Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Must-Have for all Hot Mamas To Be

When I was pregnant with Pudding Pie, it's safe to say that I was the poster child for the not hot mom to be. My sister was pregnant at the same time and we'd compare notes over the phone. She was happy, energetic, confident and always stylish. I was nauseous, exhausted, anxious and a complete style disaster. Of course I did gain 70 pounds - around twice the recommended amount, and this didn't help. I also had 'morning sickness' most of the way through my pregnancy and, while it really wasn't pleasant, it was also my excuse for the saggy, baggy, blotchy, bleary disaster I presented to the world each morning. I kept waiting for the 'glow', and it did show up eventually - the morning that Pudding Pie emerged and my pregnancy was over!

I had piles of pregnancy books but what I needed was one easy-to-read book with punchy, bite-sized bits of valuable info: The Hot Mom To be Handbook delivers exactly this. Author Jessica Denay addresses a host of pregnancy topics, including the right way to tell your boss you're pregnant, how to deal with those legendary pregnancy mood swings, and keeping the spark in your relationship even when you feel like baby hippo.

The book is wonderful for its "Yes, I know exactly what you mean!" moments. Denay touches on Pregnancy Brain; cravings; nausea that simply won't go away (Denay does give us a list of what mom says works best if you're afflicted); the angst over choosing; how to have a memorable shower; decorating baby's room.

I particularly love her Hot Mom Checklist: Focus on what you can control (healthy eating and drinking, limiting caffeine, eliminating smoking and alcohol), and let go of what you can't! (Other people's reactions/pregnancies, your mother-in-law ...) I was always comparing myself/my pregnancy to other moms and moms-to-be and it was never a good idea. Denay reminds us that there is no perfect pregnancy and that we should strive to find our own balance. Oh boy, I could have used this advice four years ago!

One of my favorite chapters examines Baby 'Crap" and here Denay is not referring to the stuff that diapers are made for, but rather the mind-numbingly long list of must-haves that we decide we need for baby. I know exactly what she is talking about ... The more I prepared for baby's arrival, the longer my list of essentials grew. To be fair, I was discovering things that I really did need, but I also spent precious pennies where I didn't need to.

There are invaluable sections on how to select the best and most apropriate strollers and diaper bagsfor you/your lifestyle. My husband and I were bewildered and baffled by the array of choices when we decided to select a stroller. We ended up choosing a beast that barely fit in my trunk and took several minutes to set up each time we used it. It wasn't too long after Pudding Pie was born that we acquired two more strollers: a jogging stroller and a light, compact stroller that requires no more than a deft flick of the wrist to get it roadworthy.

We got lucky with the diaper bag. I received a Petunia Picklebottom as a shower gift and I never looked back. I have a friend who had her son just three weeks before Pudding Pie arrived and she went through several diaper bags all in his first year. It is easy to underestimate how much use that sucker will get! In her Handbook, Denay lists her favorite diaper bags in every price range.

I found myself nodding feverishly in agreement when I got to the line where Denay says, and I quote " ... getting supportive bras during your pregnancy for the time being and beyond is a MUST!" (page 171). At first it didn't occur to me that I'd actually need to throw down cash and get new, decent bras for during pregnancy. I decided I'd be fine with what I had. Besides, I couldn't afford it, I needed to save the money for more important baby stuff (yet another cute blanket, extra refills for my diaper disposal unit, a bottle sterilizer for my exclusively breast fed baby.) As my pregnancy progressed and those bras began to bite into my increasingly more fleshy shoulders, and as these same bras began to sag helplessly under an increased load that they were never meant to uphold, I was forced to re-visit my initial decision. I gave in and I bought pregnancy bras. A few months later, I was that mom, racing into the store with a wailing newborn, frantically searching for decent nursing bras because I was so focused on getting all the baby gadgets, I'd forgotten about the important stuff for mom - again!

At the end of each of the nine chapters, Denay poses some monthly journal questions and they are a great way to help a mom-to-be get her thoughts on paper. I wish I'd kept a pregnancy journal, perhaps I would have if I'd had questions like these to help get me going. Also neat are the Bump On A Budget and Eco-Minded Mama sections (I love the tip to squeeze a lemon into your diaper bucket as a natural way to neutralize odor!) found near the end of most of the chapters.

If you're swimming in a sea of pregnancy advice and you need a candid read that'll have you smiling, while it dispenses valuable advice, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Jessica Denay's The Hot Mom to Be Handbook - you won't be disappointed! Also, the last chapter has a sweet bonus: the Hot Moms Club Exclusive Directory: punch in the discount code andget access to thousands of dollars worth of online discounts at Denay's favorite companies - ooh!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of HarperCollins and received a copy of The Hot Mom to Be Handbook to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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