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

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  30 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 cri ...more
Kindle Edition, 175 pages
Published May 9th 2012
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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,
Pronatalism says that parenthood is the ultimate fulfillment in life. Why then do so many people find fulfillment outside of parenthood? If parenthood and reproduction were a natural human instinct, why do some not have the desire for children?

"When we realize we can't just chalk up that longing to instinct, we can better analyze the origins of our feelings...What is at the essence of this feeling or longing? Is my longing truly to raise a child, or is it another yearning I think the child will
Allizabeth Collins

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
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.
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
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 u ...more
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 exactl ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Dutch marked it as to-read
Shelves: women, reference
I have just added this to my Kindle and will look forward to reading it! Sounds like a must read for anyone who is living a child-free lifestyle or people sitting on the fence about it. I have struggled for a long time how to explain my choice without seeming bitter toward others for having children, or without people assuming that I may say one thing and deep down really want children. I just learned that a nearly life-long child-free friend is now pregnant by choice, and have no idea why she c ...more
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Jhonni Parker
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 cla ...more
Karen *ReaderGirl*
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
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
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.
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 fac ...more
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 th ...more
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
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 an ...more
Steph Coleman
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
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 looki ...more
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
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
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.
Laura Leane
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!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This is a good reference for explaining my choice to others.
"Allow us to seek meaning in our lives as we define it."
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