10 must-read books for birth, life and love + WIN 3 of my favourites!
Even though I love books, I am not a great reader. Embarrassingly, I have not been to my book club in over 10 months! I am very selective in my reading because I am so slow – even Leroy can read about three times faster than me.
Reading is a bit like a meditation for me too – I have to read something before going to sleep at night. (I hope you know that watching TV does not have the same calming effect as reading a book.)
I also believe that when I read a book I am receiving a gift from that author, a transmission. I like to absorb their words, pause, reflect, maybe journal and give myself time to integrate the knowledge or the story. I love to discuss and share what I have discovered with friends and find this really helps me to absorb the books’ wisdom.
Choosing a book these days can be so overwhelming especially within the birth and parenting genres. Compared to when I was pregnant, I think there was about a dozen birth / parenting books to choose from in TOTAL – and now when I search Amazon, parenting alone has over 350,000 titles to choose from!!! I think this says a lot about our society and obsession with others as ‘experts’. As much as books help us learn, we choose too often to look towards others for answers first, rather than pausing and sitting with ourselves or simply watching and being with our babies.
The books below are like She Births® – they provide you with knowledge but also give you a chance to connect with your own knowledge – your own wisdom, truth and being. They help you shine, relate in a healthier way, and continue to grow on your own path. Some are life changing classics and some brand new favourites of mine that will change your life in this very fast paced modern world!
P.S. On the subject of parenting, love and life, our super multi-talented She Births® Customer Service & Operations Manager / Jazz Singer / Writer / Mother, Donné Restom, was interviewed for the Mother Shift podcast! I’m sure this interview will resonate with many of you mums!
Nadine’s Top 10 Books + a Life Changer
My number one book of the year is a life changer. Sorry it is not a birth or a parenting book – just a NY Times bestseller.
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
To cull and clean your whole home will quite literally change your whole life. I can highly recommend this for any human in the first world. I know it is hard with children to clean and cull, but it is so beneficial. Note however, it will take you a few weeks to do it properly.
Using joy (and purpose) as your guide in keeping or letting go of things with gratitude found me bowing with prayer hands at the local Bondi clothing bin. It seemed so strange the first few bags, but after the fourth car load of goods I got it! And it began to impact my whole way of life – JOY JOY JOY.
Marie says it so many times – and you think why on earth is she saying that again…but she is right, I had forgotten! If it’s not joyous or purposeful then why would I do it or have it in my home? Marie blew my mind. She is so different to any other ‘cleaning expert’. I would love to know what your experiences were if you have tried the MK way?
Pregnancy and Birth
So here we go. These are my absolute must reads! Most of them classics. If you are pregnant you may want to also pick up one encyclopaedic book as well – something by Shiela Kitzinger to have as a guide. Everyone I think needs a factual book, a birth stories book, a spiritual book, a physical book and a few OMG WTF books too.
1. Childbirth Without Fear – Grantly Dick-Read
I love reading about his life and struggles. How he learns yoga style relaxation in the trenches during the war in Africa and watches women birth there. And how this informs his teachings for women back in London.
2. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering – Sarah J Buckley
The book that changes the way every modern woman sees and understands her amazing hormones. This knowledge is such a liberator from fear that it is worth its weight in gold. So much beautiful wisdom as well in the yoga and parenting sections.
3. Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin
This really blew my mind when I first read it. Wow, those girls knew birth in a different way – that initially I felt so estranged from. I love how psychedelic some stories are and I love the sisterhood element and the creativity the women apply to each unique birth to help mum let go or help a baby out. So much to learn from all the stories.
4. Active Birth – Janet Balaskas
Awesome practical advice and an inspiration for me with my She Births® Prenatal Yoga. Janets ‘active birth’ movement changed the world and women’s pain levels and perineums by simply saying – let me birth off my back PLEASE!
5. Unassisted Childbirth – Laura Kaplan Shanley
Out there and mind blowing. Although I do not support or recommend planned unassisted births Laura’s stories of preparing and birthing alone is not just petrifying. I think that we subconsciously expect so many others to ‘do’ our births for us. And psychologically, the best place for a woman to be, is fully ready and deeply connected in body and mind because wherever we give birth, most us will essentially be doing it all by ourselves. Laura describes the inner journey which is often a subtle internal battle / dance between fear and faith so well that it helps you understand your own mind body connection in a deeper way.
Life, relationships, and parenting
6. Continuum Concept – Jean Liedlof
Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see the world in a whole new way. (A bit like a yoga teacher creating the world’s only scientifically verified childbirth education program.) Who would have thought that an NYC super model taking a holiday in the Amazon would have launched the modern attachment parenting movement. Thank you Jean is all I have to say! And thanks to all those indigenous families that remind us to maintain the integrity and wholeness of our supreme human connections and intelligence.
7. The Complete Secrets of Happy Children – Steven Biddulph and Shaaron Biddulph
Cartoons, case histories and simple concise methods from baby hood through to teens, the Biddulphs are full of simple loving wisdom that help you connect with the beauty and intelligence of our children in a respectful way. Full of humour – I just love all of Steve’s books.
8. Becoming Us – Elly Taylor
Preparing your marriage during pregnancy for the challenges that are on their way is wise and sound advice – and hardly ever spoken about. Practical and evidence-based wisdom from years of work as a counsellor, Elly will walk you and your partner through all those conversations we want to have but seem to avoid, that can build up over time and destroy our families. Prevention is always better than cure. Those who put the time in say it was absolutely priceless for their sanity post birth.
9. Open Wide – Melissa Ambrosini
Melissa’s book is what I know to be one of the pillars of tantra (radical honesty as a doorway to deeper love), but she knows how to put it in a super clear and easy modern woman way. She helps us love ourselves more, develop greater honesty with our partners and open a door to deeper love and better sex. Filled with activities and anecdotes you can craft your own way through the book and transform your world and even join her and partner Nick in their online masterclasses. Melissa is a super spunky Bondi girl living the dream – fostering sisterhood and now inspiring lovers everywhere.
10. Earth is Hiring – Peta Kelly
Peta speaks a whole new language – not just the lingo of millennials but she also has a voice of the future. She is unique and inspiring and seems to channel what the Earth needs from us right now… Awake, aligned, soul filled purpose driven conscious enterprise and happiness!! So simple and in my mind so incredibly Vedic that her truths hit a home run each time. Peta is a powerhouse of freedom and abundance – no holds barred and ready to lead a new generation. If you give a sh*t about living a happier life, loving your work and feel the need to amp up the joy and money in your world then this book is for you.
Soul Mama Circle – Bondi Beach
Our next Soul Mama Circle, facilitated by Nadine Richardson, is in Bondi Beach on Thursday, 5 April.
This is an opportunity to connect with other new mums on a deeper level. At Soul Mama Circles, we don’t just talk about poo and sleep, even though that’s really important. We talk about how our identity is changing as a woman, how we can take better care of ourselves and even how we can have a better relationship with our partners.
Find out more, and book your ticket here.
Photos: Kath McLean, Bright Photography