I just love to read about pregnancy, childbirth, and babies, so this book was a plateful for me! (do you have this expression in English? It's a very positive statement in Portuguese - um prato cheio).
The full title of the book, as you can see on the left is From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent -- phew!! (the long title makes me feel a bit better about my long dissertation title, BTW :). Here's the book site, and the authors' blog The New Mom.
My husband has also been interested in the book and he's opened it and taken a look several times. When I got the book and he looked at the cover his first question was: "What do they mean by uncensored?" And after reading the book, I think they meant to say that they wanted to discuss all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and the post baby stage -- even the most embarrassing, gory, or scary physical details, as well as discuss the associations and reactions (positive and negative) between sex and childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. I really appreciated reading those parts.
I'm glad that the marketing people at the publishing house sent me the final, full color version of the book because the initial review copies were b&w* and I was planning on "complaining" about that in this review, but now all I have to say is that the book is GORGEOUS! The illustrations were made by the co-author Rebecca Odes and the book is also color coded, as you can see in the table of contents below: green for pregnancy, pink for birth, orange for becoming a parent, and blue for baby. This color coding makes it easer to find each section when you pick up the book for browsing.
You can also see the style of the great illustrations by Rebecca Odes in this image (available at the book's site).
Well, a few words about the book. It is really comprehensive as the title claims, discussing everything one needs to know about pregnancy, birth, becoming a parent, and caring for the baby. The most positive aspect of this book is that most pregnancy and parenting books are tied to a birthing and/or parenting philosophy ("natural" versus "medical," "attachment parenting" versus "cry-it-out," breast or bottle, etc.) and Odes and Morris present all the various alternatives, listing the pros and cons of each -- all of this with very good humor (I like it when some of the pros and cons are the same, e.g. huge bo*obs as a pro and a con of breastfeeding -- it all depends on the way one looks at it!). I appreciate it how Odes and Morris try to be as neutral and impartial as possible when discussing the different approaches. They even have a section titled "the baby gurus" at the end of the book and evaluating the books and the philosophy of Penelope Leach, Gary Ezzo, William and Martha Sears, and Gina Ford (there are also references to Dr. Weissbluth, Dr. Ferber, Tracy Hogg, and Dr. Harvey Karp elsewhere in the book, and they refer to these too).
The book also offers "resource" boxes throughout -- not only great books on the subjects discussed, but also websites and blogs!! The bibliography at the end, titled "more parenting resources" even lists medical studies and articles from scholarly journals which shows that the book was extremely well researched (they list their full "advisory board" of obstetricians, midwives, pediatricians, nurses, psychotherapist, physicians, genetic counselors right before the table of contents) -- this is a big plus for a scholar like me and it allows parents who want to do more in depth research about several parenting issues to know where to start.
In addition to all that information, there are countless statements from real moms and dads (and a handful from Rebecca and Ceridwen too. I would enjoyed to have more of those to read, but I understand that they didn't want to make the book about themselves and their experience -- they really share very little about themselves and their babies -- and they wanted to be impartial, I guess) -- slightly annoyingly called "anonymom" and "anonydad." I got used to those after a while, though, and the fact that they're all anonymous makes the eventual statement by the authors stand out! Below you can see a sample of the way these quotations from real life moms are presented (they're color coded within each part of the book) as well as the art illustrating the feelings and thoughts that float around a postbaby brain:
Well, I guess this is enough to give you an idea of this book isn't it? Now I want to add it to my list of books to give to friends who are expecting a baby. Oh, the book was released just yesterday -- it's always so exciting to be able to read a book before its release date!
* I have these two b&w "uncorrected proofs" of the book that I can give away -- but now that I showed you how beautiful the full color book is, I doubt that anyone will want them. Maybe I can ask the publishers for other copies of the book for any interested blog readers. Let me know if you'd like those that I have now... Sorry, but I'd like to keep my color copy :(