Everyone says that life changes after having a baby. When you’re expecting, friends, family, and complete strangers attempt to tell you how. Some may be right and some will be wrong. (Thank goodness! So many people warned me how little sleep I would get but I was blessed with a great little sleeper.) But they are right about one thing – life changes after having a baby. In more ways that you might think.
Since my little one was born, my reading life has changed in more ways than I could ever have anticipated. Some things I expected, and others took me by complete surprise. So, without further ado, here are some of the major ways having a baby has changed my relationship with books.
Initially, I had no idea what to expect as far as how my time would be spent after my baby was born. I’m an only child and was never much of a babysitter growing up, so the most time I’d spent with a newborn was short visits to friends after they gave birth. I had heard some mothers of newborns say that they got more reading done than ever and others who said it was the most exhausting time in their lives and they couldn’t think of anything other than sleep.
As it turned out, life with a newborn was a whirlwind. It was difficult to focus on a book for more than just a few minutes at a time. Sometimes the only opportunity I had to read was while rocking my little one to sleep. So, with significantly less time to pick up a book, the amount I read dipped quite a bit in the first few months. At seven months in now, I feel like I’ve only recently found my reading stride again.
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hands, I’m not typically too particular about the format I read in. The convenience of having many books at the touch of my fingertips on my nook is fantastic. It’s also light and easily portable, and the backlight means I can read at night after the lights are off. And I’ve even read on my phone – while that’s not my favorite format, it’s even more convenient than an e-reader since I always have it on me.
In the past few months, the ratio of different formats I’ve read in has changed quite a bit. I haven’t tracked it so cannot quote specific numbers, but I now read on my phone more than ever. I still like to pick up a physical copy or my nook once my baby is down for the night and I have some time to relax. But if I have a few minutes to spare during the day, I pick up my phone. And since I figure reading a book is a better habit than constantly checking email or social media, I turn to my book apps (usually nook or kindle, but there are other apps I sometimes use as well and recommend). Reading on my phone is the hardest on my eyes, but I’m hoping this is a temporary change and that I’ll be able to pick up other formats more often again in the future.
This was by far the most surprising change for me. Back when I was pregnant, I tried reading a true crime (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark) and I couldn’t do it. It had me creeped out and on edge. Usually I would make it a point to read such a book during the day and that would be fine, but even reading this with the sun high in the sky began to affect me.
Maybe it was the hormones, but ever since then I’ve struggled to read certain types of books. It doesn’t fall along genre lines exactly, but some of the thrillers I’ve been drawn to in the past don’t work for me anymore. Specifically, true crime, overly graphic scenes, dark tones, and anything involving bad deeds done to children are triggering. In the past, I could separate the events in books from my life, but recently I don’t seem to have that ability.
On the flip side, I’ve started feeling drawn to books that I would have completely ignored before. Literary fiction is becoming more appealing, and I find myself wanting to read all the classics. It’s entirely possible this is more the effect of thriller burnout, but given the timing, I’m not too sure. Only time will tell.
There are many small ways in which having a baby changed my reading life, but these are the three big ones. Have you ever gone through a life change that significantly impacted your reading? If so, how? I’d love to know!