Harlan Cohen is able to do more in this book than I have heard in months of pregnancy shows. He takes his writing experience of being a best-selling author and advice columnist and applies it to that clear-as-mud arena known as “expectant fatherhood.” We, as expectant fathers, do not have a What to Expect when You are Expecting title nor do we have a segment on Oprah. We are truly left to seek our own knowledge. Cohen is able in Dad’s Pregnant Too to summarize different topic areas into short 2-6 page essays so that we can access it with ease or read the book cover-to-cover.
Thankfully the book is broken into broad sections and formatted in a “tip” format. Each different topic within these broad sections has a number, Tip#1,2,3,etc… , so that we as forgetful fathers can remember where we left off. I appreciated the side bar info and other resources so that we could explore more information if needed.
Cohen is able to relay important topics and info in a humorous style that fits the general sarcasm we all try to deal with pregnancy with. I could relate because I often try to “joke away the stress” that comes with expecting a new child. My wife and I are currently 7.5 months and expecting a wonderful baby girl. In the mean time I have gone through all those stages of excitement to stress and am thankful for resources like this so that it does not seem so alien. It also doesn’t help that my degree is in family studies, so you would think I would know everything in the book. Thankfully I learned some key things.
“Keeping up with the pregnancy and taking an active role will help you stay connected involved. If she knows you are there for her, this whole experience will be easier for her.”(Cohen, 2008.) This passage can become our mantra as expectant fathers because, if the mother is happy, then we can survive. Believe me; I have learned this fact well throughout my short time of being with my pregnant wife. Cohen helps introduce this idea well and gives lots of bite size chunks of information to keep the expectant father to not be so overwhelmed.
Something incredibly helpful in this text that is not in other father books, which there are not many, is a fetal development section with pictures. This may not sound like much but unless most of us men can see a picture, this abstract notion of a baby developing in our partner is crazy impossible to understand. Cohen breaks it down by week-to-week sections and gives a good summary of each developmental stage. If nothing else, your partner will be amazed that you can accurately describe what the baby is developing when or maybe that you know the difference between an embryo and a fetus.
I know that it is relatively improbable that we will not know all there is to know to make pregnancy a smooth and problem-free process. Dad’s Pregnant Too will not magically fill in those knowledge gaps either. What it does is give us a base knowledge to be comfortable in the doctor’s office and delivery room so that we can have some chance at being able to take care of said baby after they are born. The longer we can avoid being in “shellshock” with this whole pregnancy process, the better off we will fare as parents of our next generation. I recommend this title as a stand alone purchase and as a part of your pregnancy knowledge journey. I would say buy this one over other titles if you only want to read one book because it can help take you through week one to the birth and after without too much critical thinking and pressure. While it may not be a good title for an expectant mother or female audience, it is about time we have a book all to ourselves and Cohen gives a great effort to make fathers a better equipped part of the pregnancy process.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, who received no compensation other than the complimentary copy of the title reviewed.
Chris Weber is a school liaison. He and his wife make their home in Azle, TX.