On Monday (Canada Day, as it were) I found this news story in a roundabout sort of way. The short version is that I was reading a new blog called Tiny Human(s) for Two Queers and saw the book mentioned. In the comments, I saw that April recommended sending it to us here at PAIL. I decided to check it out before she emailed (and sorry to beat you to the punch April!) My first thought, was YES! And then I went to read the article, which more or less had me at “Hello”:
Not every baby comes from a mommy and daddy who fell in love. Sometimes, kids have two moms, or a single dad, or they were adopted. Some babies are conceived through in vitro fertilization or with the help of a surrogate mom.
This article discusses the book What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth.
What sets this book apart from its predecessors is that it doesn’t refer to moms and dads, nor does it mention gender – there are no blue, tuxedo-donning sperm or pink, girly eggs.
It’s vague on purpose. Silverberg said he describes the rudimentary factors in how his little readers were created. But it’s up to parents to tell them the rest.
“I explain the basics that are true about every child, but I let the parents fill in the details about how (the kids) were made – and it can be as much or as little as they want,” he said.
I still have VIVID memories of the book I was handed to explain where babies come from. It was the usual “When a mummy and daddy love each other very much they give each other a special hug” kind of story with random, graphic details that I can still quote word for word.
Here is the quote from the author that I loved the most:
“We’re just starting to get the notion that a family is a group of people who love each other but just look different.”
I read through this article several times and watched the YouTube video. I have since read (and ordered) the book and suffice it to say that it gave me EMOTIONS. I had serious doubts that this story could be told without sex or gender and was glad to be proven wrong. In my opinion, a resource like this is sorely needed, ALI or not. While waiting approximately 11 minutes for April to email, I started having a vague memory that Josey had mentioned this book before during our “Where Do Babies Come From?” monthly theme back in January. Sure enough, Josey was a contributor to the Kickstarter to get this book going. I chatted with her about it and here’s what she had to say:
When I first heard about this book in February 2012 through the Kickstarter program, I knew that I wanted to give a few dollars to show my support of a project that acknowledged that families are built and babies join them in a multitude of different ways. What Makes a Baby is written in such a way that it’s incredibly open ended – when you are ready to delve into the deeper issues that surrounded your family building journey, this book will be there for you.*In the forward written by Cory Silverberg, he states “[This book] doesn’t include information about sexual intercourse, donor insemination, fertility treatments, surrogacy, or adoption. But it creates a space for you to share as few or as many of those details as you’d like.” He also includes a free downloadable reader’s guide to help parents feel more comfortable about broaching all of these subjects – http://www.what-makes-a-baby.com/readers-guide/.*Bottom line – I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether or not you traveled an ALI journey while creating your family. This book will help to explain and normalize the fact that while all families are built differently and that is something to be celebrated, we all share a common humanity, and that is pretty awesome too.
Do have this book, or one like it?
Do you think telling this story, in this way, is useful for your family and how it was built?
Do you have any resources of a similar nature to share? Link up in the comments.
Many PAIL Bloggers shared their detailed thoughts on this subject HERE – worth a re-read! It is never to late to leave a comment!