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From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent [Paperback]

Rebecca Odes , Ceridwen Morris
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Neither Odes nor Morris is a doctor, but as eager authors and recent mothers themselves, they aim, in this chick-friendly guide, to dish out Internet-accessible information and you-go-girl supportive advice. Their approach is to consider the authorities with a mere grain of salt, while seeking a supportive environment in which to nurture one's pregnancy and child-rearing. And while sorting through the opinions along the way, from choosing a health-care provider, coping with loss, birthing strategies, breastfeeding and sex, and baby-care basics, among other topics, the authors provide on most pages plentiful belly-shaped bubbles containing lively quotes from "anonymoms." Hear the mothers from the trenches express what they really feel, from one mom who enthuses, "The belly—I loved everything about it, and it makes people—strangers, even—feel enthralled with you") to the sadly modern refrain of another, "Sometimes I bury myself in work so I don't feel the sadness, fatigue and stress of having the baby waiting for me at home." The authors' are upbeat and well informed, and their useful back-of-the-book references address sensitive specific needs such as adoption and surrogacy, teen and older parents, and breastfeeding controversies. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Incredibly important reading for anyone about to have a baby…From the Hips gives you what you need to make informed decisions, shares experiences from other parents that will make you laugh, and reveals many of the secrets our mothers didn't tell us.”

–Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bee Moms and Wannabe Dads

“What every new parent needs–a ton of expert advice, presented with humor and zero negativity, from two moms who instantly feel like your best friends. This is the one pregnancy guide that new parents will actually want to read."
 
Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of Mommy Wars and The Washington Post's online work/family column, “On Balance”

From The Hips is a deeply refreshing, honest look at the profound changes we undergo during pregnancy and beyond. Ceridwen and Rebecca unabashedly go into areas that other guides shy away from, offering support to every kind of prospective mother. Being pregnant and having a child is alternately the most beautiful, complex, difficult, rewarding experience a woman can imagine. This book gives it straight and from all sides, without judgment, and with irreverent humor and candor from its authors.”

-Gwyneth Paltrow

“Supportive, positive, real, and rarely preachy…Finally a reference guide for parents that treats us like we have brains.”
- Bust Magazine

The honest talk about epidurals and C-sections, including anonymous quotes from moms, is must-read info for anyone planning a hospital birth. In fact, the book is full of frank advice about most of today's biggest hurdles for pregnant women, from going back to work to breastfeeding in public... At every step, it addresses not just what you'll be going through physically, but what you and your partner might be addressing emotionally, too. Cheers to this realistic take on the lifestyle change that is pregnancy and parenthood.
- Pregnancy Magazine

About the Author

Rebecca Odes is the coauthor and illustrator of the bestselling sex/life guide, Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.
Ceridwen Morrisis a writer and mother living in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

We have a confession to make. We didn’t know what a doula was when we got pregnant. We thought genetic counseling was some kind of science fiction procedure for choosing your baby’s eye color in advance. We thought twelve hours of labor was a long
time. Little did we know.
Soon enough, we were swept up in a tidal wave of information. The medical establishment, the alternative birth movement, the baby feeding, clothing, and products industries, endless experts touting conflicting theories, and ever-changing research made us feel bombarded, cornered, and forced to make decisions we never thought we’d have to make. Should I have an amniocentesis? Should I eat this tuna sandwich? Should I circumcise? Will my baby be more comfortable in a $37 organic cotton onesie? Seriously, will this tuna really hurt the fetus? And what the hell is a doula anyway?
Like most women, we found ourselves braving the road to motherhood without a decent map. We were shocked to discover that every piece of media we encountered on the subject of having a baby made us feel pressured to act in one way or another, rather than encouraging us to find our own voices as parents. There we were, newly pregnant, giddy with excitement as we browsed the bookshelves. To the right, the old-school medical advisory manual, bursting with what to freak out about when you’re expecting.
To the left, the wise-cracking Hollywood mom, wagging a manicured finger at us all the way to the hospital. Who else? The rustic midwife? The Belgian nun? The more we read, the more lost and intimidated we felt.
Please, we thought, please somebody help! We’d have shouted it if we could, but we weren’t even supposed to tell anyone for two more months, when it’s “cool” to announce that you’re pregnant.
Once you’re out of the closet, your private life is suddenly subject to public scrutiny. It can be easy to find yourself unearthing insecurities you thought you’d buried in your teens. Am I fat? Is this normal? What’s happening to me? Body changes, identity issues, social anxieties–pregnancy can give puberty a serious run for its money.
Then when the baby arrives, the shit really hits the fan (and the diaper, and that $37 organic cotton onesie), making a further mess of your former sense of self. Your mother-in-law thinks your baby’s hungry and your mother thinks you’re feeding him too much. One book tells you to let your baby cry and the other book tells you to pick him up. You don’t know what you believe, but you do know that the person previously known as you is clinging to a raft in a stormy sea of pastel burp cloths and bottle warmers.
What kind of mother am I? Who the hell am I and what is a “mother,” anyway? How did the nine zillion other women who did this before me deal with it? I need somebody to tell it like it is, not tell me what to do.
We just wanted a book that would guide us through the choices and issues we might face without pushing an agenda, being condescending, or using scare tactics. We needed a trustworthy resource with an approach we could relate to, and without judgment. We couldn’t find one. And that’s how From the Hips was born.
This book will show you the range of possible approaches and help you find your own way of having a baby. We’ll deconstruct the studies and delve into the controversies. You’ll hear from pregnant women, new parents, ob-gyns, genetic counselors, lactation consultants, pediatricians, anthropologists, midwives, “old wives,” and more–even the aforementioned doula (who, by the way, is a woman trained to assist and comfort new mothers during and after the birth process).
When we got pregnant, we were both living in the same city, going to the same parties; we were the same age, same shoe size, same bra size. We were friends. We bonded over the same physical dramas and difficult decisions. But we often took different approaches. A decision that left one of us completely wiped out was a breeze for the other. One of us set up the nursery months before the birth; the other didn’t buy a thing till the baby was securely in the house. One of us circumcised; the other didn’t. One
coslept; the other had her baby in the crib right away. One of us was back in the office after a brief maternity leave; the other was home. Having babies brought us closer, but also put our differences in high relief. If two women with so much in common could have such different responses to pregnancy and parenting, the possibilities were clearly endless. We made it our mission to get input from as many new parents as possible. Hundreds of moms and dads gave their stories to this project. We do our best to avoid assumptions about our readers: We won’t imply that you’ve got the stereotypically clueless uninvolved husband (or even that you’ve got a husband). Parenthood is as unique an experience as anything else, no matter how much the media tends to generalize.
Not long ago, an eight-year-old girl was watching one of us alternately hug and struggle with a squirmy toddler at a restaurant. Taking in the scene, she asked, “So, is being a mom fun? Is it, like, so great you can’t believe it? Or is it so boring you can’t believe it? Or is it, like, UGH! I can’t stand it!” Well, as far as we can tell, it’s all of those things. Sometimes in the same week, sometimes in the same day, sometimes at the same time. This book is about both sides of the story: the warm, fuzzy baby blanket and the poop that gets swept underneath. It’s about the real world of new parenthood as we, and all the parents who contributed to these pages, see it. We hope it helps you on your way.
Rebecca and Ceridwen


Ten Anti-Rules for Parents-In-Progress

1. everyone’s an expert, but you’re the authority on yourself and your baby.
Once you get pregnant, everybody seems to have something to say about what you should (or absolutely should not) do with yourself and your baby. But everyone’s experience and perspective are different. The way you deal with pregnancy, birth, and your baby comes from who you are, where you’ve been, and what you believe in. So, while getting advice from friends, family, and other experts can help you along the way, keep in mind that what worked for your sister, your mother, or your best friend will not necessarily work for you . . . and vice versa. Experts–be they professionals or strangers–have ideas, but they may also have agendas. Take the advice that makes sense to you and take the rest with a grain of salt. The important thing is to be able to filter what you hear through an understanding of what matters to you and your family.

2. confidence is more important than instinct.
People often tell parents to “trust their instincts.” Go with your gut and you’ll be confident about your choices. But it takes confidence to trust your instincts in a world of conflicting advice! Nothing builds confidence like hard-earned experience, but in the meantime, you can help build yours by seeking supportive environments. Know yourself
and what makes you feel safe and secure in who you are. Stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself, and look for situations that make you feel stronger as a parent. Instincts are an indispensable tool, but they’re worthless without the confidence it
takes to put them to use.

3. strive for imperfection.
When we’re pregnant, we are warned to hone our diet for ideal fetal development. We must advocate for the optimum birth and bonding experience–often fighting against the tide of hospital policy. Later, we learn tips to help our babies reach their milestones on time, or better still, early! The desire for children to succeed is as old as mothers. What’s new is the mile-long list of do’s and don’ts, and the mounting pressure on moms to make it all happen. An alarming number of studies focus on maternal responsibility. But no amount of fish oil, flash cards, and quality time can guarantee an A+ in motherhood. And the quest for perfection sucks parents’ energy and enjoyment, leaving resentment in its wake. You may think your child will feel only the benefit of your
attention, but the pressure seeps through, too. If you’re trying to be a perfect parent, your child may think the same perfection is expected of him. Kids need permission to be themselves, not performers. Parents need to cut themselves some slack, maintain a sense of self, and be as wary of overparenting as they are of underparenting. We think
“good enough” parenting is not just good enough, it’s better.

4. parenting is out of control.
Becoming a parent inevitably means giving up some level of control. When you’re pregnant, you can’t control how your body responds–whether or not you feel sick, for example, or get stretch marks. And though you may be able to curtail some weight gain, we never met a pregnant woman who didn’t feel “too big” by delivery time. Birth itself is the ultimate exercise in letting go. Afterward, many people are desperate
to keep the baby from disturbing the peace of their lives. They worry that they’ll be “chained to the couch” or “lose themselves,” or become “boring parents.” Having a baby will change your life whether you fight it or not. It’s not that resistance is futile–it can actually be healthy. But the happiest parents we know are the ones who learn to surf the waves rather than try to conquer them.

5. there’s no such thing asa “natural” mother.
People talk about “natural” mothering. Natural mothers breastfeed. It’s not natural to breastfeed your child beyond six months. It’s natural for babies to cry. Babies only cr...
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