Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility

There are certain stories that need to be shared, stories that are so commonly experienced, yet rarely discussed. Infertility is one of these stories. In Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility, Myriam Steinberg shares her long, arduous, and deeply personal journey toward pregnancy. Organized by the years of Steinberg’s fertility journey, Catalogue Baby provides detailed insight into the process of becoming pregnant and carrying to term. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about fertility, pregnancy, and the stigma that perpetually surrounds these topics. 

Steinberg ventures where many writers would not. Readers gather a deep sense of Steinberg as a prospective mother and as a woman living under the scrutiny experienced by all women that struggle with fertility. Steinberg does not shy away from any topic related to her fertility journey, even topics that are likely to derive scorn from readers. In one particularly intimate passage, Steinberg shares with the reader the story of a pregnancy that she was not able to carry to term. After a prenatal screening, it was determined that Steinberg’s child would be born with Down Syndrome. Steinberg made the difficult decision to abort. Her articulation of this experience is stunning in its authenticity. Steinberg is not a hollow narrator, but rather a friend sharing her most personal experiences with us. 

The artwork by Christache is equally impressive. While remaining intimate and honest to Steinberg’s narrative, none of the imagery feels exploitative or revels in the more dramatic elements of the story. The symbolism in the imagery, such as that of the literal (and very exasperated) biological clock that guides readers through the story, is truly poignant. The color palette is a visually pleasing blend of various pink hues, reminiscent of our cultural understanding of traditional gender roles. Working in conjunction with Steinberg’s writing, Catalogue Baby is an insightful piece of art. 

Given the presentation of Steinberg’s experience and the relevance of the subject matter, Catalogue Baby is a work that librarians should heavily consider adding to their collections. Though this work is a piece made for adults, I do believe that mature teens interested in themes of parenthood and grief have something to gain from the book. Do not hesitate to recommend Catalogue Baby to non-comics readers. Steinberg’s writing and Christache’s artwork are widely accessible for even readers who may usually be hesitant to pick up a graphic novel. Catalogue Baby is not just a memoir. It is a learning tool, a resource for those going through similar trauma, and a rumination on the deeply interwoven relationship between cisgender womanhood and motherhood.

Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility
By Myriam Steinberg
Art by  Christache
Page Two, 2021
ISBN: 9781989603642

NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)