Book Review: We’re Pregnant

This book will be released next Tuesday (April 24). I was excited to be contacted by a new publisher (or publisher’s agent) to request a review. Obviously, that means I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook

My Rating – Put it on your list

Level – Quick, easy book. Reads much shorter than the roughly 275 pages.

Summary
If you are looking at it, I’m sure you’ve figured out it is a pregnancy book. It is definitely more ‘handbook’ than most other pregnancy handbooks and guides out there. The book is broken into four parts – the three trimesters and what he calls the ‘fourth trimester’. Within each part is a chapter for each month, and each month is broken into weekly subsections.

Each part has an intro to the trimester and a summary checklist for things to have accomplished for the trimester at the end of the part. Chapters (months) likewise have a shorter intro with a stats page with things like size comparisons and ‘new gear’, which is things the baby will develop that month (lungs, toes, etc.). The write-up for the week is about a page and has a separate text box with info such as baby stats, mom stats, and not-to-miss appointments.

The remainder of each sub-chapter is ‘family goals’, which include things like ‘plan ahead’, ‘budget savvy’, and ‘home CEO’. In the intro to the book, Kulp explains each of the 13 family goals that come up. However, each week only has two to four.

The ‘fourth trimester’ is a section devoted to the first three months of the baby’s life. He follows the same format as the other trimesters, which leads to funny comparisons as fruit no longer does the job (for 2 month old, he reference a house cat or Thanksgiving turkey).

My Thoughts
As mentioned above, the is the most handbook style pregnancy book I’ve read. I’d recommend buying the book as soon as you are pregnant and reading through the whole thing. Then, as each week comes up, flip back through and review the stats pages and text box, as well as family goals sections. The trimester checklist at the back of each part is incredibly useful, though it really should be in the front. As you enter each trimester, skip to that end and make yourself aware of the checklist and things you need to accomplish.

Kulp’s writing style is funny and quick, I had never heard of him before, but apparently he is big in the dad blogosphere. The book is a useful guide, the strength is probably the family goals. I didn’t like the names of two of them, because I don’t like the word ‘doula’ and I really dislike ‘daddy daycare’, because the implication being that a dad is not a caregiver. I would just call this parenting. However, the phrase was likely chosen for the alliteration, as Kulp is a stay at home dad with four children, I doubt he sees himself as being stuck on ‘daycare duty’, as I’ve heard to referred to before.

The ‘fourth trimester’ section is a novel concept, most books take you to a few weeks, maybe a month, after birth, if they don’t stop with birth itself. Similarly, the sub-chapters for weeks 41 and 42 are pretty funny, especially if you’ve had a child (or no of one) that stayed too long and the overwhelming feeling of the mom who just wanted to get the baby out of her. I like that he mentions the heartbreak and struggle of miscarriage, telling his personal story; this is a topic often skipped in most pregnancy books (and really life in general, as I found out when we went through one). I also appreciated his focus on keeping an eye on your wife after the birth for signs of  post-partum depression that can be much more serious than the typical ‘baby-blues’.

When I found out we were pregnant, I think I bought six books. I’ve since read and reviewed another four or five, and probably have to put this as the top two or three. Overall, it is a good book, and well written, and I particularly like the guide style, which makes the book very practical with useful tips. There is nothing in there about pre-pregnancy or trying to conceive, so if that is your focus, look elsewhere. He has geared the book to those dads who just found out there are pregnant. So, if that is you, put this on your list.

On Daughters

An odd thing happens when you tell people you are having a girl. When I would tell people that my wife is pregnant, naturally one of the first questions is, ‘boy or girl?’ I don’t remember exactly, but somewhere between 1/3 and as much as half of the responses after my answer (a girl) were something along the lines of, ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘are you okay with that?’ Sometimes it was worded more subtly, and I didn’t quit understand what they were referring  to. Was I happy with a kid? Absolutely, we’d been married for six years and had been trying for months to get pregnant.

Being asked this over and over, and often much more bluntly, I finally realized what the major issue was that people were so concerned with: how disappointment was I, a man, with have a daughter. More often than not, it was women who asked me, especially older ones, who would make a sad and concerned face while asking. It makes me sad to think of how they must have felt growing up.

To be fair, if I could have had my perfect situation, I’d have a son first then a daughter. Partly because I don’t understand babies/children or women, but I do understand boys, so I felt the transition would help prepare me as a parent. But then there is also some idealistic about have the other son helping to protect and look out for their little sister.

Either way, one of each was generally the ‘plan’ as much as random occurrences can be planned. It just seems so anachronistic to be disappointed with a daughter.  I won’t be burdened with her until I can marry her off. I am not part of the titled gentry, where I risk losing my land rights for future heirs if I don’t have a Sir Monday Morning Theologian the Second the carry on my name.

It is also just sad thinking how common this feeling must be (or hopefully, must have been) that so many people felt the need to express sympathy for me. I can’t imagine how some little girls must have felt and how that impacted them later on in life.

A good friend of mine and his wife were also pregnant in some overlapping time. He was having a boy. I was at talking with people after service one Sunday, and the group included the wife and an older couple, who, upon finding out that they were expecting a son said, “He must be excited.” She noted that many people ask her some form of that question. When I asked him about it, he confirmed that he quite often received a congratulatory type response from people, as if he had no interest in a daughter. It truly is a sad state for this to be such a common thing in our society today.

It sounds cliche, but when it happens, it is actually true: you really do not care what comes up on the ultrasound, as long as it is healthy. Even if you have some lingering sadness/disappointment/whatever else there is, it should dissipate quickly after holder her and looking at her little potato face. It certainly should be gone by the time she can smile at you.  Look, you really need to talk to Jesus and spend some time reflecting, if, when you go pick her up from day care, and she comes running to you, smiling, with her hands out, and you still care what’s under her diaper.