Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book Review: The Expectant Father, by Armin Brott

I read more than fifty books about pregnancy, birth, infants, and breastfeeding. This wasn't pregnancy-induced psychosis; I did the same insane research thing before I went to Florence, bought a Miata, got married, etc. I got a library card at age four. I believe that if it's worth knowing, it's in a book somewhere. I distrust the internet. However, if you're willing to trust the internet and you're pregnant/considering pregnancy, allow me to be of some use to you.

If you're going to read just one book about being pregnant and giving birth, the most useful one I can recommend was written for your male partner: Armin Brott's The Expectant Father.

Informational: 4/5
Dad-friendly: 5/5
Hippie stuff: 4/5
Fun: 3/5

Honestly, a lot of the pregnancy books out there are horrific. You have to wade through a ton of insipid fluff about glowing, and biological destiny, and madonna-and-child flavored horse manure. It almost makes sense that the best pregnancy book would be targeted at a male. No male in his right mind will tolerate guilt trips disguised as sacred vessel worship. Also, no self-respecting man is going to read pages and pages of thinly veiled snark at his expense about how men don't do chores unless females fool them into it.

This book assumes that a real man wants to be part of the process, is slightly disturbed by the process and trying to hide that, and would like to knock out the assigned reading in a couple of nights of bedtime page turning. This book suspects that the man holding it may be skimming, and might reach for it at a later date thinking "Hey, didn't that stripey book say something about mood swings?"

It's short, well-organized, kicks off each section with bullet points, assumes that the reader is intelligent, and covers just about everything you find in much, much larger books aimed at women, without hysteria or scare tactics. The advice is practical and simple. Emotional issues are covered without the kind of condescending- towards-females nonsense that other "for the father" books are prone to spewing.

The author is a bit of a sensitive new age guy. In my household, we did not make plaster belly casts, we did not take photos from bizarre angles, and we absolutely did not play special music to the belly. My mate did lean over and whisper "CHEVROLET" at my bulge at every opportunity, lest his son and heir come out a Ford man, but I don't think that counts as the kind of belly worship the author hints at having. Also, in my household, the placenta is considered medical waste, so I knew my mate had reached the page about saving the placenta in the freezer when "WHAT THE HOLY HELL" erupted from the left side of the bed.

But in terms of a solid overview, written sensibly by a man who assumes the reader is an interested partner? Two thumbs up.


Armin said...

Thanks so much for the kind words about my book! Here in California I'm pegged as a touch to the right of center. Anywhere else, I'm new agey. Who'd have thunk it? Anyway, congrats on the pregnancy and good luck.

RainyPM said...

I have to second Sanya's recommendation of this book. I checked it out of the library when I was about to deliver my first, and I left it around the house until my spouse picked it up and thumbed through it himself.

Later he'd ask me insightful questions or suddenly knew a lot more about what was coming up. I liked the book for me, but also found it helpful to get an idea of what my husband might be thinking about the whole deal as he sometimes isn't super open about his feelings.

GNelson said...

Haha this is the one I bought Maurice when I found out I was pregnant again with Olivia. He laughed quite a bit and could keep up with what was going on with me. I agree on the other books -- they are scary, especially the "What to Expect While Expecting" book.