It's a classic. What to Expect When You're Expecting is the first book I bought after peeing on that magic stick. The tell-it-like-it-is author, Heidi Murkoff, has a new edition out and is on a press tour. We caught up with the guru of trimesters and ultrasounds...and we got some, well, unexpected and delightfully candid answers.
NF: Heidi, I love your no-nonsense writing style--have you changed your "voice" at all over the years?
HM: What to Expect is ever-evolving to keep up with the evolution of expectant and new moms '?? so it'??s always changing, always new, always relevant. The fourth edition of Expecting, for instance, reflects not only changes in obstetrical practice (there are always plenty of those), but cultural changes, societal changes. And today, pregnancy is out from behind those polyester pup tents women used to wear to cover their pregnancies '?? literally. In fact, a perfect metaphor for how What to Expect and pregnancy have changed is the cover mom. The first edition '?? she was sitting in a rocking chair, in what can only be described as a frumpy housedress. Her face said it all '?? I used to kid myself that she looked '??dreamy'? but really, she looked a bit pissed off'?¦.or constipated'?¦.or both. Fast forward to the fourth edition, and mom is on her feet, pregnant and proud, celebrating her curves, embracing her belly.
NF: Do you think moms-to-be spend too much time worrying about the unknown? How can they relax?
HM: Actually, they worry a lot less than they used to. Knowledge is power, and it'??s especially empowering when you'??re pregnant. I coined the phrase '??mom power'? (noun) and '??mom-powered'? (adj) to describe that empowerment, that need to know that drives them to find the answers to their questions. In books, of course, but also online '?? and from other moms, who know a thing or two about this pregnancy and parenting gig (I should know!). Sometimes just knowing that a symptom is normal '?? that you'??re not the only one experiencing it '?? doesn'??t make it go away, but it does make it a whole lot easier to cope with. The incredible thing is, that more is in fact more, it appears '?? in our Delivering a Mom study, we found that having more information at their fingertips, as in WhatToExpect.com and the WhatToExpect apps actually reassures them. More information, more support, more connections with other moms, more technology actually leaves them more relaxed '?? less stressed out. Moms and moms-to-be are twice as likely to Twitter, 32% more likely to use a smartphone '?? and those numbers are climbing rapidly.
NF: What do you think is the best part of modern motherhood?
HM: Listen, I love being a mom '?? and I love connecting with other moms. And that'??s probably the best part not only of my job (I started Tweeting recently '?? and love, love, love having that direct connection), but also one of the best parts of being a mom in 2010. When I was pregnant for the first time, I didn'??t have any expectant friends to share the experience with. Now, you can have an entire community of expectant friends, who are going through the exact same experience at the exact same time. You can share milestones and photos, swap symptoms, celebrate every single special moment. Almost makes me want to run out and get pregnant again '?? that and the super cute maternity jeans.
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Another great thing about parenting today '?? you can do it anywhere. As we saw in the study, moms were thrilled to find that they could actually leave the house with a newborn '?? breastfeed in the mall, have their hair cut with baby in tow, take care of their own needs, develop themselves as a person (instead of tossing their own identity the moment they assumed mom status). 59% plan activities focused on themselves, not their baby '?? though ever multitaskers, ¾ of moms plan '??me time'? with baby along for the ride. And this is a trend that says a lot about how women are more eager to take care of their relationships, too: 25% of pregnant women took or are planning to take a babymoon (as one woman in our study laughed, it was the first time in her life she was ever able to hit the beach in a bikini without having to hold her stomach in J.
NF: What's the biggest challenge of the modern mom?
HM: Well, the biggest challenge has always been trying to stay one step ahead '?? or even one day ahead, or even five minutes ahead. And with more to keep up with than ever before and more to juggle (even if they don'??t work outside the home, all moms work), it'??s a bigger challenge than ever. But happily, being mom-powered by technology really helps '?? as moms pointed out over and over in the study, that allows them to multitask in ways never before possible. Get information at their fingertips, whenever they are. Consumer reviews on products. Recommendations from friends. Advice '?? both prescriptive support and emotional support '?? from their mommy team (the moms on their Twitter, on their message boards, on their facebook). Look at these stats: 60% of moms consult with their so-called in-the-trenches friends (moms who are going through the same experience at the same time), 49% consult pregnancy and parenting websites (I know a great one'?¦), 38% consult with their Voices of Experience (including grandma and moms with older kids), and 34% consult consumer reviews. There'??s no doubt that staying connected helps multitasking moms stay ahead '?? or at least, keep up!
NF: With the success of all your books your life must be very busy, what do you do to unwind? How do you stay organized.
HM: Let'??s see '?? on my five hour trip from NYC to LA I'??ve so far written the catalog copy for my newest baby, due in April (What to Expect the Second Year, the sequel to What to Expect the First Year), and done two email interviews. Next up '?? I have to write a '??letter from Heidi'? to booksellers for the Second Year'??s announcement. I still haven'??t tweeted all day, which means I'??m starting to get shaky (definitely a guilty pleasure '?? and a great way for me to unwind, checking in on my moms and answering questions'?¦not to mention checking out the adorable photos they send me). Don'??t get much time to unwind (though I love eating and traveling with my DH, who'??s by my side right now!), but definitely have to stay very organized. I work in a multitasking mom paradise '?? my computer desk is in the kitchen and next to the laundry room (so I can write, Tweet, cook, and do laundry all at the same time!).
A big thank you to
multi-tasking Heidi for sharing her voice. And did you know according to USA Today, this parenting book, known as the "Bible" to moms across the world, is read by 93 percent of all expecting mothers who read a pregnancy guide. We say: Information is mom power. Buy What to Expect 4th Ed. on Amazon.