Prior to The Baby Matrix, there are two other books worthy of mention that take on pronatalism.
One is Conceiving the Future. It looks at how, during a formative period of our nation’s history, cultural currents converged to create a powerful environment of pronatalism.
The other is Ellen Peck and Judith Senderowitz’s book, Pronatalism: The Myth of Mom & Apple Pie, which came out in the 70s and took on the problems with the ideology of promoting child-bearing and glorifying parenthood.
In Conceiving the Future Laura Lovett goes beyond public policies clearly designed to encourage families to something deeper. As the United States emerged from the Industrial Revolution and grew into a world power, it held on to a romantic image of its agrarian past that persisted even as it became outdated, producing what the author calls a “nostalgic modernism.” And certain idealizations of motherhood and family were an integral part of that nostalgia. Lovett gives us the backdrop of how pronatalism has become an unquestioned social force which has produced a universal parenthood ideal and the idealization of maternity.
In Pronatalism, Ellen Peck and Judith Senderowitz pull together a collection of essays by a variety of authorities that, as the book jacket describes, examines how “What we don’t know about parenthood can — and has — hurt us”, and that “we are all subject to the scores of unseen pressures and hidden forces that urge young people, regardless of personal preference or even competence: reproduce, reproduce.”
This book knocked my socks off when I first read it. It really opens your eyes to the long-held underlying social and cultural forces behind why people think they want to have children.
It in particular was of great inspiration to me to write The Baby Matrix. I just wish Ellen Peck and Judith Senderowitz were alive today to read it!
Both works are worth the read. The Baby Matrix takes these discussions to the next level!