Catalyst Book Press

The places, ideas, and people that change us

Men Don’t Give Birth, After All

I just got off the phone with a snotty bookseller in Boston.

I was trying to set up a reading for four of the Boston-area writers in my forthcoming anthology of literary birth stories, Labor Pains and Birth Stories:Essays on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Becoming a Parent. 

I mentioned the book and said four of my writers live in the Boston area.

“I feel like I’ve done this already,” she said.

My mind started racing. Oh, no, has somebody beaten me to the punch? Has somebody just released an anthology of birth stories?

Then she wanted to know who they were, which is a fair question. I mentioned the first writer (a man), and she snorted. “Did he have children?” she asked.

“Well….yes, he did,” I said.

“Did he give birth?” The only way to describe her tone is Boston-style snide.

“Well, he was there, after all, when his wife gave birth,” I explained–I hope in a gentle, soothing tone, that tried to get across the idea that birth stories are not only for or about women, and that, after all, women are not the only participants in this life-changing event. “And so it seems like he would be qualified to write about his own children’s births…”

“Uh-huh,” she said. “And? Who else?”

I listed the writers in order, my voice shaking as she grew quieter and quieter. Then she said, “We just did an event with a book about miscarriages, so I think we’ve already done this topic.”

Wow, I wanted to say. You think that having a miscarriage is the same thing as giving birth? Who are you? And where can we find your witch’s broom and witch’s hat?

November 10, 2008 Posted by | birth mothers, birth stories, bookstores, Catalyst Book Press, fertility | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment