My parents’ pregnancy journal begins on December 13th, 1983, as they jointly describe my mother, Elyse, popping over to my dad’s house to pick up a glass baby food jar full of sperm and driving it back to where my mother, Meredith, was waiting to give this whole insemination thing a whirl. I like to remind myself that if that’s how I came to be then anything is possible.
In spite of our unconventional start, my family is surprisingly traditional. My mothers’ copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care was dogeared and worn by the time I arrived, so was Self-Esteem: A Family Affair. After I found out I was pregnant I embarked on a frustrating and seemingly endless search for an all-encompassing parenting manual that didn’t treat male partners like anxious wallpaper or resort to sports metaphors to explain the ins and outs of the birthing process.
He may have never held an infant before, but I’m confident that my husband does not need Watch Your Junk, Commando Dad, or a diaper tool belt to wake in the middle of the night to change our daughter.
Dr. Spock’s thesis was “you know more than you think you know.” I’m lucky to know two women
who have books launching soon (as well as babies). They’re the kind of books I’ve been thirsty to absorb as quickly as possible during these last few months of pregnancy. I’m currently torn between obsessively planning for this child and superstitiously fearing that any preparation will curse us in the end. This is what it’s like to spend all of my time with a person that I will not actually get to know until she is cut out of my body in three months. But I have faith in us.