The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood

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9781640094383
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**The New York Times Book Review, New and Noteworthy**
**A Harper's Bazaar Best LGBT Book of the Year**
**A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of Next Year**

Krys Malcolm Belc's visual memoir-in-essays explores how the experience of gestational parenthood—conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding his son Samson—eventually clarified his gender identity.

Krys Malcolm Belc has thought a lot about the interplay between parenthood and gender. As a nonbinary, transmasculine parent, giving birth to his son Samson clarified his gender identity. And yet, when his partner, Anna, adopted Samson, the legal documents listed Belc as “the natural mother of the child.”
 
By considering how the experiences contained under the umbrella of “motherhood” don’t fully align with Belc’s own experience, The Natural Mother of the Child journeys both toward and through common perceptions of what it means to have a body and how that body can influence the perception of a family. With this visual memoir in essays, Belc has created a new kind of life record, one that engages directly with the documentation often thought to constitute a record of one’s life—childhood photos, birth certificates—and addresses his deep ambivalence about the “before” and “after” so prevalent in trans stories, which feels apart from his own experience.
 
The Natural Mother of the Child is the story of a person moving past societal expectations to take control of his own narrative, with prose that delights in the intimate dailiness of family life and explores how much we can ever really know when we enter into parenting.

Author: Krys Malcolm Belc

Hardback Published 15 June 2021 304 pages

"In the crowded genre of memoir about mothering, Krys Malcolm Belc's debut, The Natural Mother of the Child, asks: What do we do with someone who is parenting the child they gave birth to, but is not a mother at all? Where do transgender and non-binary parents fit, especially in a world that is determined to force them into a box labeled 'mother?'. . . [A] necessary and long overdue transmasculine account of carrying and birthing a child . . . The book is not linear in structure, and skews literary and lyrical, told as a collection of fragmented essays. Belc seamlessly weaves in primary source documents with historical references, including the history of ultrasound machines, and of mastectomies to treat breast cancer . . . His experience is far from universal, but nearly everyone can relate to the transformative experience of falling in love—with a person, with a child—and the ways that love can shape our identities." —Britni de la Cretaz, NPR

"It’s hard to think of an endeavor more traditionally gendered than parenting, which makes Krys Malcolm Belc’s memoir of giving birth and raising children as a nonbinary, transmasculine parent all the more necessary. Hopefully, The Natural Mother of the Child will soon be part of a wide array of books encouraging us to appreciate family bonds outside the confines of gender norms." —Emma Specter, Vogue

"Krys Malcolm Belc’s singular memoir-in-essays traces how his experiences conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding a child helped to clarify his gender identity . . . 'motherhood' doesn’t describe Belc’s own experience of pregnancy and parenting. The Natural Mother of the Child attempts to bridge that gap, offering an alternative interpretation of what it means to grow a family." —Keely Weiss, Harper's Bazaar, A Best LGBT Book of the Year

 

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