Health

  • childbirth

    I have long maintained that the Library can help you with anything: right now it’s helping fuel my child’s Paw Patrol obsession, but I’ve found the Library useful for less trivial things as well.

    Three years ago, I was pregnant, and like any pregnant lady I was faced with about a thousand decisions I’d never had to make before. What would we name the baby? What baby gear was actually necessary? What kind of birth experience did I want to have?

    Fairly certain that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth, I buckled down and started reading. Since other authors have already shared some favorite intimacy books and favorite pregnancy books, I figured maybe we'd complete the cycle and write a blog post about books to prepare for the actual birthing process. The books I share with you here were my favorites in helping inspire and prepare me for the kind of birth experience I wanted to have. 

    I feel like I shouldn’t have to give this disclaimer, but I will anyway: these are books that I found useful. They were wonderful in helping me prepare for labor and delivery. Books are great, but they don’t replace doctors or midwives. Read some books, but see medical professionals too.

    I should also note that all these books have a strong preference for unmediated labor and delivery. If that’s not really an opinion you share, I might not recommend them. You make the choices that work for you. 

    8.3.17.Ina MayINA MAY'S GUIDE TO CHILDBIRTH
    by Ina May Gaskin
    (2003)

    Ina May is probably the best-known midwife in the country; though I admit I’m still a little skeptical about her claims that childbirth can be pain-free (mine certainly wasn’t!), my favorite thing about her books is the fact that they are packed full of stories of women being strong and having successful birth experiences. I think some books about pregnancy and childbirth spend a lot of time focusing on ALL THE POSSIBLE THINGS THAT COULD GO WRONG, so I appreciate hearing stories of all the ways that things can go right. It's nice to feel empowered into decisions rather than scared into them. 

     

     

    8.3.17.bradleyNATURAL CHILDBIRTH THE BRADLEY WAY
    by Susan McCutcheon
    (1996)

     When doing preliminary research on natural childbirth methods, there were so many people raving about “The Bradley Method” that I decided to check it out. As I understand it, the basic Bradley approach goes something like this: “Animals in labor relax through it. You can too.” (I'm probably way over-simplifying that. Don't freak out.) The Bradley method emphasizes comfortable labor positions and relaxed breathing, trying to dispel the myth that childbirth needs to involve screaming in agony. There are probably classes you can take and other books to read, but I found that this book was sufficient for me to help me be more relaxed about the labor process.

     

    8.3.17.birthing from withinBIRTHING FROM WITHIN
    by Pam England
    (1998)

    This was the book one of my midwives recommended, and I’ll be honest: I didn’t finish it all the way. I’m really open to breathing exercises and meditation and things, but I start to draw the line at suggestions that I get a canvas and paint my feelings about birth. You might think that’s super awesome, and if so, read this book all the way through.

    I include it in this list because the book starts with a simple but engaging question that proved incredibly useful as I prepared for labor: we need to ask our own questions, and then honestly seek answers to those questions in order to be prepared for birth.

    So many birth plans ask questions for us, but BIRTHING FROM WITHIN emphasizes discovering our own big questions. My biggest question was this: “How do I handle pain?” Realizing that that was my biggest concern, everything I read and researched was in service of figuring out the best ways to handle my pain in ways that were beneficial.

     

    8.3.17. Yoga BirthTHE YOGA BIRTH METHOD
    by Dorothy Guerra
    (2013)

    This was my favorite book, hands down. I actually bought a copy to have on my Kindle so that I could be sure to have it with me in the hospital. If you don’t practice yoga you might not think that this book is for you, but the breathing exercises, stretches, and general information it provides are useful for even the casual yoga practitioner (I would put myself in this category; I love to practice yoga, but I’m certainly not doing it every day).

    I loved this book for two major reasons: first, though nearly every book I read contained a description of what happens during the labor and delivery process, I thought this one was the most straightforward and helpful description of all the steps my body and my baby needed to go through in order to get him here. Second, I loved that it offered a trimester-by-trimester series of poses that could help relieve some of the pain and pressure associated with pregnancy.

    Did I do yoga in my hospital room? No, I did not. I did, however, breathe in the ways it suggests, and I actually still find those breathing exercises useful for unmedicated pain relief. Now that I'm pregnant again, you can bet this one's on my reading list. 

     

  • infantloss 

    Editor's note: October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and though we often spend time on this blog highlighting new, interesting, or funny things your library can do for you, we thought we'd also take a minute to show that the library has resources to help you in hard times. Our hearts go out to those coping with these challenges in their lives. 

    During my time as a librarian I have experienced 7 years of secondary infertility and 4 heartbreaking miscarriages. The thing that I discovered is that most people have either experienced a miscarriage themselves or they know someone who has and yet, at the time, I felt utterly alone. When I decided to look for books to help me heal emotionally and spiritually, I didn’t want books that dealt with the medical reasons behind these kinds of losses. I wanted something that would let me know that the emotions I was feeling were normal and that other women had experienced this and survived.

    Here are some books and DVDs that helped me and by sharing them I’m hoping that they just might be able to help someone else.

    BOOKS

    INFERTILITY: HEALTH, HOPE & HEALING
    by Kerstin Daynes
    2010

    Kerstin Daynes experienced firsthand the heartbreak of finding out she was infertile. In this book she offers hope to other couples facing this trial through sharing many of her own personal experiences and helping to guide the reader through the unique ups and downs of grief associated with infertility. 

    FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED: GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD
    by Camille Whiting
    2009  

    The author shares her own experience of losing two children and takes the reader through her journey of anger, despair and guilt to being able to heal and find peace. This book comes from an LDS perspective and is able to offer hope to those in similar circumstances. There is also good advice for friends and family on how to best help those who are grieving.  

    JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING: A STORY OF HEALING FROM THE LOSS OF A CHILD
    by Fran C. Hafen
    2007  

    This is a very inspiring and uplifting book. Losing a child is excruciatingly painful, but this book helps the reader understand that those feelings are okay and even normal and it doesn’t mean that you lack faith. Again, this is written from an LDS perspective and it shows how grief can evolve into healing through the gospel.  

    EMPTY ARMS: COPING WITH MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH, AND INFANT DEATH; SURVING THE FIRST HOURS AND BEYOND
    by Sherokee Ilse
    2013  

    I actually didn’t read this book as I was experiencing my own struggle, but it would have been very helpful. It offers guidance on the decisions that have to be made after the death of a baby. Another very helpful part of this book is how to handle anniversaries, holidays and the birth of other babies in the parents’ close circle. Each of these things can bring on a whole new wave of grief and often times it is very unexpected.  

    THIS THING CALLED GRIEF: NEW UNDERSTANDINGS OF LOSS
    by Thomas M. Ellis
    2006    

    This book is not specific to the loss of a child, but it does an excellent job of walking you through the crazy ups and downs of grief.  

    DVDs

    FOOTPRINTS ON OUR HEARTS: HOW TO COPE AFTER A MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH OR NEWBORN DEATH
    by Charity Hamilton
    2005

    When a baby dies the agony can be complex and intense. You may experience misplaced guilt, hurt and deep sorrow. Babies aren’t supposed to die and this DVD shows ways to cope with the many feelings you will have as you grieve during the days and weeks that follow such a loss. Mothers and fathers who have suffered a loss share words of hope, understanding and encouragement for the future.  

    AT A LOSS FOR WORDS: HOW TO HELP THOSE YOU CARE FOR IN A MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH OR NEWBORN DEATH EXPERIENCE
    by Charity Hamilton
    2005    

    One of the hardest things to figure out is what to say or do when someone close to you experiences a loss. This DVD teaches you how to help those you care about if they experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death.    

    OTHER GOOD BOOKS

    Here are some more good books that were very helpful to me. Unfortunately they are no longer in the library catalog, but you may want to find a way to read them if you are looking for more books on the subject.  

    MISCARRIAGE: WOMEN SHARING FROM THE HEART by Marie Allen and Shelly Marks  

    GONE TOO SOON by Serri Devashrayee Wittwer  

    LOST CHILDREN: COPING WITH MISCARRIAGE FOR LATTER-DAY SAINTS by Rachelle.J. Christensen

  • genealogy

    If you are fascinated by family history and sleuthing for mysteries on your family tree, there are a number of recent books you‘ll want to read. DNA testing is transforming genealogical research and enabling individuals to find answers to family history mysteries and locate previously unknown relatives. The mapping of the human gene, begun systematically in 1990, has spurred technology and medical research and enabled the discovery of genes associated with dozens of medical conditions. The science is fascinating and sometimes beyond the comprehension of a layman.  But the human stories of people who have benefitted from the advances in knowledge about our genes and chromosomes are fascinating and accessible.  Two gripping recent books tell stories of two different families afflicted with mysterious illnesses which ultimately are discovered to be linked to genetic mutations unique to their families.

    06.27.17 Mercies in DiguiseMERCIES IN DISGUISE
    Gina Kolata
    (2017)  

    Watching their proud father suffer from a mysterious illness that gradually rendered him helpless, the sons in the Baxley family vow to find the cause of his death. A chance comment by an elderly neighbor revealed the possibility that others in the family had suffered from the same disease.  Assembling a family tree they realized that the disease had struck many others in the family and would threaten themselves and their children unless they took action to identify the mutated gene responsible for the debilitating illness.

     

    06.27.17 The Family GeneTHE FAMILY GENE: A MISSION TO TURN MY DEADLY INHERITANCE INTO A HOPEFUL FUTURE
    Joselin Linder
    (2017)  

    While only in her twenties, the author begins to have strange symptoms, the first of which was swelling in her legs. After years of visiting various doctors she is diagnosed with a blockage in her liver. As she investigates her family tree she begins to see that her father’s illness was like hers, an uncle was also afflicted, and her great-grandmother died with similar symptoms.  Working with genetic researchers she confirms that fourteen relatives had died with the same disease caused by a brand new genetic mutation never seen before except in her family. The discovery means that the living generation of her family lives under the shadow of the same genetic illness.  

    Genetic genealogy uses genetic testing to discover or infer relationships between individuals. This rapidly growing field helps people identify their paternity and their more distant origins. Affordable genetic testing has been available since the early 2000s and hundreds of thousands of people have been tested with sometimes surprising results.

    06.27.17 The Stranger in My GenesTHE STRANGER IN MY GENES: A MEMOIR
    Bill Griffeth
    (2016) 

    Bill Griffeth is a successful financial journalist on CNBC and has also been a passionate genealogy hobbyist since 2003.  A cousin who was also interested in genealogy persuaded him to have a DNA test so that the two of them could compare results in order to learn more about their family history.  The DNA results were a shock because they revealed that the two cousins were not related – in other words, the man who raised Griffeth and whose genealogical lines Griffeth had spent years researching was not his biological father. Bill Griffeth has presented at genealogy clubs and historical societies many times over the years but never had his belief that “genealogy is the pursuit of truth” been challenged in such a personal way.  This book narrates the fallout from the genetic genealogy discovery of his true biological heritage.

     

    If you are interested in the more technical and scientific details of gene mapping and genetic genealogy, there are two highly recommended resources you can find at Provo Library.

    6.27.17 The Family Tree Guide to DNA TestingTHE FAMILY TREE GUIDE TO DNA TESTING AND GENETIC GENEALOGY
    Blaine T. Bettinger
    (2016)

    The Family Tree guide describes in clear language what DNA testing is, how it is used in genealogy and who the major companies are that do genetic testing. Once you have results from your DNA testing, the book also helps you understand how to interpret the results.

     

     

    6.27.17 The Gene an Intimate HistoryTHE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
    Siddhartha Mukherjee
    (2017) 

    Siddartha Mukherjee won the Pulitzer Prize for his previous book about cancer, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES. Set against the backdrop of his own extended family’s history of inherited mental illness, his beautiful writing about genetics begins with the time that genes were first theorized and conceptualized and traces developments in genetics to the present when we can directly manipulate the human genome.

  • meditation 1

    “Focus your attention within. You will experience new power, new strength and new peace of body, mind and spirit. All bonds that limited you will be removed.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda  

    I tend to be a stressed and anxious person. I worry, A LOT. This does nothing productive and actually makes my life harder. It also makes me ill- I get tense muscles, rashes, acne, headaches, depression, anxiety and food sensitivities, to name a few . Our bodies don’t take well to stress on the excessive side. (A healthy amount of stress does help us be productive and motivated contributors to society.)  But thankfully there are options to relieve the excess stress. One very underused option is meditation. Focusing on breathing, calming down the mind, and drawing attention inward can soothe and liberate the mind and body. Besides being a librarian, I am a certified yoga instructor and during my training I was taught meditation techniques that truly work. I’ve found these simple meditation techniques to be very beneficial in reducing stress, healing my body and alleviating my worries. The only hard part about it is consistently doing it!  

    The main reasons people DON’T meditate:

    1. A skeptical mindset. Meditation is the ultimate act of ‘sharpening the saw.’ 
    2. Impatience: it’s too easy. The daily benefit is small but the long term benefit is huge.
    3. Concern about being too selfish. You are just as important as everyone else. And what you want matters just as much as what everybody else wants.
    4. A need for external authorization. Being attuned to your inner guidance will never lead you astray.
    5. Emotional discomfort. Becoming aware of negative thoughts and feelings gives you the power to change them and to liberate yourself from them, the power to transform your life!  

    My personal reason to not meditate- #2 Impatience. I can’t stick to a daily routine. It’s too simple and though I definitely have 20 minutes each day that could go towards meditating, I choose worthless fillers like social media and TV, instead of choosing what would really help me. What’s your reason for not meditating?  

    Follow these steps for a basic meditation sequence:

    • Throughout the practice remain poised and alert
    • Sit upright in a cross legged posture, eyes closed, hands resting on knees
    • Acknowledge your relationship to the Infinite, however you perceive it to be
    • Direct your attention to your spiritual eye- the center space between the eyebrows
    • Observe your natural breathing rhythm. Let it flow easily.
    • If using a one word mantra- mentally recite it on the inhale or exhale; feel peaceful on the opposite breath (One word mantras- peace, shalom, shanti, joy, happiness, Om etc)
    • With a word-phrase mantra- mentally recite the first word on the inhale and the second word as you exhale. (mantra phrases- So-Hum, Hong-Sau, Om-God, Be-Still, I-Am etc)
    • Continue the internal chanting for at least 20 complete breaths or for as long as you desire.
    • When you are relaxed and internalized, disregard the mantra and continue to breathe in a calm, alert state for the duration of your session (10+ minutes).
    • To conclude your practice, open your eyes and remain calm and posed in your seated position for a few moments before resuming normal activities.  

    Meditation is proven to have both spiritual and physical positive side effects including:

    1. Improved function of the immune system.
    2. Increased production of healing hormones. (DHEA, melatonin, serotonin, HGH)
    3. Changes in the brain that support emotional stability.

    By meditating the mind is brought into stillness, and the body follows calming down the overactive ‘fight or flight’ response caused by STRESS. Stress is at the root of most illnesses and can be reduced in the body through meditation. Different areas of the brain are strengthened when meditating giving you great capacity to handle stress is a positive way.  

    *From Steven Nibley’s meditation class for yoga teachers training  

    What’s stopping you from living a healthier, happier, less stressful life? Here are library resources to help you begin a meditation practice:

    The Power of StillnessTHE POWER OF STILLNESS: LEARN MEDITATION IN 30 DAYS
    by Tobin Blake
    (2003)

     

     

     

     

     

    Chakra MeditationCHAKRA MEDITATION: DISCOVER ENERGY, CREATIVITY, FOCUS, LOVE, COMMUNICATION, WISDOM, AND SPIRIT
    by Swami Saradananda
    (2008)

     

     

     

     

    Christ Centered MeditationCHRIST-CENTERED MEDITATION: A HANDBOOK FOR A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
    by Pam Blackwell
    (2011)

     

     

     

    The Headspace Guide to MeditationTHE HEADSPACE GUIDE TO MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS: HOW MINDFULNESS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN TEN MINUTES A DAY
    by Andy Puddicombe
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

    Meditation Made SimpleMEDITATION MADE SIMPLE: WEEKLY PRACTICES FOR RELIEVING STRESS, FINDING BALANCE, AND CULTIVATING JOY
    by Paula Watkins
    (2016)

     

    QUIET TIME MEDITATION
    by Creative Music Service
    (2005)

     

    CANON FOR RELAXATION AND MEDITATION
    by Johann Pachelbel
    (1990)

    Guided Mindfulness MeditationGUIDED MINDFULNESS MEDITATION SERIES 1
    by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    (2002)

     

  • Sleep

    Riddle: What question can you never say yes to?

    Answer: Are you asleep?

    Unhappily, for some of us we can answer the question and the answer is often “NO!  I’m not asleep!” Either we can’t fall asleep when we go to bed or we wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  Our lives are keyed up and wired and getting enough sleep turns out to be a very difficult thing to do.  You can poll your neighbors - read a boring book, take melatonin, put a hot pad on your tummy, count sheep – or you can read what experts have to say.  Here are some recent books that shed light on the problem of sleeplessness.  

    2.27 The Sleep SolutionTHE SLEEP SOLUTION: WHY YOUR SLEEP IS BROKEN AND HOW TO FIX IT
    by W. Chris Winter, M.D.
    (2017)   

    Sleep expert and neurologist, Dr. Winter, has twenty-four years of experience helping more than 10,000 people sleep better. His book will help you understand your sleep patterns and problems to find the best interventions so you can have healthy sleep. 

     

    2.27 SnoozeSNOOZE: THE LOST ART OF SLEEP
    by Michael McGirr
    (2017)

    Looking back at the sleep patterns of great people like Shakespeare, Aristotle, and Thomas Edison, McGirr’s entertaining book explains what our brains are doing when we are asleep, the benefits of healthy sleep, and why sound sleep is sometimes so elusive.

     

    2.27 You are Getting SleepyYOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY: LIFESTYLE BASED SOLUTIONS FOR INSOMNIA
    by Paul Glovinsky and Arthur Spielman
    (2017)

    Two doctors share recent research about how people get sleepy, the difference between fatigue and being sleepy, and how being hyper or depressed can interfere with sleep and lead to insomnia.

     

    2.27 Wild NightsWILD NIGHTS: HOW TAMING SLEEP CREATED OUR RESTLESS WORLD
    by Benjamin Reiss
    (2017)

    Sleep is essential to human beings but down through history where we sleep, who we sleep with, and how much we sleep have changed dramatically. Our modern cultural definition of the requirements for sleep has added to our sleep problems, contributing to insomnia, exhaustion and sleep disorders.

     

    2.27 The Power of WhenTHE POWER OF WHEN
    by Michael Breus
    (2016)

    Exploring exciting new research about out biology, Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep medicine specialist, offers a comprehensive quiz to help you discover your “chronotype.”  Find out how to take advantage of your “body’s inner clock” in order to know your best time of day for a variety of personal activities including sleep.  Take the quizzes he offers in the book to learn what your own personal circadian rhythms are and discover if you are a “Dolphin, Wolf, Bear, or Lion.”

     
  •  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month? I would guess that, if we haven’t already, all of us will at some point experience our own mental health struggles or have someone very close to us who does. Just like the rest of our bodies, our minds can go through periods of wellness and periods of poor health, and they deserve care and treatment.

    A generation or two ago, these struggles might have been kept quiet. Fortunately, our culture is becoming more accepting of and open about mental health. For instance, you might have heard about the Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by younger members of the British royal family, or about the Campaign to Change Direction. Programs like these aim to reduce stigma against mental illness, to educate, and to provide mental health resources.

    In recent years, memoirs dealing with mental health, including some REALLY funny memoirs, have become common. Their humorous but honest approach can remind us that we aren't alone and keep us laughing. Here are a few of my favorites.

    Hyperbole and a HalfHYPERBOLE AND A HALF
    By Allie Brosh
    (2013)

    Even if you’ve never heard of Brosh or her blog, you’ve probably seen her CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! meme. Brosh blogs about everyday life using a mix of text and crudely drawn webcomics. In addition to sharing hilarious stories about grammar, her childhood, and her dogs, she has also written about ADHD and, famously, depression.

    Whether in book or blog form, HYPERBOLE AND A HALF might just be the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting her second book for a couple of years now, but its expected release date has been pushed back from 2017 to 2050. I’ll be impatiently waiting into old age, it appears.  

    Furiously HappyFURIOUSLY HAPPY: A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT HORRIBLE THINGS
    By Jenny Lawson
    (2015)

    Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. the bloggess) is another author who started out in the blogosphere. She writes irreverently about living in a small Texas town with her patient husband, their daughter, and an ever-growing collection of quirky taxidermy. She frequently writes about her experiences with depression, anxiety, and avoidant personality disorder. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is my favorite of her books, but I also love her first memoir LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED and YOU ARE HERE, a coloring book of the illustrations she creates in moments of anxiety.

     

    Adulthood is a MythADULTHOOD IS A MYTH
    By Sarah Andersen
    (2016)

    This is a book you could easily read in an hour or two. Sarah Andersen, who also gained a following online (I’m sensing a theme here), creates comics about life as a Millennial adult. In simple drawings, she depicts social anxiety, body image struggles, insecurity, and how pets make it all a bit better.

     

    Heart and BrainHEART AND BRAIN: AN AWKWARD YETI COLLECTION
    By Nick Seluk
    (2015)

    Nick Seluck is another webcomic creator who eventually became a published author. He is best known for comics depicting inner turmoil between logical Brain and fanciful Heart, as well as various other organs (I have a soft spot for the adorable Gallbladder). I’ve especially enjoyed his comics about anxiety and insomnia.

     

    Youre Never Weird on the InternetYOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST)
    By Felicia Day
    (2015)

    Felicia Day’s life has been an unusual one. Homeschooled as a child, she went to college at sixteen, finished her math degree with flying colors, and then became an actress and web-series developer. She writes about anxiety, depression, and the intense gaming addiction she developed in her twenties.

    YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET is easily the funniest celebrity memoir I’ve ever read (and I’ve read an embarrassing number of celebrity memoirs). Day’s narration of the audiobook is especially hysterical.

     

  • intimacy

     When I started dating my now fiancé a few years back, I realized that there was a lot I didn’t know about physicality. Kissing was awkward, cuddling sent my anxiety through the roof, and holding hands still seemed like something for keeping little kids out of traffic. I knew that to get myself more comfortable with physicality I needed to learn more about it, so I started researching. The internet is a mixed bag on this topic, so I turned to books written by LDS authors for a clean, tasteful approach. Some of the books I read were extremely helpful, and some less so, but together they helped me overcome my initial fears of a physical relationship.

    Now that I’m engaged, I find myself revisiting the same books for a different reason: to prepare myself for a successful marriage. I find (again) that some LDS intimacy books can be more useful than others, especially depending on what stage you’re at and what you’re looking for. With that in mind, I would like to share not just the titles of the books I’ve read, but an explanation of what is helpful about each so that you can pick up the book that’s right for you next time you come into the library.

    Between Husband and WifeBETWEEN HUSBAND & WIFE 
    by Stephen E. Lamb and Douglas E. Brinley
    (2008)

    This book was not my favorite, but that’s because it was written with a very specific audience in mind. It is intended for those who want to prepare for marriage without “spoiling the surprise.” Advice is kept fairly general, and the chapter on the sexual response cycle is brief. If you want to hold off on detailed discussions of sex until after marriage, this is a good place to start. There a couple chapters at the end about the middle and later years of a relationship, but BETWEEN HUSBAND & WIFE is mostly geared towards engaged couples and newlyweds, including chapters like “The Honeymoon” and “What I Wish I’d Known.” Scriptural quotes and gospel context are also given a lot of space.

    Becoming OneBECOMING ONE: INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE 
    by Robert F. Stahmann,  Wayne R. Young, and Julie G. Grover
    (2004)

    BECOMING ONE is a short book, but it packs in a lot of information. It includes frank discussions of what to expect physically, potential problems and their solutions, and a helpful FAQs section. It also has some wonderful sections about the differences between men and women and the ways they approach sex. The target audience is definitely engaged couples and newlyweds, but there is plenty that could be helpful for those who have been married a few years as well. For sheer density of helpful facts and advice, I would say this one is my favorite. It does spend very little time on gospel context, however, so if that’s what you’re looking for maybe start with another book first.

    And They Were Not AshamedAND THEY WERE NOT ASHAMED 
    by Laura M. Brotherson
    (2004)

    The very first words of this book are “Sex isn’t bad,” and the rest of the book goes on to attack the misconception that physicality is something dirty. Brotherson starts by explaining the “Good Girl Syndrome,” where LDS girls who have been taught their whole life that sex is bad struggle to change their mindset once married. She then tries to help those girls see sex as something beautiful: she reaffirms the sanctity of sexual relations, describes “The Symphony of the Female Sexual Response” in detail, and puts the physical relationship in the context of a spiritual and emotional relationship. She also explains a lot of the sexual differences between men and woman and offers advice on how to work together to make sure that both partners are satisfied. This book is definitely geared toward women, but is excellent both for women who are struggling with physicality and for men who are looking to better understand their partners. As a side note, those who find this book helpful might also enjoy KNOWING HER INTIMATELY, Brotherson’s new book.

    Sexual Wholeness in MarriageSEXUAL WHOLENESS IN MARRIAGE 
    by Dean M. Busby, Jason S. Carroll, and Chelom Leavitt
    (2014)

    This book begins by explaining the damaging sexual metaphors that are often used in the LDS church, and proposing an alternative model of sexual wholeness. As this was my introduction to the genre, and I found that model a helpful first step.  I also appreciated the authors’ scientific approach. There were anatomical diagrams to explain the male and female reproductive systems and discussion of things like nerve clusters and erogenous zones. More than that, however, I liked how applicable everything felt. Their anecdotes all come from people who approached the authors with questions, and it is surprising to see how many of the situations they describe apply to you. They have an entire third of the book devoted just to answering specific questions, so there’s a good chance they’ve answered yours. Finally, I feel like this book more than all the others can be applicable to any stage of the relationship, whether you’re just getting started or if you’ve been married for years.

    The Act of MarriageTHE ACT OF MARRIAGE 
    by Tim and Beverly LaHaye
    (1998)

    This last one isn’t actually LDS, but I felt the need to include it because it is easily the most famous Christian intimacy book. The book was originally published in 1976 — 1998 was when they released the revised and updated version — and was foundational to the development of the genre. Unfortunately, that also means that the cultural references are a bit dated. There are some pretty traditional gender roles implicit throughout, and if statements like "The natural longing of every woman's heart is to be a homemaker" bother you, this is probably the wrong book. If you are a couple with a more traditional mindset, however, this book can still be quite helpful. The science is good, and you can really feel the affection that Tim and Beverly have for all of their readers.

     

  •  mindfulness

    There is so much stress in the world. Although some aspects of stress can be motivating, too much stress, without a way to manage it, is not good. It is important to find ways to balance stress, finding time to relax and play. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own deadlines, we forget that children also need ways to wrap their growing minds around their stress. Even though their stressors are different than ours, they are real. Tools are necessary to help them manage their thoughts and combat the ever growing numbers of young children experiencing anxiety and depression. Recently, mindfulness has become a trending topic and a way to restore the balance that is needed in this busy world. 

    The ideas surrounding mindfulness recognize that hard things happen and storms rage, but with practice, thoughts can be controlled and managed to find peace inside, despite surrounds that cannot be controlled. Each individual can make a difference for themselves and others. Gaining the knowledge and making time to exercise the mental capabilities that make peace possible will benefit all. These are a few picture books published recently geared specifically to children and mindfulness. 

    5.9 I am PeaceI AM PEACE
    By Susan Verde
    Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
    (2017)

    Simply looking through this book makes me happy. The warmth of the pictures brings the peace that is described in the book’s pages. This is the perfect introduction to mindfulness. As the book is read calmness enters the reader and the listeners of the story. As it progresses and peace increases, the empowerment to share the kindness and peace that results is invited. 

     

    5.9 Meditate with meMEDITATE WITH ME: A STEP-BY-STEP MINDFULNESS JOURNEY
    By Miriam Gates
    Illustrated by Margarita Surnaite
    (2017)

    Gates gives specific instructions to guide a classroom of preschoolers or one-on-one guidance to teach children to recognize the sensations, feelings, and emotions they are experiencing and how to process them. Breathing, relaxing, and listening are the important elements. 

     

    5.9 Breathe and BeBREATHE AND BE: A BOOK OF MINDFULNESS POEMS
    By Kate Combs
    Illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen
    (2017)

    The poems are written in a Japanese poetry form called tanka, an earlier version of haiku, as described in the back of the book. Many of the poems contain analogies of nature to help the reader transform their thoughts in the mindfulness experience.

     
  • expecting

     

    My husband tells me that I have a researcher personality because every time I decide to do anything new I always try to find as much information as I can about the topic beforehand.  When my husband and I decided it was time for us to start having children, naturally I read everything I could find on how to make it happen.  Then once we found out I was pregnant, I focused my searches on books about pregnancy.  These are the books I found that have been most helpful so far in my search!

    WTE Before Youre ExpectingWHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2009)  

    This book has all of the useful information from diet and lifestyle changes to make before you start trying, how the menstrual cycle works and how to pinpoint ovulation, to challenges and how to get help.  What I loved most about this book is how the information is organized.  Every topic has its own section and sub-topics have bolded beginnings, making it very easy to skip irrelevant information without missing anything you want to know.  

     

     

    impatient womans guideTHE IMPATIENT WOMAN’S GUIDE TO GETTING PREGNANT
    by Jean M. Twenge
    (2012)

    I really related to the title of this book!  Once we decided to start trying I was so impatient for it to happen.  This book is great because it has very detailed information on how the different stages of the menstrual cycle work, different methods for how to pinpoint ovulation, and how to use that information most effectively.  It also has information about diet, miscarriage, when to talk to a doctor, and more.  

     

     

    WTE When Youre ExpectingWHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2016)  

    What to Expect When You’re Expecting is full of information starting with lifestyle, diet, and dedicated chapters for each month, through  labor, delivery, and postpartum, and includes information about expecting multiples, managing complications, and loss.  This book has been my go-to resource for random symptoms or questions and for an overall look at what to expect each month.  The index is thorough and especially helpful when I’m not sure what month has what I’m looking for.  I have tried looking at other books that do a walk-through of pregnancy, but this one has been most detailed and has the clearest organization method so far.  

     

    WTE Eating WellWHAT TO EXPECT: EATING WELL WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2005)  

    It turns out that I really like the What to Expect series!  While What to Expect When You’re Expecting does have a chapter dedicated to eating well with the same diet theory, this book also includes how to eat well for a lot of different situations common to pregnancy like gestational diabetes or heartburn, a chapter about weight gain, and even eating well postpartum.  The best part is it has a full cookbook section at the end that follows their diet advice!  

     

     

    doula guide to birthTHE DOULA GUIDE TO BIRTH: SECRETS EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN SHOULD KNOW
    by Ananda Lowe
    (2009)  

    What I liked most about this book was it didn’t pass judgment or try to scare the reader regarding hospitals or medical pain management.  I don’t want to make fear-based decisions when it comes to birth, and this book provided a lot of useful information about the birth process and different approaches without trying to scare readers in one direction or another.  Even though I have decided not to use a doula, this book was still worth the read.

  • yoga

    Yoga? At the library? Aren’t librararies just about books?

    Reading stretches your mind; it’s an excellent way to explore new ideas and realize who you really are in relation to those characters and ideas. Yoga likewise teaches you about yourself as you move through a sequence. Though you may think of it as merely a series of stretches, the moving mediation of yoga invites a stillness of the mind while the body is challenged in stretches and flowing movement. Attention to breath brings an awareness to the body and allows participants to connect with those around them. While doing the sequences together a greater sense of one’s purpose in life and purpose in the community can be revealed. During and after a yoga class you feel an overall sense of gratitude. You are thankful for your body, the exercise, the place it was taught, and your yoga teacher, and you go away with a kinder more positive outlook on life. 

    Yoga at the library welcomes everyone. It’s not about how flexible you are. In fact that is one of the purposes of yoga: to progress in your flexibility and movement. You absolutely don’t have to be bendy to begin a practice. You can come no matter your experience level in yoga. We have pregnant women, college students, moms with their kids, couples on a date, veteran yogis and first timers. While the library is not a health club offering fitness classes, we are an institution that strives to better individuals, families and the community; offering free monthly yoga classes helps fulfill that mission.

    Yoga at the Library is part of our Learn It @ Your Library series. Other topics in this series include Hair 101, how to buy a house, how to use credit card points and miles, bicycle care, emergency preparedness, sewing, writing workshops, parents talking to their kids, and so many more. Learn Its are always FREE. They are open to the public, so you don’t have to have a library card. Invite friends and then when they are here they can get a library card too! Yoga is held monthly on the first Wednesday of every month at 7pm in the Bullock room #309. 

    Hope to see you all at yoga next month! Namaste! If you’re interested in other free yoga classes around the community, Yoga Recyled has got you covered:   

    Yoga @ the Library was on the local news! Check out the clip here