The Zen Mama Guide to Finding Your Rhythm in Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond

Harper Horizon. Apr. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780785241508. $34.99. HEALTH
Palmer and Olsen (Your Zen Mama blog) define zen parenthood (unrelated to the religion Zen) as working toward a feeling of alignment, balance, and self-care, and creating fulfilling relationships with oneself, one’s children, and the world. Their book is about finding calm in a world with no perfect version of motherhood. Topics include deciding when to have kids, and preparing emotionally and financially for parenthood. Chapters on pregnancy and birth discuss sharing news of the pregnancy, finding a doula, vocalization and visualization as part of the birth process, and what to do when nothing goes as planned. There’s also a section on pregnancy loss, infertility, and trying to conceive again after loss.
VERDICT An attractive volume with beautiful photos and easy-to-implement ideas; it’s sure to be a hit. However, its perspective is often limited; it discusses adoption, financial precarity, and being uninsured, but there is little to address specific challenges faced by families of color or queer families.
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