Oh.... SO many to choose from. I have compiled a list of my favorites and whenever possible, have featured authors of color. Go forth and READ!!!
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
This is the #1 book on my list right now. It's my go-to shower gift and I honestly just love it. This is fresh, modern, honest and appeals to all birthing people no matter where or how they plan to birth. It was written by a Black doula and I can't recommend this highly enough! It leaves all parents feeling empowered and like they truly understand the mystery of pregnancy and birth.
Natural Pregnancy Guide, by Laurena White MD L.Ac.
"Learn how to create the healthiest environment for your baby by eliminating potentially harmful habits and substances from your body and your surroundings wherever possible. This book is your safe, science-backed guide to deciding what your individual pregnancy and birth plan will look like―whether you want to give birth in a hospital, at home, or in a birthing center."
The Essential Homebirth Guide by Jane Drichta and Jodilyn Owen
I'd be remiss if I didn't list the book written by two of my own midwives... Jane Drichta and Jodilyn Owen have walked beside me during two of my pregnancies and I loved watching them birth this bo. It's comprehensive, non-judgemental and downright funny in places. If you plan to have your kid at home, this is a MUST read.
The Birth Partner 5th Edition, by Penny Simkin and Katie Rohs
Not *JUST* for partners and doulas, birthing people should read this if they are wanting to know the comprehensive anatomical side of labor and delivery. I'm also super biased with this one as Penny Simkin taught my first doula training and Katie Rohs is a neighbor and colleague. I'm thrilled that Katie teamed up with Penny for this latest edition and made this a gender-affirming book for pregnancy!
Birth & Justice for All Families
Birthing Justice, by Julia Oparah, Alicia Bonaparte
"There is a global crisis in maternal health care for black women. In the United States, black women are over three times more likely to perish from pregnancy-related complications than white women; their babies are half as likely to survive the first year. Many black women experience policing, coercion, and disempowerment during pregnancy and childbirth and are disconnected from alternative birthing traditions. This book places black women's voices at the center of the debate on what should be done to fix the broken maternity system and foregrounds black women's agency in the emerging birth justice movement. Mixing scholarly, activist, and personal perspectives, the book shows readers how they too can change lives, one birth at a time."
Queering Family Trees, by Sandra Patton-Imani
"Through the lens of reproductive justice, Patton-Imani argues that the federal legalization of same-sex marriage reinforces existing structures of inequality grounded in race, gender, sexuality, and class. Queering Family Trees explores the lives of a critically erased segment of the queer population, demonstrating that the seemingly “color blind” solutions offered by marriage equality do not rectify such inequalities."
Infant Care and Feeding
Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mother, by Jeanine Valrie Logan, Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka
"Facts about breastfeeding and statistics can be found in numerous pamphlets and with professional lactation consultants. However, there is no other book on the market that can give a new or expectant mother the experience of seeing her experience reflected in the stories and pictures of other women. While there is growing coverage to the disparities in breastfeeding rates, the actual thoughts and experiences of African-American nursing mothers are overlooked."
The Big Letdown, by Kimberly Seals Allers
"Journalist and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers breaks breastfeeding out of the realm of "personal choice" and shows our broader connection to an industrialized food system that begins at birth, the fallout of feminist ideals, and the federal policies that are far from family friendly. The Big Letdown uncovers the multibillion-dollar forces battling to replace mothers' milk and the failure of the medical establishment to protect infant health."
Safe Infant Sleep, by James McKenna
Do you want to sleep in the same area or bed as your baby? Cool. You can do that safely! Equip yourself with the knowledge about safe cosleeping from the expert.
... then tell your judgey family and friends to stick it. Nicely. Or not nicely. Whatever suits you!
Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage, Robin Kaplan M.Ed. IBCLC, Abby Theuring
"In Latch, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, Robin Kaplan, addresses specific breastfeeding concerns, allowing you to feel empowered while breastfeeding and overcome challenges as they arise. After working with countless mothers who have felt unique in their breastfeeding challenges, and as the mother of two who overcame breastfeeding challenges of her own, she knows how deeply personal breastfeeding is."
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven
What? In Traditional Chinese Culture, new moms aren't allowed to leave the house for A MONTH?!
...cool, can we do that HERE? The US has a massive void of respect for the first 40 days. So let's learn to do it better.
A Taste Of Our Own Medicine: 3 Vital Keys To Ending Postnatal Depletion, Nurturing Mothers And Improving Communities, Danett C Bean DAAM
"In this ground breaking book, Dr. Danett Bean, preventive care, women's health specialist, integrative medicine practitioner and survivor of postnatal depletion uncovers the roots to this phenomena as a societal issue and offers practical solutions to preventing and ending this condition. If you are an expectant or new mother, father or plan to be one someday, experienced parent, or you have parents that you care about in your life, you can't afford to not read this book. "
The Postpartum Depression Workbook, by Abigail Burd LCSW PMH-C
"Becoming a mother is a huge transition. For some, the mood swings, the pressures, and the anxiety can be intense and overwhelming. One in five women will develop postpartum depression (PPD) after pregnancy―so if you’re struggling with PPD, know you’re not alone. This depression workbook is designed to help you navigate the transition to becoming the healthy and happy parent you want to be."
Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool, by Emily Oster
"Armed with the data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn't always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they're ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren't necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time. "
Simple & Safe Baby-Led Weaning, by Malina Malkani MS RDN CDN
"Start your little one on solid foods the healthy way. Simple & Safe Baby-Led Weaning empowers you to help your baby feed themselves while they develop motor skills and an adventurous palate. Learn when to begin baby-led weaning and what to expect along the way while also getting practical advice for creating balanced, whole-food meals that your baby can eat alongside the rest of the family."
The Whole-Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson
"Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives."
"Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat", by Claire Mysko, Magali Amadeï
"People might tell you you're glowing, but you just feel like you're growing, and perhaps you're not liking―or even recognizing--the changing image you see in the mirror. If you're like most expectant women, you're worried about what pregnancy and motherhood will do to your body, your sexuality, and your self-esteem (even if you don't want to admit it out loud for fear of the Bad Mommy Police). While the journey to motherhood is truly miraculous and brings forth life, it can also bring forth a myriad of legitimate concerns."
Give Birth a Chance: How to Prepare for an Empowered VBAC, by Ilia Blandina CNM
"Don’t Talk Yourself Out of a VBAC!
Do you have a deep desire to give vaginal birth after having had a c-section (VBAC)? If you know deep in your heart that our ancestors did quite well with natural birth and want to follow in their footsteps. If you know this path is a sacred one and you want to make it happen, but you don’t know where to begin. If you long for a vaginal birth. . . . It starts with this book!"
Cut, Stapled, and Mended, by Roanna Rosewood
" 'At least you and the baby are healthy.' That’s what they said when they handed him to me. And they were right. Why then, so long after my body has healed, do I still feel broken? A whisper inside of me insists: Birth is more than a means to a baby. There was something I was supposed to do, something I was to receive through giving birth." In exquisite detail, Roanna holds nothing back in her powerful birth memoir, plunging the reader deep into the intimacy of this universal rite of passage. Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a must read for anyone who has given birth, will give birth, or who loves someone who will give birth."
When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women, by Penny Simkin, Phyllis Klaus
"When Survivors Give Birth is written for a mixed audience of maternity care professionals and para-professionals, mental health therapists and counselors, and women survivors and their families. The authors expertly and compassionately address the unusual and distressing challenges that arise for abuse survivors during the childbirth experience."
THEIRstory Collections & Memoirs
Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing, by Patrisia Gonzales
"Gonzales links pre-Columbian thought to contemporary healing practices by examining ancient symbols and their relation to current curative knowledges among Indigenous peoples. Red Medicine suggests that Indigenous healing systems can usefully point contemporary people back to ancestral teachings and help them reconnect to the dynamics of the natural world."
Our Births, Our Stories: Inspirational Home Births From Communities Around The World, by Heather Baker
"This collection of birth stories shows the beautiful differences of how birth can unfold. These accounts are all home births, either assisted with a midwife or unassisted/ freebirths. The book includes natural breech births, twins, mothers who have had previous cesarean sections or trauma, family births, solo birthing, and how the mothers came to the decision of taking birth back into their own hands. It is truly an inspiring book. Perfect if you are looking to prepare yourself before your own home birth. It pairs perfectly with Home Birth on Your Own Terms manual."
How We Do Family, by Trystan Reese
"In How We Do Family, Trystan shares their unique story and what he’s learned about being the best parent, partner, and person you can be. Through crisis, adoption, pregnancy—and all the usual challenges of parenting—Trystan shows that more important than getting things right is doing them with love."
Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story, by Onnie Lee Logan, Katherine Clark
""Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama. Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her.Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is powerful and fascinating oral history."
Motherhood So White, by Nefertiti Austin
"Nefertiti Austin shares her story of starting a family through adoption as a single Black woman. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single Black moms, and confronts the reality of what it looks like to raise children of color and answer their questions about racism in modern-day America."
My "Fuck No" Book/Author List