Oh, Baby!

True Stories About Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love

Edited by Lee Gutkind & Alice Bradley

In these 23 original stories, mothers and fathers from all walks of life--straight, gay, single, surrogate, biological, adoptive--explore the challenges and rewards of parenthood.

Here, among other adventures, they fall hopelessly in love with newborns, secretly fear having made huge mistakes, race to finish birthing at home before the paramedics arrive, struggle with the bureaucracy of international adoption, despair of ever getting a one-year-old to nap, are nearly broken by colic, encounter other judge-y parents in birthing class, learn how to parent children with special needs, and more. 

Together, these thoughtful, searing, often hilarious essays map the grand (and sometimes terrifying) journey that begins with each new life.



"Thoughtful, often funny … This collection’s wide range of topics should resonate with an equally wide range of parents."
~ Publishers Weekly

"This thoughtful, vital examination of new parenthood is a sharp alternative guide from the literary trenches."
~ Foreword Reviews

A literary lifeline for new parents.”
~ Ann Imig, editor of Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now

“This is not a book about babies—it is a powerful, often moving reflection of the shards of who we were before these babies came into our lives.”
~ Barbara Katz Rothman, author of A Bun in the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization

“Offers witty, charming, and brutally honest commentary on becoming and being a parent. These eclectic and diverse first-person accounts will be treasured by anyone who is or hopes to be a parent.”
~ Theresa Morris, author of Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America

Inspiring and joyful, humbling and heartbreaking, this collection of essays reminds us that becoming a parent is the biggest, blindest leap any of us will ever make.”
~ Cynthia L. Copeland, bestselling author of The Diaper Diaries: The Real Poop on a New Mom's First Year

Table of Contents

Introduction Lisa Belkin
Editor's Note Alice Bradley
Schrödinger’s Pregnancy Barbara Duffey
Birthing Class Eden M. Kennedy
The Beginning of the World Anika Fajardo
Quiet Enough Danielle Leshaw
Skin Time Becki Melchione
Boothville Lisa Southgate
Becoming His Mother Mary A. Scherf
Blue Pools Anastasia Rubis
I Know Where He Got That Hair! Elizabeth Anne Hegwood
Hungry Amy Amoroso
States of Permanence and Impermanence Suzanne Farrell Smith
Apocalypse Now Amy Penne
Just Colic Leah Laben
Baby Card Terrance Flynn
The Eleven-Minute Crib Nap Jill Christman
The Shell of Your Ear Aileen Hunt
The Dune at Night Erin White
Another Mother Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew
Four Early Lessons in Parenting Steven Church
Up and Above Us KC Trommer
The Baby Room Nancy McCabe


Barbara Duffey

Barbara Duffey is the author of the poetry collection I Might Be Mistaken (Word Poetry) and a recipient of a National Endowment for the... read more

Eden M. Kennedy

Eden M. Kennedy works in a small branch of the public library in Santa Barbara, California. She is coauthor of the book Let’s Panic... read more

Wanda Pitschel Harding

Wanda Pitschel Harding is a writer and painter. She lives with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas. read more

Anika Fajardo

Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in various publications including Brief Encounters: An... read more

Danielle Leshaw

Danielle Leshaw is a writer and parent and has served as the rabbi and executive director of Hillel at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio,... read more

Becki Melchione

Becki Melchione lives with her husband and twin daughters in the Philadelphia suburbs. She has given up working on a memoir because raising... read more

Lisa Southgate

Lisa Southgate worked as a print journalist in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s before going creative in the 2000s. She now works on... read more

Liz Windhorst Harmer

Liz Windhorst Harmer is a Canadian writer and the winner of a 2013 National Magazine Award for personal journalism as well as the 2013... read more

Mary A. Scherf

Mary A. Scherf is a writer and lawyer. She volunteers in one of Philadelphia’s unstaffed elementary school libraries and teaches... read more

Anastasia Rubis

Anastasia Rubis’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Huffington Post, the New York Observer, North American Review, [... read more

Elizabeth Anne Hegwood

Elizabeth Anne Hegwood’s stories, poems, and essays have appeared in the Southeast Review, Juked, Public Scrutiny, and elsewhere. A... read more

Amy Amoroso

Amy Amoroso received an MFA from George Mason University. Her work has appeared in Mount Hope, Upstreet, the Fertile Source, and Alligator... read more

Suzanne Farrell Smith

Suzanne Farrell Smith’s work explores memory, trauma, health, education, and parenthood and has been published in numerous literary... read more

Amy Penne

Amy Penne earned her PhD from the University of Illinois while carrying her son William—who inspired this essay—in her gut. She... read more

Leah Laben

Leah Laben is a recovering attorney, part-time shepherd, and full-time mother. She lives with her husband and two young sons on a small... read more

Terrance Flynn

Terrance Flynn is currently working on a memoir entitled “Dying to Meet You.” He was awarded the 2014 Thomas A. Wilhelmus... read more

Jill Christman

Jill Christman is the author of two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (winner of the AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction) and Borrowed... read more

Aileen Hunt

Aileen Hunt is an Irish writer with a particular interest in lyric essays and flash nonfiction. Her work has been published online and in... read more

Erin White

Erin White lives in western Massachusetts with her wife and two daughters. She is at work on a memoir. read more

Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew is the author of the novel Hannah, Delivered (Koehler Books); Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of... read more

Steven Church

Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: A Memoir of Record; Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents; The Day After the... read more

KC Trommer

KC Trommer is the author of the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). A graduate of the MFA program at the University of... read more

Nancy McCabe

Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs, most recently From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood. Her novel,... read more


A thoughtful, often funny set of 23 essays.

Publishers Weekly

September 9, 2015

In her introduction, Lisa Belkin (Life’s Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom) reflects on the shift from the time when she was a new... read more

A sharp alternative guide from the literary trenches.

Foreword Reviews

November 27, 2015

This thoughtful, vital examination of new parenthood is a sharp alternative guide from the literary trenches. [...] Through contributors... read more

Liberating, hilarious, heart-stirring, and in some places heart-breaking.


December 2, 2015

Thank goodness ... for books that are unafraid to look head-on at the messy, glorious, panicked, sleep-deprived, heart-stopping, beautiful... read more


Parenting Out of the Silo Lisa Belkin

My first son was a few days old, and I still... read more

The Beginning of the World Anika Fajardo

I was born on the day the world was created.... read more

Baby Card Terrance Flynn

“Please. You gotta see this." The... read more

Just Colic Leah Laben

He screamed. First thing every morning,... read more

The Baby Room Nancy McCabe

1. When she’s twelve, my daughter... read more

Blue Pools Anastasia Rubis

I had visualized my baby in yoga class.... read more

Becoming His Mother Mary A. Scherf

A mother is her baby’s first interpreter... read more

Insane and Wonderful Alice Bradley

  “Making the decision to have... read more