Today we’ll talk with registered nurse Tori Kropp who has recently authored The Joy of Pregnancy. We’ll find out more about this guide for parents to be and what makes it different from other books for expectant parents. This is Part 1 of a two-part interview.
Cheryl Malandrinos (Q): Welcome to Divine Caroline, Tori. It’s great to have you with us.
Tori Kropp (A): It is great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I have been a prenatal nurse for more than twenty years. Even years before, I had a fascination with birth that has led me on this long and expanding road of pregnancy. There is nothing I know more about than “birthing” babies. I have seen more that 2,000 babies come into the world in hospitals, birth centers, bedrooms, bathtubs, hammocks and even in the back of a pickup truck! I practice in a very well respected, family-centered women’s hospital in San Francisco.
Q: I hear that you’ve been called “the Dear Abby of pregnancy.” How did that all come about?
A: It actually started in the mid 1990s. In 1990, I founded a unique pre and post-natal teaching program: PillowTalk, Modern Childbirth Education. My strategy in these classes—teaching women not to overwhelm themselves with information and to focus instead on trusting their bodies and enjoying their pregnancies—was very well received in the San Francisco/Bay area. The classes came to be known as the “common-sense” ones to take. In 1995, I began Stork Site®, a community website for expectant and new parents. Bursting with activity, this site became one of the Internet’s first successful communities and later became a part of ivillage.com.
On Stork Site, I authored a question and answer forum called “Ask Tori, R.N.” in which I answered questions from the community. The users of the community started to refer to themselves as “Storkies” and someone mentioned that my answers to the pregnancy questions had the same sort of common sense that the Dear Abby column had. It was then that the “Dear Abby of Pregnancy” title was born. It kind of stuck.
Q: Why did you decide to write The Joy of Pregnancy?
A: Many years ago, I began to recognize that many women who were “prepared” for birth by having read books and taken classes were coming into their births ill prepared for actual labor. They were trusting a variety of “experts” and writers more than they trusted themselves. They were struggling to “think” their way through and to try to control the very primal and uncontrollable experience of childbirth.
Women today are more worried, anxious, and serious than I have ever seen. Where is the humor of that expanding belly, the funny stories, and the old wives’ tales? It seems as though the common sense and lightness of this wonderful time has been replaced by dry facts about procedures, tests, and nutrition. These are all important things but certainly not the whole picture.
I have been able to use the skills I have in my work with pregnant women in a variety of ways. I have worked with women during labor, through my childbirth education company, PillowTalk® and online via my community website, Stork Site. And I know I have been able to have a positive impact. I have always wanted to reach out to more women through a book and the time finally presented itself.
Q: What are some of the things expectant parents can find within the pages of your book?
A: The Joy of Pregnancy is designed to be a guide for pregnant women and their partners to use from the moment they become pregnant or even when they are thinking about being pregnant. I have written the book in a very conversational and easy to follow way. Each chapter corresponds to the month of pregnancy that a woman is in. I talk about what is happening in a woman’s body, how the baby is growing and all the aspects of each stage of pregnancy. Medical issues as well as natural, down to earth remedies are presented in a non-judgmental way.
I focus on practicality, particularly related to what is useful to buy and what is and is not necessary in preparing for the new baby. In today’s economy this is very relevant. People are working harder and harder and there is a tremendous amount of marketing targeted to this audience. I talk a lot about how to spend less and focus on things such as spending money on wholesome food and buying for the long-term and borrowing for the short term.
There is also such frenzy and focus in the media related to celebrity pregnancies. The book really addresses some of the unrealistic expectations magazines and the media place on pregnancy, weight gain, postpartum, and baby care. We talk about what is real for women.
People close to me who have read the book tell me that it sounds just as though I am speaking. And I think I speak more comfortably than I write! I hope women can feel as though they have a trusted companion walking with them through their pregnancies.
Part 1 | (Part 2)