The Fourth Trimester and Other Books to Guide You Through the Tender Postpartum Period

When expecting mothers ask me for advice about giving birth and motherhood, without a beat I say “prepare for the postpartum period.” I spent so much time and mental energy thinking about what would happen during labor and setting up the baby’s nursery, I forget to prepare for my own healing and support.

Here are 4 books that helped me navigate the tender postpartum period:

Fourth Trimester - the new definitive guide to postpartum healing from the perspective of Kimberly Ann Johnson, a doula, Sexological Bodyworker, and Somatic Experiencing practitioner.

From Bump to Grind - I read this book as part of a peer counseling training with Sarah Checcone, the author of this book and the founder and director of The Postpartum Society of Florida. It is concise, humorous and paints a realistic period of what early motherhood will look like.

The First Forty Days - many cultures have traditions in which new mothers are sequestered and cared for as they heal. This guide is based on the Chinese practice Zuo Yuezi, or “sitting the month,” in which new mothers are cared for for forty days while they rest, restore and focus on feeding their baby.

The Red Tent - not a guide, but reading this wonderfully written fictional account of women and mothers and their relationships during biblical times felt nurturing and empowering during my own postpartum period.

I’d love to hear about your favorite books on postpartum healing - tell me in the comments below!

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