The best books to feel more prepared for parenthood

The Books I Picked & Why

Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family That Thrives

By Elly Taylor

Book cover of Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family That Thrives

Why 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.


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Baby Bomb: A Relationship Survival Guide for New Parents

By Kara Hoppe, Stan Tatkin

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

Why 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.


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Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

By Myla Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kabat-Zinn

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

Why 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.


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

By Daniel J. Siegel, Mary Hartzell

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

Why 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.


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

By John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman

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

Why 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. 


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