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Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives
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Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  494 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
To breed or not to breed? That is the question twenty-eight accomplished writers ponder in this collection of provocative, honest, soul-searching essays. Based on a popular series at, Maybe Baby offers both frank and nuanced opinions from a wide range of viewpoints on parenting choices, both alternative and traditional.

Yes: "I've been granted access to a new plan
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 939)
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Jul 09, 2010 Lize rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, cf
Actually, my favorite part of this book was the Foreward, by Anne Lamott, where she says:

"Not one part of me thinks you need to have children in order to be whole, or that there are parts of yourself that cannot be revealed any other way. Some people with children like to believe this. Having a child legitimizes them somehow, completes them, validates their psychic parking tickets. They tell pregnant women and couples and one another that those who have chosen not to breed can never know what re
Sep 19, 2007 Betsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
eh. it was a book of essays by people who weren't sure they wanted to give up their high-flying lifestyles to have a baby. All except the totally insane did. whoop-de-doo. I find it hard to really connect with people who take their lives down a step by selling the paris apartment and moving to a mansion in maine. yeah, if these are your dilemmas, you might get something out of this collection.
Overall, the book was so-so, but I was excited to see various essays on why people didn't have kids, choose to have kids, or what their opinions were while they were on the fence.

I thought the "No Thanks, Not For Me" section was the blandest but perhaps that's just because most of my friends do not want to breed, so it's old-hat for me by now. Unfortunately, for many people, children fall into the "expected" category in life and I'm sure the essays would be great for someone who was in that min
Sep 18, 2009 Jaime rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a book to help you make a choice, this ain't it. I was disappointed with the number of stories that involved people who hadn't given parenthood much thought. A few of the "no to kids" stories were really, to me, more of a "maybe"... and a few of the "maybe" stories were really "yesses." I was hoping for a balanced book, but they gave way more weight to the yes category than the no category (maybe that's because more people are parents? But still, I was disappointed).

Some st
Feb 21, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any and everyone
I was really excited to pick this one up; I'm on the fence about kids and feel like I need a more compelling reason to have them other than it being the next logical step after getting married. I've never really bought into the elitism that some parents some to exhibit, either. Implying that another's life is somehow not as fulfulling or consequential just because they don't have kids has always grated on my nerves. It seems like a passive-aggressive swipe and a way to self-soothe themselves for ...more
Nov 03, 2010 trina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fellow quarter-lifers
mostly, i think we as a species have reached a point where we seriously overthink every goddamned thing. you and i were put on this earth by and for one purpose: to pass along our genes. questioning the urge to have children is like going on a breathing strike. wtf, right. and yet, isn't it equally imprudent not to ponder this biggest of life-changing decisions? especially for women, having a baby is like dropping a bomb on your life. career, interests, friendships, talents and hobbies, your rel ...more
May 15, 2008 Charise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The stories were well written, and many of them were entertaining, but I was kind of annoyed by the way the book was set up. I felt like all the on-the-fence people weren't really on the fence - they had decided to have children but the time wasn't right yet. And in one case, one was medically unable to have children. That's not really a choice. I did appreciate the views of the Childfree, but I didn't think there was enough to counter the countless stories about how babies were wonderful.
this was kind of just okay. it's a collection of essays by people writing about why & how they decided that they did or did not want to become parents. i think part of the issue is that there's really no way to write about that topic without sounding trite. i think most people more or less have their minds made up & no essay is going to convince them to make a different choice. & no one can really articulate why or how they made their decision without falling back on arguments so wel ...more
Sonya Feher
Separated into three sections: 1) people who definitely don’t want kids, “No Thanks, Not for Me;” 2) people who are undecided, “On the Fence;” and 3) people who have had kids, “Taking the Leap.”

Foreword by Anne Lamott;

“The Life I Was Meant to Have” by Luisita López Torregrosa – lesbian questioning motherhood;

“They Will Find You” by Rebecca Traister about being told by a palm reader that her babies will find her;

“Beyond Biology” by Stephanie Grant about her partner carrying babies a
Nov 25, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is great. It's a bunch of essays, divided into sections, about the decision to have kids. First is the group against, then the group that walks the middle line (although I think some shouldn't be in this group), and then the group who says yes. It's really an enlightening book. Not just because it covers the topics about how "wonderful" it is to be a parent, and how it will "hurt your marriage" and make you tired. But also because it talks about "selective reduction." (Why isn't this s ...more
Oct 28, 2009 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book opens with a preface by Anne Lamott and then an intro by Leibovich, and then it is structured in three sections: the Nos, the Maybes, and the Yeses (I think they have different titles than that, but I don't have the book in front of me right now and that's the gist of it). Just by looking at the structure I assumed that the book was taking a stance and ending on the Yeses to drive home the "Yes" point of view, but after reading the book I didn't have that feeling at all. Many of the ess ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Ellyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This book is a collection of essays, written mostly by professional writers, who reflect on their decisions to have or not have children and discuss what their journeys have been like. The book is divided into three sections: those who have chosen not to have kids, those who are still on the fence, and those who have taken the plunge. The third section is twice as long as the other two, and it would have been nice to hear from some more writers who fit in the first two categories (especially tho ...more
Amanda Carver
Yes, I read this book. Shut up. Title notwithstanding, it was pretty good, and I would think would be even for people who are not writers who lie awake at night pondering all the ways a baby might ruin/save their lives. Do I know if I want kids now? Shit no, no book is going to figure that one out for me...
Lacey Louwagie
Out of all the essay anthologies I've read, I think that this one was probably the best.

It seems almost inevitable that an anthology is going to be a mixed bag, but this one didn't have any standout "duds." Some were certainly more moving than others; in particular, the essays about why people chose not to have children felt more didactic, whereas the essays from parents were more narrative in nature. Still, every essay was well written, most of them were vivid, and some of them will probably st
This book was not at all helpful in the way I had hoped, but it was filled with a lot of interesting stories about people's lives, if you're into that sort of thing. The people who had decided against having children and the people who were "on the fence" provided clear explanations for their decisions; however, the people who had decided to have children all wrote essays about how awful having children is (including a few who wouldn't do it over again), but they all said they would still tell o ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Novem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like others have mentioned, this book is a mixed bag: some essays are great, some essays made me want to punch the author because I just couldn't stand how smug and annoying they were. (For example, one parent decided to give his child the middle name is Paris, after the city where the child was conceived and where the parents fell in love. Ugh.) Also, it's not evenly split at all between people who want to have kids and people who don't. Most of the essays are about people wanting kids, and at ...more
Zoe Cannon
This book, like most anthologies, was a mixed bag. I liked seeing all the different perspectives on parenthood, although that same variety of perspectives meant that a lot of them were difficult to relate to. I would have liked a bit less “This is why and how we chose/didn’t choose to have a baby” and a bit more specifics on what it was like afterwards, but maybe I’m being too picky.

High points:
- Lakshmi Chaudhry came closest to articulating my own fears about parenthood in her essay “Next Stop
Amanda Silvia
It took me almost six months from the time I first checked out Maybe Baby to when I finally finished reading it. I renewed the book multiple times, and when I ran out of renewals, I returned the book and then went back to the library the next day to check it out again. I just wasn’t in the proper mindset to read it. I actually read the first two sections (“No Thanks, Not for Me” and “On the Fence”) a while ago but couldn’t push myself to read “Taking the Leap”, probably because I am currently si ...more
Several books purport to discuss the pros and cons of rearing children in our society, but this is one of the few books that does so objectively. This anthology is divided into three sections: those who chose not to have children, those who are undecided, and those who chose to go ahead and have children. When I first picked this book up, I feared that it would lean heavily in favor of having children, since there are more essays in that section than in the other two combined, but ultimately the ...more
Feb 01, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: Kelli Roberson
Anyone who knows me is aware of how I feel about children and the prospect of motherhood in general. However, this book was recommended to me by someone who is equally, if not more so, repelled by motherhood as I am. It is because of that fact that I was willing to give it a shot. All in all, it was an enjoyable read, just as my friend said. The book explores the idea of becoming a parent through three different viewpoints: those who are adamantly against it, those who are "on the fence", and th ...more
This book, a collection of essays by writers about why they decided to become parents (or not), intrigued me because I am a 26-year-old married woman with zero interest in ever having children. It is not, however, a book I would have picked up while browsing in the bookstore, mostly because I don't visit the Parenting and Family section.

This book is a little lop-sided. A mere 18% of it is spent on people who made the decision to be childless; the "On the Fence" section is misnamed, as all the ar
This book is a mixed bag. The essays are interesting and I felt there was a good range of perspective (though the range of writers is not so large). However, many of the essayists are downright unlikeable. Most of them write for a living, which isn't in and of itself a problem. Rather, the problem stems from the style of prose. Many of the essayists are pretentious, high-strung, overly flowery, and generally far too pleased with their own cleverness to be interested in conveying facts. The quest ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the book to read if you are thinking about having a baby, feel horrible for not wanting a baby, or have wanted a baby since you were 5 years old! There are three sections to this collection of short stories, giving the overall perspective of the big choice and many of the essays are written by famous authors. (Rick Moody, Anne Lamott) The first set of stories is about people who decided to have a baby, then stories of people who still aren't sure, and finally stories about people who dec ...more
Jun 18, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
I am on a non-fic kick. And I am really enjoying it! Someone posted something on this book in one of the reading journals I am a part of, but I usually just flip through but for some reason, I stopped at this one. I don’t know why. This book just seemed interesting and they actually had it at the library. It was about why some women choose not have to children. At least that is what they promote this book as. When in reality, it is split into three parts, one about people who choose not to have ...more
Feb 12, 2008 lia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far this book concerns me.. It's arranged in three sections-'no thanks, not for me', 'on the fence' and 'taking the leap'. Maybe it's the forward by Anne Lamottt, whose overt christianity makes me nervous, but the way the book is arranged, with the last part being stories about those who have chosen to have children makes it seem as if that is the part of the book most important, the part we are supposed to be left with. So. Obviously I need to read this book, since the subject is a confusing ...more
May 07, 2016 Bethany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're wanting to hear the perspective of people who chose not to have children, this is not the book for you. There are 6 non-baby, 7 maybe-baby, and 15 yes-to-baby essays. Not only are there more than double the number of yes-to-baby essays, the non-baby essays all seem to contain some sort of left over longing. (Which, who knows, is maybe how most childless people do feel when they really self-examine their feelings? I don't know...I doubt it.)
Mar 11, 2013 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. Maybe as someone who's not really conflicted in this area it's not for me.

Some essays were excellent, some were good, some were kind of frustrating. All were well-written but I guess I felt like some of the contributions here could have been better selected. My (complete) guess is that the editor invited writers to submit an essay without any real possibility of rejection or selection. That was the impression I got.

I bought this book to read and then possibly give a friend of mine who is s
Aug 26, 2012 Jeannee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-me
When I started the book I was a bit worried because a couple of the essays at the beginning were a bit dry, but after I got past them I found most of the essays really fascinating. Because there are 28 different writers/essays it felt like I was indulging in one of those cheesecakes that are made up of different flavored slices. It was fantastic.

Every writer was very honest and sometimes painfully raw about their life experiences and their feelings about children. I loved the honesty and appreci
Stephanie Grassie
I was disappointed because on the cover the book says it includes the perspective of the infertile wannabe parent, but in actuality it does not. If you are infertile and emotional about it, you will not find comfort in this book. In fact, you will cry a number if times from reading stories of ungrateful and sometimes bad parents. If you are an aware individual, you may still find a sliver of comfort in your infertility by seeing so many examples of how miserable people can be with children. Some ...more
Liz De Coster
Overall, fairly thoughtful and reflective, if occasionally somewhat navel-gazing. I wouldn't say anything in here is going to blow your mind, but there are a pretty good number of opinions present (trans* and poly voices seemed especially absent).
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