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

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  28 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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3.65  · 
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 ·  146 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 18, 2012 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 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
Dec 24, 2012 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
Aug 08, 2014 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 Mya 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 24, 2013 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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Miss Ryoko
I think Laura Carroll really thought this book out well. I think most baby-making people would be shocked by what she says, but their shock would come from the denial of truth. In truth, all the pronatal assumptions she presents in this book are 100% true and accurate. As someone who was once in a decade long relationship, even complete strangers who didn't know me would ask why I wasn't married or had any children. Pronatalism is everywhere and the assumptions that come along with it are really ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book is a thorough look at our dangerous cultural obsession with reproduction which I appreciate; however, Carroll is a poor non-fiction writer. She introduces research awkwardly and is terrible with quote usage. She doesn't seem to realize that you don't need to use quotes for general statements. The author lacks any depth of emotion in her writing. She doesn't try to connect with anyone who already has children other than to say that they are enough and shouldn't be bullied into always hav ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oh man, where do I start? Carroll's anti-pro natalist ideas are interesting and mirror my own sentiments about children. However, she lost me when she started talking about forced body control and certification for parents. I understand and agree that MANY parents should not be parents. However, when you start talking radical measures like forcing unfit people to have procedures to prevent them from having children, you're bordering on a dystopian society... Or China, I suppose. I get her premis ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf-sorry
DNF. Very notable: extremely anti parent. Since I want one exploring the concept and ideas of the whole over vs under population thing, I am not going to finish this book. (Please send recs!)
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
no new info for me here and not terribly well presented. These are important ideas that need to be put out there but I didn't find this book particularly rallying or groundbreaking.
Jul 10, 2012 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
Dec 19, 2012 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
May 26, 2012 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 04, 2013 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 looki ...more
Jan 13, 2013 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.
Jul 30, 2014 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 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 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
May 07, 2014 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!
Oct 30, 2015 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 Rubin
Oct 01, 2015 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.
Jan 11, 2015 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.
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Allow us to seek meaning in our lives as we define it."
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Feb 10, 2015 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.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good reference for explaining my choice to others.
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Jan 15, 2013
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Oct 02, 2014
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