The Story Behind Your Baby’s Story
The first personalized book I ever wrote was “Your Baby’s Story”. Here’s the story behind the book, which is an ode to the entire process of giving birth!
Having my first child was a transformative experience for me, and not just because I had this literal piece of me come out into this world. I also happened to quit my old job at the same time, because I was sick of the rat race and decided it would be nice to work on things, I actually loved doing. I didn’t want to just live to work anymore.
In my case that was writing. I have always loved books and the written word for as long as I can remember, and I have always wanted to write for almost as long as that. There are at least two unfinished novels gathering silicon dust on a dark, forgotten corner of my hard-drive, and my plan was to re-engage with those and see at least one of them through to the finish.
But children have a funny way of upending and transforming any plans you have, both small and big.
In my case, I became obsessed with documenting every moment of his life, in an effort to capture the sheer joy of having him in our lives. I doubt a child has ever been photographed and video recorded as much as ours was (although I suppose every parent feels that way!). In my case, I wanted to record and remember not just the big moments, but all the little ones as well, the quotidian events that made us laugh and smile, the ones that tend to get lost in the hurly-burly of everyday life.
I also wanted to write about the experience — but do so in a way that would allow me to share it with my child later. Thus, was the notion of a children’s book born. The idea was to write a whole series of them, documenting not just his birth, but his subsequent life as well. We could read them together as he was growing up.
Most authors document their personal experiences and put them in their books; in my case, it was the reverse: I wanted to write the books as a forcing mechanism to document my experiences with my child.
I originally planned these for an audience of one: this was my quixotic endeavor to show my child just how much I loved him. But once I started writing and thinking more deeply about the books, I realized that this could be a good series of books to publish out to the world. At some point, most children ask the question: “Mommy, Daddy, how did I come into this world?”. I had written out the answer for my child, but I loved the idea of allowing parents and others to personalize the book for their own child and read it to them as well.
I took this on as my project — not just writing the books, but also allowing people to personalize the stories for their own children. My background is in computer science so I loved the idea of applying both sides of my brain to the project: to write the books as well as building out the personalization engine, website, etc. The personalization engine is a constant work-in-progress. In particular, for this series of books, there are two key options pending:
- I want to allow people to upload their own photos and add them to the story — so it becomes a sort of a scrapbook or hybrid between a photo album and a story. You may notice that the illustrations have been intentionally done to include a lot of photo frames or photos — the idea is to allow users to replace those images with their own photos.
- I want to offer more options to capture the diversity of parent types and birthing options available today. The story as it stands is horribly heteronormative; I recognize that and am working on adding additional options.
In any event, this was the first book that was personalized and published. As with all firsts, it will always hold a special place in my heart!
Originally published at https://manimaltales.com on March 12, 2021.