From Dude to Dad is excellent on the subject of partner support during pregnancy and mediocre at best on birth and postpartum. A valuable aspect of the book is that it addresses both how to take care of yourself as a becoming father, and how to be a real support to your partner. The main take-away message is timeless and important: don’t lose yourself to become a dad, but make changes that put fatherhood at the center of your life.
In From Dude to Dad, Pegula and Meyer talk meaningfully about the importance of continuing the activities you enjoy and keeping friendships alive – wise advice for all new parents. They discuss how this can happen in the midst of busy life and share realistically what types of changes you can expect to make while prioritizing family and your relationship with your partner. They also share a wealth of details on that later front: nurturing your relationship with your partner during the unique period of pregnancy. The insights into the emotional ups and downs of trying to get pregnant and pregnancy itself will enhance communication and understanding.
From Dude to Dad is full of simple and effective suggestions for how to be supportive. It also shares a helpful amount of information about practical pregnancy advice such as what discomforts are common and how to help them, tips on making medical decisions, and ideas for how to bond with your unborn baby. Other issues that may be on your mind, such as how to prepare for work travel now that you are a father, an abundance of sex advice, and thoughtful discourse on the experience of fatherhood are also included. The authors encourage you to make it your personal goal to be instrumental to your family – not supplemental — and they do a great job offering insights into how to accomplish that during the journey into and through pregnancy.
The weak side of From Dude to Dad, as mentioned previously, is preparation to be helpful during and after labor. They basically remind you to be patient and polite, which is a far cry from teaching you anything effective about supporting the physiology of labor or being truly helpful to your wife as she gives birth. (It is possible to be supportive and helpful!) Postpartum recovery is also a major deal for women, lasting a few weeks, and fathers can be invaluable in helping their partners heal if they know what to do.
To learn how to really step up during birth and in the weeks afterwards you’ll need to look to other books. I recommend The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin and After the Baby’s Birth by Robin Lim (available used or as an e-book). Read with From Dude to Dad, this trio of books would provide a great foundation for any father-to-be who wants to be at the top of his fatherhood game.
From Dude to Dad’s Author, Chris Pegula, with Frank Meyer
Chris Pegula, a father of three, was unhappy with all of the feminine diaper bags and so created his own line, The Diaper Dude. His brand has expanded to include a variety of kid gear and father apparel. With the release of this book, he now offers parenting advice as well.
Frank Meyer is senior content producer at NBC’s Esquire Network and has written features for both web and print (LA Weekly, Yahoo!, Variety). He is a proud single father as well as the front man of punk band, the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs.