Reading Update: The Expectant Father

I finished reading the first of my 2 January Reading books on Friday: The Expectant Father. It’s a book that touts being the “ultimate guide for Dads-to-be” and as a Dad-to-be that knew very little about the role, I really appreciated how thorough it was.

It takes the pregnancy month-by-month, telling you what’s going on with Mom, the baby, and possibly you. It is chock full of advice for how to handle certain situations (and how not to), and some of the most important things you can do as a soon-to-be father, but also as the most important asset to your partner. It helped me put things in perspective, gave me some great advice, and happily, confirmed I’m doing the right thing most of the time.

The most valuable stuff for me came at the end: the birth, what happens, what can happen, and what happens after. The birthing class Erin and I are taking covered some of this, but reading helped it stick.

What Happens After?

The thing I’m most nervous about is what to do after the baby is born. How do I play with her? What if I’m too rough? How soft is that soft spot? Will I know what to do, when I need to do it?

What if I’m not prepared for this at all?

I’ve never held a baby younger than 2 months old, and even that was recent — my friend Katie’s son. I was very nervous I was going to break him because he’s so small (I did not).

The book assured me that every dad asks these questions, which I kind of already knew in the back of my mind. It also answered some of the questions and talks about baby’s first few weeks in the world. The author also plugs his next book, The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, a lot. I was a little put off by this. However, as an author myself I understand for 2 reasons:

  1. Man’s gotta eat
  2. There’s so much content, there’s no way he could fit it all in a single book

I don’t necessarily feel I was shortchanged, and he does prepare me a bit. But a little more wouldn’t hurt.

Highly Recommended

All-in-all, I highly recommend it. I have lots of dog-eared pages to revisit a little closer to the due date, and conversations to have with my wife.

I also learned a lot of fascinating things (did you know babies can differentiate between their parents’ voices around 30 weeks?). The author mentions that a lot new dads can feel amazement at what a woman’s body can do, and that’s completely true. I’m also amazed at what babies in-utero know and do instinctively. Creating life is a crazy and wonderful thing.

Reading Update: The Expectant Father was originally published in Thoughts from Joe Casabona on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.