read it. Truthfully, I think my labour wouldn’t have been as pleasurable had I not learnt the deep knowledge and wisdom found in this book.
Side note: I highly recommend watching as many YouTube videos you can find with Ina May too. I loved getting my partner involved in watching these too!
Ina May is described as the ‘Mother of Authentic Midwifery’. In 1971 Ina May founded a commune called The Farm in Tennessee. There, she and midwives who were part of the commune started The Farm Birthing Centre for the pregnant women of the commune to feel safe and supported as they birthed their babies.
The Birthing Centre become famously known for it’s positive outcomes with ‘successful birth rates that surpassed many hospitals’ – people wanted to know what was happening at this birth centre that was creating such results!
Ina May has witnessed thousands and thousands of women give birth safely, with pleasure, confidence and all whilst feeling truly empowered. She is writing from first hand experience – not just study and theory. This book is invaluable to every birthing woman. This book truly is my birthing bible!! I feel so attached to my copy!! (If you buy ONE birthing book, seriously, make it this one!)
2) The First 40 days, the essential art of nourishing the new mother by Heng Ou
This book influenced my WHOLE postpartum period. I stayed in my home for 40 days with minimal visitors – this is a tradition commonly respected in the East. All visitors cleaned my home, cooked for me and my partner and respected our home as a spiritual postpartum sanctuary. I will forever be grateful for the guidance in this book. It supported me in building a village that truly holds me as a new mother – this village has without a doubt become the most valuable asset in my life.
This book prompted me to have hard conversations with my partner, my family and my friends that I hadn’t even considered! It guided me to stock my freezer with nourishing food. It led me to put boundaries in place BEFORE the baby arrived. The list goes on.
In the west we are encouraged to prepare our baby’s nursery – this book guides you to prepare your home, your support network and your psyche for YOU; the new mother. No fancy nursery looks as good as true support feels!
Trust me mama, your nursery can wait – what your baby really needs is a nourished supported mother!
Undoubtedly this book prepared me for an incredibly supportive, loving and abundant postpartum period. Every expecting mother who wants to feel as prepared as possible for one of the most tender times of your life should read this!
This book is grounded is ancient Chinese medicine practises and knowledge.
3) Nine Golden Months, The Essential art of Nurturing the Mother-to-be by Heng Ou
This book helps you bring back the tradition and sacredness to your pregnancy – acknowledging that your pregnancy is a rites of passage from Maiden to Mother. It’s rich with Ayurvedic & Chinese Medicine practises centred around the pregnant woman – from history, to traditions, to self-care, to rituals and recipes.
This is the book that ‘comes before’ Heng Ou’s other book; The First 40 days that I recommended above! I still have both these books proudly propped up in my office! I love seeing them! They Ooze Goddess energy and wisdom!
4) Mama Rising by Amy Taylor Kabbaz
I remember crying reading this book. I actually listened to it around 6 weeks postpartum. I was just coming out of my ‘initial postpartum blur’ and felt quite overwhelmed and unsure about how my life was going to unfold with this new responsibility of a baby! Suddenly the things that were once important to me, just weren’t any more! I was discovering who I was again, the world seemed so different with my new baby in it! I was different!
In this book you’ll learn about Matrecense. The transition women go through not just spiritually but physiologically once they become mothers. The most common shift we can compare this to is Puberty. Matresence isn’t as well known in our western culture, however books like this are changing that.
I felt truly seen and understood as a new mother reading this book and I felt so held, guided and reassured too. The author is a business owner like myself and it was wonderful to hear how she was navigating her work passions and visions with her new found self as a Mother – something I often felt overwhelmed by in the early days! (I still do!) Learning about Matresence and the very real chemical shift our minds and body goes through when we become mothers was a game changer for me.
If I’d had known about this book sooner perhaps I would have read it prior to having my baby. So don’t hold back if you feel called to read it now!
5) Maiden to Mother; unlocking our archetypal journey into the mature feminine by Sarah Durham Wilson
It is believed there are 3 key stages on a woman’s journey; Maiden, Mother and Crone. For women to truly awaken to their mature feminine and true abundance, it is important to transition from Maiden to Mother – something our Ancestors honoured as a rites of passage. Whilst this book isn’t specifically for pregnant women, it will help you address all the areas where staying in your Maiden archetype is holding you back. When you have a baby in the west, sadly women can fight hard to cling to their old life – to be the Maiden with a baby, rather than fully becoming the powerful mother they were born to be. Motherhood will require you to let go of your maiden identity and step into the Mother archetype and this book will guide you on that journey.
6) Birth Partner by Penny Simkim
We gotta mention this! This is a book recommendation for your Birth Partner! It’s important your birth partner is pro-actively taking on the role to educate themselves and learn skills that will be highly useful during your labour.
My partner (the father of my daughter) read this book to help him prepare to be a great birth partner – and my goodness am I glad he did!
This book will help your birth partner (whether that’s your partner, a friend or family member) learn how to be the best and most knowledgeable and supportive birth partner.
Side note: I also recommend your birth partner watching Youtube videos from other birth partners to get advice and tips. Don’t be afraid to share your expectations with your birth partner – it is an honour and great responsibility to stand in this role and it’s not a role that is to be given lightly.
An example of one thing my partner learnt was ‘shake the apples’ – this is a practice where your partner ‘jiggles’ your hips firmly to create space for your baby – during my birth it helped so much! (Deep in the throws of labour I remember shouting out; “Babe, we must hire you out to other women! Babe! We need to start a birthing business! You were born for this!”) He always ready to massage my back, speak on my behalf and advocate for me needed. We spent hours and hours discussing my fears, worries and desires for birth – and it paid off big time!
My view is this role is not to be overlooked or left to chance. It’s a crucial role and should be taken very seriously. It is a true honour to witness a woman give birth and support her – whoever is your chosen birth partner should take their role very serious.
Okay – they’re my top recommendations! Come over to Instagram and say hi – I’d love to hear which books you feel called to!
Contact me @aliceallum.
Quick note; for all you pregnant mama’s reading this, I am now offering 1-2-1 private support for pregnant women and new mothers to support you through your transition. If you’d love to learn more about working together privately, please email [email protected] and I can send you more information.