This one’s for the moms-to-be out there. Men, you’re welcome to read it. (If you do, read it to see how that lines up with your reasons, not because you’re looking for excuses!)
You may have noticed that there are a lot of baby and pregnancy books out there. You probably own some of them. Your hospital or birth center may have handed you a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Your family and friends may have given you some for a baby shower. You might have bought a few yourself.
First-time mothers, especially, are curious about everything that’s going on. Your body is changing and there’s a tiny little person growing inside you. That does all kinds of weird things to your body and brain. It’s comforting to know that there’s a reason your hip hurts, or that you’re not alone in craving unusually large amounts of guacamole, or that your sudden urge to “nest” is normal. Odd, but normal.
With these books being so useful, comforting, and informative, you naturally expect your man to read one or all of them as well. For some reason, he doesn’t seem excited about the idea. And he just hasn’t quite gotten around to reading the book yet.
Why is that?
Frankly, part of the reason is that the books aren’t intended for him. They’re written for you, the mother-to-be. It’s not that he can’t or won’t read a book that he’s not the intended audience for, it’s that it’s much harder work to stay engaged with the book. If he’s being “asked” to read it in the first place and is already feeling a bit reluctant, the audience mismatch can be enough that he’ll give up by page ten. And before you protest that the books are equally applicable to anyone, look at the cover (yes, judge the book by its cover!): a color scheme tested by the publisher’s team to appeal to women; words about “you” having a baby; a picture of a smiling gal with a bulging belly? Yep, that tells him that it’s aimed at you, not him.
Another reason that doesn’t apply to every book you ask him to read is that, to be honest, some of them seem just plain weird. Because everyone has a different definition of “weird”, I won’t assume that what I find weird is also weird to your man. And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t assume that just because you think “12 Chainsaw Juggling Techniques for a Healthy Baby” was awesome and he should read it, that he won’t end up thinking it’s weird and not wanting to read it. (By the way, I don’t think that book exists, but it sounds awesome and I would read it.)
Another part of the reason he might not read that book is that it’s just plain long. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is over 600 pages. Over six hundred pages of stuff that might not interest him and might get weird? “No thanks!” he thinks. It might be chock-full of good information, but his this-is-more-work-than-it’s-worth alarm is going crazy.
The final major reason he might not want to read that book is that he doubts there is anything in it that’s actionable. It’s nice to know that at 10 weeks, baby is the size of a kumquat. But that’s just information. And it’s information that you’ll give him anyway, or that he could look up if he wanted to know. He’s concerned–and probably right–that he’ll spend time reading the book, and come away with almost nothing that he can do or know that will help him or you. He’s got other things on his mind–like what it’ll be like to be a daddy, and whether the crib manufacturer put all the correct hardware in the box.
You may not agree with these reasons, and that’s okay. Not every guy feels the same way, and not every guy can articulate his reasons. In short, the most common set of reasons a guy doesn’t want to read that book is because it’s a non-actionable, long, potentially weird book that’s intended for you and not him. If you can look at the book through that lens, you might understand why he just hasn’t gotten around to picking it up (even if you don’t agree with him).
Want a book that is actionable, short, and intended for him? The Field Guide to Being an Awesome Birth Partner is written for your guy, to equip him to love and support you through the birth process.