When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we were the typical nervous parents-to-be. Since we both lived far away from our families, and a good many of our friends had not yet had a child, we were relatively on our own in terms of support, and there were many a moment where we found ourselves asking, “is this normal? Should this be happening?” Here’s just a few of the resources we found particularly helpful:
What to Expect When You Are Expecting: The cheesy illustrations were a bit off-putting, but I’ll be damned if virtually everything this book said in its month-by-month accounting of how the human body gets ready for birth didn’t ring true. Some are unnerved by this book’s outlining of every possible nightmare scenario, but the book made us feel prepared and was an ever-present bedside companion book for the full nine months. The book can be ordered on Amazon: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. additionally used copies are often on sale at the Nu2Yu Baby Shop.
The Baby Book: I gotta admit, the selling point for me on this book was seeing the little photo of Drs. William and Martha Sears … along with their 11 or so children on the back cover. Certainly if they could raise that many children, they were doing something right … There’s a lot less about pregnancy but a lot about your baby’s first year in this book, and while we haven’t adopted the full Sears Family Party Line, there’s enough in this book to make it a must-have. The advice on breastfeeding and baby slings was particularly useful. Our child is almost 8 months old now and we’re still flipping through this book regularly. Available on Amazon: The Baby Book.
Beijing United’s Birth Preparation Class: It felt somehow anti-Darwinian to have to have to take a class in order to learn how to give birth (hey, we’ve made it pretty far as a species without having to take a class in it, haven’t we?), especially for the male of the species. But the birthing classes we took were invaluable in the instruction and support we received from our instructor, Kathy Levitan, an experienced midwife who has seen it all. The opportunity to trade “you’re not alone” stories with other expecting parents in Beijing was also a bonus and a key factor in preparing us for the experience of birth. Beijing United typically offers these classes in a one-day weekend marathon session or over the course of three midweek evening classes. I recommend the evening classes – more opportunity to get to know other new parents. For a schedule, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Beijing United’s events page.