July 2021 Indie Next List
“One of the best memoirs I've ever read about the messiness of parenthood, especially as a parent who gives birth both outside of and within ‘motherhood.’ I — we — so needed this book.”
— Anna Weber, White Whale Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA
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 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. A supplemental PDF featuring photographs and official documents is included with this audiobook.