Books for dads

We're not thick - we just need some good advice.

Posted on Nov. 22, 2012, midnight

It's no secret if I've spoken to you recently, but I'm going to be a dad in April. Ever since as the appropriate hour of panic passed, I've been ecstatic. However, I've been less than happy with the quality of advice available for new dads.

There's a library full of books available for new mums - what to expect as the pregnancy progresses, decisions to be made, breastfeeding advice, etc. The xy-gendered literature concentrates on much more manly subjects, such as "Oh god", "How much is this going to cost?", and "How do babies even happen!?". It's depressing. One sample passage from Fatherhood: The Truth:

Do you want this baby? Maybe you do, maybe you don't, but in the end most men go along with it anyway. Call it an overwhelming sense of responsiblity if you like, although dismal inertia may be nearer the mark. Coming to terms with impending fatherhood has much in common with the process of bereavement.

This isn't helpful! It's maddening! As well as the obsession with being manly, nearly every book I've read insists of reteaching me the facts of life - I've been aware of these for a while, thanks. There's a mad fascination with being funny and lad-friendly. Just because we're male and having a baby doesn't mean you have to treat us with kid gloves.

One of my biggest issues as the pregnancy progresses is feeling useful. Apart from making sure my partner is comfortable, happy, and generally looked after, there's not much to do yet. There's a real gap in the market here - I need a book that gives good, actionable advice throughout the pregnancy. What should I be asking at the scan? Should we test for downs syndrome or not? What sort of pram will we need? How can I choose a good hospital? What essential items do we need to get before the baby arrives?

I'm beginning to answer these myself, slowly, but without the help of any books.

That said, if I need to be able to describe how finding out I'm going to be a dad is exactly like "my team winning the championship", then Dad's Survival Guides are the perfect place to go.

22 Nov 2012

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