3 out of 4 stars
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OMG! We’re Pregnant: Book I: The Psychological Survival Guide for Parents was written by Dr. Paul Peebles, an accomplished pediatrician with several accolades and professional titles. Dr. Peebles uses his own personal experience as a pediatrician, father, and husband, in addition to the experiences of some of his patients, in order to highlight the psychological effects conception and delivery can have on parents. The rest of the series covers other important milestones of parenthood. This book is a guide on how to handle all of the stresses new parents encounter.
?Primarily, this work centers on relationships and the way that new and expecting parents can maintain these relationships despite problems that arise from issues such as “The Intruder Complex” or “Wish vs. Reality.” The relationships explored are the relationships with oneself, their partner, and their child. “The Intruder Complex” (ITC) delves into the idea of the unborn child as an intruder into the personal lives of their parents, as well as their relationship. “Wish vs. Reality” is exactly what it sounds like; it explores the natural desires for a “perfect” child and the natural reaction when there’s a “glitch”. For both of these issues, and others brought up in the book such as difficulty with breastfeeding or handling a newborn with a “high-strung” temperament, Dr. Peebles explains why these feelings exist, what can happen if they go unchecked, and how to properly navigate these stormy waters. ??The first half of this book is exclusively about the parents and their relationship with one another, and how this might change now that they’re expecting. The second half deals primarily with life during and after delivery, such as bonding and attachment with a newborn, and how a child affects the parents’ relationships with themselves, their partner, and others. Of course, the relationship between the child and their parents is also heavily emphasized.
For expecting parents who find themselves constantly asking “Is how I’m feeling normal?”, this book has a lot to offer. Reading it in hindsight, I can definitely relate to a lot of this material. My husband, who read a few snippets, also felt like he could relate. I don’t know how I would have felt reading this during pregnancy though. While one might feel the effects of ITC and take comfort from knowing their feelings are normal, I think I would have been stressed out by little additions that are along the lines of “This has ended a lot of marriages because they didn’t do X, Y, or Z.” I realize these are there to emphasize the reality of ITC and leaving things unspoken between partners, but it’s still jarring and seems to take away from the “every situation is unique” aspect which is a point heavily emphasized elsewhere in this book.
??I honestly believe this book is most beneficial for the father. While there are parts specifically aimed at the mother and the couple in general, there are so many resources out there that cover these topics (like the stressfulness that can come from breastfeeding, not feeling attractive during pregnancy, or the need for intimacy in a relationship). I think the portions dedicated to the father, such as feeling like the child is an intruder or not being able to truly bond with a child before holding them in their arms, are revolutionary. I’ve come across “expecting fathers” books before, but they usually seem to try too hard to be humorous to really get their points across; or they are memoirs that deem their situations to be applicable to all men without exploring how an event might trigger different responses from different people.
??However, the latter part of the book is more applicable to both parents as it deals with how to handle babies with different temperaments, how to cope with some of the stressful situations that babies can bring into their life and relationship, as well as how to form strong attachments. He is encouraging and gives the positive message that bonding and attachment is strong and will not be doomed if any one thing is missed, such as the “first contact” between a mother and child immediately after delivery. ??
One thing that could benefit any expecting or new parent is the inclusion of things like dealing with PTSD from stillborns or difficult pregnancies. He mentions the scarcity of resources out there for parents dealing with stillborns and the lack of support they receive because most people don’t want to, or don’t know how to, deal with this situation. ??
This book is aimed at all parents. He includes a note about terminology in the beginning; it describes who he is categorizing as a “father” and “mother” by explaining their roles, so as not to leave out single parents or same-gender couples. He explains the psychology behind pregnancy and delivery without delving into too much scientific jargon (and there is a glossary in the back of the book for words the reader may be unfamiliar with). It’s written in a casual way that’s easy to understand. His words are intermingled with anecdotes from patients in order to emphasize his points and reiterate that these feelings have been experienced by others. Some were entertaining; some felt more like fluff pieces that fell a little flat.
??I came across several images with a camera and a big red exclamation mark, which I can only assume means there was some kind of error when uploading the photo. Otherwise, this book seems to be professionally edited and I noticed no other errors. ??
A fair bit of this book is repetitive, especially about simple concepts like wish vs. reality which is basically saying,“Do the best with what you have and stop getting disappointed by your fantasies,” and this leads me to give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I think this is a good resource for expecting parents, though I think it would benefit expecting fathers the most. Although, for “high-strung” expecting mothers, this could be a very good read in order to keep their perfectionist desires in check with reality.
OMG! We"re Pregnant
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