The best books to feel more prepared for parenthood

Who am I?

As a trained therapist, educator, and coach for expectant and new parents, I understand on a deep level the importance of creating a strong foundation in building a family. I also was personally humbled at how difficult the transition to parenthood was for me and the challenges it presented in my relationship with my husband. While we’ve grown exponentially, I wanted to make it a little easier for other expectant parents to avoid some of the pitfalls that aren’t spoken about as much in becoming parents. I also wanted to help the new little beings arriving in the world to have more resourced, present parents. It’s a win-win.

I wrote...

Book cover of Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families

What is my book about?

Couples often spend surprisingly little time getting ready for this huge rite of passage. The first of its kind, this interactive book provides couples with essential conversation-starters and action items to complete before becoming parents. In Preparing for Parenthood, you’ll discover how to transition to parenting in ways that align with your own beliefs and values by: learning the biggest concerns couples face when becoming new parents and how to discuss them; finding your unique strengths as a couple, and addressing challenges as you embark on this journey; and developing greater confidence as parents so you can feel more relaxed and prepared.

This small and indispensable book will help you alleviate stress and answer some of the biggest questions you’ll want to address before your baby arrives.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Becoming Us: The Couple's Guide to Parenthood

Why did I love this book?

As a therapist and coach for expectant and new parents, this book is always near the top of my list of recommendations. Taylor does a wonderful job of normalizing the difficult transition for most from “couple” to “parents.” She uses her background as a couple’s therapist to help people build tools to navigate the emotional upheaval that is incredibly common (and backed by extensive research) in the transition to parenthood. I appreciate Taylor’s honesty and her inclusion of stories from couples as examples. Reading this book feels like having a conversation with a good friend, who focuses first on your strengths, but who isn’t afraid to help you learn some new and helpful ways of interacting.

By Elly Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nautilus and Non-Fiction Book Awards Winner

Parenthood is like a whole new world. And people say nothing can prepare parents for it, but what if you and your partner could?

Becoming a family brings much joy, love and wonder, but also some big life changes and some new challenges for you and your partner to navigate. Becoming Us is a map for this journey. You’ll find practical steps on every page to prepare for and manage the most common issues for parents, like the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, changes to lifestyles, finances, communication and love-life,…

Book cover of Baby Bomb: A Relationship Survival Guide for New Parents

Why did I love this book?

Attachment theory – the theory that humans need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver early in life to survive and thrive – is near and dear to my heart as a therapist and coach for expectant and new parents. Tatkin is a master of human attachment in adult relationships, having created the PACT (psychobiological approach to couple therapy) training for therapists. The book, written with Hoppe, uses the science behind attachment theory to help couples strengthen their relationship and meet each other’s needs as a couple in order to be the best parents they can be. It offers tried and true ways to nurture your couple bond so you can not only be present for your baby, but also for each other.

By Kara Hoppe, Stan Tatkin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Baby Bomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before you succeed at parenting, you need to succeed as a couple! Baby Bomb is the resource you need when a new baby turns your life-and your romantic relationship-upside down. A baby is a blessing-and also a completely life-altering event. If you're like many new parents, nothing could have fully prepared you for the exhaustion of late-night feedings, the explosive diapers, the evaporation of your free time, the pure joy, and the moments of pure terror. In the midst of these hazy, early months, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. And when you're overwhelmed, it's easy to put your romantic relationship…

Book cover of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

Why did I love this book?

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a world-renown specialist in mindfulness – the mind-body experience of being fully present and aware in the moment. Mindfulness is an effective practice for optimal emotional and physical health and well-being. We know that people around the world parent in many different ways, depending upon their background, culture, life experience, etc. What I love about this book is that if you want to learn to be more present in our highly-distracted, busy world, there is a gentle way to move toward having more of this presence in life, no matter your background – with your children, partner, and others. The wisdom of mindfulness found in this peaceful book helps develop greater empathy and connection with ourselves and those in our family.

By Myla Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyday Blessings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shows parents how they can enrich their own and their childrens' lives through raising their awareness of life's gifts.

Book cover of Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

Why did I love this book?

Siegel is a child psychiatrist who deeply understands the importance of attachment theory and neurobiology. This book, written with child development specialist and parent educator Hartzell, invites parents to deeply examine their own childhood experiences and how they have shaped us. It provides clear exercises for making sense of our past in an effort to provide the best, emotionally, for our children. As a therapist, I believe there is no greater gift to ourselves and our children than working towards our own healing, which helps prevent the transmission of “generational trauma” to our children. This book also focuses on the importance of “repair” after there have been ruptures in the relationship with our children. This in itself is invaluable.

By Daniel J. Siegel, Mary Hartzell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Parenting from the Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated edition—with a new preface—of the bestselling parenting classic by the author of "BRAINSTORM: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain"

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and…

Book cover of And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives

Why did I love this book?

Relationship experts who studied couples for years in the Love Lab in Seattle, the Gottmans understand that bringing a baby into the orbit of a couple nearly inevitably strains even the best relationship. They discovered that 2/3rds of couples experienced a significant decline in relationship satisfaction after having a baby. Their six-step plan helps expectant couples prepare for this huge transition by showing them ways to create an environment that nurtures intimacy, appreciation, and self- and couple-care. 

By John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked And Baby Makes Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Congratulations! You have a new baby.
Don’t forget you also have a marriage.

Having a baby is a joyous experience, but even the best relationships are strained during the transition from duo to trio. In And Baby Makes Three, Love Lab™ experts John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman teach couples the skills needed to maintain healthy marriages, so partners can avoid the pitfalls of parenthood by:

• Focusing on intimacy and romance
• Replacing an atmosphere of criticism and irritability with one of appreciation
• Preventing postpartum depression
• Creating a home environment that nurtures physical, emotional, and mental health,…

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