I have a confession to make: before my wife and I had children, I didn’t read one parenting book. I know, I know – I’m such a bad father. However, believe it or not, three years after the birth of my youngest child, I finally read a book for new parents, and the reason is simple: the author interviewed me for it and included a couple of essays I’ve written. So basically, I read the book to see how I sounded in it.
Quite frankly, I wasn’t going to write a review of the book because I thought it might look slightly insincere for me to promote a book that includes work I’ve done. But then something changed my mind: I read the book from cover to cover, and it was good – really good.
Expectant Parents, by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin (pictured above with her husband, Kevin), is more than a how-to guide for new parents, though it certainly includes plenty of practical advice. It’s an unvarnished peek into the lives of numerous couples who share stories of the joy and heartache that accompany the journey towards parenthood. Those stories include accounts of unplanned pregnancies, miscarriages, financial decisions, marital struggles, hormone changes, and postpartum muffin-tops, to name a few.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but a number of times, I actually got choked up reading Expectant Parents and had to blink away tears while standing next to a bunch of strangers on the metro. I also laughed out loud reading some of the awkward stories of pregnancy and new parenthood. And I think the reason I found myself responding to the book so strongly – despite the fact that I’m a 35-year-old man whose wife isn’t even pregnant – is because I love raw, vulnerable stories.
I mean, I’m not particularly interested in the topic of postpartum depression, but I was riveted by the story of Jerusha, who nearly killed herself six months after having a baby. And although it’s hard for me to imagine being a stay-at-home dad, I was intrigued Jessica and Mike’s story of how that made sense to them. Furthermore, in my own search for encouragement as a man who was raised by a single mom, I was touched by the story of Leon, who grew up without his father but went on to get married and wrestle through the process of becoming a good dad to his eight girls. Basically, the book is effective because it takes all the various crucibles of bringing a child into the world and clearly works them into a living context that any new mom or dad can appreciate.
Maybe I don’t have a lot of experience reading parenting books, but nonetheless, I know a good book when I read one; and this is definitely one I’ll be getting for my friends who are or who want to be expectant parents.
Expectant Parents will be available for purchase on October 1, and you can pick up a copy online or at your local bookstore. To keep up with my latest posts, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter. And if you’d like an email with a weekly recap of what I’ve written, click here.