If you're an expectant mother or already a parent and you've never heard about the book Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman, now is the right time to pick it up at your local bookstore and start reading.
Today, together with Kelly from The Primarily Inspired, I'm excited to dive into an interesting book study. Hoping you can join me too.
*This post "Bringing Up Bebe: Pregnancy in France" may contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, the price is the same for you and I receive a small commission that helps keep this blog up and running.*
If you're very busy, or overwhelmed with your daily tasks and don't have time for another parenting book, believe me, this one is a very easy read. You can literally finish it in one day. There, you won't find any tutorials on how to burp the baby or a vaccination schedule. The book is a simple yet very interesting overview of the French parenting philosophy and a philosophy of life in general.
I've read this book 2 years ago. I've heard so many flattering reviews that I decided to give it a try.
The first thing that might come to your mind when reading it, is that the author tries to demoralize the way American parents have used to raise their kids. But in fact, the book is just a good comparison of how Americans and French people tend to do things in regards to pregnancy and parenting.
Each book we read is a source of improvement and I see Bringing Up Bebe to be such book.
It's really fascinating how things are different in other part of the world. Both USA and France are world leading developed countries with so many things in common. Yet, when it comes to all things pregnancy, childbirth and raising kids, French people are onto something completely different.
In the US, when a woman gets pregnant, it becomes a norm to stock up on every possible pregnancy literature. We want to know every aspect of it, track baby's weekly development, know what to expect, what to eat, whether to exercise or not. Then comes a hospital tour, choosing a doctor, writing a birthing plan, deciding whether you want to have a natural labor. Sounds familiar?
Well, that's basically me during my first pregnancy. I was so determined to know every possible aspect of pregnancy and childbirth that I completely underestimated the fun part, which is what comes after you have a baby. I'll talk more about it in my next post.
Meanwhile, French women seem to not care much about all these pregnancy details. If you ask a French woman about her pregnancy, the only thing she could answer you is where she gives birth. They aware of food restrictions, yet they don't strictly follow them. If they want to nibble on "dangerous" smoked salmon or unpasteurized cheese, they make sure to eat them in a good restaurant, where ingredients are of the best quality.
That being said, it doesn't mean that we should start being careless about what we eat. I still care about food I'm consuming. And in contrary to Parisians, I don't trust eating unpasteurized or undercooked food, even from a trusted source. I think that the risk of Listeria is real, even if it's microscopic. Why taking chances?
In France, no one seems to care about having a natural birth. Epidural is used very often and Parisians don't pay much attention to its drawbacks.
Feels, like somehow, French women are irresponsible. Yet, according to the book, the infant mortality rate is 57 lower in France than it is in America. I'm really curious how did they achieve that, given that unlike England or Netherlands, France is well known for a lot of unnecessary labor interventions.
So, what does it tell us? Can we learn something from the way these women carry themselves through pregnancy and childbirth?
The one thing I know for sure. Too much information raises an unnecessary fear and anxiety. Isn't it? It sure does. I can definitely say it for myself. The more pregnancy related information I read, the more stressed I become.
And unlike French women, we, here in the US, like to learn a lot about pregnancy. So, the question is, are we benefiting from this information? I think so.
And I think, that the issue here lies not in excessive desire to know stuff, but in the quality of maternity care in the US. Local women are aware of the high infant mortality rate as well as high levels of unnecessary inductions. That's why we want to provide the best birthing conditions as possible. The issue is not only whether to have an epidural or not. If American woman makes a careful preparation for a birth, this only could mean that she wants the natural approach which consists of having little to no inductions to give her baby the best possible start.
So, I'm very curious if you've read this book before? And what are your thoughts in regards to a difference in a maternity care in the USA and in France?