Useful Books For New Mums by Kristin Shorten

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One of the most pleasant surprises in motherhood has been that I’ve still had time and opportunities to indulge in one of my ultimate pleasures – reading – while breastfeeding.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and since my daughter’s birth I’ve developed an insatiable appetite for all written things ‘motherhood’. I’ve sought information, advice and reassurance from the experts and trusted baby bibles. I’ve inhaled inspiration from successful, productive and resilient mums. I’ve found comfort in the candid accounts of women who have shared their experiences of motherhood with such refreshing honesty and whose struggles to which I can relate.

Here are my favourite books that have informed, entertained and uplifted me through the beautiful but rough early months of motherhood.

BABY LOVE

I read this Australian baby bible by registered nurse, midwife and early childhood nurse Robin Barker before giving birth but refer back to it constantly. It guides readers through bub’s first year with authoritative, unbiased, practical and comprehensive information, advice and wisdom.

I downloaded it on to my Kindle app so that I can easily search its contents for answers to almost anything baby related.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING

WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST YEAR

Heidi Murkoff’s bestselling American pregnancy and parenting bibles are perfect for first time mums, like me, who knew next to nothing about pregnancy and parenthood. They’re friendly, relevant and regularly updated. And I refer back to them regularly.

UP THE DUFF

KIDWRANGLING
These are like the Australian versions of the What To Expect books, but funnier. Kaz Cooke’s quirky narration and humour makes them easy reading. The hardcopy of Kidwrangling is quite a tome and doubles as a footrest.

FRENCH CHILDREN DON’T THROW FOOD

While a bébé who sleeps through the night, squeezing straight back into my skinny jeans and resuming a demanding career just three months after giving birth are far from my reality, I utterly loved Pamela Druckerman ‘s memoir for its peek into the basics of French parenting culture. While I’ll never be as effortlessly cool, in-control and chic as my Parisian counterparts, French women are nothing if not aspirational. On one hand it assuaged my guilt for clinging to some aspects of my pre-motherhood identity and offered hope that it‘s possible for modern mums to ‘have it all’.  While on the other hand, the contrast between European and American (and similarly Australian) parents made me feel like I’m part of an overprotective, uptight and misguided bunch.

MOTHERZEN

Jacinta Tynan is a hero of mine for daring to be positive about motherhood in an articlethe then new mum wrote in 2010, which sparked a media storm. After having her second son, she followed up with another, before penning her book.

Anyone worried about how they’re going to cope with motherhood will take heart from her story. The Sky News presenter and columnist’s journey into motherhood is shared in the context of her past depression, doubts about her ability to cope and her discovery – while pregnant with her first son – of meditation.

IS THIS MY BEAUTIFUL LIFE?

It’s an unglamorous account of motherhood from one of Australia’s most glamorous women.  Jessica Rowe’s extraordinary memoir shares – in excruciating detail – the very public collapse of her sparkly television career, her long struggle to conceive, her fears and what she believed to be failings as a mother and in her professional life, and the diagnosis of post-natal depression. The broadcaster is deeply honest about her realisation that she couldn’t “have it all” and that it’s okay to ask for help.

And a percentage of the purchase price of every book sold is donated to beyondblue.

LOVE. WISDOM. MOTHERHOOD.

After reading Is This My Beautiful Life? I devoured this earlier book of Jessica Rowe’s, for which she interviewed some of Australia’s most influential women about their experience of becoming a mother. It features exceptionally honest conversations with Lisa McCune, Heidi Middleton, Elizabeth Broderick, Wendy Harmer, Collette Dinnigan, Maggie Tabberer, Tina Arena, Quentin Bryce, Nova Peris, Gail Kelly, Darcey Bussell and a chapter from Rowe herself. With humour and great humanity, Rowe reveals the ultimately joyous and shared nature of the motherhood journey. From the first chapter, featuring actor Lisa McCune, I was hooked.

MOTHERHOOD AND CREATIVITY

As a writer and new mama, this book – edited by Rachel Power – about the yearning to both have children and pursue creative passions resonated deeply with me.

The book consists of compelling, honest and insightful interviews with 22 of Australia’s most respected actors, writers, artists and musicians. The women open up about the various challenges and pleasures they’ve faced when combining motherhood with an undiminished passion for their creative work.

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THE CONSCIOUS PARENT

Since reading this manual for “giving our children the opportunity to shine and dazzle with their natural state of being”, its author Shefali Tsabary’s has become my guru. I actually listened to it as an audiobook, narrated by Dr Tsabary herself, and felt like she was speaking directly to me as I contemplated my own psychological and spiritual legacy.

The premise of her book is that our children are born to us to create deep internal transformation within us. Dr Tsabary teaches that to do justice to parenthood, we need to become conscious and only to the degree that we are willing to transform our own emotional present do we succeed in positively influencing our children’s future. No wonder even Oprah loves this woman.

 

Kristin is a new mama, wife, journalist and Day for Daniel ambassador. Her daughter and husband are the lights of her life. Loves yoga, books and podcasts. Obsessed with healthy food and sleep. Believes that a cup of tea fixes everything. She is currently in Darwin, Northern Territory, where she spends her days leaning into motherhood while wishing for more time to bake.

 

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