The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year
By Dawn Dais
If you want a very down to earth point of view on literally surviving the first year of your child’s life, this book is for you. Dawn maintains a great sense of humor throughout the book and writes in a way that is very approachable and relatable. For me, some of the highlights of the book were discussions around what to take from the hospital as you head out the door, tips on changing diapers in ways that keep you from having an extra shitty experience, boundaries around internet use, and the pros and cons of having pets. Dawn does a great job of normalizing the difficult experience of being a new parent, while also assisting new and possibly pre-new parents to having realistic expectations, not only with your baby, but your partner and other relationships as well.
I will say, I was a little reactive to the section dedicated to vaccinations. I understand that the author did not want to use this book as a platform to push a certain agenda, however, I do think that at the end of the day, science has to trump emotional reasoning. Dawn does make a few good points about working with your pediatrician around concerns regarding issues your child may have regarding his/her immune system, and they were points I hadn’t considered, but what I found disappointing is how she held anti-vaxxer opinions on the same level as scientific studies.
It is important to note that this book was written pretty specifically with mothers in mind. This makes sense as you can’t have children without mothers, but there no space in the book where a father’s perspective is shared. This is not a criticism per say, but just an important facet of the book to be kept in mind. This means that there are large portions of the book dedicated to the physical and emotional experience of pregnancy, giving birth, and breastfeeding. This is a great opportunity for male readers to empathize with birth mothers and other mothers in their lives. Additionally, because this is through a birth mother’s perspective, there is no voice given to adoptive parents. Again, there is definitely great information being shared in this book, but not everything may apply. I also found that it was pretty awesome that the author is in a same-sex relationship, so if that is important for you to see the perspective of someone from the LGBTQ+ community’s voice in parenting, this book may be for you.