Winnipeg author pens heartfelt book to welcome new daughter

A local author’s desire to explain the heartfelt connection between herself and her infant daughter has flowered into a book, titled “You Came From My Heart.”

Though it was her partner who gave birth to their daughter Lark, author Brenlee Coates told CTV Morning Live the idea for the book came naturally, as she wanted to set a foundation of honesty with her daughter.

“I knew she’d have questions about where she came from one day and I came up with the line, ‘You didn’t come from my body, you came from my heart,’. Just very honest plain language and it just kind of took off from there,” Coates said.

Coates said a friend of theirs offered to be their donor when they decided it was time to form a family.

“We had really close friends offer. Obviously, it took a lot of discussion just to make sure we were on the same page in how they would approach it,” said Coates.

So far, positive reaction to the story has come from around the globe. Coates said she reached out to a list of independent booksellers and as a result, her book is on shelves in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Coates says the story has something of a universal appeal.

“So I know when myself and my partner were growing up, we really didn’t see books like this at all. We did not have a lot of role models or examples. So it helps parents in similar situations to lead those conversations with their kids.”

Juno-award winning illustrator Roberta Landreth provided illustrations for the book. Coates said Landreth’s contribution came about as the result of a chance meeting on a Winnipeg Transit bus.

“She was pregnant at one point during her rides and then, of course, we became pregnant and just sort of bonded over the whole motherhood scenario and I knew this was the perfect person to illustrate the book and I couldn’t have been more right,” said Coates.

“I just hope people feel really represented. People who really just want to have a diverse library to expose their kids to a lot of different stories. I think that’s the kind of outcome I’m hoping for.”

-With files from CTV’s Nicole Dubé