Laura Carroll will be touring July 2 – September 24 2012 with her nonfiction book, The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World.
Why does our society hold the belief that we are all destined to have children? Why do we believe that parenthood is the ultimate road to fulfillment in life? In The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World, author Laura Carroll answers these questions and more through an exploration of and critical look at the pervasiveness of “pronatalism” – the belief that having children should be the central focus of every adult’s life. Carroll examines the historical origins of pronatalism, the reasons why it has such a deep hold on societies even though most people remain unaware of it, and whether it makes sense – for individuals or for the world as a whole. She shows the ways in which pronatalism is perpetuated, scrutinizes seven major pronatalist assumptions that lead people to accept them without question, and offers alternative mindsets that reflect realities, true reproductive freedom and responsibility in today’s society. Whether you are already a parent, want to be a parent, or don’t want children, you will never think about parenthood in the same way. Investigating what few have had the courage to discuss, The Baby Matrix examines the negative effects of pronatalist beliefs, including how they dictate the “normal path” to adulthood, put unwarranted pressure on people to have biological children, and fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children. Carroll also brings to light the impact that pronatalism has had on the world at large and will continue to have if its ubiquitous influence is not challenged. Citing compelling statistics, she shows how our belief that we can have as many children as we want is a serious threat in a world with finite resources. In the process, she brings into focus how every life brought into the world directly affects our survival. This manifesto makes the case for why it’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned. Without compromise, The Baby Matrix is a reality check for us all. Are we willing to hold on to beliefs that aren’t necessarily true … even to our detriment? This book will make you examine your own intentions and beliefs, will rile you, and might just change your mind. The Baby Matrix is a must-read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology, parenting issues, environmentalism, and social justice. But most of all, it’s for anyone, parent or not, who reveres the truth and wants the best for themselves, their families, and our world.
You can visit Laura online at www.LauraCarroll.com.
In the movie The Matrix, the character Morpheus offers two pills to Neo—if he takes the blue pill, he will go on with life as he has before, believing what he has always believed. If he takes the red pill, he will find out what the “matrix” really is, and many of his earlier beliefs will be shattered. When it comes to taking a hard look at a specific set of beliefs that has driven our society for generations, The Baby Matrix is the red pill. It unravels these beliefs and shows us why they no longer serve us—or why they were never true in the first place.
What is this set of beliefs? It’s called “pronatalism,” meaning “pro”-“natal” or “pro-baby.” It’s the idea that parenthood and raising children should be the central focus of every person’s adult life.
Pronatalism is a strong social force and includes a collection of beliefs so embedded that they have come to be seen as “true.” For some people, perhaps you, there may be nothing more fulfilling than raising a child. But I think you’d agree that parenthood is not automatically the right choice for everyone. You don’t have to look very far to find parents who never should have had children.
The problem with pronatalism is that it leads everyone to believe they should have children—even people who shouldn’t have children. And pronatalism leads people to believe they have the right to have as many children as they want—even people who shouldn’t have children. This creates problems that extend beyond families and the children who may be suffering from the effects of poor parenting. At a time when we humans are consuming resources over 50 percent faster than the planet is producing them, every choice to bear a child has implications for the larger community. That’s why this conversation about pronatalism is one that involves all of us, parents or not.
During my research for Families of Two and since then, I have learned a lot about how pronatalist beliefs affect us individually and collectively, and not in a positive way. This has been explored before; in the 1970s, Ellen Peck and Judith Senderowitz confronted pronatalism head-on with Pronatalism: The Myth of Mom & Apple Pie. Their book includes chapters with a number of different contributing authors who explain what pronatalism is, how and why it is so pervasive in society, and the negative effects of that pervasiveness.
It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism. Many people have begun to question its tenets, and rightly so. They are waking up to the fact that this set of implicit assumptions furthers the agendas of power structures such as the church, state, and industry—not individuals. They are questioning how they’ve been unconsciously influenced to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts not just themselves but people from all walks of life. Pronatalist assumptions dictate how we’re supposed to follow the “normal path” to adulthood. They also put unwarranted pressure on us to have biological children (and the “right” number of them), fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children, and do a disservice to children who are already here in need of loving homes. The assumptions also result in inequitable workplace and tax policies that favor parents over people with no children. And they work against leaving future generations a better world.
It’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned and why now is the time to transition to a “post” pronatal society. The Baby Matrix is the manifesto to ignite this transition. In this book, I present seven long-held pronatalist assumptions and the reasons they are incorrect, are no longer necessary, or no longer work. I lay out an alternative set of assumptions that reflects present realities and supports true reproductive freedom and reproductive responsibility in today’s society.
Don’t misunderstand: I am not against people who choose to become parents. The Baby Matrix urges all of us to take a closer look at pronatal assumptions in order to see the truth about parenthood, reproduction, and our future. Like the red pill in The Matrix, which instigates an awakening to what is real, this book takes a hard look at why it’s so important to stop blindly believing pronatalist doctrine and start realizing its serious costs. It poses powerful ways to shift our thinking for the betterment of all.
This book is for anyone who reveres the truth and wants the best for themselves, their families, and our world. If that’s you, I say go down the pronatal rabbit hole where you will find the truths that need to be told, and see why I invite you to join me in being part of the emergence of a post-pronatal society.
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If you would like to review The Baby Matrix, email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com. Please mention which date would work for you. Laura is also available for interviews and guest posts.
Please note that The Baby Matrix is part of a nationwide Kindle Fire giveaway. If you would like to include the giveaway on your blog, please let us know how you want to be “followed” for the Rafflecopter form (Twitter or Facebook).
Deadline for inquiries end August 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!