As I mentioned in my most recent post, I’ve been doing a lot of baby book reading lately. The first two books I wanted to highlight and review come from my “real mom” category. These books were written from an honest point of view in a humorous way to help the reader relax and stress less about having a baby. As I said before, these moms share the very real ups and downs of pregnancy but in a way that helps you feel like you have someone to relate to instead of feeling like you should panic. They’re not full of lofty parenting methods or scare tactics, but instead help you feel confident that you, too, can do this.

Belly Laughs – Jenny McCarthy

Say what you will about Jenny McCarthy as a celebrity, an autism advocate, Playboy bunny, or an over-the-top personality, but this book was a fun read.

While you may not think highly of a celebrity’s point of view on something like pregnancy, I appreciated how real and honest Jenny McCarthy was about her pregnancy. In this book, she made herself accessible to us non-celebrities by talking like a real person. I found her surprisingly easy to relate to probably because she held nothing back. Pregnancy isn’t and wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine for her, nor did she try to sugar coat anything. But it wasn’t meant to be scary, either; on the contrary, her honesty made me realize that even celebrities go through this and it isn’t always pretty, but I can do it, too. With confidence.

Believe it or not, being a celebrity doesn’t mean perfection or that pregnancy is a piece of cake and Jenny McCarthy makes that clear in Belly Laughs. I laughed until I snorted a lot during this book, because I bet no one you know will be quite as brutally honest about pregnancy (the good AND the bad) the way that Jenny McCarthy is in this book. Kudos to her for being down to earth and sharing the human side of pregnancy.

It was a quick, entertaining read. Not scientific, but full of very real pregnancy issues that most women face and how to deal with them or be prepared for them, celebrity or not. This was such a fun little nugget that I will most likely pick up the sequel… Baby Laughs.

How NOT to be a Perfect Mother – Libby Purves

I really enjoyed How Not to be a Perfect Mother by Libby Purves. It’s hard to remember when you’re setting out to be a first time parent that no one is perfect. A lot of mom books out there focus so much on everything you have to do to be the omgbestmomever picture of perfection, and forget that we’re human and not superheros. Libby writes from a real point of view, explaining how unrealistic it is to expect perfection, and you and your children are still going to turn out just fine.

Libby is from the UK, and some of the terminology she uses (nappies vs. diapers, pram vs. baby buggy, as small examples) takes a bit to get used to. You’ll have no troubles figuring it out, even if you’re not from the UK, and I didn’t find it distracting or an issue at all. There was one chapter that I skipped, simply because it was all about the UK birthing/doctor system, which didn’t apply to me.

Libby’s book was humorous. So many books in her genre put an emphasis on how to be a perfect mom, which in turn causes new moms so much stress because the expectation for perfection is perceived as being so high. The book gave me so much confidence that I can be a wonderful mother without feeling like I have to be the perfect domestic goddess that is able to effortlessly raise children all without breaking a sweat. She put things into a very real perspective without scaring me, and her book taught me how to feel confident in my natural abilities without stressing about unrealistic ideals of perfect. It’s really set my mind at ease, and I feel like I can tackle parenthood when the time comes without fear of failure. I realize that there will be ups and downs, smooth stretches of road and bumps along the way, but the bumps don’t mean I’m not a good mom… it’s all a part of the process. Libby does not use a condescending tone nor does she preach about one right way to do things. The book is all about encouraging and reassuring moms of their capability to be wonderful without worrying about perfection.

All in all, I think these books were both worth the read. Nine months is a long time for a future mom to worry about everything, so a little lighthearted and humorous honesty in a book went a long way, and was appreciated. They’re a good diversion from the super serious, you-must-only-do-it-this-way books that can scare a new mom silly. (Trust me, I know. I am trying to avoid them like the Plague.) If you take them for what they are, you’ll enjoy them, too. :)