There are two kinds of friends: ones who always go to the worst place imaginable and the ones who are easy to be with and fun. The ones who go to the worst place imaginable serve a purpose--when you are in the worst place imaginable, it's good to have someone around who has thought through the scenario and is prepared to step in with information or comfort. But when the worst isn't happening? Well...sometimes those people simply freak you out for no reason.
That's sort of what From the Hips by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris is to What to Expect When You're Expecting (or its follow up on the first year). Many people avoid What to Expect at all costs because at times it feels like a catalog of everything that could go wrong in a pregnancy or new-parenthood. Stirrup Queens are unfortunately well-versed in what can go wrong and while having that information at your fingertips can be comforting, it can also become overwhelming when there is never a break from that kind of information. I'm happy that I had a What to Expect in the house the night before the final sonogram when I noticed the letters IUGR on a piece of paper my OB gave me. But for day-to-day development updates, sometimes it's good to turn to a book that doesn't make you cringe every few pages, reminding you of all that can go wrong.
Unlike What to Expect, From the Hips is the friend who is fun and easy to be with--the one who doesn't judge you when you order the high-calorie Frappucino or who takes your side every time you bitch about your inlaws. The authors admit that one of their impetuses for writing the book was that they wanted to put a pregnancy book out there that doesn't have an agenda. That isn't trying to sell an idea such as attachment parenting or crying-it-out or unmedicated childbirth. It is simply throwing all the information out there and allowing the reader to do with it what they wish. If a family bed strikes your fancy, you may want to skip on over to Sears and Sears. But if you want the warning signs for postpartum depression without having that information scare the shit out of you--then From the Hips is your book.
If I could get pregnant, this is the book I would leave on my kitchen table. It's easy to jump in and out of it, and because its whole purpose is to not make you feel like shit about your choices (I can't say the same for all the other parenting books out there. The ones that matched my ideas made me feel great. The ones that didn't essentially told me that if I went my route, I was a shitty parent who didn't care about my child), you don't put it down feeling worried or second-guessing yourself. I would read it in small chunks over the course of the pregnancy while I drank the double-the-milk recipe from What to Expect (because who doesn't start to feel a little freaked out about weight gain when they've spent an evening with worst-place-imaginable friend).