A scientist with an eye for human interest takes the mystery out of pregnancy and first-time motherhood.
LoBue (co-editor: Handbook of Emotional Development, 2019), a professor of psychology and director of the Child Study Center at Rutgers University who writes “The Baby Scientist” column for Psychology Today, brings her expertise in child development and knack for translating scientific research into everyday language to an account that blends personal experience with solid information. Her story, which is especially pertinent for career women aware of the ticking of their biological clocks, begins with an introduction in which she chronicles her experience as a 33-year-old specialist in child psychology contemplating pregnancy. “As an expert in child development,” she writes, “I am intimately aware of the risks of having your first child when you’re well into your 30s, starting with problems conceiving and ending with the frightening possibility of developmental problems for the child.” What follows is written in real time, and while this would seem like a personal journal, it is much more. Surrounding sonograms of the author’s developing fetus are simple charts, diagrams, and pictures explaining heredity, fetal development, and differences in gender preferences. LoBue shares her discomforts, including weight gain and loss of sleep, and she enlightens readers about the sleep habits and learning abilities of the unborn. In her account of the nine months after birth, she includes photographs of her infant son, and she clearly shows stages of development, perception changes, emotional responses, and the beginnings of language. The author does not hide problems with breastfeeding or concerns over bouts of crying, but on the whole, her message is one of reassurance. The scope broadens over the months to include a discussion of separation anxiety and the pros and cons of child care options for working mothers.
Rich in research findings, this frank how-it-was-with-me account is perfect for intellectually curious mothers-to-be.