The lady I used to be a live-in sitter for bought me The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood shortly after wee Casey came into my life. I really made a concerted effort to make the time to read it because, frankly, I had no idea how to be a mother and figured that she - a mother of 3 wonderful boys - probably wouldn't have bought me the book if she didn't think it would be helpful. So during late-night breastfeeding sessions and the few moments of downtime I could squeeze out of the day, I devoured this book. More than anything? It was insanely reassuring. Vicki Iovine isn't pulling any punches. There is nothing "earth mother" about this book at all. It's just frank and real and let me know that everything I was feeling was totally normal and that I wasn't alone. She's funny and covers everything from getting your pre-baby body back to sex after birth. She also talks about breastfeeding, pediatricians, babysitters and sleep patterns. While it's definitely not a guide to childcare, it is an eye-opener I wish I'd had prior to bringing my child home with me and I am pretty sure I will be gifting it to all preggo friends in my future just so they have an inkling of an idea of what they should expect once motherhood happens.
MORAL OF THAT STORY: If a trusted friend buys you a book like this, read it. It's likely more helpful than most of the condescending baby propaganda you'll encounter out there.