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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.
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About the Book:
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.
What is this set of beliefs? Pronatalism. At its core, it’s the belief that having children should be the central focus of every adult’s life. In this book, author Laura Carroll shows us how pronatalist beliefs have become so embedded that they have come to be seen as “true” and takes a critical look at their pervasiveness in our society.
Carroll examines the historical origins of pronatalism, the reasons why it has such a deep hold on societies even though most people remain unaware of it, and whether it makes sense – for individuals or for the world as a whole. She examines the ways in which pronatalism is perpetuated, scrutinizes seven major pronatalist assumptions that lead people to accept them without question, and offers alternative mindsets that reflect realities, true reproductive freedom and responsibility in today’s society. Whether you are already a parent, want to be a parent, or don’t want children, you will never think about parenthood in the same way.
Investigating what few have had the courage to discuss, The Baby Matrix examines the negative effects of pronatalist beliefs, including how they dictate the “normal path” to adulthood, put unwarranted pressure on people to have biological children, and fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children.
Carroll also brings to light the impact that pronatalism has had on the world at large and will continue to have if its ubiquitous influence is not challenged. Citing compelling statistics, she shows how our belief that we can have as many children as we want is a serious threat in a world with finite resources. In the process, she brings into focus how every life brought into the world directly affects our survival.
This manifesto makes the case for why it’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned. Without compromise, The Baby Matrix is a reality check for us all. Are we willing to hold on to beliefs that aren’t necessarily true … even to our detriment? This book will make you examine your own intentions and beliefs, will rile you, and might just change your mind.
The Baby Matrix is a must-read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology, parenting issues, environmentalism, and social justice. Those who revere the truth, want the best for themselves, their families and our world, and decide to take “the red pill” and read this book will find the truths that need to be told about pronatalism, and why it’s time to shift our thinking for the betterment of all.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Laura. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
In addition to my latest book, The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World, I am also the author of Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out was initially picked up by a medium size house in California, but they ended up delaying the publication date. I ultimately decided to self-publish to get the work out there.
Families of Two was picked up by a pioneer in the digital publishing industry owned by Random House at the time. I went this route because like them, I believed digital publishing was the future.
Both books ended up coming out about the same time.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
All three books took me about a year to write. Families of Two and The Baby Matrix were out shortly after, but Finding Fulfillment took a bit longer, as I had to decide whether to wait for the house to determine the pub date or to self-publish.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I felt like I had finally realized my calling in life. Celebrations have included everything from champagne to weekend splurges at a great hotel and spa!
Q: What was the first thing you did to promote your first book?
With Finding Fulfillment, I sought out print media, schools, and career counselors to tell them about the book. The word got out there, and it ended up being used in college Life Planning courses for awhile.
With Families of Two I hired my own publicist, who ended up being awesome and got me lots of syndicated radio and network TV media, including The Early Show and Good Morning America. I was also interviewed for articles in newspapers and magazines.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I would have to say I am much better now at trying to separate the creative writing time with the editing time, and not attempting to do both together. Trying to do both kills the creative flow. I also realize that half, if not more of what it takes to be a professional writer is being skilled at book promotion. On one hand, writing is so often an introverted endeavor. But to sell the book, one needs to be able to really put on an extraverted hat.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
I have been surprised how long it took traditional publishing houses to go digital. The business model just makes more sense from a profit perspective, and allows them to take on more new authors with far less risk.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
The most rewarding thing is know I have helped people live their best lives. Receiving emails from readers telling me how my work has made a difference in their lives means the world to me.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Pursue the questions that you are passionate about, and follow what you are called to create. In today’s publishing climate, don’t be afraid to get your own editorial, interior and cover art help and self-publish. There are so many talented people in all of these roles outside traditional houses today. Find experts to help you promote your work in all realms of media, and stay on a learning curve of the ever changing art of digital media. But most of all, enjoy all phases of bringing what you want to say into the world.
What’s One Reason Why Pronatalism Remains So Pervasive? Babies are Big Business
By Laura Carroll
Pronatalism is a set of beliefs about parenthood that has driven society for generations. The beliefs encourage reproduction and exalt the role of parenthood. The historical origins of pronatalism go way back. What people have been influenced to believe about parenthood and reproduction might have served a purpose at one time, but now has outlasted its usefulness. Or, believe it or not, what we have been taught to believe has never been true to begin with.
If this is the case, why does pronatalism remain so pervasive? One reason is because birth and babies are big business. As the recent article in Time magazine, “The 1% Birth” says, the birth business is “worth more than $30 billion a year.”
Recently, the baby business has taken itself to new heights. Take the business of the “luxe” birth. Many hospitals have “VIP” wings with “hotel -like accommodations” and include “limousine labor,” like things such as total hospital room redecoration, birth teams with massage therapists, chefs and more. This is not just for the Beyonce celebrity births. The 1% likes the first class treatment too, says Ellie Miller, a co-founder of Ellie & Melissa Baby Planners. According to the American Academy of Private Physicians, the number of “concierge doctors,” those who don’t take insurance and charge membership fees, has recently increased 46 percent.
Not only do all the baby bump media make getting pregnant cool, the luxury birth business ups the ante to the rich and famous way to give birth to your baby. Hospitals across the country that offer “luxe maternity” can charge around $4000 a day, which is more than most standard hospitals charge for the whole kit and caboodle of delivering a baby.
Pronatalism glorifies pregnancy and the raising of children; “lux” birth adds to the glorification by pushing red carpet delivery. And glorification continued to pay off. Business greatly benefits from the perpetuation of pronatalism. Pushing pro-baby, pro-parenthood values creates more demand for products and services that bring big profits to business. Along with government and religious power structures, business works to keep pronatalist norms in place to promote reproductive conformity, so it can continue to gain power.
And “power” is the operative word when it comes to describing what drives the The Baby Matrix. This word sums up the reason why pronatalism remains so pervasive today, despite the fact that assumptions that make it up no longer serve, or were never true in the first place. It is time to take a hard look at pronatalism, why we continue to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts people from all walks of life.
Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World. She is also the author of 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, Laura has worked 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. She has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show, and been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics. Laura reviews nonfiction books and more at LiveTrue Books. She lives in San Francisco.
Laura Carroll is giving away a free Kindle Fire! Click here to enter!