It is Well – Follow-up

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post (It is Well) about our recent miscarriage. I have a quick note at the top about how I didn’t like any of the songs I found on YouTube.  This lead to a discussion with Mrs. MMT about lack of song option. As some of you may know, Mrs. MMT writes songs (she has released two albums, and won a few awards), and she decided to record her own version of the song, with an additional, original verse.

You can go on over to her site if you want to listen to the song. The post also has a great write-up about where we’ve been and what has been happening since my original post. I’d really encourage everyone to go read it. I had plans to write a much longer version, but have only started a few different parts and could never fully bring myself to finish it. Hopefully, I’ll have some for y’all in the new year.

Coincidentally, today is the 146 anniversary of the Vill du Havre sinking, causing the loss of Spafford’s daughters, which lead him to write the song. This was not intentionally and we actually just noticed the date right now as I was finalizing this post.

Hope you enjoy.

Father’s Day Reading Recommendations

If you are a dad of a young child or a soon to be dad, I have a few recommendations for books to check out this Father’s Day.

Best pre-dad book I’ve reviewed – The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life
Best pre-dad I haven’t reviewed – Be Prepared
Another good pregnancy/first few months book that has a great guidebook style (my review) – We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook
Best book for early childhood – Brain Rules for Baby (Updated and Expanded): How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Best Gospel-centered parenting book (my review) – Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family
Best book for men in general, but certainly has a few value for fathers and husbands (my review) – Disciplines of a Godly Man (Paperback Edition)

*This book is more focused on women, but is actually a pretty good read. My advice to dads and pre-dads who fear their wife might be over-protective is to have them read this book (y’all both read, she’ll appreciate the effort if nothing else) – Bringing Up Bébé

A few others to consider:
The Pregnancy Instruction Manual: Essential Information, Troubleshooting Tips, and Advice for Parents-to-Be (Owner’s and Instruction Manual)
The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less
How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

The suggestion skew young as they are all about pre-dad to preschool, mostly baby and toddler books, but I’m young (ish) and have just the one preschooler, so I don’t know what to tell you other than to check back in the next few years for more. For borader parenting books I’ve reviewed, but don’t necessarily recommend, check out my review of Fearless Parenting and my review of Talking with Your Kids About God.

 

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.

It is Well

This is a little different style and song than I typically like to post. I’ve never actually heard of these guys before, but of the 10 or so version of this song I listened to on YouTube, I liked them the best.

It is Well with My Soul is a hymn written in the 1870’s by Horatio Spafford, a Chicago lawyer and Presbyterian Elder. His first son died in 1871, the same year the Great Chicago Fire also destroyed a large portion of his real estate investments. In 1873, he decides to take his wife and four daughters on a trip to England. He had to stay back for work, but planned to meet up with them later.

On November 22, their ship crashed with another. His wife survived, but all his daughters died. She sent him a message telling him what happened and he hopped a ship over to England to be with her. As he was passing the general location of the wreck, he wrote this hymn. They would eventually have three more children, but sadly lose one of them, their other son, as well.

I was thinking of this song as we drove to the doctor/hospital this past Monday. I suppose I should have had a little more hope than I did, apparently bleeding is normal during some pregnancies. Mrs. MMT knew a few people that experienced this. After 16 months of trying to get pregnant, I had mostly lost hope. I’ve always been pretty cynical as it is. It was odd driving down the road, basically trying not to think about a miscarriage, trying to hope that the doctor would tell us there was no problem, and then thinking of this song.

I wasn’t sure how to act. Was it in my head because I had read the story of Spafford in November, then sang this song one Sunday in December? I thought maybe it was a movement by the Holy Spirit to comfort me, but of course, that’s not what I wanted it to be. It retrospect, that is likely what it was. After getting home, Mrs. MMT and I discussed it, she too felt a calm, maybe even a peace about the miscarriage, despite the obvious pain and sense of loss, and the returning sense of hopelessness.

In a terrible coincidence, last November or early December, we had schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist for this coming Monday. We found out we were pregnant on Christmas Day, so instead of a fertility appointment, we set up our first sonogram appointment, as this would be the eight week mark this coming Monday. Well, turns out, they want to see you a week after a miscarriage, so we replaced our sonogram appointment with a follow up appointment to make sure Mrs. MMT is alright (physically) and to maybe give us a reason as to what might have happened.

We are not hopeful they will have an answer for us. That isn’t a knock on the doctors or nurses, it is just a fact that about one quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage. So, at this point, I don’t expect them to tell us that this was anything but a statistic. They will also let us know when they think we can start trying again.

So, for now, we are sad, hurt, disillusioned and at a loss; Mrs. MMT is still dealing with the physical after affects; and every thing just seems a little shitty over all; but we know that it is well.

John 14:27 –
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.