It was a bit tricky coming up with a title for this post because these books aren't really about the process of trying to conceive, but they are about pregnancy and being married with kids. However, these are books I have read before we started and while we were trying to conceive and I feel these are books that others should also read before they consider starting a family. It paints a better picture as to what marriage will be like with a baby and by doing the research in advance, one can feel more prepared when baby arrives or maybe realize that they aren't quite ready for kids yet before trying to get pregnant.
I have read more books than these, but these four were my favorites, so I believe anyone who is thinking about adding a baby to their marriage should definitely read these before trying to have a baby, more specifically the first two books on the list.
The third book is about pregnancy and that one you can save for when you are actually pregnant. It debunks a lot of the pregnancy myths such as you can't each sushi or drink coffee, and backs it up with research. It allows one to feel more in control of their pregnancy, rather than just doing what the doctor says without knowing the reasoning behind it or if the doctor is really right.
And the fourth book is actually about trying to conceive and was a comfort to me during the long process. I highly recommend it to anyone who has been trying for awhile and needs some reassurance.
Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More and Argue Less As Your Family Grows
By Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O'Neill, and Julia Stone
I'll start off with a warning for this book, it tends to beat up on the husband quite a bit. My husband claimed that this was a "man-hating" book (he didn't read it, but I always ask for his opinion after reading), and I totally get that. This book is from the point of view of women, so it is biased, and sexist at times.
However, if you can overlook that, there is some great advice in here, especially if you are having a difficult time communicating with your spouse or getting your spouse to help out around the house now that a baby has been added to the picture. This book gives great tips for solving arguments and just communicating in general.
Happily Married with Kids: It's Not A Fairy Tale
By Carol Ummel Lindquist
This is a must read. Carol Ummel Lindquist is a marriage counselor, so she knows what she is talking about. She is as close to unbiased as you can get. I loved it for that reason.
We don't even have kids and I already saw flaws in the way I was communicating with my husband! I'd yell at him to take the garbage out or say things like "you never" or "you always," which one, isn't true, and two, not a great way to get what you want. She points out that it's "me" that has the problem so instead of using "you," I should be using "I," so when I am upset I should say things like "I feel" or "I don't like." It's a nicer way to let your spouse know you are upset and then they are more willing to work at changing, by blaming them, you're just adding fuel to the fire.
A lot of her advice comes down to "if you wouldn't say it to a friend, then don't say it to your spouse." Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and they deserve just as much respect as any other friend.
There is a lot more advice in this book, so I recommend reading it even you don't have kids yet! She talks about the 5 stages of marriage and helps you figure out where you are at and how to work on getting to the final stage of bonded. This is one I'd recommend buying so you can refer back to it again and again.
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know
By Emily Oster
I'm not even pregnant yet and this is probably the most important book I have read!
Emily Oster goes through almost every pregnancy myth there is and explains why it exists, whether or not it should exist, and provides research/studies for all her conclusions, but leaves it open for you to decide.
Her goal is to give all pregnant women the option to make a choice that works best for them. She provides the numbers so you can choose if the statistic is big enough for you to worry or not worry about.
Jean M. Twenge provides a lot of information and gives tips for trying to conceive. The overall book was just comforting to read, especially since we have been trying for awhile. She gives awesome advice and basically says it's okay to be stressed and worried. It's totally normal. I just felt better about the whole process after reading this book, so I highly recommend it whether you are just starting to try for a baby or if you have been trying for a while.