Hey guys, I’m going to share something a little embarrassing with you, but I’ve been writing here for a while now, so I feel okay telling you this. When I was a kid, I pieced together bits of information from my parents and from Sunday school to form a very religious and imaginative idea of how babies were made. These are the steps I thought it took to create a new life:
1. Man and woman get married
2. Man and woman kneel down together and pray to God for a baby
3. God considers them and their merits and decides if He will grant their wish.
4. The woman stands outside under the sky (where God lives, obviously) and God reaches his hands out from the clouds and places a baby in her stomach.
Hey, um, so that’s not how babies are made. Surprise! You don’t need a man and a woman! They don’t need to be married! And God doesn’t have to reach down into a woman’s stomach from the Heavens! Canadian author Cory Silverberg’s new book, What Makes a Baby would have cleared this up for me, had it existed when I was a mini-Malaika.
Silverberg was inspired to write the book for a trans* friend who was having trouble explaining to his four-year-old son how their family came to be. What’s great about this book is it can speak to anyone. It focuses on the science behind conception, not the genders or relationships of the humans doing the conceiving, so anyone can use What Makes a Baby to explain their unique situation. Silverberg says he hopes his book can be used by “grandparents raising kids, single parents, gay, lesbian and transgender couples, for example.”
“Most of the books that exist tell one story. They tell a story that everyone has a mom or a dad and your mom has eggs and your dad has sperm. The books differ in how much detail – some say they make love or they get together, or others go into specifics. The problem with that is we all don’t have two parents. We all don’t have this nuclear family and it doesn’t reflect so many of us. When you read (these books), you’re always having to edit, you’re always having to make changes.”
The story of how Silverberg made the book is almost as beautiful as the book itself. Thinking he would have to self-publish, he launched a Kickstarter project page, aiming to raise $9,500 in 30 days, which would be enough to publish 1,000 copies. Instead, by the end of the month he had not only raised over $65,000 and garnered a lot of publicity and support, but he also had the book picked up by Seven Stories Press.
Silverberg explains that there are many families who, because they don’t fall into the heteronormative family model, lack resources that help them talk about their family to their children. But children are beautiful, amazing little creatures no matter how they were made or what their families look like:
“I wanted a book that would celebrate this,” he says. “Parents want to tell their children a story about how they were born that is beautiful.”
Lucky for us, Silverberg doesn’t plan on stopping with this one book. His next will be for older children and explain sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy and more untraditional forms of baby-making. There’s also a 60-page readers’ guide to help parents navigate some of the terms and concepts in the book.
While you’re eagerly awaiting your copy, check out Silverberg’s adorable publicity video: