Because I Cannot Leave Well Enough Alone

I was curious about the assertions about What to Expect When You’re Expecting being a dangerous book full of misinformation. So I did some Google searches.

I know, it’s not the best way to research something, but I’m kinda short on time these days.

Here are some of the Google search results:

search term: what to expect when you’re expecting harmful

search term: medical community recommends against what to expect when you’re expecting

search term: what to expect when you’re expecting has misinformation

Most of what I found lead to reviews at Amazon, sites about the book itself (not exactly an unbiased source), and a link that was provided in the comments here.

I did not come across an AMA site, or a peer-reviewed article in a medical journal, or even a blog or site by a health care professional. No, I did not “drill down” through all the pages. I want to spend a little time with my husband this weekend.

Readers either reviled this book or loved it and found it a great source of information. Wikipedia does mention that the books has sparked controversy.

I will admit, because I am a big girl, that I did not realize that the primary author is not a medical professional. She’s just a mom, and a writer. There are plenty of sites related to the book where she goes on and on about why she wrote What to Expect (she had a lot of questions, and didn’t feel she was getting the answers she wanted). That is definitely a interesting factoid, and I think if that were more widely known, this book would have fewer readers. I mean, give me a book by health care professionals, please. (For the record, the author of another pretty popular book, Your Pregnancy Week by Week, is an M.D. and M.P.H.)

The following is my opinion: I do not think the authors of these pregnancy books mean to be fear-mongering, paranoid-inducing, misleading jerks. I think the kind of mother — like myself for the record — who wants to be informed about her pregnancy, especially the first one, may also be the kind of mother who is going to worry and fret about some of that information that she has discovered. I remember telling women I knew who got pregnant after me: “There is such a thing as too much information.” I think in terms of pregnancy this is true.

What to Expect… can be a very scary book because it does talk about what can go wrong (as does Pregnancy Week by Week). DearDR can tell you about how I called him up after reading the chapter that should have been called “All the Awful Things that May Possibly Happen to You or the Baby, and Then You May Actually Die”. I was freaking out.

But I’ll reiterate: I don’t think the authors meant to freak out the mothers who tend to be worriers anyway. And based on the few comments I read, the two camps were moms who loved this book and thought it was full of great information, and the moms who thought it was scary as hell.

And I find it hard to believe that one of top-selling, most trusted name brands in pregnancy and childhood information is full of factually harmful guidelines.

I liked What to Expect (except for that aforementioned chapter). I read a number of other mothering and birth books, including Week by Week, and a number of natural birth and breastfeeding books. I am a gatherer of information. Ask my midwives.

Did I “follow” any book slavishly? No. I’m more about informed decision making (thank you, Michelle) than hewing to any one or only one way of doing anything, let alone mothering. It’s probably why I’m a better cook than a baker.

What did you read when you were pregnant, if anything? What did you recommend to other to-be moms?

Anyway, I am absolutely exhausted; the girls have gotten up much too early this Saturday morning, and they are crying and screaming at me. We are all very, very cranky. Better get some coffee on.

As usual, I welcome concise comments that are not flaming. Thank you.