When my wife was pregnant with our first child I read through streams of parenting literature, but two in particular were geared towards easing first-time fathers into their new roles. Both books took a relaxed and entertaining tact and were designed in style and substance to differentiate from the pastel pinks and purples of the ever-popular What to Expect When You’re Expecting books. What follows are brief reviews of each.
Caveman’s Guide to Baby’s First Year: A Modern Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the First Year of Fatherhood by David Port, John Ralston, Brian M. Ralston
Caveman’s Guide to Baby’s First Year: A Modern Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the First Year of Fatherhood will not be for everyone. If you happen to have little tolerance for abundant troglodyte jokes then the writing within this tome will likely become tedious to you, as the caveman metaphors are quite heavy-handed and frequent. Luckily I have no problem with gratuitous references to dragging knuckles and hairy palms and I found this book packed with tons of useful information, easily laid out for the reader.
It is in ways more informative and funnier than its predecessor, Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion. While many jokes may still fall flat (largely due to overuse), a few did have me laughing, and I appreciated the attempts to establish the authors’ suggestions upon psychological and anthropological bases. Overall, a refreshingly positive outlook is found throughout the illustrated the pages and, despite the Neanderthal jokes, it takes the mission of a devout and productive family man very seriously. The book doesn’t pull its punches on the pressures and problems with which new fathers are likely to be confronted, but it does give ample ammunition and understanding to approach them with a healthy balance of realism, confidence, and maybe even a little humor.
Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!: How to Get (Both of You) Through the Next 9 Months by John Pfeiffer
Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad! by John Pfeiffer is a very quick and easy read that works well as a pregnancy primer for the expectant, early twenty-something father – particularly one with a low attention span. It especially helps if you’re a frat boy who has just graduated with a business degree, as this appears to be the target audience. Meanwhile, mature readers unfazed by technical jargon and more comfortable with biological processes should look elsewhere. If you’re queasy about things like menstruation, this book is for you. Pfeiffer does give the reader a firm basis from which to do further investigation, familiarizing the future dad with what is decidedly an intimidating process; however, it should not be used as the final resource as the information is quite thin.