Book Review: The Expectant Father

As promised, here is the first book review of one of the daddy books I am reading. I recently finished this one so I wanted to do a review while it is still fresh in my mind. This book review is on The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott.

This book is set up in a month-by-month format that is supposed to follow along with the pregnancy, Months 1-9. Each month is a separate chapter and has three major sections: “What’s going on with your partner,” “What going on with the baby,” and “What’s going on with you.” The “What’s going on with your partner” section contains two short bulleted lists of what the pregnant person may be experiencing physically and emotionally that month; for example, some listed for Month 4 are (to list only a few): nipples darkening, morning sickness begins to wane, may be starting to show, and worries about miscarriage are beginning to fade. The “What’s going on with the baby” section contains a short paragraph about how much the baby measures or weighs, what body parts are forming/have formed, what types of stimuli the baby may be able to perceive, and the like.

The “What’s going on with you” sections make up the majority of each chapter, and each is dedicated to a different topic. These topics considered in detail include (again, only to mention a few) the emotional (and physical) things you (as the partner) may be feeling, what to expect at prenatal appointments, how your relationship/sex may change throughout the pregnancy, balancing work/family and financial matters, choosing names and explanation of the different birthing methods, necessary (and not so necessary) baby products, and logistics of labor and birth. There are a few additional chapters including entire chapters on labor and delivery, Cesarean sections, various aspects of the first few months with a new baby, “fathering today,” and infertility.

The topics that are covered may or may not be related to the current stage of pregnancy, and they may or may not coincide with your own personal growth trajectory. For example, the topic of reexamining your relationship with your own father was presented in Month 6 chapter, but I had started that process much earlier on. Still, it was helpful to read this section, even though we’re not yet at six months and I had already considered everything it said months ago. For this reason, I would recommend reading the entire book as early in the pregnancy as possible, then using it as a resource when you want to reference something later on during the pregnancy. Mine is full of flagged pages, color-coded (of course) depending on if it’s a suggestion on something I can do for Molly, something I need to research or do myself (wills/trusts, pack our hospital bags), something I want/need to do for the babies or around/after the birth (gather dated items for their memory books, birth announcements), or a website link I don’t want to have to hunt down later.

A huge theme that is repeated throughout the book is how to stay involved with the pregnancy. This book is definitely written to inspire potentially-uninvolved men (and I say men because the language is very heteronormative) to take an active role in their partner’s pregnancy. A lot things suggested in the book to either “show her you care” or to stay involved in the pregnancy are things I, personally, consider things that just make a good partner, not necessarily a good father. For example, “vacuum the house without being asked,” “offer to run errands…better yet, do them before you get asked to,” or “do the laundry before it piles up.” Um, I try to be a considerate husband so I guess I can check those off. This does, however, point out the main target audience of the book. I very much can see how the book would be especially helpful for the stereotypical man who has no idea what women want or how to make them happy. While I’ve had the privilege of being on the other side of the coin, I’m not saying that I have nothing to learn from it; in fact, some of them are really good suggestions on how to show her you care (you’ll have to read it yourself to find them out!) so I still definitely consider it worth the read.

Honestly, being a veterinarian and having directly participated in the births of multiple species, I expected I would know most of what was in the labor/delivery and C-section chapters. Boy was I wrong. Sure, I knew the basics, but the book did a great job of making suggestions on what to do, “Whatever she wants…If the room is pitch black and she tells you it’s too bright, agree with her and find something to turn off,” and (perhaps more importantly) what not to do, “[W]hatever you do, don’t argue with her, don’t try to reason with her, and above all, don’t pout if she swears at you or calls you names.” The chapter about the first few months with the baby was also very good. Some of the topics covered include postpartum blues and depression, the six behavioral states of infants and the best way to interact with them in each state, dealing with crying, and childcare options. I suspect it is geared toward those with little to no experience with infants, which is probably why I liked it so much.

The final chapter is called “Fathering Today,” and this is a chapter that I think should be read not only by fathers (or partners of pregnant people), but also by pregnant people (who have partners) themselves. It does a superb job of explaining the dichotomy in American culture of why fatherhood is so much less valued than motherhood…and the ways in which we can combat that notion and help prevent its perpetuation. It’s great that fathers/partners of pregnant people can become aware of these reasons, but I think if the mother/pregnant person is also aware of it, fathers will feel more even more supported in their attempts to take an active role in parenting their children.

This is the first of multiple books by the same author in this series. Other books include guides to the first year, toddler years, school-age years, single fathering, fathering while in the service, and what it means to be a father throughout life. In summary, I think the fact it was a very easy, and often humorous, read and a lot of the information I gained from reading it will be very helpful, I would definitely recommend this book to others and consider reading additional books in the same series. If you can get past the heteronormativity (or this very feature makes it appealing to you or someone you know), it could provide a lot of useful information for any partner to a pregnant person.

This is the first book in my Daddy Book Reviews. Future books to be reviewed include:

2 responses to “Book Review: The Expectant Father

  1. It was educating to read your review.Thank you,will definitly read the book.
    PS. congratulations about twins.
    PPS. If you’re reading an entire book about circumcision I guess you finally found out the sex of your children.

    • Glad you found the review helpful! Actually, we didn’t find out either of the sexes, I just want to be prepared to make an educated decision regarding circumcision if, in fact, we need to make one shortly after the birth.

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