Being pregnant

Am I reading too many baby books?

Karen wonders if there’s such a thing as knowing too much about pregnancy, birth and babies.

Photo by Exposer_VD/iStockphoto

My bedside table is stacked with the usual magazines I like to keep up on and, I’ll admit, a few trashy novels, too. This is typical. But, on top of the usual fare, I now have a teetering tower of pregnancy and baby books that I’ve added to my bedtime reading list.

The pregnancy books were bad enough: I have three! Plus, all the websites I visit for information on a constant basis. All told, it’s a lot of reading — and a heck of a lot of information to absorb. Now that I’m into my third trimester and the reality is setting in (there’s an actual baby coming in less than three months!!) I’m slowly adding more and more baby books to the pile. I figure I’ve pretty much got this pregnancy schtick under control; now it’s time to learn about bringing this baby into the world — and what to do with her once she gets here.

I have one book about delivery, one about bonding with baby, another about breastfeeding, and the list goes on. Did I mention that Barry has a few stacked on his bedside table, too?

Here’s the thing: Knowledge is power. I totally believe this. But, can knowing too much drive us a bit crazy, instead of being helpful? I feel I’m teetering on the edge between super-well-informed-mom-to-be and head-is-about-to-explode-mom-to-be. Apparently it’s a fine line. The trouble is that so much of what we read is geared to worst-case scenarios. Part of me thinks that I’ll be a bit more prepared now, in case I encounter one or several of these potential problems during birth or my first weeks with baby. But, another part of me is just feeling anxious about all of these awful things I may encounter in a few short months.

Yesterday I had a check-up with my midwife who, although young, is definitely wise in the ways of birth and babies. I started asking her about breastfeeding (something on my mind this week) and which resources I should call/read/investigate online. She did give me a list of suggestions but finished off with some sage advice. She said, “If it comes down to you and Barry going out for an evening or staying home to read through your books, go out. Every time.” She explained that it’s helpful to be educated and prepared, but in the end we can’t really anticipate what will happen until it happens. She also pointed out that all this info probably isn’t doing me that much good if it’s making me anxious and that spending some quality time with your partner will go a long way to preparing us for what’s ahead, too.

So, this week I’ve decided to take a learning break: No books, websites or asking for advice at the Today’s Parent office. And I’m making a date with my husband. I feel better already.

Did you read a lot of pregnancy and baby books to prepare?