What to Read When You're Expecting
Just for Dad
It can be hard at times to think lovingly about a man who doesn’t fully understand why you can’t just “swing big” to continue golfing with him up until the contractions start, or doesn’t think before he presents his newly pregnant wife with a brand new size two string bikini (or worse, a size XXXL pair of pajamas that she can “wear in the hospital after delivery”). But the fact is, he had a large part to play in the conception of this new little being, and you want him to be involved.
At a minimum, he should have a book that will prepare him for all that’s to come, whether it’s how to deal with your mood swings or what not to say when you ask how you look in your first official maternity outfit.
Armin Brott’s book, The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, incorporates not only Brott’s advice, but professional insight from obstetricians, psychologists, and sociologists regarding the changes women undergo while waiting for the stork to land. (Frankly, I believe that you can never have too many folks who have earned the title “Ph.D.” or “M.D.” doling out advice when the goal is ensuring that the man in your life “gets it” in short order.)
What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding, by Thomas Hill is so funny that most women will end up getting a good laugh from it as well (possibly in hindsight, but a laugh nonetheless). It won’t necessarily provide the reader with the tools he might need to deliver an overeager baby in his living room, but it does lighten the mood, which provides a fantastic opening to the “OK, Honey, now it’s time to read the stuff that will actually teach you how to change a diaper” conversation.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to remember every miraculous moment of a pregnancy. A pregnancy journal is a wonderful way to track the amazing day-to-day development of the baby and record your feelings, fears, wishes, and cravings.
The Pregnancy Journal, by A. Christine Harris, is a wonderful daily guide to both your baby’s development and your own. I used this journal for all three of my pregnancies, and now have three dates stacked on top of one another to remind me when each child developed the ability to hear or the miraculously perfect creases on his or her knuckles (or when I finally stopped feeling like I was going to vomit at the mere thought of raw chicken). The journal also provides a space every few weeks for you to document your cravings, contraction frequency, and weight (though I’m not at all pleased with the permanent record that I weighed more at the beginning of my third pregnancy than I did at the end of my first).
Be sure to purchase a blank journal as well in which you can write letters to your unborn child. Tell the baby how you’re feeling, how excited you are to meet him or her, and what’s going on in your life during your pregnancy. Your child will treasure the letters in years to come, and they will remind you of the intimate details of your life during such an incredible time.
I’d be willing to bet that your reading has only just begun. Thankfully, from doctors to psychologists to moms who’ve been there and done things you couldn’t even imagine, the number of people eager to lend a knowing hand to those about to begin the adventure of parenthood is comforting. You’re not going it alone. Whatever your dilemma in the years to come, know that help is simply a bookstore away (though a double-dip, sprinkle-covered ice cream cone can’t hurt either).
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