The Christian Mama's Guide meets Aspiring Mama

IMG_1613.JPG I was recently approached to review a copy of The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy by Erin MacPherson. My first question to the PR rep was if the author has ever seen my tweet stream or is aware that I have a potty mouth category in my blog post tags. I might not be pregnant and I might not go to church often enough (make that only for events with invitations and religious holidays involving rabbits and chocolate), but I had taken a peek at Erin's blog, liked her style, and figured my ability to say The Lord's Prayer in two languages qualified me to give my opinion on this book.

First, let's get the fine print out of the way. Again. Yes, I received the book for free. In fact, I didn't pay for it. And? There was no monetary exchange involved. But maybe more importantly, my blog belongs to me and so do the opinions expressed within. That being said?

This book is awesome.

With a bit of sass, a lot of humor, and a great blend of expert with a dash of girlfriend thrown in, Erin MacPherson covers pregnancy from the obsessive days of peeing on a stick to, "Holy Wow-the baby has to come out where?" While it might not be a necessary read for experienced mamas, I would definitely recommend to first-timers who are searching for a pregnancy book with a  practical and sweetly-stated spiritual side.

But enough with the pleasantries. It's time to talk. Read on for a fun interview with the author.

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AM: Let's get down to brass tacks: I only see the inside of my church on Easter and for baptisms, I swear, take the Lord's name in vain on a (pretty) regular basis, and am fairly sure I would not have picked up your book had I not been contacted for a review. That being said, it's fantastic! I love how you focus on pregnancy and motherhood with tips on developing a closer spiritual relationship with God. Who do you see picking up The Christian Mama's Guide at the book stores? And what do you say to those (read: me) who may have strayed a bit from their faith?

Erin: I'm so grateful that you picked up my book even though it didn't exactly "fit" into your current mindset.  I appreciate you reading it and giving your honest feedback even if you didn't agree with everything I said.  My goal in writing the book was to create a comprehensive pregnancy guide for women that told them exactly what to expect and what not to expect-- all while pointing them towards Christ.  I do see Christian moms as my primary audience but I pray that my book would speak to any pregnant mom.

AM: I liked your book. Will you like to me and tell me you like my blog? Feel free to lie if this is your first time here.

Erin: Ha!  It IS my first time visiting your blog but I DO like it.  There aren't many blogs out there for writers AND moms and you've done a brilliant job of combining two totally unrelated themes.

AM: Piggy-backing off of #2, you *do* know I swear on my blog, right? Related: I promise to behave for this interview. Response?

Erin: I did NOT know that.  Girl, I have friends from all over the world and blogosphere and while I choose not to swear on MY blog, I definitely have friends who do.  I make it a point to act like a "Christian" on my blog and in life because I want women to know of my love for Christ, but I'm also not one to judge.  If I holed up in a corner and only associated with people who did the things that I did, it'd be a very lonely existence, wouldn't it?

AM: Fact or fiction: praying really, really hard will make all labor pains magically disappear.

Erin: Fiction.  Well, I don't want to put God in a box so I'm going to go ahead and say that God COULD take my labor pains away if he wanted to, but so far, no matter how much I prayed and moaned and groaned, labor still really hurt for me.  And, similarly, I've been praying and moaning for two weeks now that God would make my water break or put me into labor again and I'm still huge and pregnant... so that's not working so well either.

AM: You talk about pretty much every aspect of pregnancy, labor, and the first few days after baby arrives in The Christian Mama's Guide. And you do it with adorable sass and an authoritative but encouraging manner. So my question is: Can we go shoe shopping together?

Erin: Yes.  Please.  My feet have been swollen for weeks and I really want to wear something other than these flip flops.  I need someone to help me find something hip and fun like Gladiator sandals or wedges... and I'm just not hip enough to be able to tell the tacky duds from the up-and-coming trends.  But if you're looking for someone to help you, let me warn you ahead of time... I'm not the best at doling out shoe advice but I will definitely buy you an iced coffee and chat with you while you try on a million pairs.

AM: My favorite part of pregnancy was the part that involved getting pregnant. The resulting nine months are not exactly on my list of things I want to do again (read: hyperemisis gravidarum, three hospitalizations for dehydration, crippling sciatic pain, and feet that got too fat for anything but flip flops. And yet, after reading The Christian Mama's Guide, I kinda, sorta, almost want to get pregnant again. This makes me think you would make a kick-a...I mean, kick-butt hypnotist. Have you ever considered that as a second career choice?

Erin: I hate hate hate hate hate (did I mention HATE) being pregnant.   I've been hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum EIGHT times during this pregnancy (and over the course of my three pregnancies, it's been something like 17 times.  And, I swear, I answered the last question about my feet being too swollen for anything but flip flops before I read this one... so, basically, you've read my mind.  BUT, I wrote the book when I was NOT pregnant and it turns out pregnancy memories turn awfully sweet once you're holding a precious baby in your arms, dont' they?  Anyway, I don't want be be enticing anyone to go through torture again, but I do have to say that in the end, it's always (always) worth it.  In fact, ask me in three weeks after this baby is born and I bet I'll be telling you how wonderful pregnancy is.

AM: You asked for potty training advice (on your blog). As the proud mama of a recently potty-trained almost four-year-old, allow me to shed some light on the subject: pray for patience. It will happen when they are da..uh..darned good and ready. But turnabout is fair play, so I'd like some advice, too. Please explain how I might avoid gaining 45 pounds the next time around...

Erin: Thank you for this.  I have a friend who just potty trained her one-and-a-half-year-old and she's just ranting about how EASY it was and how it just takes patience and dedication and well, darnit, I don't have patience and dedication and it took me almost a year to potty train my second.  And, she peed her pants yesterday while we were at Target.  I think you're right, they must be darned good and ready or you're going to end up with a lot of wet panties to clean.  As far as the 45 pounds, I can't help you.  I'm not sure how much weight I've gained this time (I conveniently avert my eyes at the doctor's office) but I'm sure it's not pretty.

AM: *Running out of material* *Thumbs through book again for more questions* *Lightbulb* *A-Ha!* What do you mean I was acting psychotic while I was pregnant? Have you been talking to The Husband? And if so, nothing he says is true.

Erin: Well, I certainly haven't acted psychotic at ALL during this pregnancy (Case in point:  I did NOT wake my husband up at 3 am this morning to tell him that he was "breathing too close to my pregnancy pillow")... but apparently a lot of women (not me, of course) get all hormonal and cranky when they're pregnant.  Who knew that being 50 pounds overweight and throwing up every 10 minutes could do that to you?!

AM: Let's just pretend I was maybe considering possibly thinking about trying for another baby. With me? Great. Now talk me out of it but not really.

Erin: I'm 38 and a half weeks pregnant so I'm not really in the place to be talking about the glories of pregnancy.  But, I do know that with both of my other kids I swore up and down that I'd never (ever ever ever) get pregnant again and then did it anyway.  And, I can also say that I've never (ever ever ever) regretted my second pregnancy since the day I held my daughter.  And, again, email me in two weeks and I bet I'll say the same thing about my third.  Plus, I have to say that maternity clothes and flip flops are SO much cuter these days than they were six years ago when I was pregnant with #1.  That might be my imagination, but if that's not incentive to get knocked up, I don't know what is.

AM: Will there be a Christian Mama's Guide to Not Going Crazy the First Time Your Kid has a Public Tantrum in the Toy Section at Target? 'Cuz I would totally buy that.

Erin: I've been scheming The Christian Mama's Guide to the Terrible One-and-a-Halfs but perhaps your idea is better.  And, if you want my advice, get an iced vanilla latte at the Starbucks at the front of Target and when your kid starts throwing a fit, turn across the aisle to the electronics section and yell "Hey, someone's kid is really losing it over here?  Does anyone know where his mom is?!"  Then stand back and enjoy your latte.  Works like a charm until your kid is old enough to say something like "Mommy?!  I don't see anyone ELSE throwing a fit!"

AM: Number three is on the way. Any new pregnancy insight to share with the world? Or does Fudge Ripple still reign supreme for cravings?

Erin: Insight, insight... let's see here.  Okay, so, I've gotten so huge that my maternity clothes don't really fit anymore but my husband's gym  shorts and shirts are perfect.  So, I've taken to running around in them.  But, apparently, my husband packs his gym bag the night before for his 5:30 am trek to the gym each morning (which kinda makes me wonder why he can't be that responsible about anything else?!)...and, apparently, husbands who arrive at the gym to find their gym bags scavenged at 5:30 am aren't super happy.  So, word to the wise:  Go ahead and steal your hubby's clothes but you might want to pre-warn him before you do.

And, pregnancy craving #1 at this moment:  Coconut Frappucinos.  They're new at Starbucks and so, so yummy.  And, they're coffee-free so they don't mess with my coffee aversion. BUT, word to the wise, if you have kids, it's NOT a good idea to share your coconut frap with them or you'll end up with a sugar-fueled meltdown (see question #9) which is NEVER fun when you're nine months pregnant.  Just sayin'.

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It's giveaway time, people. Up for grabs is one copy of Erin's book. All you have to do is follow Erin on Twitter or stop by her Facebook page and click the like button. Stop back here and leave me a comment and boom.

Done.

Entries will be accepted through midnight, EST, on May 20.

Also? Good luck, Erin. That baby you're baking is almost here! And if you want my opinion, Daddy Mac is an entirely feasible baby name choice.