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Author Cory Silverberg’s What Makes a Baby explains modern childbirth.
By B. Root
As children, when we asked our parents the dreaded “Where do babies come from?” question, we were most likely fed the standard “when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much…” Simply put, that answer is now outdated. Families are being formed in many different ways outside of this exclusive, heteronormative narrative, especially within queer households. In What Makes a Baby, author Cory Silverberg seeks to combat this narrative by explaining childbirth in very basic and inclusive terms.
In the book, Fiona Smyth uses smiling, colorful figures that are reminiscent of Keith Haring’s work to illustrate how “not all bodies have eggs in them. Some do, and some do not” and “not all bodies have sperm in them. Some do, and some do not.” Silverberg continues by explaining that when grownups decide to have a baby, they need “an egg from one body and sperm from another body,” as well as a place for the baby to grow—a uterus.
Silverberg writes how inside both the sperm and the egg are many stories. When the two meet, they tell each other their stories and “swirl together in a special kind of dance,” becoming one new thing. After detailing the development and delivery of a child, the book ends with the question, “Who was waiting for you to be born?”—which is intended to spark a conversation.
As Silverberg notes in his preface for adults, the book intentionally does not discuss sexual intercourse, donor insemination, fertility treatments, adoption, or surrogacy, “but it creates a space for you to share as few or as many of those details as you like.” What Makes a Baby is a wonderful resource for any modern family, queer or otherwise.