Bob Hamilton was still a college student in the throes of getting a medical degree and becoming a doctor when his young wife delivered shocking news.
She was pregnant.
“How did this happen?” he wondered almost out loud. “What are we going to do now?”
At line of well-meaning friends and fellows began to lecture them: having a child at such a young age, while in medical school, while scrimping finances, would “destroy us both, along with any career plans,” he remembers. They spoke “with great authority.”
“What we discovered was quite the opposite,” says Dr Bob in his new book 7 Secrets of the Newborn: Secrets and (Happy) Surprises of the First Year.
The stated goal of the book is to reassure overly-worried newlyweds that parenting is still possible in the perfection-obsessed 2010s and that having children is delightful. It might as well have been a how-to guide as he delves into the nitty-gritty details of changing diapers, scheduling sleep and coping with colic.
Robert Hamilton is a Christian pediatrician in Santa Monica who has led medical teams into Africa and Latin America for 20 years. His viral video “The Hold” — showing how to stop an infant’s crying by wrapping his arms and holding him at 45 degrees — created a sensation and put him on the world’s radar. Currently clocking 37 million views, the 4-minute video earned him the moniker “The Baby Whisperer.”
First he calmed babies, now he’s calming anxiety-ridden parents: Relax and enjoy the cute critters.
The book spends considerable time describing the wonder and beauty of babies in scientific detail. With elegant prose, it evokes images as if it were a documentary inside and outside of the womb. It leaves the reader with a sensation of awe and wonder.
The book also includes fascinating scientific discoveries in the the form of excerpted nuggets scattered throughout that are worth a read by themselves. Hamilton could have aimed at the abortion debate directly, but he wisely avoids polemics.
One surprising tip is community. He says many new parents retreat from society in the groundless apprehension and overworry to protect their child and provide a germless, negative-influence-less upbringing. Children are mean to be raised in community, whether it be with friends made at the park or in the church. This will help, not harm, the child.
Santa Monica, with its pleasant beaches and laid-back recreation focus, has become in recent decades one of the most coveted, and costliest, communities in America. And one gets the sense that Dr. Bob is writing a lot to people who, flush with finances, want to buy perfection for their child (he recommends avoiding toys in the first month and expensive outfits).
Hamilton draws on his experiences of medical missions in the Third World, where he sees teen mothers raising babies just fine, without how-to books and without expensive accouterments. You can follow your common sense, God-given instincts if you’re not choked up with worry and assiduous guidelines from “experts.”
George was one guy who probably let worry get the best of him. While his pregnant wife raved about he love she felt for the child in her womb in a prenatal interview, George bluntly snarled at his wife: “Remember, this was your idea, not mine!”
Recounting the interview, Dr. Bob says he was shocked.
But the story has a good ending. As soon as the baby emerged, “From the first moment George cuddle his newborn daughter, Rebecca, he utterly changed,” Dr. Bob writes. “Instantaneously, he morphed into the ultimate poster child for doting fathers.”
Michael Ashcraft is CEO of Cuisine Natural which sells bamboo steamers on Amazon.If you would like to buy one, click on the link.