Friday, July 3rd, 2009
Book Review: Dad’s Pregnant Too!
This book surprised me. Dad’s Pregnant Too! by Harlan Cohen contains 103 tips for expectant fathers. I don’t much care for pregnancy books, or reviewing them, but when I was handed the book this week I randomly flipped it open to this page:
“Tip #36: The farting pregnant woman: Pregnant women get a pass when passing gas.
The tip: Make sure the neighbors aren’t within earshot.”
And I thought, yeah, I can review this book.
Although this thing is a whopping 525 pages, the pages are smaller (5″x7″) than most pregnancy books and the subject matter is broken into easily skipped sections. Face it — we don’t want to read a lot about this subject.
And by “we” I mean “me” and by “me” I mean I have telepathy and speak for all men everywhere.
We also don’t like being talked down to with mention of what authors think really preoccupies our thoughts. Thankfully, this particular author avoids couching issues in terms of stereotypical male interests (sports, cars, etc.).
Even the book’s cover art is atypical. Compare it to The Man’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy whose title is a weak attempt at being burly, but then also includes a photo of a guitar-equipped bachelor pad being converted to a baby’s room. (Oh, and it’s a DVD because we can’t read.) That’s what I mean by the usual being talked down to.
The closest our author comes to telling us how we are is a chapter describing different typical ways a guy may react to becoming a father and he pretty nails the subject with 17 examples.
Anyhow, we just want to know what we need to know, and this book tells us in a concise manner.
Each tip follows this format:
- Title and a sometimes pithy subtitle.
- A one or two-sentence tip.
- A personal story culled from numerous interviews with moms and dads.
- Factual information about the subject.
The #36 farting tip is found in a chapter about the pregnant body. The whole section is fun to read, at least from my safe vantage point as a man.
Take tip #37: The hemorrhoidal leaky pregnant woman: kind of like a leaky faucet.
The tip: If you see something, tell her about it, but wait until the right time. A woman who just gave birth doesn’t want to hear, “By the way, you have an inch-wide hemorrhoid bubble hanging out your ass.”
I think that’s the first time I’ve seen “ass” as a favored word choice in a pregnancy book.
The author, who is a syndicated columnist dispensing advice for teens, employs subtle humor. It’s of the type where if you don’t find a joke funny, you probably don’t realize it is a joke and just keep reading. That is so much better than reading forced humor found in many other advice books.
Not all the tips are humorous, but they all have really good personal stories that help put the information in perspective.
For example, the author makes a compelling case for not finding out your baby’s gender before birth. Like most parents, my wife and I chose to be told so we could plan our purchases ahead of time. Not that it really helped us because we bought gender-neutral items…
The book’s personal story is from a father, speaking from his vantage point in the delivery room, being the first to know, and being the person to deliver the news to his wife and family members. The points made are so powerful that I really regret our decision.
I heartily recommend Dad’s Pregnant Too! for new fathers, and maybe even second-timers because it contains a lot of advice that was new to me.
My wife picked this book up as a freebie at a nursing conference this week, for some reason given away by a cord blood registry. The author banked his daughter’s cord blood, but near as I can tell didn’t plug this registry in the book, so who knows.
Hey, and what’s with this book having 103 tips? I’d almost guess the author intentionally wrote two extra so that some marketing stooge wouldn’t force a hokey “101 Tips for New Dads” title on his book. Go figure.
Table of contents:
Chapter 1: The first few weeks… shock, joy, surprise, and things you’ll want to do.
Chapter 2: The doctor will see you now or whoever delivers your baby will see you now.
Chapter 3: The baby’s development: this part has pictures.
Chapter 4: The many faces of the expectant father: inside the male mind and body.
Chapter 5: The body of the pregnant woman: like puberty all over again.
Chapter 6: The mind of the pregnant woman: and the expectant mother thong.
Chapter 7: Spoiling your pregnant partner: helping her feel as good as she feels big.
Chapter 8: Pregnant sex: having it, not having it, fantasizing about having it.
Chapter 9: Shopping for baby: something so little needs so much.
Chapter 10: Passing the time: things to do during the second and third trimesters.
Chapter 11: Labor and delivery prep time: things to help prepare you for labor and delivery.
Chapter 12: The birth day: from your door to delivery room and back again.
Chapter 13: After the baby is born: the forth trimester begins.
See the full table of contents with chapter subsections.