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 interested when I got the chance to read The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll because… she has similar viewpoints on the subject. The Earth may seem like an infinite resource at the constant disposal of the human race, but as the atmosphere weakens, the water, air, and ground become polluted, and precious fossil fuels are depleted, the planet becomes more unsustainable. Add in the world’s current population of 7 billion, (9+ billion by 2050), and the macrocosm brings us even closer to resource depletion.
This is why the idea of pronatalism is such a dangerous one, because children are brought up to glorify parenthood, and therefore, some decide to procreate selfishly. This does not mean that pronatalism is entirely bad, but if people continue to have children to the “nth degree”, (4, 5, 6, 7…), then the economy, and eventually the world as a whole, will suffer because of it. Because of the pronatalism view, people like to assume that having a baby makes them a good parent, a happier person, and will lead to an old age where they are surrounded by doting, appreciative, and loving children; but that is certainly not true in all cases.
I enjoy how The Baby Matrix questions these humanity-old practices and beliefs, allowing readers to get a real sense of reproductive responsibilities versus wants. Laura Carroll has written a very well-researched and compelling book that makes readers reflect on what they have been brought up to believe – no matter whether they are single, married, or with/without children.
I also liked her ideas on adopted vs. biological children, the 7 Post-Pronatal Assumptions, and parenting “licenses”. Appropriate cover art and nice formatting overall, I will be reading Laura Carroll’s Families of Two in the future. This book is definitely an eye-opener, and I will be passing the word along to friends and colleagues.
Highly recommended to readers 15 and up; this would be a great book for teenagers and prospective parents.