I’m sure not everyone who reads The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy will agree with my happiness rating, but I had quite a few good laughs reading this book. Like the author, I love my girlfriends. Nowhere else can I be as candid and irreverent while simultaneously being supportive and loved as when I’m having a great chat with an old friend. Every woman, every single one, deserves and benefits from moments of connection with a girlfriend, especially during pregnancy.
The great thing about The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy is that her conversational and “tell all” tone appeases that part of us that enjoys connection and being part of an inner-circle. Unfortunately, this friend is just virtual. It takes the real variety of a friend to actually come over and offer help or to be receptive to understanding our needs. But none-the-less, books have a way of helping us step into an imagined reality, and for the hours when you have this book in hand, you may feel a little less alone and uplifted by humor and comrade.
Another thing that I appreciate about The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy is that she does something sorely needed in today’s era of over-evaluating everything: she normalizes!!! You will come away from this book a little less worried about figuring out why your left hip keeps giving out or which swaddle blanket will offer the optimal security to your newborn. Relaxing a bit about your parenting will certainly benefit your baby and likely you as well.
Unfortunately that is about all The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy has going for it. As is often the case with real-life girlfriends, a lot of the banter in this book is pretty negative, even though there are real moments of authenticity as well. The author states that “birth is traumatic, even under the best of circumstances.” The inside scoop she provides is descriptive of the status quo pregnancy and birth experience in the US and the book offers nothing to empower you to not repeat the “traumatic” experience she, and millions of others, have.
The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy also doesn’t speak to those who actually experience trauma during their births. It has quite a bit of misinformation and her “tell all” approach is heavy on patronizing advice about how crippling the pain will be, while providing only scanty details on information related to the down side of epidurals and other birth interventions. This is not a book that will make you a more informed or empowered consumer, which clearly is not its purpose. Its purpose is to perpetuate part of the age-old beauty of women sharing with women during the ever-so-slippery experience of pregnancy and becoming a mother. I am solidly behind her in this aim; women need more community. I just wish it had been written to humorously buoy you up for the journey and remind you of how amazing you are. Instead, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy may silently erode your confidence and plant seeds of doubt about your journey towards (and through) labor.
The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy’s Author, Vicki Iovine
Vicki Iovine has a law degree from Hastings College of Law and an International Law Degree from Cambridge with an undergraduate degree was journalism. She has been a model, lawyer, and writer, and works to build the Girfriend’s Guide brand. She is also a mother of four.