Back in the day, a quarter century ago, my friends and I were all reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” like students cramming for the end of a 9-month semester final. We studied it, highlighted and underlined it, and compared notes about it ad nauseam. By the time we arrived at the L & D wing of the hospital, our nurseries were furnished with crib bumpers, safety outlet covers, and diaper genies. We’d abstained from liquor and cigarettes for the previous 8 months, at least, and we were determined to deliver our babies naturally and breastfeed them as long as possible. (That worked better for some than others of us.) We were confident, albeit slightly nervous, new moms who felt empowered by this bible of pregnancy advice. What eventuality could possibly occur for which we hadn’t anticipated and prepared? Luckily for us, we all had fairly routine pregnancies and delivered fat and happy Gerber-type babies. But then they started growing up. Unfortunately, there were no books in the “What to Expect” series to address many of the eventualities of child rearing. The following is a list of books for which I’ve searched in vain, since putting that initial guidebook back on the shelf for good:
What to Expect When…
Your Child Goes Through Puberty, (or, if applicable, the next one in its place), You Go Through Menopause While Your Child Goes Through Puberty
Your Child Starts Dating (to include chapters on social media usage)
Your Child is Learning to Drive/Studying for the SAT/Applying for College (a 3-part series)
Your Child Graduates College/Looks for Jobs/Moves Home (another triple pack)
Your Child Is Engaged
Your Child is Expecting (to include direction on how to share your grandchild with another set of grandparents)
(I haven’t actually looked for those last two as they haven’t been needed yet, but as the mother of three daughters, I imagine I will be tirelessly seeking those titles, as well.)
Why is there a lone guidebook for one of the happiest, most carefree times of your life? Pregnancy, when you’re doted on by your husband, and friends throw parties for you? When your doctor makes you feel like you’re the most important little mama in the whole world, and his nurse gives you a goodie bag? When everything is small and cute and pink or blue and very soft? When you say you’re not feeling well and everyone tells you to put your feet up and rushes to bring you a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea? Oh, I realize I’m idealizing those long ago days, but seriously. Why not a book with helpful outlines for dealing with the pit in your stomach, the worries that wake you in the middle of the night, the pain you feel when your child has a rough time at school or on a sports team or with friends or eventually, at work?
Excuse me while I have an Aha! moment. I know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life! I will step up and author all of the above-referenced books. Wait. That may not take long. The first chapter of each would begin, “Expect the Unexpected. Take a deep breath before speaking. Pray. A lot. Wine and yoga can also be helpful, in moderation, of course.” The end.