Love Song for Baby X by Cheryl Dumesnil is like the Eat, Pray, Love for any lesbian hoping to one day be a parent. Really, for any woman hoping to be a parent one day. Part love story, part spiritual journey, part comedy in human nature, Dumesnil turns her struggles to carry a pregnancy to full term into short, poignant vignettes of attempting to accept what is in the midst miscarriages, death, and waiting.
Spanning two years, Dumesnil sets the scene early with all that might be expected from two women trying to conceive. Falling in love, deciding to have a child, womb selection, donor selection, frozen sperm and home insemination. But none of this is told flippantly. Instead, Dumesnil brings her poet’s attention to each scene in Love Song for Baby X: knowing the names of trees and wildlife, remembering the fine details of what her “wife-to-be,” Tracie, was wearing the night they met, and noticing the exact emotions dictating her actions. Before I even got to their first conception attempt, I was convinced every queer woman I know should be reading this book—Dumesnil’s account of opening up to the possibilities of a relationship with Tracie is gold dust to anyone who has ever been afraid to love. In other words, everyone.
As three pregnancies in a row result in a diagnosis of chronic miscarriages, this timeline of events Dumesnil composes for the reader is packed with medical, emotional, and loving detail. Throughout Love Song for Baby X, I found myself sympathetically laughing along with her in her attempts to enforce some control over life’s path, crying with the honesty of her experience, and simply pausing to reflect on the vision she had created for me, as her reader. As Dumesnil and her wife find out they are pregnant for the fourth time—this time during San Francisco’s Winter of Love—I was rooting for this maybe baby, too.
The wonderful thing about reading Love Song for Baby X is that you know it has a happy ending. (Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling it for you; it’s in the dedication.) Despite all the pain and fear and breathing and acceptance, this story will come out all right in the end. And while you’re along for the ride, Dumesnil makes sure to keep the lighter moments balanced with the growth edges. Just scan the chapters titles—“The Pregnant Woman as Tippi Hedren in the Birds,” “The Pregoholic Admits She Has a Problem,” “Lesbians Don’t Have Surprise Pregnancies,” and “On Divinity, Shit, and Vomit”—and you know you’re in for a real treat.
Cheryl Dumesnil is on Twitter @lovesong4babyx and Love Song for Baby X is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LoveSongForBabyX)