Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhoodand Trusting Yourself and Your Body (Pregnancy Books, Mom to Be Gifts, Newborn Books, Birthing Books) Paperback – October 24, 2017
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"Beyond having a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of all things pregnancy, birth, and baby, Erica Chidi Cohen truly cares about the wellbeing of all mothers, babies, and partners. This book is for everyone-regardless of their birth preferences, background, or beliefs. The knowledge my husband and I gained reading this book has us feeling prepared, empowered, and ready for whatever lies ahead."- Whitney Port, author, fashion designer, and television personality
"A great read for the modern parent! It's what I would recommend to my own friends to read"- Abby Epstein, Director The Business Of Being Born
"What a gift to new and expecting moms. You have no idea the mountain and rollercoaster you're about to embark on, but Nurture somehow gives you a peek in and gives you essential information to help ground you."- Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious and One Potato
"Erica's loving, practical, and judgment-free approach is rich in useful, calming advice. I have no doubt that you'll love having Erica's comforting voice guide you through this extraordinary, exciting journey."-Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, author of the DVD/book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, and The Happiest Toddler on the Block
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Overall, the book seems like it’s designed for people who would like to hire a “holistic” doula who would provide them with alternative medicine ideas that are sometimes based in science and sometimes based in woo, but who (for whatever reason) would rather get that info in book form instead of hiring an actual person to tell them. If you’re pretty crunchy, yet don’t want to hire an actual doula, then you will probably like this book; I’m not crunchy and I don’t want a doula (at least not if the advice they give is anything like what is in this book), so I didn’t.
Some concerns I had with this book, which I think others might share, were:
1. The author talks about the benefits of pseudoscience - the most egregious example being homeopathy. Yes, the kind invented by a quack in the 1700s, where they take a plant that would cause your symptoms and dilute it a million times in sugar water (beyond where it has any actual effect) in order to supposedly reduce your symptoms, because... magic? Sorry, but no, I am not okay with that. It really throws all the other medical and scientific information in this book into question for me. (I thought implantation bleeding was a myth, for example?) She also recommended stuff like reiki, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine - none of which inspires confidence in her scientific and medical knowledge.
2. The author does include a month-by-month section with info on what is happening biologically. However, she states that at the beginning of month 1, your fertilized egg has implanted, and at the end of month 1, its heart is beating. As I understand it, the fertilized egg implants around week 2 (assuming you ovulate on cycle day 14, which not everyone does) and the heartbeat wouldn’t begin until week 6 - but no other chronological information is included to explain how she chose the months or how it relates to how doctors date pregnancy. So, to figure out where you are in this book’s months, you have to do some mental math where I guess “month 1” is weeks 2-5, “month 2” is weeks 6-9... etc.? I just wasn’t up for that, and it’s hard to enjoy the book when I can’t be sure it’s accurate to where I actually am right now. Like, if you hired this woman as a doula and told her your due date, then she would be calling you to tell you what month she thinks it is, so it wouldn’t be an issue. But in book form, it’s tough to navigate with zero direction.
3. There was a whole section at the beginning where you’re supposed to basically write down a list of the good and bad parts of your life, to help you process and move beyond trauma or something? I imagine some people find that cathartic, but to me it seemed like a way of dredging up stuff I don’t want to think about (and I’ve had a very happy, safe, sheltered life with no trauma to relive, so I can’t imagine how unwelcome that must be to people who have survived real trauma). I’d be completely fine with doing an exercise like that in therapy, with a professional who can guide me through it and make sure it’s done in a healthy way, but I don’t want to go through it alone on my couch.
4. There’s one section where she says we should really know our anatomy, and gives pretty detailed explanations - which is fine, except there are no diagrams included. I’m a layperson with no medical training, so telling me that a muscle is attached to my sacrum does not help me to visualize it at all, either in my own body or in the abstract. I just feel like if you’re going to try and teach readers anatomy in a way that will stick, you should include diagrams to help us connect and integrate the new information with what we already know, or at the very least, define medical terminology that isn’t part of the vernacular.
My other concerns were much more personal and picky (I hate breathing exercises, the recipes didn’t appeal to me, the self-care suggestions did not seem enjoyable, etc.), but overall, it’s just not a good fit for me. If you want something heavily science-based, read Expecting Better by Emily Oster.
This reads like a modern book for pregnant women, and I like that about it. She touches on the reality most of us new moms face with totally changing our lives to become mothers. For instance, there is a little section written for freelancers, such as myself, and how to prepare for changes ahead with our unique business situations. I love that it's brought to attention that many of us do not get maternity leave and need to get creative with ways to work with the first few months of motherhood.
This article below is what turned me on to Erica's book and message. It's powerful to read even if you don't decide to get this book–though I can’t recommend it enough!
Top international reviews
It does look like a wonderful substantial book. But if I were to keep it and still give it to my friend, will she find it it reached her a bit too late...