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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The Baby Matrix looks at long-held beliefs about parenthood and reproduction, and unravels why we believe what we believe. It boils down to a set of beliefs that has influenced society for generations called “pronatalism.” So many of the beliefs that make up pronatalism have become so embedded we think they are “true,” yet are not, and negatively affect us, individually and collectively. The Baby Matrix lays out what is true, and explains why society can no longer afford to leave pronatalism unquestioned.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
My previous book, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, received international attention and paved the way for me to become an expert on the childfree choice. After its publication, I wanted to delve deeper and get to the core of why society finds this choice hard to fully accept. My research led me down a path to not only talk to many more childfree, but to parents, those who want to be parents but are not by circumstance, and the child “less,” — those who want children but do not have them.
The path got even more interesting when it led me to “pronatalism” and to the surprising fact that most people remain unaware of it. Realizing this along with seeing how much pronatalism does a disservice to society fueled the fire to write this book!
Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
I dug into lots of books and many research studies, and talked to subject matter experts. Sometimes the research turned into interesting detective work. For example, in researching the historical origins of pronatalism, I found books that were over 30 years old. I tried to find the authors, and after quite the hunt, found some authors, but learned others had passed away. This was not a dead end however; like with any book, there is magic that happens along the way. For those I did not find, I found others who ended up taking me in the direction my research needed to go.
Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?
Question what you have been taught to believe about having children! Understanding, questioning and letting go of pronatalist beliefs will make for better parenthood decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones, society and our world.
Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
This excerpt is from the Introduction:
“It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism. Many people have begun to question its tenets, and rightly so. They are waking up to the fact that this set of implicit assumptions furthers the agendas of power structures such as the church, state, and industry—not individuals. They are questioning how they’ve been unconsciously influenced to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts not just themselves but people from all walks of life. Pronatalist assumptions dictate how we’re supposed to follow the “normal path” to adulthood. They also put unwarranted pressure on us to have biological children (and the “right” number of them), fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children, and do a disservice to children who are already here in need of loving homes. The assumptions also result in inequitable workplace and tax policies that favor parents over people with no children. And they work against leaving future generations a better world.
It’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned and why now is the time to transition to a “post” pronatal society.
Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today? How did you do it?
Getting a book published in the traditional way remains very competitive. However, more than ever, authors can get great work out there without having to solely rely on the traditional publishing route. With the digital book world the way that it is today, I decided to self-publish The Baby Matrix. I worked with excellent freelance editors, an interior design and cover artist to develop the book. And I’ve had the help of great digital and other media publicity experts for savvy promotion.
Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
I greet the day with dark roasted coffee, and get news from a variety of sources. I work on website management and book promotion for most of the morning. At mid-day, I do some sort of physical activity–a walk, yoga, aerobics or resistance training. I always devote a good part of the afternoon to the current book I am working on. In the evenings, I love to cook!
Q: What’s next for you?
I am definitely percolating on my next book, but am primarily focusing on getting The Baby Matrix message out there right now. I will say the next book will be nonfiction as always, be about my quest for the answer to a question I am passionate about, and include something I love to do in developing my books-interview lots of people!
Thank you so much for this interview, Laura. We wish you much success!