The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy

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Overview

Everything you need to know about pregnancy—from weight gain to stretch marks to figuring out how to rely on Christ through the ups and downs of the next nine months.

This comprehensive guide is packed with information that every newly pregnant Christian mama needs—including:

  • help for pregnancy insomnia, morning sickness, weight gain and more
  • advice on how to maintain a ...
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The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy

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Overview

Everything you need to know about pregnancy—from weight gain to stretch marks to figuring out how to rely on Christ through the ups and downs of the next nine months.

This comprehensive guide is packed with information that every newly pregnant Christian mama needs—including:

  • help for pregnancy insomnia, morning sickness, weight gain and more
  • advice on how to maintain a godly attitude and outlook during pregnancy—even when you're feeling anything but godly
  • what to expect from doctor check-ups, your encounters with the scale and labor and delivery
  • tips on how to survive food cravings, aversions, and even dreaded pregnancy exercise
  • healthy eating advice for pregnancy that doesn't outright ban ice cream sundaes
  • ideas on how to keep your marriage a priority when you're pregnant, including a guide for Christian dads-to-be and even pregnancy sex tips

This detailed guide takes you through each trimester with helpful tips, humorous accounts, and supportive spiritual advice--all with a girlfriend-to-girlfriend approach that will help moms feel comfortable as they navigate this life-changing time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849964732
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Series: Christian Mama's Guide Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 342,801
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin MacPherson is a mom of three who never does anything halfway. When she discovered she was pregnant she decided to write about it—but then kept writing. A former staff writer and editor for Nickelodeon, Erin now entertains parents on her personal blog as well as through freelance magazine articles, devotionals and speaking. She wants to come beside her readers not only as a confidant and Christian sister, but also as a best girlfriend who understands what daily life is all about.

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THE CHRISTIAN MAMA'S GUIDE TO HAVING A BABY

Everything You Need to Know to Survive (And Love) Your Pregnancy
By ERIN MACPHERSON

THOMAS NELSON

Copyright © 2013 Erin MacPherson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-6431-2


Chapter One

Getting Into the Pregnancy Groove

Being Pregnant and Loving It

You figured out how to actually get pregnant (go you!), and now you have to figure out how to be pregnant.

Contrary to popular belief, being pregnant isn't as simple as remembering to take your prenatal vitamins, which is a feat unto itself. Pregnancy is exhausting, exciting, exhilarating, and stressful all at once, which means that you're going to be exhausted, excited, exhilarated, and stressed for the next few months. Not an easy thing to be—especially when you're gaining weight at a rate of three pounds per week.

I hate to even say this to a pregnant woman, but the next few months might not be the best months of your life. (Sorry!) I think my biggest misconception about pregnancy was that I expected it to be easy. I thought I'd be bubbling with baby-growing joy for the entire nine months. Maybe that's true for some people, but it wasn't the case for me. Pregnancy was hard. And stressful. And super annoying at times. And I wrestled with emotions that I'm embarrassed to even admit. (But we'll get to that later.)

Interestingly, while I was trying to get a handle on the stress and emotions of pregnancy, I felt an overwhelming urge to draw closer to God. There's something about impending motherhood that makes a girl really reflect on who she is and who she wants to be. I knew that my future children needed a godly mother, and I knew that I fell (far) short of the mark. This caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the characteristics of godly mothers and how I could become one.

As Christian women, we have to live up to a pretty high standard. The legendary Proverbs 31 woman is gracious and kind and long-suffering and probably never snapped at her husband for leaving dirty clothes on the floor. I'm not even close. I find myself living in a daily battle to live up to God's standard for my life. I wake up praying that I'll live with patience and integrity throughout the day ... and find myself losing my cool before breakfast.

Yet, at one of the most stressful, emotional, and trying times of my life (my first pregnancy), God drew me closer to Him. I actually felt His presence as I spent time praying and reflecting on my baby and my future as a mother. It's comforting to hear His voice in a time of need and feel His presence when you're feeling your worst. And, hearing God's voice (and knowing he's there) is great motivation to have a godly attitude throughout pregnancy.

Of course, I was still the same old girl who couldn't seem to make it to breakfast without losing patience about something. (Have I mentioned the dirty laundry that is always left on the bathroom floor?) Still, God did show me that purposefully choosing to have a godly attitude resulted in me feeling closer to Him. That, in turn, allowed me to have a more gracious attitude about my pregnancies.

Sounds a bit trite, doesn't it? I mean, if it was all about choosing to smile through any situation, then every day would be gumdrops and Preggie Pops, right? Not exactly. But God does call us to be content in any circumstance (even morning sickness!), which means choosing to focus on the reasons we have to be grateful, even when it's tempting to be grumpy.

And trust me, when I was pregnant, I had lots of reasons to be grumpy. But, I did strive to have an attitude of gratitude about my pregnancy. Here's how I did (and didn't) do it.

How to Get into the Pregnancy Groove

1. Get Yourself Pumped Up

When I first got pregnant, I was giddy with excitement. And who wouldn't be? I was going to have a baby. I couldn't stop thinking (or talking) about it. But then I got tired. And sick. And bloated. And suddenly I wasn't so giddy anymore. In fact, once those pregnancy symptoms kicked in, I turned into a whiney, moaning, self-pitying mess. I resented my baby for making me feel so bad and resented everyone else because they didn't feel as bad as I did. I resented my job because I had to go to it. I resented my husband because he could sleep and I couldn't. I even resented my dog because she could spend the entire day basking in the sunshine while I had to actually get up and function.

So, how exactly do you start thinking about rainbows and baby booties when you've spent weeks hugging the toilet bowl? One thing I did was immerse myself in babyland. I bought books about pregnancies and babies. I hung out with friends who had babies. I oogled over baby gear on the Internet and rented funny movies about babies and watched them over and over. The only thing I didn't do was volunteer to babysit, because that would've taken way more energy than I had at that point. But if you're feeling up to dirty diapers and peek-a-boo, then go for it.

The point is, the more time you spend around babies (and other mothers), the more excited you will be about your own baby. And trust me, the only thing in the world that is worth nine months of The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby 4 pregnancy is a baby ... and you're getting one. So hop on board the baby train (I don't have to tell you twice, do I?) and start living baby.

2. Turn that Mommy Guilt into Glee (Or at Least Contentment)

That resentment I felt because I was sick, tired, and fat quickly turned to guilt. I felt guilty for resenting my baby, who was supposed to be my pride and joy. I felt guilty for resenting my husband, who was honestly trying to help me as much as he could. Mostly, I felt guilty that I wasn't thrilled to be pregnant.

I started to wonder if God didn't approve of my pregnancy and my baby. Crazy talk, right? I know that now, but at the time, I felt so awful and so confused that I started to doubt God's providence. Of course, once I realized—duh!—that God blessed me with the pregnancy, I wanted to be grateful to Him regardless of how I was feeling. God wants us to be content in our pregnancies, even when we're not feeling good. Tough job, huh?

It was a long, uphill battle for me. And I had to constantly remind myself of God's grace and mercy. But in the midst of the battle, God taught me many lessons I wouldn't have otherwise learned: how to depend on others, how to trust, and what it means to truly depend on God for strength.

3. Pray for Your Baby

Another way to get into the pregnancy groove is to start praying for your baby in-utero. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it wasn't for me. (I was tired and sick, okay?) It took me several weeks of pregnancy to start praying for my son. I was so stunned and overwhelmed by the idea of being pregnant that the idea of praying for my baby didn't cross my mind. One day, one of the girls in my small-group Bible study mentioned that she had prayed for her baby throughout her pregnancy and suddenly the light went on. I wanted to pray for my unborn child too!

I could go into the mushy details about how my husband and I lay in bed and put our hands on my slightly protruding tummy and prayed for our son, but I'm sure you get it. In fact, you've probably been praying for your baby since the moment you found out you were pregnant. But, just in case there's another woman out there like me who didn't think of it, I thought I'd mention it.

4. Think About the Pros of Pregnancy

There are some (okay, lots of) wonderful things about pregnancy. What other time in your life do you have free license to eat extra calories, sleep late, and buy baby clothes without reservation?

Plus, when you're pregnant, everyone (and I mean everyone) gushes over you. I remember walking into church as I was just starting to show. Two of the guys in our Sunday school class ran to grab me a chair. My husband got me water and my girlfriend brought me muffins from the class next door. They had blueberry crumble! Everyone oohed and aahhhed. Part of me hated all of the fuss—uh, who am I kidding? I loved the attention! Who wouldn't?

But aside from the minor benefits, when you're pregnant, it's easy to dwell on all of the things you're missing out on. You can't eat sushi. You can't wear your favorite pencil skirt. Your bras are all too small, and you're too tired to stay up late watching chick flicks with your hubby (as if that happened before). I remember bursting into tears in the middle of our church group's Christmas party because the eggnog was made from raw eggs and I was a little uneasy about exposing my unborn child to salmonella. I actually sobbed. Totally irrational, I know (especially considering the fact that there were a million other drink options at the party), but I felt so deprived.

The thing is, pregnancy isn't about deprivation. Sure, there are things you shouldn't and can't do, but there is also one huge thing that you can do: nurture your own child inside of you. What an incredible privilege. I'm sure some of our husbands are secretly envious of us that we get to do it and they don't! How else can we account for their sympathy weight gain?

The best way to get out of a pregnancy funk is to think about the reason for the pregnancy. I know that sounds obvious, but focus on your baby. Focus on the privilege. It'll help you to forget the pain. And if that doesn't work, think of all of the things that you can get away with during this brief period of your life.

Things You Can Do While Pregnant (That You Would Never Get Away with Otherwise)

1. Wear flip-flops or uggs every day. Even to church.

2. Leave the toilet unscrubbed for the entire nine months (might as well make it an even ten).

3. Order dessert (and eat it all by yourself).

4. Wear yoga pants to the grocery store, to work, and to dinner at your mother-in-law's.

5. Skip your morning shower. Three days in a row.

6. Add half-and-half to your decaf (or half-caf).

7. Send your hubby to Sonic for a foot-long hot dog at 11 p.m.

8. Eat a foot-long hot dog at 11 p.m. and wash it down with Chunky Monkey.

9. Go to bed at 7:00 on a Friday night.

10. Spend your entire Saturday camped out on the couch watching "A Baby Story."

11. Borrow your husband's t-shirts.

12. Chat about baby names on a baby names message board.

13. Go to Babies "R" Us and camp out in one of their rockers for an entire afternoon. You probably need to test it out so go ahead and take a nap if you'd like.

Pregnancy Rocks (Even Though It Sometimes Stinks)

The fact is, in spite of all of the nausea, bloating, and constant peeing, there's also an ecstatic, blissful, giddy joy that comes from the fact that you have a baby growing inside of you. It's amazing. And no matter how bad you feel, you can still cling to that. I remember being hunched over the toilet puking up my guts and thinking to myself how amazing it was that there was a tiny life growing inside of me.

It's okay to be a little ambivalent, depressed, scared, worried, nervous, angry, irritated, or annoyed by your pregnancy. Feeling that way is natural. And feeling that way about your pregnancy has nothing to do with how you're feeling about your baby. Of course you love your baby! But you don't have to love pregnancy to love your baby. Just because you're thrilled to be pregnant, you don't have to ignore all the aches and pains and annoyances.

So, enough pep talking ... you're ready, right? Time to get down to the nitty-gritty. What are the next nine months really going to be like? What can you do to combat morning sickness? And bloating? And the rest of those icky pregnancy symptoms? And, perhaps most importantly, how much longer (in minutes) are you going to be able to fit into your favorite pre-pregnancy jeans? Let's talk first trimesters.

Chapter Two

Pregnancy 101

A Crash Course on Your First Trimester

Let me guess: you're exhausted, you're nauseated, you're bloated, and you have to pee every five minutes. Oh, and did I mention exhausted? First trimesters are like that. Sure, you could be one of the lucky girls who skates through her first trimester with nary an ache or pain, but most gals spend their first trimester waiting for their second trimester, and their second trimester thanking God that they are no longer in their first.

In fact, I'm going to venture that you are probably lying on the couch in the same exact position that you've been in for three days, wearing the same holey sweats you've been wearing for a week. The mere thought of getting up might just make you retch, so you're playing it safe by laying as still as possible and watching your husband flit around while asking if there is anything (anything) that will make you feel better.

The fact that you picked up this book was an accomplishment unto itself. Now that you've actually started reading, you're probably thinking that it is already a little too cheery for you. I know that you probably want to stand up and beat it against the wall and scream in agony and frustration, but that would require (a) getting up off the couch and (b) using energy—two things that probably aren't going to happen right now. So, you're stuck. And, while you're sitting there wallowing, you might as well have something to do. So, read on.

There is some good news: first trimesters are much shorter than second or third trimesters. Technically, your first trimester encompasses the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy, but by the time you know you're pregnant, you're already five weeks along, and by the time your pregnancy symptoms kick in (usually around six or seven weeks), you're over halfway through. Still, being short doesn't make it sweet.

When you get pregnant, your body's hormones suddenly go into overdrive. Fortunately, these hyperactive hormones are what help your baby grow, thrive, and survive, so they're pretty important. Unfortunately, these misbehaving hormones also cause all sorts of crazy symptoms—and during the first trimester, while your body is adjusting to the changes, these symptoms are at their worst.

So, if you're feeling tired and sick and bloated and grumpy, blame it on the hormones ... and realize that you won't be in your first trimester for long. In the meantime, here's how to cope.

Waiting on the Lord

A few years ago, my husband and I planned a trip to the beach. We told our son (he was four) about the trip a few days before we left. He got super excited. He sprinted off to his room where he filled his suitcase full of stuffed animals, books and toys, then stood by the door, suitcase in hand, and waited. And waited. And waited. I finally asked him what he was doing and he said he was waiting to go to the beach. When I told him we weren't leaving for four more days, he looked at me teary-eyed and said, "Four whole days? I'll be old by then!"

That's how my first trimester felt to me. I felt like I was standing at the door with my bag packed ... and waiting and waiting and waiting. I felt God telling me to be patient and wait on Him. All the while, my heart was whimpering: "Nine whole months? I'll be old by then!"

Pregnancy involves a lot of waiting. Waiting for the doctor, waiting for your ultrasound, waiting for your nursery rocker to arrive, and (of course) waiting for your baby to be born. And if you're anything like me, you're going to feel impatient—especially during your first trimester. It's a time when delivery is still months away, you're hardly showing, most people don't even know you're pregnant, yet you're feeling the symptoms of pregnancy in full force. For me, the wait felt excruciating.

Jude 1:21 says, "Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." It's interesting to me that God not only calls us to wait for Christ's mercy (and be patient while we're doing it), but it also tells us to keep ourselves wrapped in His love while we're waiting. Yes, it can be agonizing to wait through a long first trimester (or a long pregnancy), but it feels a bit more doable when you know you'll be wrapped in God's love while you wait.

While it sounds all warm and fuzzy to imagine yourself wrapped in God's love as you wait, what exactly does that mean? And how exactly do you keep yourself in God's love? We're told to remain in Him, and He will remain in us (John 15:5). That means even as you stagger through your first trimester, waiting for your second trimester and, more importantly, your baby to arrive, your job is to cling to Christ: to pray, to trust, and to steadfastly remain in Him.

Keeping your focus on Christ isn't easy (we already talked about that), but it is something we must purposefully train our minds to do. It doesn't come naturally. It takes practice and perseverance—and a bit of personal accountability. I'm not telling you to kick yourself in the shin every time you start to feel impatient (although that might be a good start), but striving to constantly refocus your mind on Him is a good first trimester goal.

One of my favorite songs is "Praise the Father, Praise the Son" by Chris Tomlin. In it, he says, "These sufferings, this passing tide, under Your wings I will abide, and every enemy shall flee, you are my hope and victory." That was one of my favorite songs to listen to during my pregnancy as it reminded me exactly what it meant to remain in Him ... and to wait on Him. And while you wait, think about these next few first trimester issues to keep your mind busy. See, the wait is getting easier already!

Midwife or Doctor?

One thing you're going to have to decide pretty early on in your pregnancy is who you're going to see for your prenatal care. There are midwives and Certified Nurse-Midwives and nurse practitioners and obstetricians (OBs)—and even good ol' family doctors. Whoever you choose (and really, there are lots of benefits to each type of practitioner, so I'm not going to make a recommendation), make sure you're comfortable with the person you choose, because you're going to be seeing a lot of each other.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE CHRISTIAN MAMA'S GUIDE TO HAVING A BABY by ERIN MACPHERSON Copyright © 2013 by Erin MacPherson. Excerpted by permission of THOMAS NELSON. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................xi
Introduction: You're Havin' A Baby!....................xiii
One: Getting Into the Pregnancy Groove....................1
Two: Pregnancy 101....................9
Three: The Dreaded Morning Sickness....................31
Four: Feeding Frenzy....................45
Five: All That Medical Stuff....................65
Six: Work It, Mama....................89
Seven: Pregnancy 201....................101
Eight: Gearing Up for Baby....................115
Nine: Name Games....................137
Ten: Pregnancy 301....................153
Eleven: Ready, Set, Don't Go....................169
Twelve: Let the (Labor) Games Begin....................189
Thirteen: Labor Day....................205
Fourteen: The Christian Daddy's Guide....................225
Fifteen: Where to Go When You Need to Know....................241
Sixteen: The Christian Mama's Guide to Your Baby's First Days....................259
Epilogue: The Mommiest....................275
About the Author....................277
Index....................279
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  • Posted June 6, 2013

    I was very surprised to fine that it was NOT filled with verses

    I was very surprised to fine that it was NOT filled with verses or pushing Christianity, like a lot of books do. Also, It was down to earth, without it being filled with medical jumbo. It’s an personal experience of her pregnancy. She tells you that you MAY or MAY NOT have the problems that she did and that she is not experienced in any type of medical, just a mother who have went through pregnancies.  I am defiantly keeping this book close during my pregnancy and will be recommending this book to others.

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  • Posted April 6, 2013

    Title: The Christian Mama¿s Guide to Having a Baby. Author:

    Title: The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby.




    Author: Erin MacPherson




    Genre: Christian, Nonfiction, Pregnancy, Guide, How-To, Self-Help, Humorous.




    Plot: With a hilarious sense of humor and a wonderful easy-going style of writing, Mrs. MacPherson takes you on a fun-filled journey through pregnancy and helps you navigate this most fulfilling and often unpleasant phase in life. She also gives you pointers on how to draw closer to God during your pregnancy, especially on days when you’re too sick to do anything besides moan and throw up.




    With a detailed chapter on what to expect during each trimester, followed by equally detailed yet not at all boring chapters on baby gear, maternity clothes, exercising during pregnancy, morning sickness and how to eat healthfully when you’re carving junk food, this book is definitely one of the keepers you’ll want on hand to answer a lot of your pregnancy questions. It walks you through the doctor/midwife’s office, explains some of the tests they do, gives you an in-depth look at the actual birth of the baby {which is probably the most stressful of the whole nine-month journey}, and covers breast-feeding as well, which can be a pretty tricky thing for new moms to learn. It also has tips for pregnancy sex and a chapter written by husbands of pregnant women for husbands of pregnant women. I made my husband read that chapter and he said he really liked it, and that the big difference between it and other books I’ve shoved into his hands is that it was written by actual guys.




    There are also wonderful little sections in each chapter with Bible verses and a prayer to help you along in your daily meditation on God’s word while pregnant. The chapter on food is very deliciously detailed so I recommend you take the advice in the opening paragraph and get a snack before reading it.




    Likes/Dislikes: I’ve read maybe close to half a dozen pregnancy books in the last several months as my own personal homework {ya never know when this knowledge will come in handy!}, and this book is, by far, the most fun of the lot. It also addresses the emotional side of pregnancy a lot better than the other books did. On top of that, it’s Christian and has tips for drawing closer to God during pregnancy – something the other books definitely didn’t dig into. It was written in a hilarious easy-to-relate-to style that flowed really well and made sense. There wasn’t all that medical jargon to confuse and wade through. The only issues I had with it are pretty minor; in the food chapter it lists canola oil as being good to take when pregnant. It is, in fact, not at all healthy for you. Also, it described the various options open to women when it comes time to give birth {which is a good thing}, putting stress on having an epidural and also saying that when the nurses whisk your newborn baby off to test it and give it shots, it’s a good thing. Now, I have nothing against epidurals {I just don’t particularly want to take one because it’s a big needle that gets poked into your spine and could cause a lot of damage if they poked it wrong}, but I don’t agree with the tests and shots on the little newborn. That’s me personally. I really liked that the author was such a huge fan of breastfeeding. In all, I highly recommend this book to any expectant {or hoping to be expectant} moms. I will personally be keeping it close on hand when I have my first baby.




    Rating: PG-16 and up, mainly for content. It’s about having babies after all.




    Date Report Written: April 1st, 2013.




    I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in the above review are my own.

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