The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood Review
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Every mother-to-be has her own ideas about how motherhood will affect her life. Some see themselves comfortably slipping into a world of Mommy and Me groups and long walks through the park, while others intend to return to their old way of life within a matter of days. Of course, no first-time expectant mother really knows what, exactly, to expect from motherhood—not unless she has a few good friends who have already been there. Even then, it’s still helpful to consult the candid Girlfriends who were willing to share their stories and expert advice in Vicki Iovine’s The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood.

Like Iovine’s first book, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy, The First Year offers the kind of information that you’re not going to get from your doctor or your child’s pediatrician. It’s the kind of information that you’ll get from your closest mommy friends—but only when they’re being really open and honest.

If you’re looking for a book on baby care, though, this isn’t it—although it does offer a few pointers here and there. Instead, The First Year is more of a guide to mommy care. In it, Iovine and her team of faithful Girlfriends dish on what it’s really like to be a new mom—how motherhood will affect you, your life, your family, and your career.

Organized somewhat haphazardly, the book nonetheless covers everything from your post-delivery hospital stay (which is covered in surprising depth) to your baby’s first birthday party—even briefly touching on the possibility of babies number two, three, and four (Iovine herself has four). Along the way, it tackles topics like the realities of postpartum depression, your post-baby body, and the sheer exhaustion that comes with caring for a newborn.

Admittedly, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood wasn’t really the book that I expected it to be. I was looking more for tips on things like feeding and sleep schedules and infant healthcare. Granted, all of those things are included—just not as in-depth as I was expecting. Still, the book provides a whole lot of useful information and advice—along with answers to questions that I would never have thought to ask—offered in a lighthearted and reassuring way. Rarely does it feel preachy or demanding. Rarely does it tell you how you must handle things. Instead, it gives some helpful tips from women who have been there—tips on things like taking care of yourself, going back to work, and dealing with your child’s pediatrician.

The First Year isn’t the invaluable must-read that The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy is—and, for more detailed information about raising a child, you’ll most likely want to pick up another book. Still, new moms and moms-to-be are sure to find plenty of useful information here, so it’s worth reading. Considering how hectic (and hazy) things will get once you little bundle of joy is born, though, you might want to read it while you’re still pregnant.

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