Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World” as Want to Read:
The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read eBook

The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  121 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 175 pages
Published May 9th 2012
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Baby Matrix, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Baby Matrix

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen KirkmanTwo Is Enough by Laura S. ScottNo Kidding by Henriette MantelComplete Without Kids by Ellen L. WalkerChildfree and Loving It! by Nicki Defago
Childfree Books
7th out of 67 books — 32 voters
Reconceiving Women by Mardy S. IrelandWithout Child by Laurie LisleLiving the Life Unexpected by Jody DayThe Female Assumption by Melanie HolmesThe Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll
Best books about childlessness
5th out of 11 books — 1 voter

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 18, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The Baby Matrix, by Dr Laura Carroll, is about pronatalism, or “the idea that parenthood and raising children should be the central focus of every person’s adult life.”

As someone who’s chosen not to have children, I can tell you that decision wasn’t easy. And it’s been made a lot harder by the million movies and TV shows that tell me parenting is the only way to live a fulfilling life. Not to mention the friends and family who question whether I’m selfish and whether I’ll turn into some bitter,
Allizabeth Collins
Aug 07, 2012 Allizabeth Collins rated it really liked it

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 intereste
Heide Island
Jan 26, 2013 Heide Island rated it it was ok
I didn't learn anything new from this book; but then again, this is an area I study, for others it might be worth the purchase. It is well written.
I liked the book; it's full of provocative ideas, and I just bought Families of Two.

However - yes, I do have a few reservations -
the author sounds quite belligerent - she maps out 4-fold 'strategies' to 'deal with' people asking questions about potential kids, she's writing laws, she's preemptively controling everything about public spaces, she does her fair share of name-calling 'this is selfish! And this too, and this!' And she bellows and works to death things I would think are obvious 'CHIL
Iso Cambia
Aug 12, 2015 Iso Cambia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn about pronatalism or the childfree lifestyle in the modern age
Recommended to Iso by: Laura Carroll
As a childfree person with many childfree people as social contacts and friends, many of the ideas in this manifesto were not new to me. It covered topics that are often discussed in childfree social groups online,

This is an easy read that definitely is driven by the passionate views of the author - it is a manifesto rather than a dry scholarly work, as "The Myth of Mom and Apple Pie" can sometimes be. Sometimes I wished for an in text citation or review of the literature but I think this may ha
Jan 29, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
Carroll, who previously published Families of Two, about couples living happily childfree, has put together an absolute encyclopedia about why the “pronatalist” viewpoint that tells us that everyone should have children is no longer valid. Although I disagree with some of her points, I have to admire this well-written and deeply researched book that I will keep handy as a reference from now on. Carroll challenges common assumptions such the idea that people need children to be fulfilled, mature, ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Claire rated it it was amazing
It is very bizarre to take the blinders off and look around and see just how right Laura Carroll is in her book “The Baby Matrix: Why…..” Motherhood, and the desire to have children is such an ingrained notion in our culture, (pronatalism) it is celebrated and worshiped, we just take it for granted. But there are many women (myself included) who haven’t taken the baby route yet, and I’m surrounded by people wondering “what is wrong with me”. Because in our society a woman isn’t really complete ...more
Feb 19, 2013 April rated it really liked it
At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. I mean, who doesn’t love babies, right? Well, I appreciated the matter-of-fact and near scientific approach that the author laid out, and with clear research to back it up, that just looked at a prevailing attitude in our culture/world, and was just simply questioning if that was the only way to go. Of course some people will be offended, and I could see this being controversial (as things are when you challenge the status quo). But that’s ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Steph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-my-nook
everyone needs to read this whether they want children or not. It really made me think and gave me more evidence to support my not wanting children if anyone questions my soon to be husband and I about it.
Jul 14, 2012 Amelia rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
I'm only about halfway through with this right now. As someone who is pretty vocal about the fact that I don't want to have kids, I was pretty excited about this when I saw it. And the author does make a lot of good points, many of which I agree with or have made myself.

But I'm still having a couple of issues with it:

1) In an early chapter, she talks about how social welfare programs (and other social programs, for that matter) really only benefit those who are married and / or have kids. This i
Karen *ReaderGirl*
Feb 06, 2013 Karen *ReaderGirl* rated it it was amazing
I think “The Baby Matrix…” was a really interesting book that helped me open my eyes. I have two children, 5 and 7, and I knew from the time I had my first doll that I couldn’t wait to be a mother. It was a strong driving force in me my whole life and I barely made it out of high school before having my first. But my sister who is older than me by 4 years does not have children and doesn’t seem to want any (although she’s great with mine). I admit that I’ve secretly wondered what was wrong with ...more
Feb 11, 2013 BellaReadz rated it it was amazing
Oh, wow…this book was great! I wish I would have read it years ago! I’ll keep this review brief but I feel like I could agree with everything written here for pages and pages! Yet it’s interesting how in this society it’s almost taboo to talk about or you are perceived as having something wrong with you if as a woman you don’t pursue motherhood. I’d like to personally thank Laura Carroll for writing this and putting this perspective out there. Hopefully others will read and we can accept the ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Jenna rated it really liked it
This book was a breath of fresh air. I’ve noticed that it seems like we are living in an increasingly baby/mother-centric society as if the human race is going to extinguish at any moment if we aren’t constantly reproducing or being able to mother a child. It seems like every TV drama I was watching last year centered over the fact that despite a woman who was successful with great career (doctors, etc…) in relationships with great circle of friends, it was like OMG MY LIFE IS SO AWFUL UNLESS I ...more
Jhonni Parker
Feb 16, 2013 Jhonni Parker rated it it was amazing
There is a serious overpopulation problem in this world, but even in our own country we face challenges that are pushing our country to the brink. There are many ideas that drive the push to re-populate, and while it may be a great choice for some, it is interesting to look at it from a more rational point of view and see if perhaps this attitude is doing more harm than good. This book was clear and coherent and presented in a factual way that would be a great discussion source for a college ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it
Laura Carroll sets up a clear thesis right away, and questions what we perceive as “normal”. The narrative is clear and engaging, and easy to follow along. The examples she provides, along with the academic interpretations of social norms, was both enlightening and at the same time, comforting. It’s nice to read something that I’ve secretly wondered and thought about, but was never able to find anywhere in a form such as this book. Her ideas and arguments are neatly laid out, and clearly show ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Marie rated it really liked it
The Baby Matrix book was a quick read, and one I would highly recommend for parents (new and experienced), people considering whether they want to reproduce, and the childfree. This book isn't about attacking parents! The focus is instead on the assumptions associated with our pro-natal society, why we have them, and why they are (or can be) harmful. The book is well-edited and includes citations to many studies and other books, which I appreciate.

Honestly, this book is one I will be recommendin
Jun 16, 2012 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childfree
Laura Carroll did a great job defining pronatalism and why it is so engrained within our society. Her book reshapes the myths and offers a new way of looking at parenthood and reproduction.

This book is not passive in its intent but active. Carroll sets forth a plan of action to get people thinking differently about not when they should have children but if. I recommend this book for high school students as well as for the childfree and parents alike. This book will challenge some beliefs about
Nov 14, 2013 Nicole rated it it was ok
I guess I was expecting more from this really didn't cover much I haven't already explored and discovered for myself from years of dealing with fertility issues and deciding whether motherhood would really ever be in the picture for me -- and also seeing firsthand how society treats those who are either childless by choice or by circumstance. I'd say it will appeal more to those who are actively childfree than to those who find themselves without children by circumstance and are ...more
Steph Coleman
Feb 22, 2013 Steph Coleman rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating and eye-opening. There are some things in life everyone seems to take for granted, and the near-universal desire to have children seems to be one of them. To me, the most interesting part about reading the “The Baby Matrix” by Laura Carroll was how she exposes the many ways that society is bent on reproduction (pronatalism), and analyzes with in-depth research where these influences come from, and if they are truly for the best of society and the future. For anyone who ...more
Feb 05, 2013 Stacy rated it it was amazing
This is outside my normal reading, I admit, but I thought it sounded interesting and I gave it a shot. The book was laid out well and was very easy to grasp the ideas and concepts… a reason I shy away from nonfictions such as these is the tendency of the authors to write esoterically. But not here. Laura Carroll writes to the everywoman/man, in terms and ideas that are not only easy to understand, but make a startling amount of sense. I do believe my eyes have been “opened” after reading this ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I thought this was a fascinating book and I’m so happy I had a chance to read it. As a woman in her mid-30’s who is still on the fence about motherhood, it was nice to hear analytical reasoning on the pros and cons, and not make it seem like motherhood should be an automatic, assumed path in life for all woman. This book isn’t “anti-baby” by any means, more like helping to open eyes and make informed decisions which is a handy tool in any major life choice. Highly recommend
Jan 13, 2013 Cate rated it it was amazing
Eye-opening for both those who do and do not wish to have children.

For those who do, some kind suggestions in considering the bigger picture, the entire planet, as opposed to the ever-American smaller picture, "I want".

For those who choose to be childfree, some helpful suggestions on how to deal with society and familial pressures to reproduce.

In all, enlightening and full of support for both sides of the baby-having life choice.
Aug 04, 2014 Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
About how our society is pronatal, or child-centric. Though I'm childfree, I was surprised to discover that even I buy into what she calls pronatal assumptions, each with its own chapter, particularly the "Normality Assumption," which is covered in chapter 3. Maybe it's a generational thing. But not only does she describe these different assumptions, she also offers Alternate Assumptions. Interesting read for both parents and non-parents alike.
Mar 02, 2014 Sophie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some of it was a little out there but there were some very good points - it's a fairly short book and worth a read if you're getting to the age where baby fever may be setting in. She's not anti-baby, she just argues that there's a lot to think about before deciding to have kids. I would recommend it to my lady friends.
Feb 12, 2014 Trinity rated it really liked it
I very much liked this book except for the chapter about permits for parenting. I wish that extremist stance had not been included in this book. The concept is too fraught with potential classist, elitist issues and frankly, not something I would want our government to control directly. The history of pronatalism and the current forces at play were interesting and affirming to read.
Laura Leane
Aug 01, 2014 Laura Leane rated it really liked it
very concise and helpful. a great start to uncovering the societal demands for procreation and the myths they espouse to convince you of your destiny to rear children. i had a feeling the "biological clock" was a crock of shit. thanks laura carroll!
Nov 11, 2015 Nepeta rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I agree with many of her points, she exposes a real problem and gives ideas. But I found the language used in the book a little bit too childsh and I'd like to see more references to scientifical articles.
Julia Lynn Rubin
Oct 20, 2015 Julia Lynn Rubin rated it liked it
A well-written, easy-to-read introduction to natalism and the very fringes of antinatalism. I didn't agree with all of Laura's arguments, and I did wish she went further and delved deeper into the history of pronatalism in our modern society, but for a 101-type book it was well done.
Feb 23, 2015 Michele rated it did not like it
Adolescent writing. Incredibly dull. I don't really have anything good to say about it. And yes, I'm childfree.
Feb 15, 2015 Emily rated it liked it
Just not what I needed right now. I've made the choice not to have kids, and feel very good about this being the right decision for me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Childfree and Loving It!
  • Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice
  • Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or Chance
  • Baby Not on Board: A Celebration of Life Without Kids
  • The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless
  • The Childless Revolution: What It Means To Be Childless Today
  • No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood
  • No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children
  • Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness
  • Beyond Motherhood: Choosing Life Without Children
  • I Need You (Elizabeth, #6)
  • Man Up!: 367 Classic Skills for the Modern Guy
  • Mindtouch (The Dreamhealers, #1)
  • I'm Okay, You're a Brat!: Setting the Priorities Straight and Freeing You From the Guilt and Mad Myths of Parenthood
  • The Spinster and Her Enemies: Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930
  • Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement
  • Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong
  • Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome (A Harvest Book)

Share This Book