I haven't talked about this project very much on my About.com site, but today I'm excited and nervous to let you know that my new book is available for sale.
I wrote What Makes a Baby for the four-year-old son of one of my closest friends. He and his partner were about to have a second child and their son started asking questions about his mom's pregnancy. My friend is Trans and so he isn't biologically related to his son. They wanted a book that would allow them to share their families story without devaluing a parent who didn't also contribute genetic material to the baby making process.
I quickly realized that this book really works for everyone. When you open up a story to make it inclusive you don't just bring people in who are usually pushed out, but you make room for those people who often are in the center to be more of who they are, share more of themselves. In decades passed the conventional wisdom was that you shouldn't share with your young child the story of how they came to be, especially if that story didn't involve intercourse in a heterosexual marriage. Adoption, sperm and egg donation, surrogacy, were all topics to be kept quiet and feel some shame about.
Many of us still do feel some shame or embarrassment about this, but more and more of us are being open about it as one way of resisting the shame, and transforming something oppressive into something that can be empowering. Mental health professionals are part of this, now regularly counseling parents to be open with even very young kids about how they came to be in their family, making it something that isn't strange or secretive, but something to be proud of and to celebrate.
After two years, dozens of re-writes, a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, the book is being released today from Seven Stories Press.
It's geared to children ages 3 and up, and describes the basics of reproduction, gestation, and birth in a fun and engaging way. It doesn't give all the answers. Instead it creates a space for parents to tell their children as much or as little as they want.
If you want to know more about it, you can check out our book trailer (featuring kids explaining just why the book is needed) and you can find it at your independent bookstore or your favorite online bookshop.
I also wrote a free Reader's Guide for parents which can be downloaded directly from the book's website. It includes general suggestions for talking with young children about sexuality, plus a page by page guide to using the book.
Thus ends the gratuitous self-promotion. I will now return to my more comfortable place of self-deprecation.
Read More: The Atlantic: A Truly Inclusive Way to Answer the Question 'Where Do Babies Come From?'
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