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 about parenthood and reproduction that has driven our society for generations, The Baby Matrix is the red pill.
We commonly think our desire to have children boils down to our biological wiring, but author Laura Carroll says it's much more than that. Unlike other books on parenthood,The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World takes a serious look at powerful social and cultural influences that drive the desire for the parenthood experience, and lays out why we need to be very aware of these influences to make the most informed decisions about parenthood.
The Baby Matrix looks at long-held beliefs about parenthood and reproduction, and unravels why we believe what we believe. It lays out:
- the historical origins of beliefs about parenthood and reproduction
- why many of these beliefs no longer work for society or were never true in the first place
- why we continue to believe them anyway
- the prices society pays as a result
The Baby Matrix shows us how we got here, brings to light what is true, which includes knowing about the powerful influence of "pronatalism," and explains why society can no longer afford to leave pronatalism unquestioned.
I come from a rather large family - some of my recent ancestors having as many as eighteen children, but just because I grew up with two siblings, tons of cousins, and a plethora of branches on my family tree does not mean that I am obligated to "go forth and multiply". Do not get me wrong, I love children, however, I do not currently desire to reproduce due to my career, and the fact that there are plenty of adoptable children who need homes and families. That said, I was very interested when I got the chance to read The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll because she has similar viewpoints on the subject. The Earth may seem like an infinite resource at the constant disposal of the human race, but as the atmosphere weakens, the water, air, and ground become polluted, and precious fossil fuels are depleted, the planet becomes more unsustainable. Add in the world's current population of 7 billion, (9+ billion by 2050), and the macrocosm brings us even closer to resource depletion. This is why the idea of pronatalism is such a dangerous one, because children are brought up to glorify parenthood, and therefore, some decide to procreate selfishly. This does not mean that pronatalism is entirely bad, but if people continue to have children to the "nth degree", (4, 5, 6, 7...), then the economy, and eventually the world as a whole, will suffer because of it. Because of the pronatalism view, people like to assume that having a baby makes them a good parent, a happier person, and will lead to an old age where they are surrounded by doting, appreciative, and loving children; but that is certainly not true in all cases. I enjoy how The Baby Matrix questions these humanity-old practices and beliefs, allowing readers to get a real sense of reproductive responsibilities versus wants. Laura Carroll has written a very well-researched and compelling book that makes readers reflect on what they have been brought up to believe - no matter whether they are single, married, or with/without children. I also liked her ideas on adopted vs. biological children, the 7 Post-Pronatal Assumptions, and parenting "licenses". Appropriate cover art and nice formatting overall, I will be reading Laura Carroll's Families of Two in the future. This book is definitely an eye-opener, and I will be passing the word along to friends and colleagues. Highly recommended to readers 15 and up; this would be a great book for teenagers and prospective parents.
Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)
*** I received this book from the author (Pump Up Your Book) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
About the Author:
Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.
In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.
Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.
You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.
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