What Makes A Baby: A Book To Answer An Old Question In A New Way For All Families

If you have kids or have ever been around kids, you will likely be asked, “Where do babies come from?” The stork; a wild night of booze and poor decision making; or a grunt and shrug are not acceptable answers. While the middle explanation may be applicable, the truth is that it is hard to answer a perfectly simple and innocent question with a simple answer. Yes, babies come from the combination of a sperm and egg. But not all babies come from sex. What Makes a Baby is a book for all families that tells the biology of baby making with the opportunity to talk to your kids about where they came from.

Written by Cory Silverberg, sexuality educator and Sexuality Guide for About.com, What Makes a Baby helps adults explain to kids the universal way babies are made while focusing on the love, excitement, and people involved in making the babies. All families are unique, and Silverberg leaves the door open for each family to talk about the way the sperm and egg “danced” to make their baby.

Unlike Todd Parr’s The Family Book, which specifically talks about the makings of different types of families: small, large, one parent, and two moms or two dads families, What Makes a Baby doesn’t get into the different ways sperm and egg come together. Silverberg purposefully leaves out the details of intercourse, sexuality, adoption or surrogacy. Instead he uses beautiful, non-conformist and gender-free illustrations by Fiona Smyth which allow these details to be included based on the reader’s personal story of how their child was conceived.

There is no sugarcoating of facts in What Makes a Baby. Biology is still biology. The author uses text simple enough for toddlers to explain that a baby is made from the combination of sperm and egg, grows in a uterus, and then comes out of a vagina or “special opening” in the belly. The book also includes text which asks the child who helped bring together the sperm and egg which made them and who was happy they were made.

The exclusion of a specific sperm and egg dance allows lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to describe to their children the way in which their family was made. This also allows single parents—no matter their sexuality—and straight couples who used alternative fertility methods to explain to their child how a baby is made without having to skim over the parts that might not apply.

What Makes a Baby also includes a reader’s guide for parents and can be downloaded for free. I, as a parent, am not the only one thankful for this book. Parents said, “Now parents can have easy-going, straightforward, and (hopefully) painless discussions with kids about the miracle of birth!” And The Atlantic said, “The new book What Makes a Baby offers an origin story for all children, no matter what their families look like.”

“Where do babies come from? But how? And why is mommy suddenly guzzling that glass of wine?” Our kids are going to have tough questions for us. And we should be prepared to answer them. What Makes a Baby will not only allow you to satisfy your child’s sudden interest in reproduction, but it will allow you to have a conversation that includes all types of families, specifically yours.

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