When journalist Tina Traster visited a Siberian orphanage in 2003 to adopt a baby girl, she wondered if she and her baby would bond, but she dismissed her unease. Julia, at eight months (an almost unheard-of young age for Russian adoptees), was healthy and beautiful. Like many of us who adopt after infertility, Traster and her husband, Ricky Tannenbaum, felt lucky; their journey was defined by an optimistic, almost willfully naïve frame of mind.
In the introduction to her compelling anthology Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, editor and memoirist Joy Castro claims that “memoir is the genre of our era.” I agree. Through the ubiquity of social media, autobiography appears easy—almost reflexive, like capturing the infamous “selfie.”
Pregnancy and childbirth provide a glimpse of ourselves at our most elemental. There is no room for inauthenticity or the masks of politeness that we wear daily. There is only the experience—a ride that grips, lifts us into a mighty …
I’ll be the first to admit, as a dad myself, I approach all reading and watching on the subject of fatherhood with some trepidation. We occupy a moment in the American zeitgeist when the examination of dads sets a pretty low conversational bar.