From the Blog

Some Pregnancy Books We Actually Liked

As we’ve discussed, the vast majority of pregnancy books and advice out there in the world is pretty crappy. If you weren’t dumb before reading some of this stuff, you’ll certainly be dumb afterwards.

The other day, Dave started reading yet another book on twins. It started out being rather interesting, some historical facts, some uncommon insight. Then somewhere in the introduction the author, who was a doctor, uncritically started talking about how twins sometimes have extra sensory perception. That was when Dave threw the book across the room. Or rather, Dave’s equivalent of throwing the book across the room, which was to put the book down and mutter angrily.

I then read the introduction to that book, which I had skipped, to see the author using the space to complain about reviews left by Amazon readers. Classy. And how it may not be popular, but it was her mission to tell the truth! I had to roll my eyes, reading this, and I rolled them hard. I have come to view authors, or anyone really, who have martyr complexes or who describe themselves as “Defenders of Truth!” with high suspicion. I may be smiling on the outside, but on the inside, I’m thinking “Nutjob!”

Right. I could still go on ranting about that. But we really have read a few books that have been helpful to us. And I admit we are a little weird, so our choices may not be helpful to a lot of people. But here are a few books we are glad we read.

 Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

This is NOT a pregnancy advice book. Arguably, this is not a book for pregnant people at all. It’s a history of how giving birth has developed through the ages. It’s primarily about western civilization, and it describes the dominance of midwifery for much of history, and how doctors and modern medicine eventually took over. Most of it is very interesting. But some of it is downright gruesome, which is why I’m saying it may not be a book you want to read while pregnant. But this book will certainly make you happy to live in an age where we understand what bacteria are, and we no longer roll our newborns around in cow droppings soon after they are born!

Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — And What We Can Do About It

Again, this book is not book about pregnancy. But it does describe the differences and similarities between boys and girls starting in utero. I was interested in this book because I was a bit of a square peg growing up. As a little girl, I liked superheros and action figures rather than stuffed animals or dolls. I had probably higher-than-average spacial reasoning, more on par with boys than girls. And perhaps I was not as developed in relationship building like most little girls. This book describes differences between genders from pre-birth to puberty (hint: the differences are tiny until culture takes hold). There were also interesting discussions about twins and how boy/girl twins influence each other. This is a bit of a dense book, but both Dave and I got a lot out of it.

The Panic-Free Pregnancy: An OB-GYN Separates Fact from Fiction on Food, Exercise, Travel, Pets, Coffee, Medications, and Concerns You Have When You Are Expecting

Okay, I do recommend this book for anyone who is pregnant. Really. After reading tons of dubious “expert advice,” we really wondered what the real science was. Reading this book confirmed for us that a lot of the conventional wisdom given to pregnant couples is complete, total bullshit. Really. I had read multiple times not to sleep on my back. Don’t sleep on your back! Your back! Don’t sleep on it! Because it restricts the blood flow to the baaaabieeees! I really wondered how that could be such a problem, since humans have been having babies since, well, forever, and we didn’t get that advice forever ago. And amazingly, we are still here. This book says, yup, you’re not going to kill your babies by sleeping on your back. Otherwise, women would grow humps protruding out their backsides to keep them from rolling over. And other such debunking. I highly, highly recommend this book. I’m thankful to the formerly pregnant lady who recommended this book, who now has a beautiful little boy.

Let’s Panic About Babies!: How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain, … Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being

This book is just for fun. It takes all that breathless, hyper panic about being pregnant and turns it into non-stop, rapid fire performance art. Every sentence is a joke. Honestly, there is a vast treasure trove of earnest and emphatic and stupid ass pregnancy culture that needs, needs, needs to be skewered. Repeatedly. This book is funny to the point of being exhausting. But after all the dreary fear mongering you may hear when you’re knocked up, this book is like a funny drunk friend telling you to lighten the hell up.

This is a short list for now. I am on the lookout for a cultural study on the “Pregnancy Industry.” Why is there so much bad advice? Why do we hold onto debunked conventional wisdom? Why are women treated like helpless children that need to be manipulated? How has this whole artificial, mass marketed and culturally enforced alternate reality become “the way things are”?

Has anyone written about this? Do I need to do it? Do publishers like, limit the amount of swear words in books? How much yelling do they allow? Could I build a temple of snarkdom with dead trees?

Someone needs to do it. Someone needs to do it because it’s the truth! And not enough people are defending the truth! I’ll write a damned book and fill it up full of swear words and yelling and snark and truth and I’ll use the whole goddamned introduction to lay waste my enemies in the Amazon comments! Truth! TRUUUUUTH!

Comments

  1. Ha! Those first two sound particularly intriguing, to me, your non-expecting pal! But the last one, oh, I might need to indulge in some of that, too!
    xo

  2. I love reading your rants, remembering my pregnancy and raising my babies (now 18 & 20). I recall night four or five post delivery, sitting on the couch, four in the morning, crying, nipples chaffed, baby screeching and me scouring all those stupid books. I’m sure I was searching for a secret password or ancient soul sucking ritual that would make it stop. There was never a single line that made any difference. Please write your ranty, foul mouthed book. It might not have any more answers than those other books but it might just help new moms stop crying in the middle of the night.

  3. I tweeted you the info but thought your brave readers should also know: this book for new dads is basically amazing – even better than the reviews imply. Be Prepared! A Practical Handbook for New Dads It’s a pretty fantastic new-parent gift too, much better than another damn novelty onesie made in china.

  4. hey, you have another follower named kelli! and it is not me, cuz i have no kids… unless she is writing from a parallel universe, where i have kids. gah!
    anyway, you definitely should write the book. you are, in fact, writing that snarky book. it is called a blog. you can bundle up all these juicy posting, complete with comments and bind them neatly into a book. which will sell wildly because i will buy a copy cuz my name will be in it. and everyone else on here will buy a copy for the same reason. and your little darling will be able to attend college, all because you had the audacity to write a snarky, yelly, foul-mouthed book. love it!!
    (i have amended my name to glasswench btw…

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