Yesterday I got an SOS e-mail from a new mom. She had read the books.
I enthusiastically read many books about parenthood when I was pregnant with Sarah. These books are full of information and tell you what to expect when your baby arrives. I even had a book that explained what one could expect a newborn to be able to do -- week-by-week.
The thing is, those books stink. They should be outlawed. I can scarcely think of one thing about those books that is helpful. My husband actually snatched "Your Baby Week-By-Week" away from me and used it to prop up our window air conditioner. (I had been fretting that our daughter was not grabbing toys the way the book said she should be two weeks ago.)
We need books for new parents that explain how to eat and also do laundry with one hand while holding the baby in the other hand. We need books for new parents that tell you whatever you are doing is just fine and you should not worry if your baby will only sleep in their bouncy seat in the dining room with the ceiling fan running on high. We need books for new parents that tell them that their crazy suspicion that their baby is upset by their polar fleece could be true and they can just take it off and not feel insane.
And what we especially need are books that tell new parents to stop reading books and go out and find some other new parents and hang out with them.
I just got back from a brunch with my mom friends. I met most of these women when our children were infants. I remember feeling sort of pathetic when we would go to coffee together in the morning, then I'd suggest have we could have lunch, and then we would all spend the afternoon together. Of course, I found out quickly that everyone was lonely and happy to spend the day chatting. We all felt isolated with these babies who had not read the part of the book which said they would sleep 18 hours a day. Those days together (and we had a lot of them) were the days we finally realized it might actually be OK to be a mom.
Way better than a book.