Here I am, the day before my children’s book, When You Lived in My Belly, makes its big debut after nearly six years of endless work to bring it to market, smack dab in an abortion debate.
I might be developing a bald spot from all of my head scratching these past couple of days. Is anything safe from ugly commentary anymore?
In an era of unprecedented political discourse, rampant verbal venom spewed by cowardly trolls hiding behind avatars and keyboards, and a societal desire to make a point at any cost, some believe dragging my innocent children’s book into the abortion debate is okay.
It’s not okay.
Never in my life did I think my book would serve as a fire starter for pro-lifers trying to make me one of them.
I am not one of them.
I am a pro-choice mom who wrote a book about pregnancy. That’s it. I mean, look at the book cover…one would think anything but abortion, right?!
Let me tell you what When You Lived in My Belly IS:
It IS a love letter to my son about the special time we shared when he lived in my belly, inspired by one of his questions. One day, he interrupted his endless “Why?” barrage to inquire about our innate bond: “What was it like when I lived in your belly?” My book gives him the answer with a month-by-month storytelling of pregnancy. It gives children a glimpse into a past they can’t remember, and takes moms back to a time they will never forget.
It IS the fulfillment of my beautiful mother’s dream. Ovarian cancer took her life nearly six years ago, at age 64, before she could write a children’s book of her own. After I endured the gut-wrenching task of burying my best friend in the world, I decided to write it in her honor and in her memory.
It IS a book that features kid-friendly descriptions of the developmental milestones babies reach in utero, coupled with the corresponding physical and emotional changes experienced by moms.
It IS a conversation starter about pregnancy. It is my hope that moms and kids read it together, and talk about how their love and bond is like no other.
It IS a keepsake, with a special page for moms to pen a note about their individual pregnancy journey.
Let me tell you what When You Lived in My Belly is NOT:
It is NOT a pro-life book. Yes, I am stating that again for emphasis. I firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose.
It is NOT your sounding board. If you try to post comments making me out to be a pro-lifer, or attacking Planned Parenthood, or applauding me for taking a stance about conception, I will delete your comment. I have deleted several comments. Trust me, as a journalist, I am so torn about disrupting free speech, but I simply cannot allow myself or my book to be painted in a way that is completely wrong and against who I am as a woman.
I cannot control reviewers—one wrote, “I greatly appreciate the authorsv stance that the baby is a human being while in the uterus,” which has nothing really to do with taking a hard look at the book itself—but I can control what appears on my social media pages. And I will when it comes to making me something I am not.
It is NOT a delivery by stork book. One can see the developing baby in the belly. I did this intentionally (with the help of incredible illustrators Jody Kind Camarra and Caryn King) to give kids a realistic visual of how they developed in utero. I did NOT do this to shame women who make the excruciatingly difficult decision to get an abortion.
I can be a pro-choice woman who wrote a children’s book about pregnancy. That’s my CHOICE. Don’t dare take it away from me.
For all of the sane people who recognize When You Lived in My Belly for what it is, a celebration of pregnancy and the maternal bond, I thank you for your support.